How to Start a Tow Truck Business in UK USA (Business Plan)

Tow Truck Service Business

Do you have these questions in your mind?

  • How to Start a Tow Truck Service Business?
  • How can a beginner start Tow Truck Service Business?
  • What is a Tow Truck Service Business?
  • How profitable is Tow Truck Service Business?


In this article, you will find answers to all your questions. So please grab a cup of coffee, and let’s get started.

Table of Contents

John worked in a corporate office in Los Angeles for over a decade when he was unexpectedly laid off. He knew he had to act fast with a wife and two kids to support. After considering his options, he decided to start a towing business. He purchased a used tow truck and began offering his services to residents and businesses.

At first, business was slow, and John struggled to make ends meet. But he persevered, putting in long hours and going above and beyond for his customers. As a result, he built a reputation for reliability and excellent service, and word of mouth started to spread.

With time, John's business grew. He invested in a second tow truck and hired a few employees to help him manage the workload. He also started offering additional services such as roadside assistance and vehicle transport. As his reputation grew, so did his customer base.

It wasn't always easy. John faced challenges such as tough competition from established towing companies, unpredictable weather conditions, and the occasional difficult customer. But he never gave up, and with a bit of luck and hard work, he built a successful business that provided for his family and gave him a sense of pride and accomplishment.

What is Tow Truck Service Business?

Have you ever been stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire or a car that won’t start? That’s where a tow truck business comes in – providing essential services to drivers needing assistance.

Tow truck businesses typically have a fleet of specialized vehicles designed to handle various towing jobs, from moving disabled vehicles to impounding illegally parked cars. These vehicles are equipped with powerful winches and other tools that make it possible to move even the heaviest of vehicles safely and efficiently.

Tow Truck Business

Types of Tow Trucks in Towing Business

There are several types of tow truck in towing businesses, including:


1. Light-duty tow trucks:
These trucks are used to tow smaller vehicles, such as cars and SUVs.


2. Medium-duty tow trucks:
These trucks can tow larger vehicles, such as vans and small trucks.


3. Heavy-duty tow trucks:
These trucks are designed to tow very large vehicles, such as tractor-trailers and buses.


4. Flatbed tow trucks:
These trucks have a flatbed that can be hydraulically tilted, allowing vehicles to be easily loaded onto the bed.


5. Wheel-lift tow trucks:
These trucks use a hydraulic system to lift one end of a vehicle off the ground and tow it with the other end still on the road.


6. Integrated tow trucks:
These trucks are designed to handle both towing and recovery operations, and are often used for specialized tasks such as rescuing vehicles that have gone off-road or into bodies of water.


7. Roadside assistance vehicles:
These vehicles are equipped with tools and equipment to assist with minor repairs and services such as jump-starts, tire changes, and lockouts.



Each type of tow truck business may specialize in different types of services, such as private towing, commercial towing, or roadside assistance, depending on the needs of their target customers.

Tow Truck Business

How to Start Tow Truck Business

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start a tow truck business in the USA or UK:

1. Research the Market:

2. Plan Your Business:

3. Choose Your Business Structure:

4. Get the Required Permits and Licenses:

5. Secure Insurance Coverage: 

6. Acquire Equipment and Supplies: 

7. Hire and Train Staff: 

8. Create a Marketing Plan: 

9. Launch Your Business: 


It’s important to note that the specific steps and requirements may vary depending on your location and the type of tow truck business you plan to operate. Consult with local authorities and seek professional advice before starting your business.


The Licenses Required for a Tow Truck Business


Here are some standard licenses and permissions required for a tow truck business:


1. Commercial driver’s license (CDL)
To operate a tow truck, drivers may need to obtain a commercial driver’s license, a special license for driving commercial vehicles. The requirements for a CDL may vary depending on the state or country of operation.

2. Business license
Most regions require businesses to obtain a general business license or permit to operate legally. However, the requirements for a business license may vary depending on the state or country of operation.

3. Towing license
Some regions require tow truck businesses to obtain a special license or permit to operate a towing business. The requirements for a towing license may vary depending on the state or country of operation.

4. Insurance
Tow truck businesses may need special insurance coverage to protect against accidents, damages, and liabilities.

