Want to Build Your Own Dream Team?

Then Learn the Key Actions for Successful Recruiting

Denice Carbone – Getting the Job Done – Tow Driver – Rich’s Towing Cleveland, Ohio

Hiring the right employees can be tough. “Why is it so hard?” you ask. It doesn’t have to be. If you know the key actions that need to be taken, you will find great tow drivers that will be part of your team for years to come.

But knowing what attracts that great employee requires some knowledge about what they find attractive in their next job.

The first point may be the most important thing to understand. Great future employees want to work at a business that has good word of mouth, a great standing in the community and has a good reputation.

Ask yourself these questions….

Is your business clean and professional?

Do you have the correct pay system?

Is the team involved in social activities?

Is your website attractive and effective?

What is your social media presence?

What is your training and promotion plan for employees?

Are you using the grapevine and do you know what that is?

Have you thought about recruiting female tow drivers?

Each of these points is key and it’s important when thinking about each of them that you put yourself in the prospective employees’ work boots.

Is your business clean and professional? An effective method to check this is to stand outside your business, even across the street. Give it a hard, objective look. Are the windows clean. Is your signage easy to see. If you have plants or bushes outside, are they trimmed. These things communicate that the owner has pride in ownership, which tells that prospective employee it’s a well-run business.

Do you have the correct pay system? Do you know what other tow drivers in your area are paid? It may be useful to know. And is your pay structure hourly? Do you include a bonus structure? Today’s hiring environment is very competitive across all industries. Have these answers and you’ll stand out from the other tow businesses in your area. Being able to state in your recruiting efforts that you have not just a competitive pay structure but that you also offer a bonus plan is huge and will get people interested in working for you.

Is the team involved in social activities? Your team members may have different schedules. You want to make sure that everyone knows their fellow employees. Take them all out to lunch once a week. Or bring lunch in. Do you conduct team building exercises? They are a practical and fun way to get your team talking and working together in a supportive environment.

Is your website attractive and effective? Prospective customers will search for a tow company on their phones. Having an effective website – and really an overall marketing initiative – is a crucial component of a successful business. But here’s the thing. A good prospective employee will check out your business online. Especially if they are a Gen Z or Alpha Gen. Born after 1997, they have been raised with a smart phone in their hands. Before they step foot in your business, they will have done their homework and looked at your website and online reviews. Ensure that you are putting your best digital foot forward on not just your website but your social media platforms. Plus review sites. Having a Yelp or Google review page that represents you at your best, isn’t only great for customers but a terrific hiring tool.

What is your social media presence? Just like an attractive website, your social media pages need to be up-to-date with current information that best represents your brand. Consistency is key. Don’t feel you need to post everyday. A couple of times a week is a good target. This will attract customers, but it’s also a winning strategy for getting that next great tow driver for your business. A good social media plan will attract a crew that will stick around and contribute to your bottom line.

What is your training and promotion plan for employees? Offering a comprehensive training program in all recruiting efforts is a big draw for smart and reliable employees. It tells that person that you care about growing your business and you want your team to be part of that growth. Include this point in all recruiting materials.

Do you know what the grapevine is? You may not know it by that name but you use it everyday. It’s your network. The group of people you talk to everyday by text, phone or in person. They are the suppliers, the sales people and your fellow business owners in your community. Every time you speak to an outside person, mention you are looking for employees. Pass along a business card. You will be surprised how that news travels.

 Have you thought about female tow drivers? If you haven’t, now is the time. In today’s hiring environment, you need to get creative and explore new ways to get great employees on your team. Making it clear in your job outreach that women tow drivers should apply is key. Say that your business is growing with competitive pay plans – plus training is part of your onboarding.

And here’s the kicker for all recruiting efforts for your business.


As a business owner, being prepared is an important discipline you have learned to develop. That goes for all areas of running a business. But especially all recruiting efforts. You never want to be in the position of having to scramble and find someone quickly. You’ll end up hiring someone that is acceptable as opposed to someone who really wants to work for you.

