For towing businesses, recovering after a catastrophe can be a lot more costly and difficult than it would be for other companies. Therefore, it’s important to form a solid disaster plan that’s tailored to you. Here are some tips for disaster planning for your tow truck business.
Disaster planning for your tow truck business.
1. Know your risks
The word “disaster” doesn’t always mean heavy rain, winds, and freak accidents. Sometimes, something as simple as an employee’s actions can jeopardize your business. So, it’s important to outline both types of risks and create a holistic plan when you’re disaster planning.
Let’s start with the events everyone thinks of when they hear the word “disaster.” Consider both common disasters and events that have happened specifically in your area. If possible, look at how similar tow truck companies have handled these events and model your plans after theirs. Some catastrophic events you may want to consider first are:
- Burst pipes
- Major theft
- Snow, sleet, and ice
You may also want to compose a plan to continue limited operations while everything is repaired. It can help you get back to normal operations more quickly and save you a lot of time and panic later on.
There are also various ways that someone could take down your business from the inside. These risks include:
- Employee theft
- Supervisory and hiring practices
- Lawsuits against your towing business
- Cyber attacks (i.e., hackers & phishers gaining access to sensitive company and customer information)
2. Understand how you could be affected
Additionally, you’ll need to consider the types of things you’re likely to lose in a disaster so you’ll know where to start recovering. If disaster interrupted company operations, ask yourself:
- How much income would I lose?
- How much money might I have to pay out in a lawsuit?
- What operating costs would I still have to pay while I’m out of business?
- How much would it cost to rebuild my business location from the ground up?
- How much would it take to clean up debris on my property?
- How would I replace important documents and computer information if it was lost?
- Would I be willing or able to temporarily relocate my business?
- What will happen to the customer cars in my garage?
- What happens if one of my employees is severely hurt?
- How will I communicate with my customers outside of normal operations?
Take into account what you might lose, and you’ll have an easy list of what you’ll need to get back later.
3. Create safeguards and procedures to combat disaster before it happens
After determining what you can lose and how you can lose it, it’s time to create realistic plans as to how you’ll start rebuilding.
For external disasters:
- Map out and clearly display a company evacuation plan
- Train your employees on your emergency plan
- Stockpile emergency equipment (i.e., fire extinguishers, sandbags, first aid kits, etc.)
- Designate a meeting place and an emergency contact list
- Find a safe place to store trucks and other equipment outside of your usual location.
- Create a plan of action to remain in contact with your customers throughout the process
For internal disasters:
- Keep your employees up-to-date about online scams
- Use secure networks and software to process or store necessary client information
- Make sure that your computers’ security measures are always updated
- Create passwords that are difficult to guess
- Avoid exchanging sensitive information, such as payment methods, over the internet or through email.
- Keep and secure both physical and digital copies of client contact information
These disaster planning points will, of course, be adjusted to your specific company. However, these can be useful starting points to keep your business running through tough times.
You could also tailor your emergency plans by going through your day. Think about each action you must complete in a day. Then, consider what measures you may need to take to ensure that you can complete them with limited resources.
4. Test your disaster plan
Now, it’s time to put your plan into practice, and it’s not the best idea to practice as the disaster is actually happening. Therefore, regular training, practice drills, and test calls are great ways to make sure your disaster plans will work when the time comes. After each test, note what worked and which aspects needed improvement.
5. Have the right insurance
Insurance is created to help when things turn grim. So, there are tons of tow truck insurance coverages that can help your towing business after a disaster without taking a major hit. For example:
General liability insurance
General liability is designed to help a business owner take care of a customer’s medical bills if they’re hurt in your place of business. Plus, it can help you with legal fees if that customer sues you. So, if someone is harmed in your shop as a result of even something as simple as a slip-and-fall, this type of insurance could help you cover things.
Workers’ compensation would be the type of coverage you’ll need (and may be required to have) to take care of any employees who are injured on the job. It can also help provide the employee with a portion of their salary while they’re recovering from their injury.
Physical damage coverage
Many tow truck owners skip out on physical damage coverage without knowing that damage to their truck typically isn’t covered by auto or general liability. However, if a truck is damaged in an accident or by a disaster, physical damage insurance can help you get the truck repaired. It’s important to read your policy to understand which disasters are and are not covered.
Finally, garagekeepers insurance can help you if you have an auto body shop or a repo lot along with your tow trucks. This coverage is built to help protect you from disasters that may happen to a customer’s car while it’s in your care, custody, or control. For example, it may be helpful to have if you have a fire at your shop and your customers’ cars are damaged. Again, read your policy for details as to what’s covered.
Overall, there are tons of starting points to help your towing company when it comes to disaster planning. Still, it’s up to you and knowledge of your particular business to create a plan that makes sense for you. It’s also vital to have the right tow truck insurance for your business. That’s why our agents are here to get to know your company and give you customized quotes on the coverage you need. To start your free quotes, give us a call, fill out our online form, or LiveChat with our professionals today.