A Complete Guide To Becoming a Tow Truck Driver

From cars broken down or stranded on the side of the road to vehicles that are illegally parked or headed to impound, the duties of a tow truck driver are plenty, and the need for such professionals is not going anywhere!

Towing is a great business to get into, but whether you’re building a staff of drivers or you want to be in the driver’s seat yourself, there are some things that need to be done before just anyone can climb behind the wheel. Do you or your potential new hire have what it takes? Find out below by reviewing this list of requirements needed to become a tow truck driver.

How to become a tow truck driver
  1. Meet age requirements. Tow truck drivers must be at least 18 years old.
  2. Hold a valid license. …
  3. Maintain a clean driving record. …
  4. Pass a background check. …
  5. Complete a drug screening. …
  6. Pass a physical ability test. …
  7. Pass a vision exam. …
  8. Obtain your commercial driver’s license (CDL)

How to become a TOW TRUCK DRIVER and make $4500 a month

What does a tow truck driver do?

Tow truck drivers respond to calls for assistance from motorists, facilities or other entities contracted with the tow company to remove vehicles. They load, transport and unload stranded or unlawfully parked vehicles. Tow truck drivers assess the safety of a situation and determine when and how to remove a vehicle from a roadway safely.

Drivers may operate the following types of tow trucks:

Conventional tow truck

Conventional tow trucks require using large mechanical arms and chains wrapped around the axles and frame of the towed vehicle. The components work to lift two tires off the ground to pull the vehicle while it is in neutral gear. Tow truck drivers use conventional tow trucks less often because of the potential damage they can cause to towed vehicles.

Wheel lift truck

Also called a “full float truck,” wheel lift trucks also work to lift one of the axles of a vehicle off the ground. However, wheel lift trucks use hydraulics rather than hooks and chains to reduce the possibility of damage. Two tires lift off the ground, and the tow truck pulled the vehicle using the remaining tires.

Flatbed trucks

Flatbed trucks, also called “rollback trucks,” use a flatbed raised onto a ramp to load vehicles. These trucks are used for highly valuable cars or cars without rotating tires.

Tow truck drivers respond to accidents, breakdowns and vehicle removals from private property. As a result, patience and a positive attitude will help diffuse a frustrating situation for the vehicle owners.

What is a tow truck driver?

Tow truck drivers are specially trained drivers who may operate several types of tow trucks and the associated equipment. These drivers typically hold a commercial drivers license (CDL) and may also hold a tow truck driving certification.

What does a tow truck driver make?

Follow these steps to become a tow truck driver:

1. Meet age requirements

Tow truck drivers must be at least 18 years old.

2. Hold a valid license

Tow truck drivers should have a valid state drivers license.

3. Maintain a clean driving record

Employers often check accident and ticket history.

4. Pass a background check

Many companies will conduct a background check on potential drivers.

5. Complete a drug screening

Drug screenings are a typical part of the hiring process for tow truck drivers.

6. Pass a physical ability test

Because tow truck drivers perform highly physical tasks, they must demonstrate their physical fitness.

7. Pass a vision exam

Good vision is necessary to operate a vehicle and machinery safely.

8. Obtain your commercial drivers license (CDL)

Federal law requires operators of vehicles that are over 26,000 pounds to hold a CDL. Some tow truck drivers operating smaller trucks do not need a CDL, but obtaining your CDL will allow you to operate larger trucks and help your resume stand out.

You can earn your CDL through your state Department of Motor Vehicles and choose Class A, Class B or Class C. Requirements vary by state and may include a written exam, proof of residency, medical exam, driving skills test and any applicable fees.

9. Earn a tow truck driving certification

Some states require an additional tow truck certification before you can start driving.

10. Shadow an experienced driver

Some companies may require you to shadow another driver for a certain number of hours to learn additional driving and towing techniques and company policies.

11. Earn certification through the Towing and Recovery Association of America (TRAA)

After gaining experience, you can pursue certification through the TRAA, which offers three varying levels of certification depending on your needs and experience. The levels include:

12. Apply for a job

Find available positions on job search sites, through trucking organizations and publications or through networking with friends and family.

13. Interview

When invited for an interview, dress professionally, bring at least five copies of your resume and be prepared to explain your experience and skills in detail. Consider researching the company so you can share what you like about their mission or practices, and prepare a few thoughtful questions to ask your interviewers to demonstrate your interest.

Frequently asked questions

Here are a few frequently asked questions about becoming a tow truck driver:

Can I become a tow truck driver if Ive had an accident?

If you have an accident on your driving record, future employers will decide if the accident disqualifies you from employment. They may examine the severity of the accident and who was at fault. Minor traffic citations generally do not keep you from becoming a tow truck driver.

If you have an accident while working as a tow truck driver, your supervisors will determine if you can continue working. Any incident that results in a loss of your license or CDL disqualifies you from working as a tow truck driver.

What are the typical work hours for a truck driver?

Tow truck companies are usually open 24 hours a day, which means tow truck drivers may work long hours and nontraditional shifts. This provides many opportunities to earn extra income.

What is the job outlook for tow truck drivers?

What skills are important for tow truck drivers?

Tow truck drivers should possess the following skills to have success on the job:

Jobs similar to tow truck drivers

If youre interested in a driving career, there are several positions that you may consider. Here is a list of 10 jobs that are similar tow truck drivers:


Can you make a lot of money with a tow truck?

While ZipRecruiter is seeing salaries as high as $275,678 and as low as $19,797, the majority of Tow Truck Owner salaries currently range between $34,645 (25th percentile) to $136,106 (75th percentile) with top earners (90th percentile) making $225,689 annually in California.

Is it hard to drive a tow truck?

Nobody will argue that tow truck drivers have a really difficult job. Tow companies have to be on duty 24/7, meaning that most drivers work shifts and very long hours. The physical aspect of the job can really take its toll on the driver, but that isn’t the only risk that tow truck drivers have to face.

Where do tow truck drivers get paid the most?

Highest paying cities for Tow Truck Drivers in United States
  • Chicago, IL. $24.06 per hour. 15 salaries reported.
  • San Diego, CA. $23.75 per hour. 12 salaries reported.
  • Denver, CO. $23.64 per hour. 12 salaries reported.
  • Philadelphia, PA. $23.41 per hour. 11 salaries reported.
  • Houston, TX. $22.65 per hour. …
  • Show more nearby cities.

How much do local tow truck drivers make?

Tow truck drivers make $42,789 per year on average, or $20.57 per hour, in the United States. Tow truck drivers on the lower end of that spectrum, the bottom 10% to be exact, make roughly $29,000 a year, while the top 10% makes $61,000. Location impacts how much a tow truck driver can expect to make.

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