How Much Do Tow Truck Drivers Make? A Detailed Look At Tow Truck Driver Pay

Towing a disabled vehicle or hauling an improperly parked car can be a headache. But for tow truck drivers, it’s an opportunity to make money and build a career. If you’ve ever wondered how much tow truck drivers make, you’re not alone.

We’ll explore tow truck driver salaries, factors affecting pay, job outlook and more.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The average salary for tow truck drivers in the U.S. is around $35,000 per year, but pay can range from under $25,000 for entry-level drivers to over $65,000 for experienced operators and owners of multiple trucks.

Average Tow Truck Driver Salary

Tow truck drivers play a crucial role in assisting stranded motorists and removing vehicles from accident scenes. This demanding job requires specialized skills and a commitment to providing excellent service.

One aspect that often comes to mind when considering a career as a tow truck driver is the salary. Let’s take a closer look at the average tow truck driver salary and the factors that impact it.

Salary Ranges for Tow Truck Drivers

The average salary for tow truck drivers can vary depending on several factors, including location, level of experience, and the type of towing services provided. On average, tow truck drivers can expect to earn between $30,000 and $50,000 per year.

However, it is important to note that this range can be influenced by various factors.

Geographical location is a significant factor that affects tow truck driver salaries. Generally, areas with a higher cost of living tend to offer higher salaries. For example, tow truck drivers in metropolitan areas may earn more than those in rural areas.

Additionally, the demand for towing services in a particular location can also impact salary ranges.

Experience level is another crucial factor that affects tow truck driver salaries. As with any profession, the more experience a driver has, the higher their earning potential. Entry-level tow truck drivers typically earn less than those with several years of experience.

However, as drivers gain experience and develop their skills, they may have the opportunity to earn a higher salary.

Factors Affecting Tow Truck Driver Pay

Several factors can influence the pay of tow truck drivers. One significant factor is the type of towing services provided. Some tow truck drivers work for towing companies, while others may work for law enforcement agencies or private companies.

The type of employer can impact the salary offered to tow truck drivers.

Another factor that affects tow truck driver pay is the level of specialization. Drivers who specialize in handling heavy-duty vehicles or have additional certifications, such as recovery or hazardous materials handling, may command higher salaries.

These specialized skills require additional training and expertise, which can make drivers more valuable to employers.

Additionally, the hours worked can also impact a tow truck driver’s pay. Many tow truck drivers work irregular hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays. Some drivers may receive overtime pay or bonuses for working during these less desirable hours, which can significantly increase their overall earnings.

Job Outlook for Tow Truck Drivers

Employment Growth Projections

The job outlook for tow truck drivers is quite positive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for tow truck drivers and other motor vehicle operators is projected to grow 6% from 2021 to 2031, adding about 39,000 new jobs.

This is about as fast as the average growth rate for all occupations during that period.

There are several key factors driving this steady growth:

  • Increasing vehicle ownership – As the number of vehicles on the road continues to rise, so will the need for tow truck services.
  • Aging infrastructure – Deteriorating roads and bridges lead to more accidents and breakdowns, requiring more tow trucks.
  • Severe weather events – Tow trucks are essential during major storms, floods, etc. to remove damaged vehicles.
  • Expanding urban areas – More congested cities mean more disabled vehicles and accidents.

The industry is also seeing a generational shift as many veteran drivers retire, opening up opportunities for new drivers to enter the field.

Opportunities for Advancement

Tow truck drivers have several possible advancement pathways, including:

  • Owning their own towing business – Many drivers aspire to start their own company after gaining experience.
  • Management roles – Experienced drivers may advance to dispatch, operations, or general manager positions.
  • Specialized services – Drivers can train for recovery of large vehicles, hazardous materials, etc.
  • Mechanic positions – Some cross-train as mechanics to inspect/repair vehicles.
  • Law enforcement towing – After certification, can tow vehicles for police/gov agencies.

Drivers with strong customer service skills and business acumen tend to have the best advancement prospects. Continuing education in business, management, and specialized certifications can also boost career growth.

Education, Licensing and Training Requirements

High School Education

While there are no specific educational requirements to become a tow truck driver, having a high school diploma or equivalent is beneficial. A high school education provides a solid foundation in reading, writing, and basic math skills, which are necessary for understanding and following instructions, completing paperwork, and communicating effectively with customers and other professionals in the industry.

