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Dollies How to measure ROI - Automotive Retailers Publishing Ltd.

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September - October 2009
How to
measure ROI
A n nivers a r y
doing it right,
doing it safe
• Women in Towing, Part 2
• Profile of a Professional:
Cliff’s Towing
• Plane Recovery in Bagotville QC
...and much more
PM No. 40063648
Canada’s Towing and Recover y Magazine
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September-October 2009 • Volume 11 • Issue 5
Published by
Automotive Retailers Publishing Co.
Unit #1 - 8980 Fraserwood Court
Burnaby, British Columbia, CANADA V5J 5H7
Telephone 604.432.7987
Fax 604.432.1756
Rene Young
Patti Zazulak
Publishing Assistant
Kelly Johnston
Editorial Contributors
Lea Allen, Glen Badry, Emile Bournival,
John Crossen, Justin Cruse, Kara Cunningham,
Jack Lee, Gary Lund, Heather Llewellyn,
Alexis Miciak, Doug Short, Larry Styba
Illustration: John Crossen
Advertising Sales
Lea Allen, Allen Marketing
Telephone 416.489.7541 • Fax 416.489.7543
Toll free 1.877.869.8722
Kelly Johnston
Randy Sorley
Gord Valente, Steve Rebuck, David Cant,
Rob Lang, Bill Cunningham, Dan Bird,
Shawn McMahon, Clint Wilson, Mark Rampling
Executive Publisher
Dale Finch
The views expressed in this publication should not necessarily be interpreted
as the official policy of the Automotive Retailers Association of B.C. or of any
other automotive trade association in Western Canada, nor does the publication
of product information or any advertising imply recommendation by these
Associations or this publication’s staff or management. Collision Quarterly is
distributed to collision repair shops, new car dealerships, frame and alignment
shops, auto glass dealers, and auto recyclers and dismantlers in Western Canada.
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On page 17 of the July-August edition of Tow Canada
there is a picture of a truck and trailer owned by Standish
Towing & Recovery. The caption of this photo incorrectly
identifies the trailer as being a Landoll. It is actually a
Trail-Eze sold to Standish by Brian Goergen, District Sales
Manager of Trail-Eze Trailers. More precisely, the trailer in
the picture is a TE801 (Trail-Eze ) sliding axle trailer. Tow
Canada apologizes for any confusion this error may have
Cover Photo: Doug Krupa owner of DRM Recovery
Edmonton AB takes delivery of a new Century 1140
Rotator with Steve Chapman of Russell Truck Ltd. Photo
courtesy Miller Industries Towing Equipment Inc.
September-October 2009
08 10
Hino Truck to be Raffled at Florida Tow Show
Jerr-Dan Hosts Board of Hall of Fame
Sign up for Miller "Tweets"
"Wrecked" 2nd Season Kickoff
Jerr-Dan Receives Order from Vietnam
Miller to Fund Hall of Fame Refacing
Wreckmaster Receives Century В® 2464
15 19
26 29 32 42 The Value of Operator Training
Perspectives: Public Liability
& Collecting for Accident Calls
Driver Distraction
Hello Dollies!
Women in Towing: Part 2 - Eva Sharkey & Erin White
Measuring Return on Investment
13 Ask the Fuel Expert
22 Profile of a Professional: Elmer Bassani
38 Quebec: Plane Recovery in Bagotville
04 35 47
48 50 50 Editor’s Message
Events: Ontario Tow Show
In Focus
New Products
Advertisers’ Index
4 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 5
editor ’s mess age
The recession is over!
truly believe that if someone with a much higher profile
than mine made the above announcement, we’d see the
economic slowdown move into recovery mode with the
pedal to the metal.
Back in the mid-1980s when I was the service manager
at an import auto dealership I befriended an elderly
gentleman customer. Our friendship began when he
brought his car in for service and hung around to chat. I
discovered that Mr. Ferguson enjoyed playing pool, and
that the complex where he lived had a pool table in its
clubhouse. He invited my assistant and I to come out for a
game. It became a regular Wednesday evening event.
Each week, after shooting a few games we went back
to his townhouse where his wife would serve us tea and
cookies and cake. I think it was the discussions about
politics and economics we’d then have that Mr. Ferguson
really enjoyed the most.
At the time, we’d just gone through the wild economic
crisis of the early 80’s and I’ll never forget his comment,
“There’s never been any shortage of money. The problems
come when it’s not moving.”
When our politicians and economists announce that a
6 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
recession is coming, you can bet their prophecies will come true
because everybody goes into turtle mode to wait out the storm.
The opposite should also be true. If they came out and said the
recession is over, maybe some money would start moving again.
It reminds me of the scene in the Wizard of Oz where Glinda, the
Good Witch of the North tells the Munchkins, “It’s OK – you can
come out now!” Where’s Glinda when we need her? Everybody click
your heels together and repeat after me, “There’s no time like now,
there’s no time like now.”
Of course, Mr. Ferguson also claimed he had never had any
problems with money, “Because I never had any!”
Even if you have money to spend, you want to spend it wisely,
so this issue of Tow Canada includes an article by Gary Lund, which
examines various ways of calculating the Return On Investment
(ROI) on capital expenditures. Larry Styba takes a technical look
at dollies while Justin Cruse explains how training puts it all
together with respect to getting the most out of your people and
equipment. All this, and much more in this edition of Canada’s Tow
& Recovery Magazine. And there’s even more again on our website, Enjoy!
Rene Young, Editor/Publisher
November 20-22, 2009
Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, MD
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 7
Grand Prize Hino Truck
to be Raffled at 2010 Florida Tow Show
ino Trucks has teamed up with Miller Industries
to provide one lucky tow operator a chance to
win a fully loaded 2010 Hino model 258ALP with
a Century 12 Series LCG Carrier. The truck will be a part
of a giveaway that benefits The Professional Wreckers of
Florida (PWOF) Education and Legislation Programs and
will be raffled during next year’s Florida Tow Show in
This is the second year Hino Trucks has provided a
vehicle for the Tow Show’s giveaway.
"This is a way for us to give something back to the
independent wrecker operators and to help with the
8 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
success of promoting education and safety," explained Glenn
Ellis, Vice President of Marketing for Hino Trucks. "The PWOF are
constantly looking for new ways to advance the towing industry and
Hino Trucks is proud to partner with Miller Industries to support
this event and their organization."
The Hino 258ALP roll back has a unique design and leads
the industry by providing a total package of driver comfort and
flexibility, superior performance, low-cost-per-mile operation, and
outstanding serviceability and reliability. The Century 12 Series
LCG Carrier is a revolutionary design that allows the carrier deck to
be mounted 5 – 6 inches lower then comparable units providing a
lower load angle, better stability, increased safety with the operator
being able to secure the load from the ground and the ability to
transport taller loads.
Mike Seamon, Executive Director of PWOF added, "The
Professional Wrecker Operators of Florida is pleased to once again
travel to Tow Shows across the country to allow attendees to test
drive the new Hino with a brand new design LCG Miller Industries
carrier. The air ride on the Hino and the new low center of gravity
mounted flatbed makes for a very low angle for specialty vehicles
and is a perfect fit for our industry."
The lucky winner of the truck will be drawn on April 18, 2010
during the Florida Tow Show. Visit any of these Tow Truck Shows to
test drive a Hino and secure your chance at winning this truck!
• North Carolina Tow Show
• Southeast Tow Show
• Tennessee Tow Show
• Midwest Regional Family Towing
• American Towman Exposition
• Florida Tow Show.
At Miller Industries we
understand the importance
of having tough, reliable
equipment to meet your
specific needs.
We feel that having equipment
backed by a network of the
industries’ best distributors
to provide information on
our extensive product line
before the sale, along with
being there to provide parts
and service support for the
years to follow is crucial to
your business.
Century 1130
From light duty to heavy
duty towing and recovery
units or car carriers through
heavy industrial carriers,
Miller Industries has the
right equipment to meet your
tough demands.
Century 12 Series LCG Carrier
The World Leader in
Towing & Recovery Equipment
Century 2465
Phone: (423) 238-4171 • (800) 292-0330 Fax: (423) 238-5371
• Web:
| TOW C A N A DA 9
JERR-DAN Hosts Board of International Towing
and Recovery Hall Of Fame and Museum
with two framed collections of vintage Jerr-Dan and
Grove Manufacturing brochures chronicling the
company's genesis and early years. The historic
documents will be on display at the organization's
museum in Chattanooga.
"We're proud to support the International
Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum
any way we can and enjoyed hosting its Board
at our home offices here in Pennsylvania," said
Wilson Jones, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice
president, president Fire & Emergency, and interim
president of Jerr-Dan Corporation. "We are honored
that our framed Jerr-Dan historic brochures will find
a home on display at the Museum in Chattanooga
among the restored antique wreckers and other
equipment and relevant pictorial histories."
The International Towing & Recovery Hall of
Fame and Museum is a 501(C)(3) non-profit, nonpolitical and non-commercial organization. Its
mission is to preserve and educate others about
the history of the towing and recovery industry
Jerr-Dan's vice president of sales, Patrick Cahill (holding frame, on the left) and vice president
and to honor those who have made significant
of operations, Mike Baer, present the Board of Directors of The International Towing & Recovery
contributions to it. Beginning in 1986, the Museum
Hall of Fame and Museum with framed historic Jerr-Dan brochures for display at the museum in
has inducted annually members who have made
Chattanooga, Tenn.
such contributions to the industry. In addition, the
Museum features a Wall of the Fallen, unveiled
err-Dan Corporation, an Oshkosh Corporation [NYSE: OSK] company in 2006. More recently, the organization has launched
and a leading manufacturer of towing and recovery equipment "The Survivor Fund" and has raised $455,000 of
was pleased to host, in June, the Board of Directors of the its $500,000 goal, to benefit families of towing and
International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum, based out recovery professionals who have died in the course of
of Chattanooga, Tenn. The Board conducted its meetings while at Jerr- their work.
Dan's corporate offices, and enjoyed a tour of the company's carrier
The International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame
and wrecker manufacturing facilities.
and Museum can be reached at 423-267-3132 and
Patrick Cahill, Jerr-Dan vice president of sales, presented the Board online at
Sign Up for "Tweets" from Miller Industries
earn about new products coming out from the industry leader, keep track of the excitement of the Miller Race Recovery Team
at NASCAR Races around the country or find out what tow show or training events you can meet and talk with the folks from
Miller Industries.
Just go to and sign up to follow the tweets from Millerind,
Miller Industries will help keep you informed with all their latest news and events.
1 0 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
Miller Industries Participates
in Wrecked Second Season Kick-off
he successful reality show Wrecked, that features O'Hare
Towing from Chicago, Illinois, kicked off its second season
on the Speed Channel at the recent Sprint All-Star Race and
Coca-Cola 600. An International 4300 equipped with a Century 21'
10 Series Carrier that was supplied by Miller Industries was decaled
with the Chicago skyline and a larger than life image of owner, Bill
Gratzianna, on the cab along with a crashed car on the carrier deck.
The unit was displayed in the Speed tent in front of
Lowe's Motor Speedway during the racing events. The
weekend also included personal appearances by owners,
Bill and Marci Gratzianna, as well as, Bill's younger brother,
Joey, who drives the "Mistress", a Century 60 ton rotator.
New episodes of the program air Thursdays at 10:00 p.m. on
the Speed Channel.
JERR-DAN Receives Order
from Vietnam for 14 Towing and Recovery Vehicles
err-Dan Corporation announced that it has received an order for 14
vehicles --12 Jerr-DanВ® HPL-3560 standard-duty wreckers and two
Jerr-Dan MDL 320 medium-duty wreckers. The Vietnam Ministry of
Public Security, Police Department ordered the trucks, which will be
delivered and placed into service in Hanoi this fall.
"This order from the Vietnam Ministry of Public Security is
testament to the strength of our products, and we look forward to
serving our customer in Vietnam with the reliable wreckers," said
Wilson Jones, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president, Fire
& Emergency and interim president of Jerr-Dan Corporation. "We
continue to make inroads throughout Southeast Asia with sales
such as these that demonstrate the increased awareness and
preference for our towing and recovery vehicles that have always
been recognized for their outstanding reliability and durability in the
United States."
