Towing companies prepare for colder winter

Anne Buie

A woolly worm named Lickety Split predicted this year’s winter at the 35th annual Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk last weekend.

“It’s going to be cold and snowy and a few other things,” Roy Kreger, known as Mr. Woolly Worm, said in an article in the newsobserver.com.

Expenses are high during the winter, Bill Hennessy, owner of Bill’s Garage said.
“When you have a heavy winter, you’re going to double up on your salaries and everything else because you have to run 24/7 at that point,” Hennessy said.

In heavy snow, he said there are more wrecks, especially in a college area because students haven’t had much driving experience in snow.

“They like to play in it and they get caught in it,” Hennessy said. “It’s dangerous.”

When there is a prediction for snow, Hennessy said he checks the trucks to make sure they are equipped for the weather.

In the snow, towing trucks will burn more fuel, he said. The towing trucks, which get around five to six miles per gallon and run on diesel, cost between $5,000 to $7,000 each month.

“By the time you pay for your vehicle, pay your employees and pay all the expenses, you don’t come out with a whole lot,” saidJoyce Hampton, owner of Hampton’s Body Shop Inc.

The cost of diesel and maintenance of the trucks from factors like salt damage add the operating expenses, Hampton said.

Hampton said her trucks also get about five to six miles to the gallon.

The average cost of diesel nationally is $4.13, according to fuelgaugereport.com.

In Boone, the average cost of diesel ranges from $4.05 to $4.19, according to northcarolinagasprices.com

During the winter months, Hampton said, her company has to pay for tire chains and keeping the trucks warm, which prevents the trucks from not starting.

Last winter, Hennessy said Bill’s Garage worked 50 percent less than he normally would because of the lack of snow.

Story: KELLI STRAKA, News Reporter