Are you interested in a career as a tow truck driver? Or maybe you would just like to learn more about the towing industry?
In this article, we will be revealing how much a tow truck driver makes as well as learning more about this career choice.
Disclaimer: Please note we are not attorneys, financial advisors, etc. so none of this article constitutes professional financial or legal advice.
What Is A Tow Truck Driver?
A tow truck driver is someone who drives a vehicle that tows or pulls other vehicles out of traffic and to where they need to be.
Check out our article about different types of tow trucks here.
Depending on which type of tow truck you drive, some or all of the below might apply.
The job duties of a tow truck driver can include but are not limited to:
- Loading and unloading trucks with heavy equipment such as cranes, jacks, lifts,
- Tying down loads using winch bars, winches, winch straps, chains, chain binders, etc.
- Driving the tow truck
- Finding your way to the pickup or dropoff point – a good GPS app can help with this!
- Towing cars, motorcycles, RVs, boats, etc.
- Operating the controls on the tow truck
- Communicating with dispatch and customers via radio or mobile phone
- Working with other drivers and dispatchers
- Monitoring and maintaining safety standards while working
- Providing customer service
- Performing maintenance on the tow truck
- Make sure all paperwork is completed correctly
Tow Truck Jobs Pay Well
Tow truck jobs pay very well for those looking to work in an interesting field where often no day is the same as the day before!
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for tow truck operators was $40,600 in May 2016. Today, you can expect to make $40,000 – $85,000
This number has been increasing over time. In 2000, the BLS reported that the average salary for tow truck drivers was only $27,000 per year.
However, by 2015, the average salary had increased to approximately $38,000.
The Benefits Of Being A Tow Truck Driver
There are many different benefits associated with being a tow truck driver. Some of these benefits include:
- Making great money
- Driving an impressive vehicle
- Helping people when they are stuck
- Get to know your locale like the back of your hand
- Potentially travel around the country
- Meet new friends and colleagues
- Use physical strength – healthier than sitting in an office all day!
- You can do what you love every day
You may also want to consider becoming a tow truck driver if you are looking for a way to gain experience and build up your resume before moving into a different career path.
After all, you don’t want to start off your career as a tow truck operator without any real experience under your belt.
So, if you are thinking about starting a career as a tow truck driver, then you should know that you will need to complete at least 500 hours of training in order to qualify for a commercial driver license.
Where to find Tow Truck Driver Jobs
Some good places to look for a Tow Truck Driver job are:
- Indeed.com – this is the largest jobs website in the country
- Google – click or tap “tow truck driver jobs near me” and this should yield local companies looking to hire
- ziprecruiter.com is another popular jobs site you might have success with.
Do You Need A Commercial Drivers License?
If you want to be a tow truck driver then it is necessary to attain the right licenses. One license that you will need is a Commercial Drivers License (CDL), however it is important to note that this all depends on the size and weight of the vehicle being driven.
- Your vehicle will need to have a GCWR that exceeds 26,001 pounds.
- The weight of the vehicle will have to exceed 26,001 pounds but cannot pull cargo over 10,001 pounds.
- The vehicle has to be designed to hold 15 passengers.
If any of the above apply, you will have to get a CDL.
You Can Get Your Commercial License Easily
In order to obtain your commercial driver license, you must first pass a written test. Then, you will take a road test. If you pass both tests, you will receive your CDL.
It typically takes between one month and three months to complete this process. Once you have obtained your CDL, you can begin driving for companies.
Highest Paying Cities For Tow Truck Driver
The pay received for a job as a tow truck driver varies depending on where you live. Whilst the pay is similar, some cities are known to pay more.
Some of these cities are:
New York – $45,000
Peabody – $50,000
Newark – $43,000
Philadelphia – $37,000
Merrimack – $50,000
Is A Tow Truck Driver A Good Career Choice?
Whether or not a tow truck driver is a good career choice is dependent on the individual.
Tow truck drivers are often considered to be among the most dangerous occupations in the United States. There are several reasons why this is so.
The main reason is because they operate heavy machinery. They are required to move large trucks and other vehicles from one location to another.
As such, there is always a risk involved when operating a tow truck.
High Rate of Pay Compared to Other Occupations
Another reason why tow truck drivers are considered to be among the highest paid workers in the United States is because they are able to earn overtime wages.
Overtime wages are paid out after an employee works for eight hours or more. This means that tow truck drivers can make much higher earnings than those who work only for 8 hours per shift.
Another benefit of working as a tow truck driver is that you can gain and hone great mechanical and other practical skills.
So many companies are looking for two truck drivers.
Since this is often the case, it’s likely you will be able to choose which jobs you would prefer to work on.
You can decide whether you want to work with cars, motorcycles, or even heavy equipment.
Depending on your perspective, there are some things associated with working as a tow truck operator that might not suit your goals or desires.
Some of these can include:
Working Long Hours
This depends on the firm you work for of course!
When you start working at a company, you might be expected to work shifts that last for 12 or more hours.
High Stress Levels
When you become a tow truck driver, you could find yourself dealing with high levels of stress like picking up a broken down vehicle on a very busy interstate.
You will be responsible for moving large and heavy objects that cost a LOT of money. And, they have to be tied down right and it is up to you to make that happen.
As such, you could be exposed to various hazards including falling objects, collisions, and accidents.
This is not the career for the faint of heart, or someone who is mechanically challenged.
Risk Of Injury
As mentioned earlier, being a tow truck driver involves moving very heavy objects. These injuries could range from minor cuts to serious ones.
Injuries could also occur if you get into an accident while performing your duties. It is important that you wear protective gear when you are operating a tow truck. This includes wearing safety glasses, gloves, and steel-toed boots or shoes.
Working a job as a tow truck driver has many advantages, one of them is the pay.
If you are interested in this career, you will not regret it. Not only does the job pay well but it is great for a person who enjoys driving, traveling, and working with their hands.