The HPL-3560 fully welded steel wrecker bodies will be mounted
on Ford F-550 chassis. The wreckers feature a self-contained recovery
boom with capacities from 4 to 12 tons, and an extended underlift
with 3,500 lbs of capacity. The units also offer dual manual wheel
lift controls and a six-function hydraulic wheel lift system for easier
vehicle loading.
Other notable features include: a rugged, fully welded steel body;
diamond-plate decking for strength and good looks; and in deck
L-Arm storage tubes for convenience. Available options for
the HPL-3560 include a wide variety of hydraulically powered
recovery booms, winches, toolboxes, lighting packages and
towing accessories.
The MDL 320 medium-duty wrecker bodies will be
mounted on Hino chassis. The lightweight, composite body
resists stress cracks and never rusts. With its long underlift
and negative tilt crossbar, the MDL 320 allows for easier
reach, especially when making downhill recoveries. The
underreach and boom are mounted to the chassis subframe
to transfer forces away from the body, reducing wear.
The Jerr-DanВ® HPL-3560 standard-duty towing and recovery vehicle.
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 1 1
International Towing and
Recovery Hall of Fame and
Museum Plans Refacing
lans are underway to reface the International Towing and
Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum in Chattanooga, TN. The
project will provide a more uniform contemporary look to
the museum that will also better compliment the Wall of the Fallen
Memorial that is located on the museum grounds.
The project is being funded by a donation from the Miller Family
Foundation with expected completion in time for the 2009 Hall of
Fame induction and unveiling of the next set of names on the Wall of
the Fallen on September 18. For more information about the museum
or the September events visit
Randy Olson, Vice President of Marketing for Miller Industries Towing
Equipment Inc. discusses the plans for refacing of the International Towing
and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum in Chattanooga, TN with I.T.R.H.F.M.
Chairman of the Board Trustee, George Connolly.
WreckMaster Receives CENTURYВ® 2465
iller Industries has furnished WreckMaster with
an International 4300 equipped with a CenturyВ®
2465 to be used in their training programs
throughout the year. The CenturyВ® 2465 is an integrated
twelve-ton towing and recovery unit that was recently
introduced and includes hydraulic multi-position rear
jacks, aluminum modular body and 12,000 lb. planetary
winches with a split hydraulic system for better power and
"WreckMaster is the world's largest towing and
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september - october 2009
recovery training organization in the world and we felt it is an ideal
way to provide hands-on experience with the new CenturyВ® 2465
to a large number of professional towers attending the classes and
performing actual recoveries under the direction of Wreckmaster's
seasoned instructors," states Randy Olson, Vice President of
Marketing for Miller Industries.
For more information about the Century В® 2465 visit www. or to learn about WreckMaster's training program
and schedules go to
ask the fuel expert
Is Fuel Theft OK?
by Jack Lee,
o you accept theft in your company?
This may seem like a silly question, but let
me explain. Let’s look at a small construction
company for example. Over the years the business
has grown from a friendly partnership to a thriving
enterprise managing millions of dollars in annual
projects. At first it was no big deal for the boys to
help themselves to some materials or even fuel. The
occasional fill up on the company was viewed as an
employee perk and part of the cost of doing business.
As business grew and more staff were added new
policies took over. It was no longer acceptable for fuel
to be taken by employees, but guess what? It hasn’t
stopped. Old habits die hard, entitlement lives on and
it’s always been easier to turn a blind eye. Regardless
of how you justify it – as waste, spillage, shrinkage or a
perk – it is still theft.
Fuel theft costs companies hundreds of thousands of
dollars. In a recent issue of Truck News Magazine, one
company reported tens of thousands of litres in diesel
fuel stolen over only a few weeks. The thieves had
carefully planned their robberies, with electric pumps,
a generator and large plastic fuel tanks. They drove off
with thousands of litres of fuel three separate times
– their haul valued at $18,000, $27,000 and $50,000!
Imagine the impact on the businesses affected.
Whether it’s your staff casually helping themselves
to your fuel or organized thieves stealing fuel to re-sell
it – it’s a problem. But it’s not beyond your control.
President/CEO, 4Refuel Inc.
The first situation is more common than you may want to admit.
Sure, some fuel goes missing but it’s not huge so you write it off.
But when it’s stolen in bulk, the police are notified and you beef up
security. But is one situation really any different from the other? In
most cases, they add up to the same over time. Look at it this way:
every dollar spent on fuel should provide a return on investment.
You can actually calculate that return if you track your fuel
consumption. But consider that every litre of fuel that disappears
due to theft has to be replaced - effectively doubling your cost and
halving your return. I have the answer to Fuel Theft.
Track your fuel accurately and theft will disappear.
Total Fuel Management is a concept that can help you to
eliminate theft, increase accountability and minimize other risks
associated with refuelling. Its greatest benefit is helping you to
measure the return on your fuel investment.
TFM gives you the tools to control fuel costs while helping you
measure and manage profitability from one project to the next.
Fuel theft effects your bottom line. It is part of your total cost of
refuelling just like the cost of labour, the time spent refuelling,
insurance etc. Because refuelling is done by certified professionals
wheel to wheel, your employees are no longer part of the refuelling
process. When your vehicles and equipment are refuelled by an
independent company you know when and exactly how much fuel
went into each tank. In fact positive identification software can tell
you which vehicle, tank, or piece of equipment was filled. You can
measure and manage each drop of fuel, so you are guaranteed that
there will be no unauthorized fill ups.
A complete TFM system includes proven software that allows
you to set operating thresholds for each machine and you quickly
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 1 3
see where the most fuel is being used,
or wasted. Once you have that you can
manage your people, and your fuel better.
Fuel theft is history. It is not impossible to
cut refuelling expenses by 15% or more.
Do you use your own fuel storage
tanks? Total Fuel Management takes fuel
tank monitoring to the next level. Remote
tank monitoring and prevention devices
are attached which advise managers when
a theft occurs. Here is how it works. Fuel
Tanks are equipped with digital software
that is activated each time the tank is
open. An alert text message or email
can be set up to let you know when each
refuelling happens. In addition each
fuel tank can have an alarm and warning
beacon attached which activates if there
are any after-hours or unauthorized
fill-ups. Both systems have proven to
eliminate fuel theft.
Remote tank monitoring also has
other benefits. Each fill up measures to
the exact amount along with a date and
time stamp. Positive identification of
equipment and vehicles work in tandem
to give you exact refuelling information
by piece of equipment so you can gauge
efficiency and productivity. Data capture
software at point of refuelling streamlines
your accounting too with instant accurate
data for simple reconciliation. For multilocation users all this information can
be delivered to one office via email for
immediate reporting.
Fuel theft is a problem and until you can
measure each refuelling you will continue
to pay for losses every month. For many
companies, fuel is the second largest cost
next to labour, so you must pay attention
to even the slightest fuel theft. With new
more stringent fuel management policies
you will send a message that theft, of any
kind, is not acceptable. 4Refuel Ltd, is the
leader in fuel Management. 
Jack Lee is the President and CEO
of 4Refuel Inc, The Leader in Fuel
Management. If you have any
questions or comments about
this article Jack can be reached
at (604) 513-0386 or on line:
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september - october 2009
Training: Doing it Right, Doing it Safe
The Value of Operator Training
Photos courtesy WreckMaster
The following article will focus on the value of operator training and
share with you some of the steps you can take to implement training
into your company.
by Justin Cruse,
WreckMaster Inc.
ver the last 10 years, our industry seems to have
adopted the concept of training. More importantly,
our industry as a whole now understands the value
of training. We have witnessed its benefits in areas such
as increased confidence and professionalism, reduced
insurance premiums, reduced claims and most importantly,
safer, more efficient operators.
I must first give credit to the men and women in the
towing industry who have invested countless hours and
decades of time into this great profession. I have had the
pleasure of speaking with many of these men and women
and I must say that you can learn a lot from their
integrity and longevity in this industry. During
their careers there was only a limited amount
of formal training available and our industry
did not have the same level of structure or
communication as we do today. Take some time
to discuss the early years of towing with them
and you’ll realize just how far we’ve come.
H i s t o r i c a l l y, m o s t n e w o p e r a t o r s w h o
continued on page 16 вњ’
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 1 5
Photos on this and the following page show typical WreckMaster practical and classroom training in progress.
entered the towing industry had no idea what to as congestion began building and the expectations from
expect from this profession or what was expected law enforcement continued to increase, they were forced
of them. Therefore when most new operators began to respond by polishing their skills to meet the needs of a
working in the towing industry they fumbled changing society.
their way through, learning
Thankfully, times have changed
from their mistakes. These
and today you can find just about
As a towing and recovery
lessons sometimes resulted
anything that you are looking for on
professional you have a
in damage, injury and delay;
the Internet. A tremendous resource
but they completed the job
such as the Internet should be a part
responsibility to yourself
and many of the techniques
of your daily lives. Whether you are
to be aware of your
that are used today came from
looking for a uniform company to
surroundings and always
this type of “learn as you go”
outfit your operators or dispatching
think two steps ahead.
environment. The problem is,
software to make your job easier, the
Internet has the answer to almost
any question that you may throw
at it. Everything from trucks and
equipment to training companies and
associations can be found with a click
of a mouse.
It is quite common for companies
to have some form of in-house
training for new operators. Typically,
new operators find themselves in the
passenger seat for a few weeks as they
learn from an experienced operator in
the fleet. But once they have proven
that they can drive the truck and hook
up a vehicle the training seems to stop
and this new operator begins working
on his/her own.
Consider adding to his toolbox
by holding weekly meetings where
you can discuss topics relating to the
week ahead. This keeps everyone in
1 6 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
the loop of what is happening and allows them a time to
ask questions. Communication is the key ingredient in a
successful towing company. Your operators are far more
inclined to go the extra mile for you if they feel like they
are a contributing member of a team. If you can get your
2:03 PM
staff talking through their differences and helping
each another out you will see improvements across
the board. These weekly meetings can stem into
monthly training sessions, where you could set
up various scenarios in your yard for your team to
Page 1
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september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 1 7
Communication is the key ingredient in a successful towing company.
complete. Take this opportunity to discuss different
techniques including safety and awareness.
WreckMaster offers a safety poster program that
provides your company with posters and handouts
for each member of your team that discuss general
safe practices. Use the Internet to find other
programs that you can incorporate into your weekly
meetings. Organize your training sessions by setting
objectives, record progress and reward employees
for doing a great job.
There are many companies today that out
source their training to formal companies such
as WreckMaster Inc. that specialize in the skills
they are looking to acquire. This not only saves
the time and effort of designing your own but
your staff is more inclined to absorb what is being
taught because this information is coming from an
outside source. Regardless of the type of training
you choose, starting with a positive mental attitude
and an open mind is the best way to ensure that
your operators will get the most out of the time and
effort that is being invested.
1 8 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
In closing, I feel it is important to discuss awareness.
On far too many occasions we hear about a fallen tower
who was injured or killed while performing service. As a
towing and recovery professional you have a responsibility
to yourself to be aware of your surroundings and always
think two steps ahead.
Cya in the Ditch! 
Justin Cruse is president of
WreckMaster Inc. (www.wreckmaster.
com) a training and certification body
that specializes in advanced training
for towing operators worldwide. Justin
can be reached at 800.267.2266 or by
Public liability and
collecting for accident calls
We’ve all heard the stories about the hours, manpower and equipment spent
at accident sites. The police call you at 2 a.m. and like other emergency
responders you rush off to the scene to assist with cleanup, or you drop
your regular customer because you have an emergency for local police.
by Heather Llewellyn,
ut when it comes time for you to be paid you hear
aggressive responses like, “Invoice the police - they
called you.” Or the insurance company tells their
client they have no coverage for your service because they
don’t have collision coverage. The police department looks
at you like your some
kind of joker and they
Change is a process and
mumble, “Yeah, send
unless we put the wheels
me an invoice and
in motion, change to be
we’ll see how many
more calls you get.”
fairly compensated will
Police ca ll
never take place.
upon tow
trucks to
clean up accident scenes because they must secure
evidence to determine if any fines will be levied,
assess property damage and most importantly
because it’s their dut y to represent the
province and act in the best interest of the
public and prevent any liability that could
flow to the province for negligence as a
result of public safety.