So solve that by never stopping recruiting efforts. Even if you have a full team. Always be on the look out for employees. Interview them and if you like them say that and tell them you don’t have an opening right now but hold onto that job application. Always have your ear to the ground.

For a business to be successful, you need a team of employees that not just respect you as the owner, but also enjoy coming to work each day. They need to feel they are part of your success. They need to feel they are contributing to something important. It’s up to you to create a culture where people feel good about working at your business. That includes a fair pay structure, training and your ability to create a real team. When you do, prospective employees will be calling you asking if you have openings.


Tow Driver Denice Carbone on the left. Rich’s Towing owner Sandra Saponari on the right.

GET TO KNOW…Sandra Saponari

Sandra Saponari, VP & CFO of Rich’s Towing in Cleveland, has been at this all her life. Her father, Rich Smith, opened the business in 1961. Both her Dad and Mom, Pat, worked tirelessly to make the company what it is today. It now includes a 3rd generation too. Sandra’s son RJ and daughter Ashley are both part of the Rich’s Towing team.

Sandra front 2nd from left, her son RJ back left, her daughter Ashley back 2nd from right

Rich’s is now one of the most professional towing companies in the country. Sandra worked alongside her Dad as a kid. She followed Rich around his Sunoco service station and rode along in the trucks.

Sandra has built Rich’s to now have two locations and her own Dream Team of employees. And that includes tow driver, Denice Carbone who has been at Rich’s for 10 years. Learn more about her in this article.

Sandra says “Recruiting in this day and age is not easy. We have found training in-house and promoting from within works best.”




GET TO KNOW…Denice Carbone

Denice Carbone at the American Towman Expo

Denice is a key employee at Rich’s Towing and has been with them for over 10 years as a tow driver. She also just received the Tow Captain award at the recent American Tow Expo in Baltimore. Read these terrific insights from Denice:

How long have you been a tow truck driver and what led you to this industry?

I worked for a horse farm prior to getting into towing and they had relocated the business to a different state. I didn’t want to move, so I was unemployed. A friend that worked for a local towing company asked me if I was interested in driving. I told him that I had never been in a tow truck, even to have my car towed, and he said that was okay, that they would train me. On Friday June 13, 2008, I started driving a tow truck. I had no experience and was shown very little when I started. I started my first weekend, on call, in a medium duty wrecker and my first call was a Dodge Charger in a lake. It was recovered by my boss at the time and loaded onto a flatbed and that is what I have been driving ever since.

You’re a female tow driver in an industry that is traditionally male. And you’ve been doing this now for a while. How have you been accepted – and not accepted – by both fellow drivers and customers. Do you see a difference between now and when you started?

I have been driving now for 13 ½ years and in the beginning, most people doubted me. Drivers and customers alike. I always heard things like, are you sure you can do this or you shouldn’t be doing this, that it’s a man’s job and women don’t belong doing a man’s job. It was difficult to get fellow drivers to show me how to do things. I had companies say that I don’t belong driving a tow truck and that I was an embarrassment to the industry. Needless to say, the first 3 years were a little rough.

Then, I came to work for Rich’s Towing and that’s when things began to change. I was shown things that I didn’t know and was critiqued on how to improve. Bottom-line, I was shown the correct way on how to do thing. We have a motto:

There is the right way, there is the wrong way and there is the Rich’s way.

