Why Auto Body Shops Should Build Relationships with Tow Truck Drivers

Why Auto Body Shops Should Build Relationships with Tow Truck Drivers

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Intro

The collision repair business is all about people; customers, employees, partners, and vendors. We tend to worry the most about making our customers happy – and that’s good – but there are a lot of other people to remember too. 

In particular I’m talking about your local tow truck drivers. If you have good ones, be sure to show them that you appreciate them. Here are some ideas for doing that.

Why It’s Important to Get to Know Tow Drivers

Your area drivers drop off cars to your shop all the time. This can be a simple transaction with little or no interaction, or this can be an opportunity to have a quick chat and get to know a driver. 

You’ve probably heard the saying that people like to do business with people they “know, like, and trust”. 

Driver Referrals

If you get to know your driver, and they like you and trust that you do honest, quality work, they’re more likely to recommend you to others, or even bring their own vehicles to you for repair.

Be sure to give your towing partners a few items from your shop’s Marketing Go Bag.

This goes both ways of course. If you have a driver or tow company that you just don’t like, or don’t trust, then you aren’t going to be recommending them.

Cross-Promotion With Towing Companies

On the other hand if you do find good drivers and companies, that’s a win-win situation. Ask them if they’re open to doing some cross-promotion. You add a spot to your website about towing, add their contact info, and link to their website. 

In return, they do the same for you - but understandably, they have to play fair, and may recommend other shops in addition to yours, just as you may recommend more than one towing company.

Employee Recruitment

Once you’ve established a solid relationship with a driver, be sure to let them know about openings in your shop. Drivers can be an excellent way to recruit for your open positions, whether they personally might be a good fit or if they know someone else to point your way.

How to Show Appreciation to Tow Truck Drivers

The simplest way to show some love to drivers is with gifts. You might consider giving out a Christmas gift of course, but if you really want to stand out, gift-giving at other times of year can make more of an impact. If you received a box of cookies today it would not only be a total surprise, but it would make your day.

How much should you spend? My advice is to spend as much as you reasonably can. If you skimp and buy something that feels cheap or seems like an afterthought, it shows.

Snacks

When I’m driving around, there’s a good chance I’m going to be snacking on something. Anyone who spends time in their vehicle likes having something to munch on. 

This might be a nice box of cookies or nuts they can carry in their truck, or a gourmet beef jerky assortment. You can give out candy or a box of chocolates, but unless you want to make it awkward, skip the heart-shaped box.

Clothes

In cold weather, you can buy your tow drivers some warm gloves. If you have branded apparel for your body shop, give them a ball cap or stocking cap. Do try to match the current climate though, a thick hoodie in July isn’t ideal.

Useful Items

Gift Idea for Tow Truck Drivers

Consider something unexpected and useful, that they might not think to purchase themselves. That could be a good multitool, like a Leatherman. 

Have you looked at the state of flashlight technology lately? New flashlights are small, rechargeable, and put out crazy amounts of light. Check out the Sofirn SP36 or the Wurkkos FC12 for two examples.

Tickets or Invitations

If your shop hosts any special events, like a golf outing or a trap shoot, invite your tow driver. Spending some time together can really help you get to know them better, and you better believe they’ll appreciate being included.

If you don’t have events like this, you can simply invite them to lunch sometime. 

Or if you are in a city with decent sports arenas, give him tickets to a game, after you’ve gotten a better feel for what he’s interested in.

Services

Does your shop have a detail department? Without spending anything, you can give your driver a free car wash - this could be for his personal vehicle, or even the tow truck if you have the space. 

Gift Cards

If you don’t have a detail department, but you have partnered with a local car wash, give your driver a gift card for a wash, just like you do for your regular customers.

If none of the above options are a fit for your situation, you can give them a restaurant gift card, or one from a local retailer.

🚧 Related: Why Body Shop Owners Should Get to Know Local Insurance Agents

Final Thoughts

How you show your appreciation to your local tow drivers is going to depend on your getting to know them a little. As with any gift, the more personal the gift, the more it means to the recipient. 

As you develop your relationship, you’ll get a better feel for what makes sense. If you know a driver loves basketball, then tickets to a game make perfect sense. If he’s a hunter, going to a shooting range could be a better fit.

Develop your network by showing tow truck drivers and your other associates that you value your relationships with them.

Hire us to market your body shop - get in touch today.

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Jason Ferguson

About Jason Ferguson

Jason has been a graphic designer since 1994 and started building websites in 1997. Since then he's learned countless new marketing skills and loves helping companies get more customers using digital marketing techniques. Jason founded Conspicuous Digital in 2017 and focuses on helping collision repair shops with their marketing.

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