Commercial Driver’s License

One of the most important requirements for tow truck drivers is obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). A CDL is necessary for operating a tow truck and driving heavy vehicles. The requirements for obtaining a CDL vary by state, but generally include passing a written knowledge test and a practical skills test.

It is essential for tow truck drivers to have a good driving record, as well as knowledge of traffic laws and safety regulations.

On-the-Job Training

Once the necessary education and licensing requirements are met, tow truck drivers typically receive on-the-job training. This training is provided by experienced drivers or supervisors and helps new drivers gain practical skills and knowledge specific to the towing industry.

They learn how to properly secure vehicles, operate different types of towing equipment, and handle various roadside situations safely. On-the-job training is crucial for tow truck drivers to develop the necessary skills and confidence to handle challenging and potentially dangerous situations that may arise while on duty.

In addition to the basic requirements, tow truck drivers may also benefit from attending specialized training programs or workshops. These programs can provide additional knowledge and skills in areas such as vehicle recovery, customer service, and roadside assistance.

Some reputable organizations offer training courses specifically designed for tow truck drivers, which can enhance their expertise and increase their earning potential.

Working Conditions and Lifestyle Considerations

Being a tow truck driver can be a challenging yet rewarding career choice. It requires individuals to work under various working conditions and consider certain lifestyle factors. Let’s take a closer look at some of these considerations:

Long and Irregular Hours

Tow truck drivers often work long and irregular hours, as emergencies and accidents can happen at any time. They may be required to work during weekends, holidays, and even overnight shifts. This flexibility in scheduling can be both a positive and a negative aspect of the job.

On one hand, it allows for a diverse work schedule. On the other hand, it may disrupt personal plans or require adjusting to a non-traditional sleep routine.

Physically Demanding Tasks

Towing vehicles involves physically demanding tasks that require strength and endurance. Tow truck drivers need to be in good physical condition to perform their duties effectively. They may need to lift heavy objects, use tools and equipment, and work in various weather conditions.

Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help tow truck drivers cope with the physical demands of the job.

Potential Hazards on the Road

Tow truck drivers face potential hazards on the road while assisting stranded motorists or towing vehicles. They need to be cautious and vigilant to ensure their safety and the safety of others. Some of the hazards they may encounter include reckless drivers, adverse weather conditions, and dangerous road situations.

It is crucial for tow truck drivers to follow safety protocols and wear appropriate protective gear to minimize risks.

For more information on working conditions and lifestyle considerations of tow truck drivers, you can visit This website provides valuable insights and resources for individuals interested in pursuing a career in the towing industry.

Benefits of Being a Tow Truck Driver

Flexibility and Independence

One of the major benefits of being a tow truck driver is the flexibility and independence it offers. Unlike typical 9-to-5 jobs, tow truck drivers have the freedom to set their own schedule and choose the hours they want to work.

This can be particularly appealing for individuals who prefer a non-traditional work environment or have other commitments that require a flexible schedule. Whether it’s working during the day, night, or on weekends, tow truck drivers have the freedom to decide when they want to be on the road.

Helping People in Need

Being a tow truck driver also provides the opportunity to make a positive impact on people’s lives. When drivers are called to assist stranded motorists, they become the heroes of the road, rescuing those in distress.

Whether it’s helping someone with a flat tire or towing a vehicle that has broken down, tow truck drivers play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and well-being of drivers on the road. It’s a rewarding feeling to know that your work is directly helping those in need, and tow truck drivers often develop a sense of fulfillment from their job.

Opportunity to Advance and Own a Business

Tow truck driving is not just a job; it can also be a stepping stone towards entrepreneurship. Many tow truck drivers have the opportunity to advance in their careers and eventually own their own towing business.

By gaining experience and building a reputation in the industry, drivers can establish themselves as reliable professionals and attract more clients. Owning a towing business can provide even greater flexibility and financial rewards, as you have the ability to set your own rates and expand your services.

It’s an exciting prospect for those who are looking to take control of their career and build their own successful enterprise.


While tow truck driving can be a difficult job, it offers the chance to make a decent living and progress in a career. For those willing to work hard, opportunities exist to increase pay substantially and even start their own towing company.

By understanding the salary ranges, job outlook, and pros and cons of the role, you can determine if becoming a tow truck driver aligns with your career goals.

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