In the past few years, the lawyers at www.towlawyer.com have had the opportunity to travel all over the country and hear about different ways that tow companies pay drivers. Some companies prefer a salary. Others pay by the hour. And some, including most of the companies in my hometown of Kansas City, pay a commission. All of these arrangements have their own positives and negatives and this article is not intended to be an endorsement of any structure provided, of course, it has been carefully screened for its overtime and minimum wage legalities. However, one common issue faced by most payment structures is how to handle “on call time.”
Tow companies often invest thousands of dollars in training employees how to operate expensive equipment. It would seem reasonable that tow companies should reap the rewards of these investments. Conversely, it seems unfair that a tow operator should accept this training only to start his own tow company or, even worse, accept employment with a competitor. Often times, a tow company will seek to solve this problem by requiring employees to sign a document containing post employment restrictions such as non-disclosure agreements, non-solicitation agreements, and non-compete agreements. Because the legalities of each type of agreement are different, a basic understanding of each is helpful.
According to my thesaurus, common synonyms for “bankruptcy” include insolvency, impoverishment, and financial despair. However, tow companies who have dealt with a bankruptcy claim might include another a term: a pain!
“March Madness” has begun and hoops is on my mind. It strikes me that running a tow company, in some ways, is like playing basketball. There are offensive moves designed to increase revenue, such as implementing certain billing techniques, getting on tow rotations, and buying new equipment. And then there is playing defense which means doing everything you can do to protect your company from outside forces that can cause financial ruin to your company such as lawsuits, insurance companies, and regulatory agencies. Think of your employee handbook as your defense. It might not make you any more money but it will certainly help you keep the money you’ve got.