5. Permits
Depending on the region and the type of services provided, tow truck businesses may need special permits or certifications, such as a permit for transporting hazardous materials or a certificate for operating in certain areas.


It’s essential to consult with the relevant authorities and obtain all necessary licenses and permissions before starting a tow truck business to ensure local laws and regulations compliance.

Tow Truck Business

Pros and cons of Tow Truck Business

Pros of Tow Truck Business from the USA and UK:

  • High demand for towing services
  • Potential for profitability and revenue growth
  • Ability to provide a necessary service and help people in need
  • Flexibility in operating hours and location
  • Opportunities for expansion and diversification of services


Cons of Tow Truck Business from the USA and UK:

  • High startup costs and ongoing expenses
  • Heavy competition in the industry
  • Dependence on external factors such as weather conditions and accidents
  • Potential for dangerous work and liability risks
  • Need for specialized knowledge and licensing requirements.
Tow Truck Business

Investment required for Tow Truck Business 

Here are the estimated one-time setup costs for a tow truck business in point lines, along with some data:


  • Tow trucks: $50,000 to $150,000 or more (Source: CostOwl)
  • Equipment and supplies: $5,000 to $20,000 (Source: Entrepreneur)
  • Licenses and permits: $500 to $5,000 (Source: Start a Tow Truck Business)
  • Insurance: $2,000 to $10,000 per year (Source: Trusted Choice)
  • Marketing and advertising: $2,000 to $5,000 (Source: Chron)
  • Office space and utilities: $500 to $2,000 per month (Source: Business News Daily)

Note: These estimated costs are for informational purposes only and may vary depending on the specific needs and location of the tow truck business.

Tow Truck Business

How much can you make from Tow Truck Business?

According to a report by IBISWorld, the towing industry in the US generates an estimated $8 billion in revenue annually, with an average profit margin of around 4.8%. In the UK, the tow truck business is estimated to generate around £2 billion annually.
The earnings for a tiny tow truck business in the US or UK can range from $50,000 to $250,000 per year, depending on the abovementioned factors. However, larger tow truck businesses can earn much more.
However, the earnings or profit of the business may be significantly lower due to the high operating costs and overhead expenses.

It's important to note that the income from a tow truck business can be affected by external factors, such as fuel prices, competition, and changes in regulations and laws.

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Tow Truck Business

Tow Truck Business Service List

Here is a list of the main products and services that a tow truck business can offer in point form:


  1. Emergency Towing:
    This includes providing towing services to stranded vehicles that have broken down or have been involved in an accident.

  2. Roadside Assistance:
    In addition to towing, tow truck businesses may offer roadside assistance services such as jump-starting a vehicle, tire changes, and lockout assistance.

  3. Vehicle Recovery:
    This service involves recovering vehicles that have gone off-road or have become stuck in difficult terrain.

  4. Heavy-Duty Towing:
    Tow truck businesses may also offer towing services for heavy-duty vehicles such as trucks, buses, and RVs.

  5. Motorcycle Towing:
    Some tow truck businesses specialize in providing towing services for motorcycles.

  6. Impound Services:
    Tow truck businesses may also provide impound services for law enforcement agencies, private property owners, and other clients.

  7. Flatbed Towing:
    This involves using a flatbed truck to tow a vehicle that is unable to be driven.

  8. Long-Distance Towing:
    Tow truck businesses may offer long-distance towing services for vehicles that need to be transported over a significant distance.

  9. Salvage Services:
    Tow truck businesses may also offer salvage services, which involve recovering and transporting damaged or wrecked vehicles.

  10. Storage Services:
    Tow truck businesses may provide secure storage facilities for vehicles that have been impounded or need to be stored for an extended period.



It’s important to note that tow truck businesses may offer additional services, such as lockout services or fuel delivery, depending on their specific capabilities and customer needs. Additionally, tow truck businesses may specialize in certain types of services, such as heavy-duty towing or motorcycle towing.

Tow Truck Business
Tow Truck Business

Checklist of essential equipment required for Tow Truck Business

  • Tow trucks (flatbed, wheel-lift, hook and chain)
  • Winch cables and hooks
  • Safety chains and straps
  • Wheel chocks
  • Jumper cables
  • Air compressor
  • Impact wrench
  • Basic hand tools (wrenches, pliers, sockets, etc.)
  • Fuel containers
  • Flashlights and safety cones
  • GPS navigation system and communication devices (two-way radios, cell phones)
  • Computer and dispatch software
  • Accounting and billing software
  • Office furniture and supplies (desk, chair, printer, paper, pens, etc.)


