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How to Start a Vehicle Recovery and Towing Business

How to Start a Vehicle Recovery and Towing Business

It’s a sad fact of motoring life that vehicles will gradually break down over time, meaning that we have to spend money on repairs and maintenance. Sometimes this breakdown can occur very quickly, leaving us stranded by the side of the road. This creates an opportunity for towing and recovery businesses, which can charge a hefty fee for the task of getting a stranded vehicle to the nearest garage for repairs.

If you’re thinking of setting up a business of this kind, then there are a number of criteria you’ll need to fulfill in order to make the business profitable and legal. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Composing a Business Plan

Every successful business starts with the right plan. This document should contain everything you’ve researched about the potential target market and viability of your new business. It should account for ongoing costs like fuel, maintenance, equipment, and motor trade insurance – which is a necessity.

Ideally, it should be regularly updated to reflect the evolving challenges and market conditions you’re going to be facing.

Government Requirements

There are a few rules governing road safety for those operating recovery vehicles. There are several different classes of vehicle in this particular niche, which can cause a little bit of confusion for those new to the field. Before you launch your business, you should make sure that you have a thorough understanding of the rules and what they imply for your day-to-day operations.

For example, there are rules governing the number of hours that drivers are permitted to work in a given timespan. This isn’t just a legal responsibility, but an ethical and financial one, too: tired drivers are more likely to be involved in collisions, which will cost money as well as endangering life and limb.


If you’re going to attract customers, then you need to be sure that your message is out there. Your customers won’t be looking for you when the crucial moment arrives: they’ll instead reach for a name that they recognize and trust. This means that you need to implant your message before the breakdown occurs.

Some methods of advertising are more effective than others, but ideally you’ll employ a broad marketing spread in order to capture as much attention as possible. You should establish strong relations with every garage in your area, as these are the people you’ll be dealing with regularly. You’ll potentially be providing them with business, and thus it’s in their interest to help you out.

Larger towing operators will often subcontract, which is something to think about. If you go down this route, then all of your marketing problems will already be taken care of.

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by Harvey Carr // Harvey Carr is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.