How To Become a Tow Truck Driver in Texas (With Steps)

Updated March 3, 2023

If you want to become a tow truck driver in Texas, you can apply for one of three different license types. Texas-based tow truck drivers can choose the appropriate license depending on what kind of vehicles they want to drive and what kind of assistance they want to offer to their clients. Understanding the application process can help you obtain the proper certification while minimizing the resources you dedicate to entering this career. In this article, we discuss how to become a tow truck driver in Texas and explain the different license types.

Related: How Much Does a Tow Truck Driver Make?

What does a tow truck driver do?

A tow truck driver is a professional who operates tow trucks to assist stranded motorists. They arrive at the scene of the damaged vehicle, connect it to the tow truck and tow it to a dealership or another service station so that the vehicle can receive the repairs it needs. In some cases, a tow truck driver may take a vehicle to a junkyard if it's irreparable. A tow truck driver also has the following responsibilities:

  • Maintaining their towing equipment and ensuring it's functioning properly.

  • Troubleshooting vehicle issues.

  • Performing minor repairs like changing flat tires or jump-starting a dead battery.

Related: A Complete Guide To Becoming a Tow Truck Driver

What are the different types of tow truck licenses in Texas?

There are three different types of tow truck licenses that drivers can apply for in Texas:

Consent tow license

A consent tow license gives a tow truck driver the ability to tow a vehicle upon the owner's request. This means that the vehicle owner must call the tow truck driver to tow their vehicle in the event that the engine fails or there's another internal issue. Consent tow licenses don't allow drivers to tow vehicles that were in traffic accidents.

Private property license

A private property license is a towing license that lets tow truck drivers perform consent tows and private property tows. A tow truck driver with a private property license can respond to a facility owner. They can perform the tow without the vehicle owner's consent. For example, imagine a vehicle owner who has parked their car in a way that blocks a business's entrance and interferes with the business's normal operations. The facility owner can call a tow truck driver with a private property license and have them tow the vehicle.

Incident management license

An incident management license is the most comprehensive type of tow truck driving license. It allows holders to conduct consent tows, private property tows and incident management tows. An incident management tow is when a driver tows a vehicle that was a part of a traffic accident.

Related: How To Become a Towing Dispatcher (Plus Salary and Duties)

How to become a tow truck driver in Texas

Here's a list of steps on how to become a tow truck driver in Texas:

1. Visit the Towing and Recovery Association of America's website to apply for certification if necessary

If you want to obtain a private property towing license or an incident management license, you can first visit the Towing and Recovery Association of America's website. Locate their National Driver Certification Program so that you can qualify for a private property towing license or an incident management license. The National Driver Certification Program has three different levels, so it's important to understand which one you want.

All candidates complete the "Level 1 - Light Duty" certification exam first. This allows drivers to tow cars and small trucks that have a gross vehicle weight rating of no more than 10,000 pounds. If you know that you're going to want to accept bigger or more complex jobs, you can apply for a "Level 2 - Medium/Heavy Recovery" certification or a "Level 3 - Heavy Recovery Specialist" certification. With these higher-level certifications, you can tow specialty vehicles or respond to accidents that involve hazardous substances.

Related: How To Be a Towing Contractor

2. Apply for a towing license through the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation

The next step is to apply for a towing license through the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. All candidates need to present a valid driver's license and their national certification from the Towing and Recovery Association of America if applicable. Candidates also need to fill out the appropriate application either online or by mail and submit the non-refundable application fee. Note that candidates only need to complete step one if they want a private property license or an incident management license. If you only want a consent tow license, you can ignore step one.

Related: 31 High-Paying In-Demand Jobs in Texas

3. Complete continuing education as necessary

Once the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation approves your application and issues your license, you can complete continuing education as necessary. Holders of incident management licenses only need to complete eight hours of continuing education during their first renewal period. Holders of private property licenses and consent tow licenses need to complete four hours of continuing education each year.

4. Find a job as a tow truck driver

There are ample opportunities to find a job as a tow truck driver. If you have your own vehicle, you can advertise your services on local online forums or display flyers around your city. You can also find a full-time position with a private company.

How much does a tow truck driver make in Texas?

A tow truck driver in Texas makes an average of $97,309 per year, which aligns with the national average of $97,456 per year. Tow truck drivers may have the opportunity to earn more depending on what company they work for and how much work experience they have. For example, independent tow truck contractors may earn more than drivers who work for separate companies.

For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the links provided.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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