Since we often respond to an
accident scene on behalf of the
police department it brings about
t he quest ion, shou ld tow i ng
companies actually be inquiring
about whether a vehicle owner
has collision coverage or should we
actually be seeking proof of liability
coverage? Let’s go one step further and
ask, should we even concern ourselves with
insufficient vehicle liens through relevant
motor vehicle statutes or should we start
changing our ways of invoicing, claiming
restoration services directly
from property owners?
In Canada, every
automobile used on
a public roadway
must be insured.
Motorists must
have coverage
for third party
liability, accident
benefits, property
damage and
accidents caused
by uninsured
and unidentified
motorists. Motorists
also have the option
to purchase additional
coverage that would cover
loss and damage to their own
vehicle, known as collision
When the police call us to
respond to a scene we must ask
ourselves, are we really attending
an accident scene because somebody
has lost the use of their vehicle, or are we
attending an emergency situation because
under relevant liability legislation property owners,
motorists and police are liable for their actions and must
make sure accidents are cleared up and property such as
highways are restored to their pre-accident condition to
prevent further liability to the parties?
Let’s take a look at a couple of recent scenarios. An
operator received a police call to attend a graveyard to
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 1 9
remove a vehicle that was sitting on top of a tomb something that could cause future harm to others. The
stone. The operator was curious to know why the city is happy because they can now appraise damages to
police called him because they usually have another the fire hydrant and have it repaired to prevent liability for
towing preference. Apparently, the police required inoperability should a fire break out. They are also relieved
specialized equipment to lift the vehicle with a boom the vehicle (obstacle) is removed so they can appropriately
to prevent further property damages and this towing appraise damages caused to the curbing. The police are
company was the only one who
happy because the obstacles that have
could supply the appropriate
created a hazard to the public have
“Oh, sorry, nobody
equipment. Another operator
been removed, which now limits the
wants to pay you.” Just
is called by police to remove a
province’s liabilit y and shows they
vehicle that is sitting high and
acted in a reasonable and pr udent
like that. “Keep the car;
dry on top of a fire hydrant at
manner by having the hazard removed
it’s not worth anything
3am, an accident resulting from
in the best interest of public safety.
a motorist who was criminally
Despite the fact that the vehicle owner
cha rged for d r in k ing a nd
may be guilty of a criminal offence the
law protects them for property damage under a mandatory
When each tow operator completes their job liability insurance policy.
everybody is relieved. Well, almost everybody. The
Yet, we have the tow truck operator who rushes off
property owner is happy because the obstacle that to clean up somebody else’s mess, allowing everybody to
would prevent him from making an insurance appraise for damages and preventing further liability to all
claim to prove damages to the respected tombstones concerned parties, and then people have the nerve to say,
and other property damage has been removed and “Oh, sorry, nobody wants to pay you.” Just like that. “Keep
it also prevents him from any further exposure to the car; it’s not worth anything anyway!” I wish I could run
future liability for being negligent for not removing my business the way some of these people think. Do they
honestly believe we have no overhead
a nd owe it to soc iet y to remove
every unwanted hunk of junk from
accident sites so everybody else can
M & S Equipment
access their losses and be financially
Sales & Service Ltd.
To w i n g c o m p a n i e s p r o v i d e
valuable services in assisting others
to claim for damages and preventing
available in steel or aluminum
further or future harm towards our
citizens. We provide a valuable
service in removing vehicles from our
roadways and culverts because we are
preventing possible contamination
of water and soil. The removal of
damaged vehicles from our roadways
clearly allows continued use of our
nat ion’s h ig hways a nd prevent s
distraction to other motorists who
have the potential to cause secondary
We respond to many dangerous
i nc ide nt s t hat put u s i n h ig h
r isk sit uat ions. T he gover n ment
h igh ly reg u lates ou r b ehav iou r,
with occupational safet y, labour,
commercial compliance standards
Parts • Service • Guaranteed Satisfaction
and environmental regulations. It’s
time for change and tow operators
8332 Haldibrook Road, Caledonia, Ontario • Tel: 905-679-2202 • Fax: 905-679-6556
n e e d t o t a ke a s e r i o u s l o o k a t
email: •
their own losses when prov iding
100% Canadian Made Wreckers
2 0 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
restoration services to our provincial highways, private
property and the cost and risk of removing salvage to prevent
liability in the interest of others. We need government to
recognize the importance of our service and have them
issue a mandate for insurance companies to start paying
for property restoration provided by towing and recovery
companies because without our services the public would
not be able to access their losses.
For years towing companies have been clearing motor
vehicular garbage from our roadways without adequate
compensation. Its time we change our focus on what our
responsibilities are when we attend the scene of an accident
and focus on how we may legally get paid.
I don’t have all the answers and my suggestion may
not apply to all situations. You would have to look at each
individual situation and determine if you may or may not
have a claim. Change is a process and unless we put the
wheels in motion, change to be fairly compensated will
never take place.
May I suggest the next time you recover a vehicle and
write an invoice you don’t even concern yourself with
collision coverage? Don’t stand there and allow people to
tell you you’re not getting paid. Don’t charge for towing;
in fact don’t even mention it on your invoice. Charge for
property restoration and cleanup and send your
invoice to the government or other property owner
so they can submit your invoice to the person or
company responsible for other property damages.
Write your invoice this way for every customer
including your COD customers. Tell them that if
they have liability insurance they may be able to
obtain a refund from their insurance company. The
standard S.P.F. No.1 automobile policy is supposed
to provide liability coverage for property damages
and cost of the clean-up. Forget that you attended
the scene to recover a smashed car and focus on why
the police called you to the scene in the first place
and then charge for restoring the property. The onus
is clearly on police and property owners to take all
reasonable precautions to prevent further liability
and you are attending to assist in putting a site back
to its pre-existing condition for the public’s safety.
If your services were not part of the cleanup, how
could anybody possibly access damages or prevent
future environmental or public safety hazards and
not be accountable? 
C a r C a r r i e r s a n d To w i n g E q u i p m e n t
H.R. Runciman & Co. Ltd.
5200 Dixie Road, #46, Mississauga, Ontario L4W 1E4
Tel 905.625.7222 or 1.800.361.6257 • Fax 905.625.3790 •
Contact: Gordon Godfrey • Barry Logan • Joe Caruana
w w w. r u n c i m a n . c o m
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 2 1
profile of a professional
Cliff’s Towing fleet
circa mid 1960s.
After fifty-six years serving the city of Edmonton and Western Canada, the Bassani
family steps down from the helm of Cliff’s Towing and leaves behind a laudable
legacy in their wake.
A Lifetime of
Memories and Hard Work
by Alexis Miciak
sk anyone in Edmonton
if they know a good
tow truck company and
chances are they will say Cliff’s
Towing, even if they don’t own
a car. The company’s presence
in the community and abroad
has been so illustrious that
Cliff’s Towing has become the
household name for the whole
industry. Such a solid reputation,
however, is merely the end result
Elmer and Maxine Bassani.
2 2 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
photos cour tesy Clif f 's Towing
of a vision shared by Elmer and Maxine Bassani; a vision
defined by hard work, impeccable customer service, good
friends and loyal staff.
The company was born in the early 1950’s when a
young buck by the name of Cliff Carbol scrounged together
enough money to buy a ’51 Ford one-ton tow truck. He
operated out of his parents’ family home on the south side
until an opportunity to do north side police work demanded
that he have a north location. To rectify the problem, Cliff
set up a telephone line at the Grierson B/A gas station in
downtown Edmonton.
As luck would have it, Cliff set up his business line at
the same gas station where young Elmer Bassani
worked pumping gas. The station had a tow truck
of its own, which Elmer had driven from time to
time, but hearing Cliff’s telephone ring all day and
all night kindled Elmer’s fiery entrepreneurial spirit.
In 1956, he became a partner in the company along
with Cliff and Shorty Moore.
In June of that same year, Elmer and Maxine
were married. The business phone was transferred
to their apartment and the pair literally worked
around the clock to firmly establish Cliff’s Towing
as a viable towing service. Despite the grumbling
of the other partners, Maxine would answer every
call, even if it came in during the wee hours of the
morning. By the late 1950s, Elmer and Maxine were
the sole owners of the business, which at that point
consisted of a staff of four (including the two of
them), a fleet of three one-tons and a small rented
The business flourished under their direction.
Over the next four decades, the company grew
exponentially and became Edmonton’s largest, most
diversified towing company. Situated on a four-acre
lot, Cliff’s Towing presently boasts a fleet of over
one hundred units and a staff of over one hundred
As the company evolved, Cliff’s Towing became
a veritable family-run enterprise. Elmer and
Maxine's son Duane started driving a tow truck as
soon as he could legally operate a motorized vehicle
and eventually found a home in the heavy-duty
Elmer Bassani and Sergeant John Isaac.
recovery side of the business.
His sister Cori and his wife
Rita assumed positions in the
business office and Duane and
Rita's two children, Ryan and
Scott, joined the ranks as soon as
soon as they were old enough to
hold a job.
P ivota l to Elmer a nd
M a x i n e ’s s u c c e s s w a s a n
incomparable regard for the
customer, which they pushed
three hundred and sixty-five
days a year. “You didn’t want to
Hearing Cliff’s telephone ring all day and all night kindled
Elmer’s fiery entrepreneurial spirit.
Elmer would like to
recognize the many
long-time employees and
thank them for their years
of dedicated service:
Dale Jackson 35 years
Al HIkel
30 years
Harvey Treit
25 years
Robert Hewitt
23 years
Raymond Tanner
23 years
Robert Boyes
22 years
Karen Quont
22 years
Joseph Bertschy
21 years
Rose Boyes
21 years
Roy Thibodeau
21 years
Dennis Donald
20 years
Douglas Walton
20 years
Natalie Tavares
19 years
Sue Golden
18 years
Lynette Ward
18 years
Marc Bouchard
18 years
Mark Rose
17 years
Garry Cullum
16 years
Ron Chin
15 years
Ken Bachmeier
14 years
Todd Hikel
13 years
Kane Anderson
12 years
Rob Kitschke
12 years
Tom James
11 years
Fernando LeBlanc 11 years
Al Hikel and Duane Bassani with load of Porsches.
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 2 3
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On the ground and
Al Hikel in the early days of towing.
Roll-over at APEX Mountain.
let the phone ring a second time if either of them were in the
office,” laughs a group of Cliff’s veterans. “Maxine would put
you in your place pretty quick.”
If a job came across the dispatch desk, someone answered
the call, no matter what the circumstance. Al Hikel, a longterm employee with Cliff’s Towing, recalls being on holidays in
Penticton, B.C. and getting a phone call from Elmer. A job had
come in to deliver four Porsches from Los Angeles to Edmonton
and with no spare drivers at home and a customer waiting,
Elmer needed a favour.
“I didn’t tell anyone where I was going,” chuckles Al. “But
Elmer had a way of finding people at the right time. Anyway,
he got me on the phone and says he’s got a plane ticket to
Calgary waiting for me at the airport and a truck passing
through Calgary to pick me up. I hummed and hawed about
being on holidays, but Elmer was a smooth talker and the job
had to get done, so I ended up catching the plane.”
Elmer and Maxine’s steadfast commitment to customer
service did not come without sacrifices on the part of employees
and their own family members. Countless holiday dinners,
birthdays and anniversaries were cut short by a winter storm or
a rollover that required immediate attention.
But every now and again there was a nice twist that made
it all worth-while. Two days before Christmas one year, a
transport truck carrying ammonia nitrate jack-knifed and rolled
on its way to a gold mine past the APEX mountain ski hill near
Penticton B.C.. The trucking company contacted Cliff’s Towing
and within the hour, Duane Bassani and his counterpart, Dale
Jackson, set out for Penticton to do the recovery.
Another roll-over at APEX Mountain.
Journal certificate awarded to Cliff’s Towing.
for the Bassani family. “I always felt like I was working
with Elmer, not for him,” admits Al Hikel, “and I usually
was,” he adds. “I remember back in 1969 we had thirty
days of minus thirty degree weather – Fahrenheit. We
couldn’t keep up, it was so busy. Every day we would
start working at six in the morning, Maxine at dispatch,
Elmer driving a truck with the rest of
“I always felt like I was working with Elmer, not for him” us, and we would work until nine at
night. After work, Maxine and Elmer
for supper and then we’d wake up
Rita Bassani finishes the story: “The trucking company
felt bad about calling everyone out so close to Christmas, so and do it all over again.”