This means that the things that you are shown are tried and true. That those before you have tried and failed and found ways of perfecting what you are being taught. I will never forget the day I got the phone call telling me to get my CDL, that my new truck would be done in the spring. The day that I got that truck was one of the scariest, yet proudest moments of my career. I went from driving a Peterbilt PB330 single axle rollback, hauling cars to driving a 389 short nose Peterbilt tandem axle commercial carrier, hauling things from heavy equipment to dump trucks and even semi tractors. I was taken out of my comfort zone and made to do things that I had never done or wasn’t comfortable doing. I now can do anything that I am asked to do with confidence with no doubts that I can get the job done. Whether recovering wrecked vehicles from the roadway or down a ravine or hauling heavy equipment, there isn’t anything that I can’t do. I’m now training new hires in addition to acting as an assistant to my boss. I guess you can say the difference between then and now, is that I am now accepted as an operator for what I can do and for what I have accomplished.

What kind of training did you need to begin?

Well, I had none. I had no clue what I was doing and had to learn 90% of what I know on my own. When I came to work at Rich’s Towing in November 2011, is really when I started to be shown how to do things and started to learn new things that have helped further my career. Whenever I said that I couldn’t do something, whether I had never done it or wasn’t confident that I could do it, I was pushed to do it. I was never given the option to say no. Being pushed to do those things has made me become the operator that I am today and to get recognized for what I can do like my cross training with Police and Fire Departments for entrapments and recoveries. I also have completed Ohio Hazardous Material Awareness training, Traffic Incident Management training: I also have an OHSA certification and assist Police departments with their DUI reduction Task Force, participating in checkpoint setups and officer safety. Also, taking classes with the Task Force and Seal Team members has been great.

I was awarded Wreckmaster Student of the Class and my greatest recognition to date was being nominated by a local Police Chief for the Order of the Towman Award at this years Baltimore Tow Show for my dedication to the community and the company that I work for. Which I just was awarded at the American Tow Expo in Baltimore. It was so exciting to receive this prestigious award!

What would you say to women who are interested in this industry and want to get started? What’s your advice?

There are lots of things that I could say. Some of them might scare them away, but hopefully it would encourage them to proceed with their dream of doing this. This job is not for the meek of heart. You need to have a thick skin and not let people or things get to you. You will encounter and see things that will make you question whether you can do this. You will have things said to you that will discourage you from driving and want to make you give up and walk away. The best advice I can give is DON’T GIVE UP! Don’t let the negativity of others discourage you. People are going to try and tell you that you can’t do this or that you don’t belong driving, but you do. There is no reason that females cannot do this at all. Are there things that you will encounter that might be more difficult for you? Yep! You will find a way to overcome them. Are there times that you will want to give up and walk away? Absolutely! You can’t do that. Will you encounter people that will question you and your abilities? All the time. Once they get to know you and what you can do, their opinions will change. You can absolutely drive a tow truck and can become one of the best. If I had listened to all the negativity that I have encountered over the years and let it bring me down, I definitely would not be in the position I am today.

What are the best things about your job?

Denice – always ready to help.

Everyday is something different with what I do. Not one day is the same and not one call is the same as the one before. This is a job where you never stop learning how to perfect what you do and you always learn new things to help you become better. In my opinion, the day you stop learning or think you know everything, is the day you should stop towing. One of the things that I enjoy is being able to learn new things and perfect what I already know, then being able to share my knowledge with new hires and even those that have been doing this awhile that weren’t shown properly, it is one of the greatest benefits of what I do.

The people that I have met along the way have made an impact on my career and myself as well. From working with Police and Fire departments on various scenarios to the customers that I get to assist, they all have left some type of impression on me and what I do. From receiving awards to being able to make someone’s bad day better just by being there, is a very rewarding feeling. You realize that even the smallest acts of kindness can make the world of difference to someone having a bad day.

To hear fellow coworkers, police or fire personnel, drivers from other companies make statements like, “I’d work with her anytime” or “So glad you are the one that showed up,” is something that most would say just creates a big head. I don’t take it that way. It makes me realize that all of my hard work and dedication to what I do has paid off. That all the criticism and negativity over the years, that forced me to work hard has paid off. To know deep down that fellow operators have finally accepted me as one of them, is truly a great feeling.


AMERICAN TOW Magazine link