Your mother knows how to choose wisely when grocery shopping.
She’ll read the labels to be sure they don’t include anything that’s not good for her family then make a decision based in part on the price of comparable items. The health, safety and overall welfare of her family are important.
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When bidding a towing contract your city should make purchasing decisions the way your mother does.
Yes, look at the price, be fiscally responsible. Take a look at the company’s record of service, see if they have a background of successes and be sure they can do what they say they’ll do. Then look at availability and capability to administer the contract at the rates being bid.
What happens with most cities is they look at a towing contract as another opportunity to add to their revenue instead of focusing on providing quality services to their residents using the services of a local tax paying business. To be fair the city may believe they are acting in the best interest of their residents but is getting the lowest bidder always in their best interest? What if the lowest bidder couldn’t show up when needed because he couldn’t afford to properly pay employees or because his old trucks needed work and he couldn’t afford to fix them?
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I know that sympathy for towing companies comes about as easy as it does for attorneys but when a city only concentrates on the lowest bidder and padding their own available funds two groups of people come out on the short end.
One: The tow company -who in some instances must promise to tow all city-owned vehicles at no charge in order to be invited to bid while competitive forces require that they also pay a monthly fee for the privilege of working for the city.
Two: The traveling public- who will inevitably be forced to wait in longer and longer lines as they wait for a tow truck to arrive. They’ll watch while inexperienced tow truck operators attempt to clear the roadway with outdated equipment and barely road-worthy trucks because the good operators have left that market.
You may argue that the tow company can recover any expenses they incur due to the freebies and monies paid to the city through the fees collected from the owners of the vehicles towed. In a perfect world that would be the way it’s done but the cities have taken that away by requiring tow companies to bid against one another on those grounds as well.
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So the towing company with the lowest bid per tow, that charges the least amount to the vehicle owner, and provides towing and towing related services at no charge to the city, and in some cases pays the city a monthly fee, is the one that wins the bid. It draws to mind the scene in Bourne Identity where the dying Clive Owen says “Look at us. Look at what they make you give”, as towers fight each other for scraps from the city’s table.
Doesn’t leave much room to properly pay, train and keep employees or repair, and update equipment as needed, let alone buy fuel, tires, insurance, and all the rest of it.
If the same set of rules applied at the grocery store where your mom shops and canned vegetable manufacturers had to not only compete on price but had to bid against each other for the opportunity to be on the store’s shelves things might be different. If that manufacturer was then asked to provide free product to all of the store’s employees on a regular basis there wouldn’t be much room or incentive to continually upgrade and improve their product. In fact the return on investment might be so eroded that they exit that market altogether.
It really is a simple formula: Take away all incentive where the free market thrives and you remove the quality players from that market.
Most cities spend the bulk of their budgets each year on Police, Fire, and other services aimed at protecting their citizens. Public safety is the number one concern, but somewhere, someone has suggested that towing is not an important piece of the public safety solution. Towing is something to be raided instead.