At the end of October, Elmer, Maxine and the other
the company commissioned a Learjet to fly them all home
on Christmas Eve and then back again on Boxing Day so members of the Bassani entourage will pass the torch on
they could spend Christmas Day with their families. It was a lifetime’s worth of fond memories and hard work. New
owners will take over the business. However, the legacy
something else.”
Cliff’s Towing became known for its customer service and the contributions the Bassanis made to the towing
because of moments like that, but the execution of such service industry will endure the inexorable march of time. In
would not have been possible without a team of dedicated staff. years to come, the old crew will still be laughing about
Some employees stayed on with Elmer and Maxine for over the good times at Cliff’s Towing and the idiosyncrasies of
thirty-five years, which is a hefty compliment in an industry the two individuals who started it all.
For more on this story and additional photos, visit “TC
with such a high turnover rate.
From all accounts though, life was never dull working Xtras” at 
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 2 5
Distracted Drivers:
Putting the public at risk
People entrust their lives to professional drivers every day. So why are
some drivers putting the public at risk by text messaging or using their cell
phones while driving, and what can be done to prevent it?
by Kara Cunningham
courtesy Seon Design Inc.
2 6 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
illustration by John Crossen
rash statistics linked to texting
while driving and cell phone use
are escalating.
A study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway
Motor Safety found that motorists who use cell phones while
driving are four times more likely to crash.1 A British study
recently found that motorists who drive while texting are
more impaired than a drunk driver, with driver reaction times
decreasing as much as 35 percent.2
In a recent survey, one in four Americans admitted to
texting while driving. 3 The American Medical Association
called text messaging while driving "a public health risk" and
cited a study that found that text messaging while driving
causes a 400 percent increase in time spent with eyes off the
Distracted driving is the leading cause of motor vehicle
accidents. According to a 2006 study by the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech
Transportation Institute, driver inattention is the leading factor
in most crashes and near crashes. Nearly 80 percent of crashes
and 65 percent of near crashes involved some form of driver
inattention within three seconds of the event.5
The growing mountain of statistics gathered by US
researchers and traffic safety experts confirming the danger
of text messaging and cell phone use while driving has
prompted attention from lawmakers. According to an article
which appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Connecticut, New
York, New Jersey, California and the District of Columbia have
already outlawed the use of hand-held phones while driving,
while as many as 38 states are considering 133 bills that would
regulate their use in a motor vehicle.6
Given that cell phones and other hand-held electronic
devices have become an ever-more important part of our daily
lives, it seems some people are having difficulty recognizing
when to hang up, including professional drivers. The reckless
use of cell phones and text messaging has not decreased
despite attention from lawmakers, pressure from insurance
companies, and growing public awareness of the issue in the
wake of numerous high-profile accidents.
A quick news or Internet search will uncover countless
stories about distracted drivers on cell phones killing or
1. Edgar Snyder & Associates. Car Accident Cell Phone Statistics. (http://www.
2. Transport Research Laboratory. Dangers of Texting While Driving. (http://
3. Vlingo. Second Annual Vlingo Consumer Mobile Messaging Habits Report.
4. Partnership for Safe Driving. A Call to Drivers: Put Down the Phone. (http://
5. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 100-Car
Naturalistic Driving Study. (
injuring themselves, their passenger(s), another driver,
or a cyclist or pedestrian on the side of the road.
The story of distracted driving becomes even more
disturbing when the people we trust with our public
safety succumb to these alarming accident statistics.
While the majority of professional drivers conduct
themselves safely and responsibly, in the past year,
there has been a spate of incidents where professional
drivers have caused accidents by using cell phones or
text messaging while driving.
In September 2008, the world of mass transit was
rocked by the news that the worst U.S. train crash in 15
years had been caused by an engineer who had been
sending and receiving text messages seconds before his
crowded commuter train blew through a red light and
collided with a freight train. The event, which took
place in Chatsworth, California, killed 25 people and
injured 135.
I n M a y 2 0 0 9, t h e M a s s a c h u s e t t s B a y
Transportation Authority found it necessary to ban
drivers of trains, street cars and buses from using or
carrying cell phones in response to an incident where a
trolley operator ran a red light and hit another trolley,
injuring 49 people. The operator later admitted that he
was sending a test message to his girlfriend at the time.
In another stunning incident that recently hit
the news, a San Antonia VIA Metropolitan Transit
driver was recently caught on video driving through
rush hour traffic while texting.7 The driver slammed
into the back of an SUV, injuring the diver. The bus
also had two handicapped passengers onboard. In the
video, driver Adrian Perez was texting for almost six
minutes prior to the crash.
VIA Metropolitan Transit reports that it has fired
three bus operators in the last few months after drivers
were caught on video tape using their cell phones.8 One
driver was reportedly caught texting not once but five
times during his route, and another was caught driving
65-miles an hour while texting.9 Since the surveillance
cameras were installed on the buses in June of 2008,
several other videos have been released where drivers
continued on page 28 вњ’
6. Cooper, Christopher. Should driving while texting be a crime? Wall
Street Journal. (
7. Bus Driver Texting Crash. (
8. Count on News2. Caught on tape: Texting San Antonio bus driver
responsible for violent crash. (
9. Ibid.
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 2 7
The World’s largest full-line single
nameplate manufacturer of towing
and recovery equipment.
AMA Services
10310 39a Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta T6H 5X9
780.989.6488 | 877.426.2333
Fax 780.989.6489
Contact: Randy Loyk
вњ’ continued from page 27
have been caught violating VIA
policy, allowing the company to
intervene and take action.10
These incidents are far from
isolated. Many organizations that
employ professional drivers, from
taxi companies to train operators,
are increasingly turning to video
surveillance as a means of deterring
or identifying drivers who place
t he publ ic at r isk t h rough t he
unauthorized use of cell phones or
other electronic devices.
“The human cost, the liability
cost s, a nd t he cost a ss o c iate d
with damage to property quickly
illustrate the importance of mobile
surveillance in curbing distracted
driving,” says Ian Radziejewski,
President of Seon Design Inc., which
specializes in the development
of mobile surveillance solutions.
“ Mo b i le s u r ve i l l a nc e c a me r a s
provide an immediate deterrent,
preventing accidents and saving
countless dollars.”
Seon Design is the world leader
in providing mobile surveillance
solutions.11. Through its extensive
experience in the transit industry,
the company has witnessed the
importance of mobile surveillance
in promoting a safe environment
for passengers and employees alike.
Surveillance footage can also be
used to train drivers with real-life
scenarios, increasing safety even
further. One look at the video of VIA
driver Adrian Perez and the message
about distracted driving should
be clear; yet there are professional
drivers on the road today engaged in
this risky behavior.12
“Su r vei l la nce ca meras g ive
companies some control by providing
insight into their employee’s driving
behavior,” says Radziejewski. “They
give companies the opportunity to
intervene before it’s too late.” 
10. Ibid.
11. T h e Wo r l d M a r k e t f o r M o b i l e Vi d e o
Surveillance Equipment. IMS Research, 2007.
12. Bus Driver Texting Crash. (http://www.
2 8 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
Maple Ridge Towing's Unit #47,
driven by Doug Buker, all ready to
go following pre-trip inspection.
Hello, Dollies!
by Larry Styba
photos: Larry Styba
The days of "Sticking it in neutral" for tows just around the corner are long
gone! Today's towing professionals have to "Toe the line" and follow the
golden rule: Drive wheels must be off the ground
here are many reasons why your dollies are
being used more than ever before: positioning
of the vehicle, no drive wheel access, a
concrete barrier on a divided highway, restricted
space denying you an opportunity to turn around,
two cars going to the same location requiring
"wheels", police requesting dollies to protect
evidence and last but not least, the sophisticated
transmissions in today's vehicles.
So how is it that dollies are the most abused
piece of equipment we have on the truck?
When a pre trip inspection of the tow truck is
performed how often do you take a real close look
at the dollies? The check mark usually means, "Yes,
they are on the truck, the last operator did not lose
W hen were t hey g reased last? A re t he
tires inflated to the proper psi? Are the safety
Pre-trip inspections should include the dollies.
A little grease and some TLC can go a long way.
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 2 9
Observe the tire load rating on the sidewall and multiply that number by 4.
This is your maximum load capacity.
towing purposes only.
Tires that run low on psi will heat up and eventually
blow out. This may cause you to lose your load and get into a
serious accident.
Working Load Limit
Identify the tire load rating on the sidewall and multiply
that number by the amount of tires (4) on the dolly set. This
is your maximum load rating capacity of the dollies and
you must work within these numbers. Do not go over the
manufacturer’s ratings.
Self-loading dolly mounts are a tower’s best friend.
mechanisms in
working order? Is the
f ra me c racked? A re
the wheels loose and
a re t he bea r ings in
work i ng order? A re
they really ready to go?
Their lighter weight makes aluminum dolly rails
another “tower’s best friend”.
3 0 TO W C A N A DA |
Usually the dolly
tires are a size 5.70 x 8"
for the 8-ply. The tires
are just your regular
run of the mill trailer
tires that you would
find on a tent travel
T he h i g he r t he
ply (4, 6 or 8) of tires,
the more load can be
put on them. The tires
come with a straight
cut tread as it wears
bet ter a nd a re for
september - october 2009
When I was operating my Chevy 1-ton wrecker I would
grease the dollies twice in my five-day shift. The relief operator
would be required to grease them once.
I have seen many sets of dollies in my day and my pet
peeve was putting my gloved hand in a pile of grease when
I was setting up the safety levers. The excess grease attracts
dirt and rocks. Grease the dollies until you see the grease spit
out of the joints or knuckle areas. Wipe off the excess amount
with a rag and this will keep your work area clean.гЂЂ
Aluminum Dollies
Using the old steel set of dollies certainly requires some
physical exertion and can wear you down if you use them
on back-to-back tow calls. The advances that have been
made in dollies nowadays certainly benefit the operator.
The lightweight aluminum rails and dolly frames definitely
makes life easier. My back "shouted for joy" when our first selfloading dolly mounts showed up at the yard. Now the dollies
can be brought down to a manageable waist height level for
easy off-loading from the wrecker deck.гЂЂ
Strapping the Wheels
In many areas it is law that the vehicle’s wheels are
strapped into the dollies. Be aware that the strap should be
rated properly to handle the weight load.
Dollies shown in these photos are manufactured by In The Ditch Towing
Products, who, as you can see, provide load rating stickers on their products
and recommend reading the owner’s manual before use.
Safety Mechanisms
Make sure all the safety mechanisms are in working order.
The springs should be intact and not loose and all the levers
should not be seized. If they are seized the dolly set should be
taken out of service for repairs.
Check out Collins Manufacturing Corp. at w w w. The web site is very informative and has
Canada’s Tow & Recovery Magazine
6 issues a year, just $24 + GST
USA & International: $24 USD
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Lockout Tools
A n nivers a r y
In Towing
A n nivers a r y
Tow Tales, Recove
InFocus ...and more
Float plane rescued from lake
Hauling a 1400-Ton
David versus Goliath
• TowingAnything&Everything
• BCGetsSlowDown,MoveOverLaw
: more
Expectations vs. Reality
Canada’s T
owing and
PM No. 40063648
• Bus Towing, Part 2
• Internet in the Workplace
• APDQ Golf & Beauty Contest
...and more
Dispatch Software
and GPS Technology
PM No. 40063648
Canada’s Towing an
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“When you check our
equipment pricing and
after sales service - your
buying habits may
July - August 2009
A Look at
Howard says:
Making a Living
While Freezing
Bus Towing
many PDF files on parts and part numbers and it also
has instructions on how to use the dollies step by step
as well as all the safety procedures.
To save time and money, as well as to protect
yourself from possible injury, ensure the dollies in
your fleet are given their proper inspections. A little
grease and some TLC can go a long way. 
March-April 2009
May-June 2009
Dolly storage can be in a variety of locations for easy access.
Gaining Profile
in your Community
E q u i p m e n t Lt d.
