Pay for tow truck operators varies depending on experience.
With less than two years' experience tow truck operators usually earn between $16 and $18 an hour.
Experienced tow truck drivers and / or those with extra licences such as heavy haulage may earn up to $26 an hour, or more.
Most towing companies pay an hourly rate, but some pay a flat rate for each call out.
Some tow truck operators have their own trucks, and contract their services to a towing company. They are usually paid a fee for each vehicle they tow, and can earn $100,000 or more a year (before tax and truck costs).
Source : Auto Salvage, 2016.
This information is a guide only. )
What you will do
Tow truck operators may do some or all of the following :
tow confiscated, stolen, impounded or abandoned vehicles for the Ministry of Justice, the police, or local councils
tow illegally parked, broken down or unwanted vehicles to panelbeaters, mechanical workshops, vehicle dismantlers or to the towing company yard for impounding
remove vehicles from crash sites for the police
unlock vehicles (without keys)
jump start vehicles
keep records of vehicles that have been towed
deal with customers and take payments
maintain their tow truck.
Skills and knowledge
Tow truck operators need to have :
the ability to operate a tow truck safely and tow vehicles without damaging them
an understanding of the locking mechanisms of different types of vehicles to be able to move vehicles without using keys
basic mechanical skills to fix minor mechanical problems or be able to release the handbrake
knowledge of their local area and access to maps.
If tow truck operators tow or recover heavy vehicles, they need to know about Transit New Zealand's overweight vehicle policy, Land Transport New Zealand's over-
dimension vehicle policy, and the permits used by these authorities.
Tow truck operators :
usually work in shifts, including nights or weekends, and are not permitted to work for more than 13 hours in one day or 70 hours in one week
work from their truck and depot, and outside on roadsides and in parking lots
work in conditions that can be dangerous, such as accident scenes and busy roads.
To become a tow truck operator you need to :
have a full, clean driver's licence for at least two years
obtain a V endorsement for vehicle recovery services on your licence, which includes a two-day course and test
pass a police fit and proper person check
provide a medical certificate and pass an eye test.
If you want to set up your own tow truck business, you'll need a vehicle recovery service licence.
There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a tow truck operator, but a competent level of English is useful.
Tow truck operators need to be :
honest and reliable
calm, helpful and diplomatic when dealing with customers
good at record-keeping
efficient and able to work well under pressure.
Useful experience for tow truck operators includes :
any work with vehicles
work as a truck driver or other driving experience
work with cranes or forklifts
customer service experience.
Tow truck operators need to be reasonably fit, as the job involves stretching, bending, lifting and climbing, especially in difficult salvage situations.
Tow truck operators must pass an annual medical test.