President’s Message

Hello Coalition Members,

It’s amazing to think that we are beginning our fourth year at UCMCS. As a young organization and being fortunate enough to be a part of our growth, I realize it’s never easy to achieve our goals and objectives but always rewarding when we do.

So much has happened in three years but I always think back to the circumstances and challenges many of us faced several years ago that were catalyst moments which inspired the formation of this organization. Some circumstances have changed but many challenges remain.

From my experience, it seems too often our relationships with the motor clubs we contract with can be needlessly adversarial and not collaborative. Ironically the towers I’ve known and have worked with, have demonstrated a spirit of negotiation and a willingness to solve problems. I would go so far as to say that the towers that are part of the Coalition are always ready to do the things that are necessary to serve the motoring public. Servicing motorists is a tricky business and cannot be performed in a vacuum, it takes working together, towers and motor clubs must not only be in dialogue but must somehow agree at some point how to make it work on the street.

How do we bridge this gap? I believe we have always been ready to listen and work together. Are motor clubs willing to sit at a table to discuss our challenges and work together? This remains to be seen. There are a number of mammoth issues that face the industry that are larger than the sum parts. For example: How are towers and the motor clubs (or law enforcement for that matter) going to deal with the issue of hours of service laws that are increasingly coming under scrutiny? Both law enforcement and motor clubs put an emphasis on call acceptance and response time. The short story is that towers will have to either fudge or comply. In the dawn of a new era of towing, cheating on hours of service will be a poor choice while compliance will require more staffing and greater efficiencies. Towers are already building this model into their businesses and have on going conversations with law enforcement as to what this means. Motor clubs will need to begin to accept the new laws and change as well. As subject matter experts, the industry, the clubs and the motorist would benefit from our input.

The world of motor club towing is growing and there are new players in the field. We witnessed Road America roar onto the scene swallowing up a large portion of State Farm Agent towing. Cross Country continues to have a wider footprint as does Allstate. AAA NCNU showed us yet again that they are not done with their metamorphosis as they have under gone yet one more shift in management, surely to result in another direction yet to be determined. As these entities grow our wisdom and longevity become more valuable as we progress as an industry. Surely all the groups involved must recognize that the roads have become more dangerous for our industry while at the same time the cars are becoming safer and more complex. Add to the mix that a standard car carrier capable of towing a ¾ pickup legally is nearly $100k and prompting us to all say together; “Houston we have a Problem!

I have had the privilege to serve with many of you, my colleagues, on boards, advisory committee’s and associations. I have seen your dedications in these rooms and watched your work hit the streets. When we see our partners at the motor clubs pull back as they do from time to time, it is because they need to regroup. During these times they may not wish collaborate in traditional ways but my guess is that the issues facing the industry will be roadblock towards moving forward. We have too much to offer to be ignored. We are very good at what we do and any attempts to simplify or dismiss how complex and difficult our businesses are will be short lived.

Thanks to all of you we had the financial resources in 2014 to endeavor on a public relations project that included hiring a top notch public relations firm and a film production company to tell our story of who we are as towers. As business owners we take tremendous risks that are only surpassed by the risks our operators take every day to provide safe alternatives to our customers and members. We anticipate the completion of our video very soon and a link to it will go out to all of our members. Once completed, we will be working with Portal A to strategize our efforts in getting out the video to social media and other platforms. Additionally our new website should be synced up at the time our video is released. Look for additional information in your emails on the video and website soon.

Your board recently interviewed three insurance brokers for a preferred contract with UCMCS. If your liability, workers comp, or health insurance is written by our preferred broker, dollars will go back to the Coalition. We will announce that decision soon.

We have set a date for our annual membership meeting. It is scheduled for Thursday March 19th. Time and location to be determined. Please make every effort to attend. This is your association. We need your participation and your insight as towers to achieve our objectives.

Lastly, it is time for renewals. You will be receiving this letter and a renewal form in the mail and to your email inbox. Our due structures have not changed.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or your board anytime if you have questions. Thank you for supporting us and your Coalition.

Steve Sgarlato
President
UCMCS