WILMINGTON – Let’s face it, towing your car is never fun. Whether a driver breaks down on the side of the road or pulls into the wrong parking lot, towing companies expect to deal with customers who might not be happy to need their services.
To make matters worse there is some companies that participate in what is called predatory towing – which can leave a black eye on the entire industry. That’s why Tom Toby, owner of Thomas Towing and Transport, has spent the past nine years working to put customer service and customer satisfaction first. Its reputation speaks for itself with back-to-back ACE awards for 2017 and 2018.
Toby has always been a reducer, but towing and hauling hasn’t always been his career – in fact, before embarking on towing, Toby served for over 20 years as a firefighter in the local services.
A need for professionalism
While working as a first responder, Toby realized the need for a towing business that focused on customer service first. So nine years ago he started working as a full-time towing operator.
“I was a full-time professional firefighter here in the region before that and did so for 26 years. Between working part-time in the towing industry and seeing towing companies while responding as a firefighter, I saw that there was a need for a higher level of professionalism, ”said Toby.
Professionalism, for Toby, means everything from driver safety to employee uniforms; he expects his company’s representatives to meet certain standards.
“Towing is a lot like the fire department or emergency response. People have a problem, they dial a phone number and expect a professional to show up and solve the problem… I just decided that I could take much of my emergency response experience to towing and the way we respond to towing… All my drivers need to be perfectly cut, clean shaven, wear uniforms – Identified so that when they arrive people know who they are, not guys who are come out of a truck with dirty clothes and grease, ”he said.
As for so-called predatory towing companies, Toby said he remains out of that business end. In the world of towing, there are several different areas, including recovery and emergency towing, private lot towing, and repossession towing.
Most of the complaints that give the towing industry a bad name come from companies involved in the latter two.
He also acknowledged that there are predatory towing companies, but for the most part, when it comes to towing a vehicle off private property, the driver is just doing what he was hired to do. .
“For the most part, it’s an end of the industry, I’m not getting involved. I have several friends who are in this end of the industry and I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there. There are predatory towing practices and it’s been a problem in Wilmington and Carolina Beach for years… but it’s a privately owned impound service, they do what the owner told them to do.
Planning ahead can help avoid unfortunate run-ins with so-called predatory towing companies, using social media reviews and online search engines can help drivers select the best towing service, a Toby said.
And choosing a qualified towing company is important, especially for those who get stuck in the sand at Carolina Beach.
Toby urges residents to be careful if they get stuck off-road and someone offers to tow them for $ 20.
He can think of several instances where people with Jeeps or other off-road vehicles offered to tow a car from the sand to Carolina Beach with a winch for a few dollars just to have thousands of dollars in damage done to them. vehicle.
Thomas Towing has a large army green off-road recovery vehicle known as the Brutus that can be found in Carolina Beach on weekends, ready to help recover vehicles stuck in the sand. It’s not just about waiting for people’s misfortune, but the City of Carolina Beach and the Police Department have specifically asked the company to provide service.
“We do a lot of off-road recovery at Carolina Beach… Some people have this misconception that we’re out there on the beach and we charge a ton of money, and there are people out there that tell people that we charge a ton of money and we don’t. We’re over there under the direction of the Carolina Beach Police Department to provide a service to people to make sure they don’t get ripped off ” , did he declare.
Beyond fair pricing, Toby is fully insured and trained in off-road recovery – so if anything bad happens, he’s covered.
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