PM No. 40063648
Canada’s Towing and Recover y Magazin
Toll-free: 1.877.809.8722
#1-9530 189th Street, Surrey, BC
Tel (604) 513-2838 • Fax (604) 513-2833
Cell (604) 626-9089
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w w w. a c c e s s e q u i p m e n t . c a
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 3 1
W o m e n i n To w i n g
In loving memory
of Wayne Sharkey
An intertwined tale of love and devotion on
the winding road of life
Yet another story in our series of women in towing, and this
time we have found that love and romance has played a big
part in getting each of these gals into the industry.
by John Crossen
Erin says she has
never owned a car,
always a truck - a
Ford gal at heart.
3 2 TO W C A N A DA |
v a S h a r k e y, o w n e r o f
S h a r k e y ' s To w i n g i n
Ottawa, got into the
business back in 1982 on
account of her love for her
then boyfriend, Wayne. Wayne
was a broker for a towing firm
and the two of them spent
many long and romantic hours
'Slinging' and 'Jay hooking'
september - october 2009
photos cour tesy Sharkey's Towing
(Note: Before you get the wrong idea about Eva,
some terminology is different from one coast to the
other, but I assure you, these terms refer to towing!)
Ma ny k i lometers dow n t he road, t he t wo
lovebirds got hitched and before long there was a
little Sharkey coming along for the ride. They spent
so much time in the truck they even had a portapotty for the kid. The family that tows together...
well, you know the rest.
Erin White in front of a Sharkey's truck displaying the black ribbon in memory of Eva's husband Wayne and all the fallen in the towing
industry, be it drivers or otherwise.
Business was good and in '98 Wayne went out on
his own with one truck and a cell phone.
Eva went to work in the hi-tech field, shipping and
receiving, while Wayne ran the show solo.
By 2002 she was laid off and back in the towing
business assisting Wayne.
Life was going well. By 2003 they had 2 children
and the business had 3 trucks on the road. But then
disaster hit. Wayne suddenly died of a heart attack. Eva
got rather choked up as she recounted the story to me
and it was very clear that the love they had shared was
still very strong.
Two weeks later, Eva threw herself into the business
and has run the whole show ever since, claiming she
doesn't know what she would do without the business.
A remarkable woman who is full of life, she shared
some advice and anecdotes with me.
First, she told me that the towing business can be
addicting but more importantly, very unhealthy. Unless
one is highly disciplined and very health conscious,
the business will kill you. As we can see by the demise
of her beloved Wayne, the long hours, cold nights,
stressful situations and dismally poor diet takes its toll.
As it turns out, Wayne had actually had a first
heart attack back in '83.
Eva said Wayne would put the jack under the car
and she would change the tire. Of course Wayne got
the tip and his reply to that one was often, "She helps
me make it and she helps me spend it!" Eva was never
too perturbed about it.
When it comes to men's reactions to her being a
woman in a predominantly male industry she says they
just look at her with a funny expression until they see
that she knows her stuff, then they think it's cool.
Fast forward to 2009 and Eva is still going strong.
Sharkey's boasts 6 trucks (5 owned and one broker);
they have inside storage and a shop to do the repairs on
their own vehicles. Wayne would be proud.
Eva's regret is that when operators die on the job
in the line of duty, there is often a memorial and big
fan fare made of it, but when they simply die by other
causes, such as in Wayne's situation, not much mention
is made, hence the tribute in the title of this article.
Rumor has it Eva now has a boyfriend. You guessed
it, another tow truck operator.
Eager to welcome other women into the industry,
Eva hired Erin White. Erin, better known as Muppet to
the O.P.P. and her colleagues, is a very fun loving, 40ish gal, thoroughly ensconced in the towing industry.
She has been working for Eva since last November.
In Erin's case it was love (or lack there of) that got
her into the business.
E r i n m o v e d t o K e low n a , B C i n h o p e o f
salvaging a failing relationship. She saw an ad for
job at a local towing company and applied, got the
job and was getting what she needed from it.
Unfortunately, she was still not getting what
she needed f rom her relationship so she gave
notice, packed up her 20-year-old Ford F250 and
headed east to Ottawa to
visit family.
She may not currently
have a love a f fa i r w it h
a hu m a n b ut she do e s
have a serious love affair
with her 115 lb Landseer
Unless one is highly
disciplined and very
health conscious, the
business will kill you.
Eva Sharkey and Erin White.
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 3 3
"The first time you come to me with a broken nail, you're out!"
Newfoundland dog 'R izzo' and w ith tr ucks in
general. Erin says she has never owned a car, always
a truck - a Ford gal at heart.
As it turned out, her brother-in-law, in Ottawa,
whose father had owned a towing company and
was the manager of a Ford dealership, put her in
touch with Eva Sharkey and within a month of
arriving, she was hired back into her chosen field.
The two women have much respect for each
other, though Eva had a few timely words of advice
for Erin. She said, "The first time you come to me
with a broken nail, you're out!" Secondly, "That
beast of a dog cannot ride in the truck."
Though Eva is a Chevy gal and Erin a staunch
Ford gal the two of them get along famously. Erin is
aiming to own her own truck soon. She has some
interesting ways of dealing with the standard old
comments like, "Hey you're a woman!" She often
replies with a bewildered expression, looks down
briefly and then back at the person with, "Oh my,
when did that happen?"
She laughs when she tells me that many men who
have called roadside service for a flat repair claim hernia
problems or back injuries when she is reefing off the
I asked her why she t h i n k s women ma ke good
operators and she quipped, "Well, we are great drivers,
we are not af raid to ask for direc tions and we read
instructions." If she was not so fun and light about it, (and
if it wasn't at least partly true) I might have considered
that a sexist statement.
Erin is a great addition to the small army of operators
on the road in Ottawa and though the nights are long,
the weather harsh, the stress, bad diet and all the rest are
taking a toll on her she loves what she does and is devoted
to the trade. She's happy to be under the Sharkey roof.
Though she presently has no affairs of the heart on
the horizon, she is ever hopeful. "However," she says with
a chuckle, "The guy has to be able to change his own tire!" 
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3 4 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
Ontario Tow Show
celebrates the strengths of this resilient industry
The 2009 Ontario Tow Show took a
new twist this year
by Lea Allen,
Associate Publisher
Photo: Lea Allen
Photo: Lea Allen
Victor Poladian and Norbert Pigeon of NRC - Best Friends Forever!
Bill Walsh, Bill & Son Towing
of Etobicoke, ON, winner of
the Tow Canada Towman of
the Year Award.
Photo: Derek Gould
h e P r o v i n c i a l To w i n g A s s o c i a t i o n o f
Ontario’s Annual Charity Golf Tournament
started a week of great fun and camaraderie
for the towing industry. Almost 100 golfers
including the Tow Show vendors and tow
operators showed up at Banty’s Roost Golf Club
in northwest Toronto for a great game of golf
and fund raising. A windup banquet with many
great prizes and speeches ended the day. You can
view the winners at
The Golf Tournament was followed up with
the PTAO Annual General Meeting. The AGM
started a four-day conference of exciting and
interesting seminars and well attended training
sessions, competitions and social events. An
interest ing note was t he la rge reg ist rat ion
numbers for the WreckMaster Training program
The “Retriever”, made in Sweden, retracts into the back of the bike.
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 3 5
Photo: Lea Allen
The Antique is a 1926 Graham cab and chassis with a Weaver Auto Crane manufactured by
Weaver Canadian Co. Ltd. of Chatham Ontario. The car is owned by Harold Markle of CanTow.
If You’re Buying a
New �09 Truck
You’re Covered —
DewEze Has the
Clutch Pump Kit
A Division of Harper Industries, Inc.
151 E. Hwy. 160 • Harper, KS 67058
Ph: 620.896.7381 • Toll-Free: 1.800.835.1042 •
1 C A N A DA |
3 6 TO W
september - october 2009
8/13/08 10:43:25 AM
w it h tow operators f rom a l l over t he
Tow operators f rom bot h sides of
Canada and the northern States attended
and while slightly diminished in numbers
due to the economy, vendor participation
was broad and included vendors from
a l most eve r y s eg me nt of t he tow i ng
industry. Some of the vendors came from
as far away as California. All in all, dozens
of industry vendors and tow operators
combined to produce a nd pa r t ic ipate
in a week-long event that was a cause to
celebrate the resilience and cooperation
that exists in the towing and recovery
industry in North America today.
The Saturday evening banquet was a
sellout, which resulted in many speeches,
smiles and laughs as the competition
trophies were awarded to the winners.
Bill Walsh, a long-time tow operator and
industry supporter won Towman of the
Year. More information on Bill and past
Photo: Lea Allen
Photo: Lea Allen
winners will be posted on the PTAO
website later this summer. A great
windup dance ended the festivities on
Saturday night and the usual pancake
breakfast on Sunday morning. 
Doug Nelson, PTAO.
Canadian Towing Equipment sponsors the BBQ
lunch underneath the Vulcan V70.
Photo: Lea Allen
Photo: Lea Allen
Photo: Derek Gould
Sal and Crochetta Salamone clown around at
the M & S Booth.
Darryl Tims and Ron Schyndel, DJT Wrecker & Carrier
Sales, looking distinguished as always.
Gord Godfrey with a Jerr-Dan HPL35 High Step,
W/Aluminum body & an 8 Ton Wrecker on a '09
Ford F350 4x4 Crew Cab Lariat.
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 3 7
Plane Recovery in Bagotville
SOS Saguenay Gives a Helping Hand
Some recovery operations require more precautions than others, especially
when the vehicle is a plane worth a couple hundred thousand dollars that cannot
be simply towed on its wheels. Time is also a critical factor when recovering an
aircraft that was damaged at touchdown, because the runway must be cleared
as quickly as possible to allow other planes to land.
by Emile Bournival,
while ago, some people may have read about
the emergency landing of Exactair Airline’s
Beech King Air 100 at the 3 Wing Bagotville’s
airport, in the Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean region. The
twin-engine small plane, which could not deploy its
landing gear, had to land on its belly. What almost
no one has heard about, however,
is the recovery work. Remorquage
SOS Saguenay, a company located in
Chicoutimi, next to Bagotville, was put
in charge of the operation.
The Remorquage
SOS Saguenay
people had a
plan for this type
of recovery.
off the ground by approximately three inches to insert a thick, 24-inch
wide strap under the front part of the aircraft. Guided by technicians
of the Exactair Company, owner of the plane, the SOS staff carefully
positioned two more straps in order to equally distribute the weight
of the 3-ton aircraft, and to lift it efficiently without causing more
continued on page 40 вњ’
The Intervention
On June 29th at around 10:00 pm, SOS
Saguenay team members received an
emergency call— an airplane was going to
attempt a landing without undercarriage
on Bagotville military airport’s main runway in less than
an hour. Fortunately, the SOS truck and the equipment
needed to intervene at once were ready and available.
Only twenty minutes later, all crewmembers were on the
site, anxiously waiting for the plane to come down, and
hoping not to witness a crash.
Thanks to the pilot’s great skills, their wishes were
fulfilled. The plane landed on its belly and slid along the
runway over a distance of 4,000 feet.
The recovery of the King Air 100 by SOS Sagnenay
only took about an hour, and by 11:30, the airstrip was
cleared for the planes that were waiting for permission to
land. And two hours later, the SOS team had already put
its material away and was ready for a new intervention.
Procedure and equipment
Here is how SOS Saguenay proceeded. To lift the
twin-engine plane, the crewmembers first installed an
air cushion under its nose, which allowed them to lift it
3 8 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
The plane is set down on its wheels before being towed to the tarmac.
Récupération d’un bimoteur à Bagotville SOS Saguenay prête main forte
Certaines opérations de récupération exigent plus de précautions que d’autres,
particulièrement lorsqu’il s’agit d’un avion valant plusieurs centaines de milliers de
dollars qu’on ne peut pas simplement remorquer sur ses roues. Le temps est aussi un
facteur décisif lors de la récupération d’un avion qui s’est endommagé à l’atterrissage,
car la piste doit être libérée rapidement pour que d’autres appareils puissent s’y poser.
Emile Bournival,
l y quelques temps, certains ont peut-ГЄtre lu Г propos de
l’atterrissage forcé d’un avion Beech King Air 100 de la
compagnie Exactair à l’aéroport militaire de la 3e Escadre
Bagotville, dans la région Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean. Le bimoteur,
dont le train d’atterrissage ne s’est pas déployé, a dû se poser sur
le ventre. Ce dont on n’a pas entendu parler cependant, c’est du
travail de récupération. C’est SOS Saguenay, une
entreprise de Chicoutimi, ville voisine de Bagotville,
qui a été chargée de l’opération.
