It's no secret that tow vendors have a bad reputation. This is mainly because they are at the end of the enforcement chain; the ones in charge of relocating or impounding vehicles. Some companies practice predatory towing while some follow the law to the letter. So how do you hire a good tow company? Here are a few tips to follow when looking for a tow partner:
Ask about their capabilities
A smaller company may be able to deliver a more personalized service, but may struggle on a large community or have slow response times. Ask about the experience they have conducting parking enforcement at communities like yours and to place in writing what their guaranteed response times will be to your community.
What is their approach to a community with mixed-use parking or multi-level garages? With lot or street parking? Each has their own set of challenges, and you certainly don’t want to be the community they experiment on. Additionally, ask for references from similar communities in your area.
Ensure that they require an authorized agent signature before impounding any vehicle. This is a great rule of thumb no matter what your state laws are and protects your residents from predatory tow practices.
Specify what fees you will agree to
Although most states regulate what tow companies can charge to vehicle owners, some tow companies charge associations or communities extra fees for items like call-outs. Be sure that you know exactly what fees you may be invoiced for, if any.
Be sure the tow company indemnifies your community or association for any mistakes or laws it may break. If you don’t have a good indemnification provision in place, you may be left with hefty fines for any laws that are broken.
Always check for current licenses and insurance
Just like you would check that your roofing company is legitimate, the same approach should be taken when selecting a tow vendor.
Keep control of your parking program
Lastly, keep in mind that many companies may offer to manage and control your parking program. Although this can be a relief, it is important to remember that changes in vendors do occur.
If you do not own the parking management system, you will have to repeat the process with each change of vendors, or worse, have to endure a service you aren’t happy with to avoid the hassle of change.