Towing costs can be a confusing and intimidating topic for many people. As a towing company in Charlotte, North Carolina, we feel it’s important to understand what you’re getting into when it comes to the cost of having your vehicle towed, as there are several factors that will affect the total price.
From understanding how far you need to go, if additional services are needed such as winching or flatbed hauling, and other things like insurance coverage – all of these elements come together in determining the overall cost of your tow.
In this week’s post, we’ll take an in-depth look at everything related to the cost of towing so you can make sure you get quality service at a reasonable rate.
Table of Contents:
- Towing Costs: What to Expect
- Distance of the Tow
- Type of vehicle being towed
- Type of tow truck required
- Specialized Equipment
- Time Of Day
- Other Factors
Towing Costs: What to Expect
We may be stating the obvious here, but not all towing jobs are the same. Even two seemingly similar towing requests can have two dramatically different prices. This is because the cost of a towing job depends on various factors.
Customers are often surprised by the bill they get for a given tow, and to be sure it can sometimes get costly depending on the particular job. That’s why we feel strongly that a happy towing customer is an educated towing customer.
Let’s break each condition down with an example, so you can understand the logic that goes into pricing our service jobs.
Distance of the Tow
Towing services like ours typically charge a flat rate to dispatch a vehicle and add an additional charge based on miles towed. For a Charlotte-based tow, we charge, the base dispatch price is $100 plus $4.00 for every mile that we transport your vehicle (2023 pricing). This rate is based on using a “Flat Bed Tow Truck”, during normal business hours and conditions (don’t worry we’ll get into these additional factors in a minute).
For example, a standard five-mile tow from Uptown Charlotte NC may cost around $120, while a 30-mile tow to neighboring Greensboro, North Carolina may cost around $220.
Some towing companies may offer flat rates for specific distances or destinations, such as towing your vehicle to a specific mechanic or your home.
Type of vehicle being towed
Firstly, let’s talk about the types of vehicles that are being towed. If you’re driving a compact car, your towing cost may be less compared to a bigger vehicle such as an SUV or a truck. This is because larger vehicles require more specialized equipment and labor to tow, which means more cost for the towing company.
On the other hand, if you’re in a luxury car or a classic vehicle, you may need a more specialized towing service that offers extra precautions to ensure your prized possession is protected during transport, which will also add to the cost.
Towing a small car is generally less expensive than towing a larger SUV or truck. Towing a luxury car may also be more expensive due to the added care required during transport. Larger vehicles such as trucks and SUVs usually require larger tow trucks and therefore cost more than smaller cars.
Additionally, costs increase if special equipment is needed for certain types of vehicles or equipment, as in the case of the extra straps and rigging needed for stabilizing motorcycles for transport, this will increase the overall cost as well.
Type of tow truck required
Tow trucks come in different types, each suited for different purposes and each with a different cost structure. The most common types of tow trucks include flatbed tow trucks, hook and chain tow trucks, wheel-lift tow trucks, and integrated tow trucks.
Flatbed tow trucks feature a long flatbed platform that can tilt to the ground, allowing the vehicle to be loaded onto it easily. These tow trucks are commonly used to transport luxury and expensive vehicles because they ensure the car’s complete safety during transport. The cost of a flatbed tow truck service typically ranges between $85 to $125 for a local tow (excluding additional miles towed).
Hook and chain tow trucks, on the other hand, use chains to lift the vehicle off the ground and drag it to the desired location. They are not commonly used today, mainly because of the risk of damaging the vehicle. Hook and chain tow trucks are also less expensive compared to flatbed tow trucks, costing between $65 and $100 for a local tow (excluding additional miles towed).
Wheel-lift tow trucks are another popular type of tow truck. They use a metal yoke attached to the front or rear wheels of the vehicle and lift it off the ground. These tow trucks are more versatile than hook-and-chain tow trucks and can be used to tow a wide range of vehicles. A wheel-lift tow truck service costs are similar to flatbed prices and typically run between $85 to $125 for a local tow (excluding additional miles towed).
Finally, integrated tow trucks are designed to transport heavy-duty vehicles and equipment. They are called “integrated” as most models have a rigid wheel lift and crane that allows the truck to secure and transport loads heavier than the tow truck itself.
As you’d expect, they are used to tow large trucks, buses, and construction equipment, making them the most expensive type of tow truck service. The cost of an integrated tow truck service typically ranges between $300 to $500 for a local tow (excluding additional miles towed).
But it’s not just the type of vehicle that affects pricing. The type of equipment required for the towing service can also impact the cost. For instance, if your vehicle is stuck in a tight space, you may need a specialized tow truck attachment or towing dolly that can navigate narrow streets, tight spaces, or tricky corners.
Similarly, if your vehicle is stuck in a ditch or off-road, you may need a winch or a specialized off-road tow truck to get it out.
These specialized towing services require specialized equipment, which means a higher cost for the towing company, and ultimately, a higher cost for you.
Time Of Day
The time of day can dramatically also impact the pricing logic of towing services. If you need towing services during peak hours, such as rush hour or late at night, the price may be higher.
Peak-hour pricing is determined by 2 factors mainly: increased demand and time spent on the road. During rush hour, for example, calls spike consistently, however, our drivers may spend twice as much time waiting in traffic compared to other times of the day.
For those towing services that offer overnight towing, costs are higher due to increased labor rates required by our dispatchers and driver during these hours.
In addition to the above factors, other considerations may affect the pricing logic of towing services. For instance, some companies may charge a fee for hooking up your vehicle to the tow truck, while others may include it in the overall price.
Similarly, some companies may have a minimum charge for towing services, which means that you will have to pay a specific amount even if the distance traveled is short.
Summing It Up
Towing a vehicle is an essential service that can be stressful and overwhelming, especially if you don’t understand the pricing logic. By understanding the factors that affect the pricing of towing services, you can make informed decisions and select a local towing service that fits your needs and budget.
Remember to consider the type of vehicle, the distance traveled, the time of day, the type of service required, and any additional fees or charges that may apply.
With this knowledge, you can confidently navigate the world of towing and find a reliable and affordable service that meets your needs.