Tips to Avoid Tow Truck Rip-offs in the Snow

Leave a Comment - 5




thats not true some towing companys use 4X4 to get cars out where tow trucks can not get out. Yall arent towing companys you dont know the situation tow trucks are light in the rear end so if you dont think they are a towing company ask for a buissness card.

John W. Street


Two problems here, one is the line in the article that states, "Reputable towing companies will display their Department of Transportation certification number on their tow truck." I can assure you we are a reputable towing service and have been in business since 1987 WITHOUT a DOT number because it is NOT REQUIRED. It is only required (at least in Florida) for interstate trucking and those trucks that are over 26,000 pounds gross (that's a heavy duty tow truck, not the one that picks up your Camry or F150).

Second item is the comment submitter writing about license. In Florida a tag for a tow trucker says "WRECKER" at the bottom. I have no idea in what state the "towing and repair" tag is used, but I'm guessing something in the northeast. The wrecker tag here carries no draconian requirements like those stated. My insurance is not 20x (I pay $3-4000/year), I am not required to carry any particular amount of insurance; I don't have background checks done (bring it on; I'm a retired Marine); and I don't get inspected by the state.

I am also an independent company without a repair shop; all I do is tow and all my customers have their cars towed to wherever they ask me to take them.

I'm afraid the writer comes across as somewhat less than professional with his bad spelling, bad grammar, bad punctuation, and lack of capitalization.

Hugh Vandivier
Hugh Vandivier


Thanks so much for altering us to the issue in this article, John. As you've pointed out, some states like Florida do not require licensing of tow truck services. But other states, do. I have clarified that in the article and provided a link to our License Check tool so that readers can see whether their state requires it. Hopefully, you don't get many calls in Florida this season from distressed vehicles in the snow and ice!



I like the plate idea. WHAT STATE?

jay premier auto body


after seeing story after story about rip offs i agree and had it my self but there is a simple solution to all of this. just look at the tow trucks plate if its not a repair and towing plate its most likely not a real tow company. To get repair and towing plates the insurance is 20 times more than a truck plate you have to have a back ground check done, 1000000 policy, and a shop inspected by the state. most trucks are running regular truck plates on there tow trucks they dont have the proper insurance and if that car comes off the hook there not covered. Are trucks are logoed with are company name were a real body shop were we can repair your car with a life time warranty. dont let a company thats not a repair shop take your car they will charge you for the tow and storage for what its going to have to go to a repair shop next so let a body shop tow truck tow in once not two times. so remember repair and towing plates or tell them to leave and save time and money

View Comments - 5 Hide Comments

Post New Comment

Offers <
Popular <
Answers <


I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.