Le 29 juin, vers 22 h, les membres de l’équipe de
SOS Saguenay ont reçu un appel
d’urgence : un avion allait tenter de
se poser sans train d’atterrissage
sur la piste principale de l’aéroport
militaire de Bagotville dans moins
d’une heure. Heureusement, la
plupar t des employГ©s de SOS
avaient dГ©jГ leur camion Г domicile
avec tout l’équipement nécessaire
pour intervenir dans l’immédiat. En
vingt minutes seulement, tous les
Г©quipiers Г©taient sur la piste, attendant avec inquiГ©tude
la descente de l’appareil et espérant ne pas assister à un
Grâce à l’habileté du pilote, leurs souhaits ont été
exaucés. L’avion s’est posé sur le ventre et a glissé sur
la piste en s’égratignant sur une distance de 4000 pieds.
La rГ©cupГ©ration du King Air 100 par SOS Saguenay
n’a nécessité qu’environ une heure, puisqu’à 11h30, la
piste Г©tait dГ©jГ libГ©rГ©e pour les avions qui attendaient
d’atterrir. Et deux heures plus tard, l’équipe de SOS
avait dГ©jГ rangГ© tout son matГ©riel et Г©tait prГЄt pour une
nouvelle intervention.
L’équipe de
Remorquage SOS
Saguenay disposait
d’un plan préétabli
pour ce type de
ProcГ©dure et Г©quipement
On dépose l’avion sur ses roues pour le remorquer jusqu’au tarmac.
Voici la procГ©dure utilisГ©e par SOS Saguenay. Pour
soulever le bimoteur, on a d’abord installé un coussin
gonflable sous le nez, ce qui a permis de le soulever
continued on page 41 вњ’
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 3 9
вњ’ continued from page 38
Photo (1): The twin-engine Beech King Air 100 plane just landed on its belly.
Le bimoteur de marque Beech modГЁle King Air 100 vient de se poser sur le ventre.
Two heavy trucks were used to lift the plane from its resting
spot in the middle of the runway— one Kenworth 10-wheel and
one Western Star 10-wheel, both NRC-equipped (42-foot rotary
telescopic mast) to which the straps were attached. A tractor
truck with a low-slung semi-trailer that can extend to 100 feet
was also brought to the spot in case the plane could not be put
back on its wheels and towed away from the runway.
Once the aircraft was lifted to sufficient height by SOS
Saguenay’s trucks, technicians pulled the landing gear out
manually. Then it was set down and towed to the tarmac, a
parking space for planes.
Exactair flight 837
Flight 837 was carrying three people and was initially
scheduled to land in Roberval airport, but during the
approach, the pilot noticed that the undercarriage could not
be deployed and realized he was going to have to bring the
plane down on its belly. So he requested permission to land
in Bagotville’s military airport, which was better equipped
to handle this kind of situation. For a pilot, this represents a
major challenge, for the slightest error could result in tragic
consequences. In order to reduce the risk of fire in the event
the wings broke at touchdown (they sometimes contain up to
350 liters of kerosene), the pilot emptied the fuel tanks while
flying in circles over the airport and then performed a perfect
landing despite the circumstances.
In most of the pictures one can see a wet patch under
the aircraft. It is not kerosene but water. As a precautionary
measure, the firemen sprayed the outside of the plane and
inside the engines with the fire hose.
The nine-passenger small plane sustained only light
damage. The fiberglass pods under the
engines are the parts that suffered the
most from the landing. In addition, as
The Kenworth and Western Star 10-wheel
trucks lift the plane with their NRC equipment.
Les 10 roues Kenworth et Western
Star soulèvent l’appareil grâce à leur
Г©quipement NRC.
4 0 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
Interveners hang the straps to the hooks of the masts.
can be seen in photo 1, both propellers are twisted from spinning against
the surface of the runway. In pilot jargon, this is called "prop strike."
Such damage calls for a complete stripping down and a meticulous
verification of the integrity of the engines by the manufacturer because
they may have been subject to deterioration invisible to the naked eye.
Light damage to the undercarriage and to an antenna was also found.
SOS Saguenay’s preparation
SOS Saguenay was already familiar with aircraft and 3 Wing
Bagotville. They participated in the recovery and towing of a fire
truck that had overturned on a runway of the same military airport on
February 6th 2009.
Moreover, this year the company was among the sponsors and staff
of the Bagotville International Air Show. In addition to being part of the
intervention team that would respond in the event of an emergency
landing or major crash, SOS carried various goods, aircraft that could
not fly and displayed its equipment to the visitors.
The Remorquage SOS Saguenay people had a pre-established
plan for this type of recovery. They brought it into play with swiftness
and professionalism, and received nothing but praise from the other
participants in the operation and from the airline involved. 
Photo credits: Courtesy of Enrick Fournier, director of operations,
Remorquage SOS Saguenay
Website SOS Saguenay:
Youtube video of the intervention:
вњ’ continued from page 39
The landing gear was
deployed manually.
Le train d’atterrissage
a Г©tГ© dГ©ployГ©
The Kenworth and Western Star 10-wheel trucks lift the plane with their NRC equipment.
Les 10 roues Kenworth et Western Star soulèvent l’appareil grâce à leur équipement NRC.
d’environ 3 pouces
afin d’insérer une
Г©paisse courroie de
24 pouces de large
sous la partie avant de
l’appareil. Guidés par
les techniciens de la
compagnie Exactair,
propriétaire de l’avion,
les intervenants
Les intervenants accrochent les courroies aux
ont soigneusement
crochets des mГўts tГ©lescopiques.
positionnГ© trois
courroies de façon à répartir également le poids de l’appareil de trois
tonnes, et le soulever efficacement sans l’endommager davantage.
Deux camions lourds ont servi à soulever l’avion qui reposait au
milieu de la piste : un 10 roues Kenworth et un 10 roues Western Star,
tous deux munis d’équipement NRC (mat télescopique rotatif de 42
pieds) auxquels on a fixé les courroies. Un camion tracteur avec semiremorque surbaissée extensible qui peut s’allonger jusqu’à 100 pieds
était également sur place, au cas où l’on ne réussirait pas à remettre
l’avion sur ses roues pour le remorquer hors de la piste.
Une fois l’aéronef soulevé à la hauteur appropriée par les camions
de SOS Saguenay, des techniciens ont sorti le train d’atterrissage
manuellement. On l’a déposé sur ses roues et remorqué jusqu’au
tarmac, une aire de stationnement pour les avions.
Le vol 837 d’Exactair
Le vol 837 contenait trois personnes et devait initialement se poser
à l’aéroport de Roberval, mais, lors de l’approche, le pilote s’est aperçu
que le train d’atterrissage ne se déployait pas et qu’il allait devoir poser
l’appareil sur le ventre. Il a donc demandé la permission d’atterrir
à l’aéroport militaire de Bagotville, mieux équipé pour faire face à ce
genre de situation. Pour un pilote, cela reprГ©sente un dГ©fi majeur, car
la moindre erreur pourrait avoir des consГ©quences tragiques. Afin de
réduire le danger d’incendie au cas où les ailes se briseraient (celles-ci
contiennent parfois jusqu’à 350 litres de kérosène), le pilote du King Air
a vidГ© ses rГ©servoirs en survolant la piste en boucle, puis a effectuГ© un
atterrissage parfait malgrГ© les circonstances.
Sur la plupart des photos, on peut voir que la piste est mouillГ©e sous
l’aéronef. Il ne s’agit pas de kérosène, mais d’eau : par mesure
préventive, les pompiers ont aspergé l’appareil et l’intérieur
des moteurs.
Le petit avion de 9 passagers s’en est finalement tiré à bon
compte. Ce sont les nacelles en fibre de verre sous les moteurs
qui ont subi les dГ©gГўts les plus importants. De plus, comme on
peut le voir sur la photo 1, les deux hГ©lices se sont tordues en
frottant sur la piste, ce qu’on appelle prop strike dans le jargon
des pilotes. Une telle avarie nГ©cessite le dГ©montage complet
et une vГ©rification minutieuse des moteurs par le fabricant,
car ils pourraient avoir souffert de dégradations invisibles à l’œil nu. On a également relevé des dommages légers à une
antenne et au train d’atterrissage.
La prГ©paration de SOS Saguenay
SOS Saguenay Г©tait dГ©jГ familiГЁre avec les avions et la
3e Escadre Bagotville. En effet, l’entreprise a participé à la
récupération et au remorquage d’un camion de pompier qui
s’était complètement retourné sur une piste de l’aéroport
militaire le 6 fГ©vrier 2009.
D’autre part, elle compte depuis cette année parmi
les commanditaires et le personnel du Spectacle aГ©rien
international de Bagotville. En plus de faire partie de l'Г©quipe
d'intervention en cas d'atterrissage d'urgence ou de crash
majeur, l’entreprise a notamment transporté des avions qui
ne pouvaient voler, diverses marchandises et a prГ©sentГ© son
matГ©riel de remorquage aux visiteurs.
L’équipe de Remorquage SOS Saguenay disposait donc
d’un plan préétabli pour ce type de récupération. Elle l’a mis
en œuvre avec rapidité et professionnalisme et n’a récolté
que des Г©loges de la part des autres intervenants et de la
compagnie aérienne impliquée. 
CГ©dits photo: Courtoisie de Enrick Fournier,
directeur des opГ©rations, Remorquage SOS Saguenay
Site Internet de Remorquage SOS Saguenay:
Vidéo Youtube de l’intervention:
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 4 1
Measuring Return on Doug Krupa, owner
of DRM Recovery of
Edmonton is shown here
and in our cover photo
taking delivery of a new
Century 1140 Rotator
with Steve Chapman
of Russell Truck Ltd.
Doug says, "Change
is the only constant
in life. By purchasing
new equipment, you
show your customers
that you are serious
about keeping up with
current technology that
improves efficiency and
your ability to adapt to
changing requirements
in the industry. When
looking at investing in
another tow/recovery
tractor I felt that this unit
was exactly what was
needed. The versatility
and capabilities more
than made up for the
cost. A wise investment
for the changing
economical times." If
you would like to see
more photos of this unit
visit DRM’s web site at
com and see the
photo gallery at www.
Photo: courtesy Miller Industries
ROI is one of a several financial ratios and concepts that any business
person ought to be aware of, to help in making financial decisions. An ROI
calculation compares gains from an investment with the investment costs.
Could you calculate the return on the investment you have in your trucks?
s a tower, what does the concept of Return on
Investment, or ROI, mean to you? Whether you
are an owner-operator, or the owner of a large
towing business, you have a large measure of your
financial life tied up in your trucks, towing equipment,
and facilities. This is an investment for which you
should expect a financial return—an ROI.
Returns don’t need to be restricted to monetary
gains. There’s satisfaction and pride in building a
business, gratitude you may receive from rescued
motorists, or knowing you are providing a living for
4 2 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
yourself and your employees. Still, the dollar investment in the
business must generate an income—a financial return.
How others see ROI
We wanted to see how truck manufacturers or equipment
distributors would present or market their vehicles as an
investment that generates a return. So we asked them or
studied their marketing materials. We also examined the
way accountants and other financial professionals measure
return on investment. Let’s look at this from the financial
professional’s point of view first, and then see how vehicles and
equipment, and the way they are marketed, relate to ROI.
by G a r y W. Lu n d
The bigger the gap between what the truck earns and what
it costs to own and operate, the greater the returns from that
truck. It’s the size of this gap that counts, more than, say, a
lower purchase price alone, or a higher earning capacity alone.
Of course, if you can pry that gap wider from both ends, you
may improve the return dramatically.
Overview of ROI and other financial tools
Return on Investment is one of a several related financial
ratios and concepts that any business person ought to be aware
of, to help in decision-making or to make the case for a bank
loan. ROI looks at a company’s efficiency in using resources—
that is, performance. It can be applied to the investment in the
business as a whole, or to the capital tied up in one part of the
business—say, a tow truck. The definition of ROI is flexible:
it depends on what you include as investment, costs, and
returns. For example, the entire profit picture associated with
an additional truck in the fleet also depends on items such as
driver wages and benefits, licensing, and insurance.
