How To Become A Tow Truck Driver

“How do I become a tow truck driver?” is a question we get asked quite a lot here at Five Star Towing in Long Beach and one we thought it worth answering on this blog.


Before you start, it’s essential that you meet certain criteria. Like any commercial driver, a tow truck driver must be at least 18 years old. You’ll also need a commercial driving license if you’re planning on transporting loads of over 26,000lbs or people, which is almost a given in this industry.

It’s also a good rule of thumb to be in decent physical shape – roadside recovery can be a physical job. You’ll need drive too – getting up in the dead of night isn’t as easy as it sounds.


There are two ways of training to become a tow truck driver: course-based learning and on-the-job learning.

A number of training companies offer tow truck training, teaching you everything from the very basics to advance skills like using air cushions and towing exotic vehicles. Training courses are a great way to get a handle on what will be expected of you.

On-the-job training is a great way of seeing what tow truck life is really like, although finding a company that can afford to, or is willing to train you can be difficult. Undertaking a basic training course and then enhancing your learning on-the-job is a good way to go.

Some states require you to become certified before starting out as a tow truck operator. Certification courses are readily available. It’s also worth noting that even if certification isn’t required, it can be a good way of proving your skills and standing out from the pack.


Knowing how to drive a tow truck, how to operate a winch and how to generally recover vehicles is all well and good, but a tow truck driver also needs a certain set of attributes if they’re to be successful. It’s important that you’re patient, friendly and approachable at all times. This helps alleviate the customer’s stress. It’s also vital that you’re honest and professional. If you’re looking to rip-off a customer you won’t last long in this business.

Finally, if you want to succeed, you’ll need to be able to drop everything and hit the road at any given time. Towing isn’t a 9-5 job. It’s a 24hr calling and, believe it or not, you’re far more likely to be called out at night or over the weekend that during working hours.