It’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list, and other equipment may be required depending on the specific needs and services offered by the tow truck business. Additionally, the equipment should be adequately maintained and regularly updated to ensure safety and efficiency.

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Tow Truck Business

Trends & Challenges of Tow Truck Business

Here are some tips and tricks for maximizing your dropshipping business:



1. Technology integration

2. Electric vehicles

3. Eco-friendly initiatives

4. Expansion of services offered

5. Increased emphasis on customer service and satisfaction



1. High operating costs and insurance premiums

2. Increasing competition and market saturation

3. Dependency on external factors such as weather and road conditions

4. Need for specialized training and licensing requirements

5. Difficulty in finding and retaining qualified drivers and technicians

Tow Truck Business

A typical day in Tow Truck Business

A typical day in the tow truck business can vary depending on the size of the operation, location, and services offered. However, here are some possible tasks and activities that might be included in a typical day:



  1. Daily vehicle inspections to ensure all equipment is in good working condition

  2. Receiving and managing dispatch calls for service

  3. Driving to the scene of the tow and assessing the situation and vehicle(s) to be towed

  4. Hooking up and safely towing the vehicle to the requested location

  5. Communicating with customers and providing assistance or answering questions as needed

  6. Maintaining accurate records of all jobs completed and payments received

  7. Coordinating with other drivers or technicians in the fleet to optimize routing and service delivery

  8. Performing routine maintenance on tow trucks and equipment to ensure the proper functioning

  9. Managing administrative tasks such as invoicing, billing, and accounting

  10. We stay up-to-date with industry trends and regulations to ensure compliance and maintain a competitive edge.
Tow Truck Business

Main Services Offered by Tow Truck

Here’s a list of common services offered by a tow truck business and their approximate rates in USD for the USA and GBP for the UK:

1. Standard Towing: $75-$125 

2. Motorcycle Towing: $50-$150 

3. Flatbed Towing: $95-$155 

4. Heavy-Duty Towing: $200-$500 

5. Long Distance Towing: $350-$700 

6. Roadside Assistance: $50-$150 

7. Battery Jump-Start: $50-$75 

8. Tire Change: $50-$100 

9. Fuel Delivery: $50-$100 

Please note that these are approximate rates and may vary based on location, time of day, and other factors.


Starting a tow truck business in the USA can be a profitable and rewarding venture for those with the necessary skills and resources. It’s essential to research and plan carefully, including obtaining licenses and permits, developing a marketing strategy, and estimating expenses and revenues. 


With the right equipment, a well-trained team, and a commitment to providing reliable and efficient services, a tow truck business can thrive and grow in a highly competitive industry. 


By staying current with industry trends and embracing new technologies, a tow truck business can establish a strong reputation and build a loyal customer base for years to come.

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  • What is Market Research, USP, Niche & Positioning
  • How to find a suitable name for your business
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  • How to Register Your Business
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A. The legal requirements for starting a tow truck business may vary depending on your location, but typically you will need to obtain a commercial driver’s license, a tow truck operator’s license, and insurance coverage for your vehicles and business. You may also need to register your business with the local government and obtain any necessary permits or licenses.

A. The equipment you will need to start a tow truck business includes one or more tow trucks, chains, straps, and hooks to securely tow vehicles, as well as safety equipment like flares and reflective vests. You may also need a dispatch system to efficiently manage your operations.

A. You can establish relationships with customers and clients for your tow truck business by providing quality service, being reliable and responsive to their needs, and developing a strong online presence. It is also important to build relationships with other businesses in the automotive industry, such as auto repair shops and insurance companies, who may refer customers to your business.

A. Some common challenges in the tow truck industry include heavy competition, volatile fuel prices, unpredictable weather conditions, and potential liability issues. It is important to have a solid business plan and contingency plans in place to address these challenges.

A. You can ensure the safety of your employees and customers by providing adequate training for your staff, following all safety regulations and guidelines, and investing in high-quality equipment and safety gear. You should also have a clear protocol for handling emergencies and ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

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