Not upgrading can cost, too. If truck downtime equals
unproductive waiting time, this is not only an opportunity
cost, but for fleet owners with hourly wage drivers, it’s a direct
cost (wages) not offset by company earnings; for owneroperators, it’s potential income foregone. Thus, these could be
costs associated with not replacing that old clunker.
Your accountant can help you with ROI calculations, and
in deciding what elements to include. In any case, an ROI
calculation compares gains from an investment with
the investment costs.
The ROI formula:
ROI = (Gain from investment - cost of investment) пѓ… return
Cost of investment
пѓ… investment
Other related calculations include:
Return on Equity. This means the amount of net
income returned as a percentage of shareholders’ (or
the owner’s) equity. Equity is the value of the assets
shareholders own after liabilities (debts) are taken into
account. The formula:
Net Income
Shareholders’ equity
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) -- this calculation
determines the total purchase, maintenance, and
operating costs of a product. It helps in presenting a
continued on page 44 вњ’
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 4 3
вњ’ continued from page 43
business case for or against a particular
purchase. Ver y worthwhile when
considering a truck purchase. A total
cost of ownership analysis should be
tempered with noting the benefits to be
accrued by the use of the product. In a
Cost-Benefit Analysis, you would do
just that.
Please see the sidebar, in which
the Automobile Retailers Association’s
controller, Michael van Dijk, answers
questions to provide more details about
Trucks are the capital that generates
Tr u c k m a k e r s p r e s e n t t h e i r
commercial vehicles in terms of how
their products contribute to profits.
If you distil the sales pitch from
many of them, boiling it down to the
essence, the formula is this:
The income the truck & equipment
c a n e a r n t h r o u g h c a p a b i l i t y,
capacity, and reliability
+ (the residual value of the truck/
equipment at trade-in time)
– (the purchase/lease cost of the
truck/eqpt. + operating costs)
= the gross profit or benefit you gain
over the life of the vehicle/eqpt.
while you own it.
The truck makers tend not to
describe their wares in terms of ROI,
specifically, perhaps because a truck is,
actually, a depreciating asset. However,
it earns its keep because it works for you.
The bigger the gap between what the
truck earns and what it costs to own and
operate, the greater the returns from that
truck. It’s the size of this gap that counts,
more than, say, a lower purchase price
alone, or a higher earning capacity alone.
Of course, if you can pry that gap wider
from both ends, you may improve your
returns dramatically.
We contacted three representatives
from truck manufacturers or local
dealers to get a sample of truck-makers’
expression of ROI. We also spoke to a
towing equipment distributor .
Improving profitability by
4 4 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
maximizing productivity and minimizing
operating cost and overall life-cycle
costs is the Kenworth selling strategy.
Kenworth places emphasis on durability,
minimum down-time for maintenance,
driver retention, prestige, resale value,
as well as advanced aerodynamics
and engine technology for improved
fuel economy. The literature speaks of
qualities of permanence, innovation,
engineering, and craftsmanship.
Life-cycle costs defined
As examples of enhancing
productivity and reducing life-cycle
costs, Kenworth describes its medium
duty offerings as engineered for faster
servicing, and “...consistently ranked as
one of the best for resale value.” As well,
Kenworth’s medium duty offerings T270/
T370 Class 6 and 7 are available as hybrid
models, which can deliver significantly
better fuel mileage.
In its February 2003 document,
“White Paper on Life Cycle Cost,”
Kenworth defines life cycle cost as “...the
sum of the direct and indirect expenses
incurred during the life of a truck.” The
white paper specifies what this includes:
Direct expenses:
• Fuel
• Maintenance
• Fixed Costs
• Financing-acquisition cost, interest,
and resale
Indirect costs:
• Driver turnover
• Customer impact
• Load maximization
• Trip times
• Projected image
• Opportunity costs
Resale values
Kenworth presses the advantages
of “spec’ing” for resale value, which can
reduce life cycle costs. In a document
provided by Jeff Parietti, Kenworth’s
Corporate Communications VP, the
company explains, “Truck make is the
number one decision a buyer can make to
increase a truck’s resale value. Premium
brands bring premium resale dollars.”
Kenworth points to independent price
guides to show that Kenworth trucks
retain their value better than non-
premium brands of similar mileage and
equipment. But the document also notes
generously that for any make, equipment
options and upgrades generally add more
to the vehicle’s resale value, in dollars,
than they cost in the first place. And the
engine is the most significant of these.
Kenworth mentions these additional
options that can bring a resale premium:
• 13- and 18-speed transmission over
the 10-speed transmission
• Aluminum front wheels rather than
steel front wheels
• Dual chrome exhaust over standard
• Dual stainless steel air cleaners over
painted air cleaners
• A u t o m a t i c t r a n s m i s s i o n o v e r
manual transmission
• Adding an engine brake The document also gives a specific
example, where a 13-speed manual
transmission has a premium, new, of
about $1,100 more than a comparable
(same torque) 10- speed manual. Yet at
resale, the 13-speed can command up to
$2,000-$3,000 more than the 10-speed.
In addition, used truck values vary by
region. Different markets prefer different
features and different makes. Still, says
Kenworth, premium brands will hold
their value better overall. Finally, when
selling a used truck, it can make a $5,000
to $6,000 difference whether you sell it
directly to the ultimate buyer (retail) or
to a dealer in a trade (wholesale). A retail
sale may take a lot longer than an instant
trade-in, though.
Hino emphasises economy and
toughness, confidently backing this up
with a “best-in-the-business” customer
care package. Hino marketing materials
speak of a commitment to environmental
responsibility, and leadership in engine
and emission control technologies.
With “industry leading coverage,”
Hino’s warranties express the company’s
commitment to quality and a confidence
in the durability and reliability of its
1. Basic engine – 3 years/ unlimited km
2. Basic vehicle / driveline – 2 years /
unlimited km
3. Emission system – 5 years / 160,000
4. Cab corrosion / frame rails – 5 years /
unlimited km
5. Extended engine & trans – 5 years /
400,000 km
Free are three years of roadside
assistance and one year of recommended
As for productivity, vehicles such
as the Hino 155 Cab-Over are praised
for having one of the highest payload
capacities, high manoeuvrability, and
easy engine and driveline access. Hino’s
medium duty Class 6 trucks are touted
as setting “the standard for quality,
reliability, drivability, and value,” and
having “class-leading fuel efficiency and
Hino’s participation in the Dakar
Rally is one way the company learns to
build durability and reliability into its
products. Over 18 years of participation,
the Hino team has completed every
10,000 km race over extremes of terrain
and weather. In the truck category,
Hino’s team Sugawara won the overall
championship in 1997, and placed
second overall in five of the races. And
in its own under-10-litre class, Hino has
placed first for seven consecutive years.
In the publication Hino Cares, Spring
2009 issue, the Dakar Rally is described
as “one of the pillars of the Hino brand.”
Quite clearly, the company intends
to be a major contender in the durability
sweepstakes, and it wants potential
customers to know this. Thus, along with
operating economy, touting reliability
and productivity are Hino’s strategy for
maximizing ROI for its customers.
Ford Canada’s Communications
Manager, Christine Hollander, explains
that Ford’s competitive strategy for
building value, competence, and lower
life-cycle costs into its vehicles relies
on Four Pillars: Quality, Safety, Fuel
efficiency, and Technology.
On quality, Hollander notes that
third party observers now judge Ford as
“at par in quality with the best in the
industry. We’ve made big strides in all
the four pillars, quality being a big one,
and fuel efficiency as well.... We’re trying
hard right now to close the gap with
where we are in terms of quality and the
perception that customers have.” She
adds, “The better the vehicle is built,
the longer you can use it. It all goes back
to quality, safety, fuel efficiency, and
Technology: Eco-boost engines
For trucks, rather than hybrids,
Ford is concentrating on its EcoBoost
technology, a twin-turbo direct-injection
system. Eco-boost is starting out in cars
and SUVs, but the F150 is soon to be
so-equipped, and by 2013, 90% of Ford
vehicles are planned to be available with
The six-cylinder EcoBoost engine
in the Flex has the horsepower and
torque of a V-8, with the fuel efficiency
of a V-6. A Ford news release praises the
technology: “The Flex with EcoBoost
boasts 355 horsepower and produces
350 ft.-lb. of torque...allowing Flex to
accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about
seven seconds.” Power and performance
are maintained at elevations well
above 5,000 feet. Hollander adds, “The
EcoBoost system can improve fuel
economy by 10%, and reduce CO2 by
about 7%. It’s a greener vehicle, with a
high-performance engine, that pollutes
less and uses less fuel.”
Handy innovations
Hollander talks up tools such as the
“Ford Work Solution” in pick-up trucks.
“This provides a computer, a cable-lock
for equipment, and a bar-code reader,
and a GPS system to track vehicles and
crews. The computer will tell you, yes,
you have all your tools. It’s a system that
helps tow truck users, for example, to be
more efficient. This will be available on
F150s and Super Duties going forward.”
Another handy feature is the
Mid-Box—a tool box or storage space,
accessed by a door on the side of the
truck. “The Mid-Box, the Ford Work
Solution, and the Four Pillars—those are
all contributors to return on investment
to potential buyers who work with their
trucks,” Hollander concludes.
Finally, in its web site and brochures
In brief, profit-making
capability as expressed by
some other truck makers
Chevrolet Silverado: “Canada’s [or
America’s] Best Truck,” “massive power
and a rock-solid frame,” “best [warranty]
coverage in Canada.”
Dodge: “Dodge’s top priority is your
bottom line.” Dodge makes hay of the
greater fuel efficiency of its Ram 5500
compared to Chevy and Ford.
Freightliner: In the case of Freightliner’s
Business Class M2 medium duty truck,
“versatility is the goal,” along with
“strength and performance you need to
maximize productivity day in and day out.”
International: For the Durastar 4400,
International touts its leaner service
schedules, and a stronger frame that can
carry heavier loads. “Greater durability
and maximum uptime is all about helping
drivers and crews be more efficient.”
International’s Durastar Hybrid is said to
enjoy 30-40% better fuel efficiency (up to
60% in high-PTO-use situations).
For Mack, too, it’s about maximizing
payload, and traditional strength. “The
Titan model is an all-out Mack – strong and
Peterbilt: “Class Pays.” What more
does one need to say?
Volvo calls its trucks the world’s finest.
On productivity, the company says, “...
when you choose a Volvo highway or
vocational truck, you gain a business
partner that’s focused on maximizing your
productivity and helping to drive your
Western Star: “Serious Uptime —A
truck is either running or not running,
making money or wasting time. It’s hard
to get serious about a truck that is always
down, draining your bottom line. Caring for
your Western Star is easy. It’s built to run,
designed to last … and is incredibly simple
to maintain.”
Western Star pulls no punches when
it comes to bragging about its trucks’
durability. In its Vocational Trucks brochure,
Western Star says: “You go where other
truckers won’t. We go where other trucks
continued on page 46 вњ’
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 4 5
ARA’s controller, Michael van Dijk,
answers some questions about ROI
Tow Canada: Perhaps there are a couple of definitions of ROI,
depending on the situation?
Michael van Dijk: The short definition of ROI is that it is a
performance measure to evaluate the efficiency of an investment. The
definition of the term in the broadest sense just attempts to measure
the profitability of an investment and, as such, there is no one “right”
calculation. The calculation can be different, and depending on the
situation, the way the ratio is read and used can differ. For example,
an insurance company would use the ROI to measure profit/return,
and will only continue with the investment if it continues to grow. In
educational organizations ROI is used primarily for self-justification,
rather than continuous improvement.
TC: What roles do resale value and capital cost allowance play in
MvD: Both resale value and capital cost allowance reduce the cost
of the investment, increasing the ROI. Resale value at the end of the
investment period, capital cost allowance [CCA] over the “life” of the
asset. Both, however, become less valuable the longer the investment
period. ...You can find the depreciation percentages [for the various]
CCA classes here:
TC: How might you describe the opportunity cost of choosing
a $65,000 medium duty truck + operating costs over investing that
money in a GIC?
MvD: Opportunity cost looks at the “value” of doing the best thing
and ignoring the next best thing. It is not treated as an actual cost in
any financial statement. The opportunity cost of the above decision
is the value of the interest on the GIC. Opportunity cost is not only
monetary though.
TC: How might replacing an old truck with a new one represent an
opportunity cost?
