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Buyer's Guide

by Daniel Harris,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: March 25, 2017

Traditionally, towing companies relied solely on manual processes to conduct daily operations. However, in recent years, a number of software vendors have released software suites designed with towing companies in mind that can automate many processes and make the back office more efficient overall.

Towing software helps towing companies more easily handle day-to-day processes and operations, including:

  • Fuel reporting
  • Back-office accounting
  • Payment processing
  • Tracking and maintaining vehicles

We created this guide to help you better understand which systems are available—and which might be best for your organization. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Towing Software?
Common Functionality of Towing Software
What Type Of Buyer Are You?
Pricing: Cloud-Based vs. On-Premise
Towing Software Integrations
Mobile Towing Software Applications
Other Considerations

What Is Towing Software?

Many towing businesses use software to assist them with back-office functions and to streamline regular processes—from sending out trucks to tow vehicles to invoicing vehicle owners to ensuring trucks are properly maintained. These systems help companies upgrade from unwieldy methods of managing their business and operations, such as spreadsheets, non-specialized software and manual processes.

Towing software falls under the larger category of fleet management software. It typically offers the same standard capabilities found in most fleet management suites, including:

  • Dispatch
  • GPS tracking
  • Fleet maintenance
  • Light accounting functionality

Common Functionality of Towing Software

There are also some capabilities unique to towing software. These systems may come with some or all of the following:

Lot management Allows users to manage the lots in which towed vehicles are held. Stores vehicle information so users can quickly identify which vehicle belongs to whom.
Collections and lien processing Allows users to automate their invoicing processes, send bills to vehicle owners and identify delinquent accounts.
Customer relationship management Creates a database of the towing company’s customers (e.g., businesses and municipal entities it has contracts with), including their contact information, transactions and case history.
Motor club integration Allows users to receive calls straight from motor clubs such as AAA. This integration can automatically send relevant driver information to the towing company and help determine whether accepting the towing request will be profitable.
Mobile accessibility Offers mobile applications for tow truck drivers so they can update their location and estimated arrival time.
Auction management Vehicle information is synced to integrated auction module, allowing the towing company or municipal lot to auction off unclaimed vehicles and preventing duplicate data entry. Auction module also manages buyer and seller information, tracks bids and assists with accounting complexities that result from state regulations.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

There are two main types of buyers when it comes to towing software. In general, most systems can accommodate either type—but some buyers may find that different systems better serve their specific needs.

Emergency services. If your company provides emergency towing services, you may wish to have some additional features. For example, some vendors offer features that allow lost or stranded motorists to provide their geographical coordinates via GPS in their smart phones and can send their exact coordinates to the towing company.

Private towing company. Whether you have one truck or 100, private towing companies will greatly benefit from the motor club integrations and mobile accessibility offered by some towing software vendors. Also consider how prospective systems will scale with your business, since some systems are priced based on the number of tow trucks in your fleet.

Municipal government and police departments. Local governments often have tight budgets. Depending on your municipality’s needs, you might not need a full-featured towing system that offers such tools as auction management or motor club integration. Police departments also have specific needs, such as the ability to integrate with their other specialized software (e.g., dispatch systems), that certain systems offer.

Pricing: Cloud-Based vs. On-Premise

Towing software is deployed one of two ways: in the cloud or on-premise. How the software is priced often depends on the deployment model. Here’s the breakdown:

Cloud-based. Cloud towing software is hosted by the vendor, and can be accessed from any compatible, Internet-connected computer or device. With these systems, you typically pay a monthly subscription fee, which is often based on the number of users or the number of tow trucks in your fleet. Most towing software packages are available in cloud-based versions.

On-premise. On-premise towing software is hosted by the user on their own servers and computers. With on-premise systems, you will typically pay an upfront license fee based on the size of your organization. You may also have to pay annual support and update fees. However, over time, pricing for these two deployment models tends to converge.

Towing Software Integrations

While some towing software platforms might come with their own accounting modules, others offer integrations with accounting systems like QuickBooks so you can easily sync your data from one system to another.

Additionally, some towing software platforms also offer integrations with major insurance companies and car clubs such as AAA, meaning you can get calls automatically routed to your system from one of those organizations.

Mobile Towing Software Applications

Some towing software platforms offer native mobile apps for Apple and Android smart devices. These apps allow drivers to enter data in when they’re on the job, reducing duplicate data entry and speeding up processing time.

Other Considerations

When evaluating new towing software for your company, there are several things you should keep in mind. Be sure to demo multiple products from several different vendors so you have more familiarity with how the different systems compare against each other. Consider what the total cost of ownership for a new system will be.

For example, with software that is offered as a perpetual license, keep in mind that you will likely have to replace the software or upgrade it every five years or so. Whereas with software offered as a monthly subscription, you can use the software indefinitely as it will be incrementally upgraded along the way. However, keep in mind that smaller vendors are regularly acquired or go defunct. If you’re using subscription priced software, you could be without access to the software in those events.


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