MvD: The opportunity cost of a decision is based on what must be
given up (the next best alternative) as a result of the decision. A new
truck replacing an old one, doing the same work, but more efficiently
probably has no opportunity cost. If, however, the old truck was able
to tow heavier vehicles than the new for example, then there may be
opportunity cost (the cost being the income that is lost by not towing
the heavier vehicles).
TC: If a business can reduce operating costs with a more efficient
vehicle (despite its purchase cost), while earning more (better
capacity/reliability), how do we explain the return on this specific
MvD: ROI does not just look at how much profit is made, but also
how much cost saving is realized. Both will add to the gain of the
investment. A simple ROI formula, for example for the above could be:
(cost reduction + earnings) – (operating cost + purchase cost)
ROI = _____________________________________________
(operating cost + purchase cost)
Keep in mind that the calculation for return on investment and,
therefore the definition, can be modified to suit the situation - it all
depends on what you include as returns and costs.
4 6 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
вњ’ continued from page 45
on medium duty models, Ford speaks of high payload,
tough frames, and long-lasting trucks. The Medium
Duty F-650 and F-750 brochure speaks of Brute
Strength, a “Backbone for business,” “... legendary
hauling and towing strength,” service availability, and
the “Built Ford Tough®” reputation. And “Ford trucks
can help you take care of business every day.”
Canadian Towing Equipment
Harold Markle is President of Canadian Towing
Equipment, Toronto and Cambridge. CTE speaks
of value being more important than low price. For
example, the cost of repairs can often exceed that
little further investment that you could have made
initially for a more robust component or unit.
Markle explains that there are three major
components or stages to assembling a tow truck or
car carrier in Canada. 1. The chassis (e.g., GMC).
2. The body (i.e., Miller, Jerr-Dan, etc.). 3.The final
stage (final assembly). In the U.S., it’s typical for
the distributor to receive completed units from the
wrecker manufacturer, whereas in Canada, the
distributor more typically takes care of the final
For stage 3, if the distributor takes care to
properly match the PTO, the electrical, and hydraulic
components with the chassis and wrecker body, these
should run well together for the life of the vehicle.
Markle cautions, “If this third stage isn’t done
properly, there can be as much trouble there as
there could be with, say, a chassis. At Canadian
Towing Equipment, part of the effort we go through
is the constant contact we have with the chassis
manufacturer and the wrecker builder. This helps
ensure that we’re doing what they expect us to
do and vice versa...[and that] the componentry is
compatible.” The communication is important also
because as chassis continue to evolve; CTE stays up to
date with the changes.
CTE has a consistent process for marrying the
right components, and assembling them correctly.
When complete, the finished products receive a
National Safety Mark sticker. The company explains
to the customer that quality and value result from
this process and from the backup support of service
and parts.
Truck makers and equipment distributors tend to
expresses ROI more in terms of productivity through
capacity and less down-time, and lower life-cycle
costs. In a sense, rather than using the term “return
on investment,” they all just define how to achieve
in focus
Monster truck - a big hit
These pictures were taken in my home town of Moncton N.B. The
company that was putting on a Monster Truck Show called me and asked
if I could help to promote the show. I thought the best way to do it was to
take the monster truck around town. It was a big hit and after a period of
5 hours over 2500 people stopped and asked about the show.
It also helped to promote my business by allowing people to see and
example of the many different things we tow. Two months later, people
around Moncton still ask me about it.
Doug Short, Five Star Towing.
To the rescue on Pigeon Lake, AB
Ma-Me-O's Boat Launch on
Pigeon Lake, about 60 kilometers
southwest of Edmonton, was
closed during the third week of
June due to low water levels. There
was a sign up directing people
to either the Provincial Park or
Mulhurst. This guy decided to try
his luck a little north of Ma-Me-O’s
and launch his boat off the beach
- after all, he has a 4X4. He starts
to back the trailer and boat into the
water but goes off a ledge into the
deep water. Next thing you know,
the truck is 400’ out into the lake.
But he said it’s ok because his
insurance will pay for it. Tony's
Towing of Wetaskiwin, AB was
called to the rescue.
Photo by Ken Badry.
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 4 7
new products
StreamlightВ® Introduces PolystylusВ® Pen Light
Slim, Ultra-Tough Fiberglass Light Boasts High-Intensity LED Available in Four LED Colors
treamlightВ® Inc., a leading provider of high-performance flashlights
for automotive repair, industrial safety, fire and rescue, law
enforcement professionals and sporting enthusiasts, announced it
has introduced the PolyStylusВ®, an ultra-slim, ultra-tough FiberWrapв„ў
fiberglass polymer pen light equipped with a high-intensity LED that is
available in four LED colors.
"The PolyStylusВ® pen light provides a versatile tool to help with a
wide variety of tasks," said StreamlightВ® Chief Operating Officer Ray
Sharrah. "The red or green LEDs, for example, can help preserve night
vision for police when on night patrol. The green LED, which doesn't
spook game, also provides an all-purpose light for sporting enthusiasts.
Automotive mechanics are able to see under the hood or chassis while
making repairs with the white LED, while the red or blue LEDs are useful
for identifying trouble spots for close-up work."
Sharrah added the PolyStylusВ® is a perfect light for industrial safety
professionals to identify potential problems on a plant floor, while
fire and rescue workers have a versatile light for pinpointing trouble
spots as they work to put out fires or render first aid under darkened
The PolyStylusВ® can be purchased with a single white, green, red
Northern Alberta
Tow Truck Sales
or blue LED, or purchased as a combo pack, featuring
a PolyStylusВ® with a white LED module that can
be unscrewed and replaced with any of the
three included color LEDs modules.
The PolyStylusВ®' high-intensity,
5-millimeter LED is impervious
to shock and boasts
a 100,000-hour
lifetime. In the
white mode,
the PolyStylusВ®
provides 85
candela peak
beam intensity
and 9 lumens
of measured
system output.
The blue mode
offers 63
candela peak
1-800-829-7303 15236 - 118 Ave, Edmonton, Alberta T5M 1Y2
New Trucks
Used Trucks
New Carriers
Used Carriers
Serving Western Canada for 20 years.
Join us for our open house at 15236 - 118 Avenue, Edmonton
Friday, September 18, 2009 from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, September 19, 2009 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
BBQ and refreshments.
Chevron and Vulcan factory reps will be attending.
RSVP Garry or Bob at 1-800-829-7303
4 8 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
beam intensity and 1.7 lumens of measured
system output; the red mode offers 72
candela peak beam intensity and 5.1 lumens
of measured system output, and the green
mode offers 3.5 lumens of measured system
output and 45 candela peak beam intensity. A
color-coordinated parabolic reflector produces
a concentrated beam with optimum peripheral
The PolyStylus В® provides up to 24
continuous hours to the 10% lumen output
level for the red beam and 48 continuous
hours to the 10% lumen output level for the
white, blue and green beams. Built for heavyduty use, the rugged, drop-tested PolyStylusВ®'
light-weight, ultra-tough fiberglass epoxy body
resists bending or flexing. The light's unique
non-conductive housing even allows the light
to be used safely near electrical circuits.
Weighing a mere 1.4 ounces, including
three AAAA-sized alkaline batteries, the
PolyStylusВ® measures 6.68 inches in length
and features a pocket clip on the end-cap. The
light's tail-switch is designed for one-handed
momentary or constant "on" operation. It is
backed by StreamlightВ®'s Limited Lifetime
For additional information, please call
(800) 523-7488 or visit
new products
Beacon Software’s New DispatchAnywhere™ Visual Dispatch Module
Internet Dispatching made EASY and AFFORDABLE!!!
eacon Software has announced a new Visual Dispatch
module for its popular DispatchAnywhereв„ў towing
and road service management software. The Visual
Dispatch module will allow for a completely visual dispatch
experience. The calls and trucks (if a company has GPS) will
be displayed on the same map. A company can choose to
have the map only or the map and Dispatch Grid windows
open at the same time. In fact, the dispatch grid could be
displayed on one monitor and map could be displayed on
a second monitor for the complete picture. Visual Dispatch
supports Road, Aerial, and Birds Eye Views to allow a
company to accurately view a job, so they can better direct
the driver. Visual Dispatch presently supports GPS systems
from Teletrac, ITrak, VehiclePath, TomTom and C3 Location
Systems. Other popular GPS systems will be added in the
upcoming months.
DispatchAnywhereв„ў Visual Dispatch Features include:
• Real-time Call Locations
• Real-time Truck Locations
• Interactive Map
• Address Verification
• Drag and Drop Dispatch
• Birds Eye, Aerial and Road Map Views
Beacon Software was founded in 2001 to supply the most
comprehensive towing management solutions available. Since
releasing its premier towing and road service management solution
DispatchAnywhere в„ў in 2003, Beacon Software now services
over 13,000 towers in 30 countries with a multitude of products
– including the industry’s leading vehicle towing instruction
website Beacon pioneered paperless digital
dispatching with TowMagicв„ў ( and has since
routed nearly 2 million motor club calls. Beacon’s products have
helped thousands of service providers save money by becoming
more efficient.
For more information on TowMagicв„ў or DispatchAnywhereв„ў: or
ph: 866-437-6653 or 440-237-6653.
JERR-DAN Announces Summer Cash Back Promotion Event
Rebates of $1,000 available until September 30 on eligible 2008 Ford chassis
err-Dan Corporation, an Oshkosh Corporation [NYSE:
OSK] company and leading manufacturer of towing and
recovery equipment, announced a $1,000 direct-to-thecustomer cash-back rebate program on select Ford chassis
in stock. When added to the special chassis discount
program now available through Jerr-Dan distributors, the
combined savings are unmatched in the industry.
Qualifying chassis models include the 2008 FordВ®
F-450 4X4, F-550 4X4 and F-650 models equipped with any
Jerr-DanВ® wrecker or carrier body. The customer can either
choose to receive a $1,000 cash rebate directly from JerrDan or assign the rebate directly to the distributor to use
towards the down payment.
"The Ford F-Series chassis is an excellent platform
for Jerr-Dan wreckers and carriers, and with this special
cash-back program it's an outstanding time for customers
to upgrade their fleets," said Patrick Cahill, Jerr-Dan
Corporation vice president of sales. "When compared to
the soon-to be-arriving 2010 models, the savings are more
than $7,000."
To be eligible, retail delivery must be made no later than
September 30, 2009. This direct-to-the-customer cashback rebate program cannot be used in conjunction with
any other rebate program. In addition, no additional discounts
beyond the special chassis discount will apply or be offered.
Contact a Jerr-Dan distributor for details.
A wide range of Jerr-DanВ® towing and recovery vehicles are available on
Ford F-Series chassis.
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 4 9
advertisers directory
A n nivers a r y
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In The Ditch Towing Products
Les Г‰quipements Twin
M & S Equipment Sales
Miller Industries
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NRC Industries
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Del Equipment Ltd.
2008 Sterling 5500 with HPL35 Jerr-Dan
Wrecker, call for details and a complete
listing of all our used inventory.
Cell: 604-817-0046
Fax: 604-942-8814
To advertise
in the Tow Canada Classifieds
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call Lea Allen 1-877-869-8722
Rates are affordable and your ad can be seen by 18,000 readers
Get the facts at
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5 0 TO W C A N A DA |
september - october 2009
You’re always ahead
with DEL behind you.
P acific
Del Equipment
1963 Kingsway Ave. Port Coquitlam, BC V3C 1S9
Q uebec
A tlantic
Tel 604.941.6241
Tel 514.684.1760
Tel 800.606.8353
Del Equipment
1655 Boul. Hymus
Dorval, QC H9P 1J5
Del Equipment
83 Caledonia Rd. Moncton, NB E1H 2E6
w w w . d e l e q u i p m e n t . c o m
w w w . j e r r - d a n . c o m
september-october 2009
| TOW C A N A DA 5 1
View Current Trucks For Sale at our New Website
Sales •  P arts •  S ervice
Miller distributor for BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba
Tom English
British Columbia
Toll Free: 1-800-663-4140
Tel: 604-523-3200 • Fax: 604-526-1196
Steve Chapman
Alberta, Saskatchewan & Manitoba
Toll Free: 1-866-966-9888
Tel: 403-204-9709 • Fax: 403-204-9714
w w w.r ussel lt r uc
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