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  #1  
Old 09-28-2010, 10:27 PM
Snarky_Kong Snarky_Kong is offline
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Fuck you tow company and police

I was in an accident last week. Nobody was hurt, both cars were drivable but towed. They both look shitty, but it was cosmetic damage. The cop told me I needed mine towed because of the airbags.

Today I went to get my car from the towing place. Part of the reason why it took so long is that they required a notarized letter from the owner. $800. $475 instantly for the tow, administration fees, and one day of storage. The guy at the towing company told me that they have a contract with the police department. Every accident, they clean up to the tune of $500 minimum. Is this even legal?

I've got to find out who I need to write a letter to. I'll be back later with more swearing. I'm too tired right now to work up the correct level of vitriol.
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  #2  
Old 09-28-2010, 10:30 PM
Doctor Who Doctor Who is offline
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Your insurance won't cover the tow?
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"Live every week... like it's shark week."
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  #3  
Old 09-28-2010, 11:16 PM
Typo Negative Typo Negative is offline
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You don't have AAA? If there were no injuries, why were the police involved? (I am assuming no crimes were committed)
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  #4  
Old 09-28-2010, 11:33 PM
Enter the Flagon Enter the Flagon is offline
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Would it be too annoying if I chimed in that this was "highway robbery"?

OK, then, it's just outrageous.
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  #5  
Old 09-28-2010, 11:38 PM
BayouHazard BayouHazard is offline
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That's awful!

That having been said, it does seem like your insurance would reimburse you.

THAT having been said, SOMEBODY'S getting kickbacks, count on it. Whatever legal jurisdiction the wreck happened in? there is someone in that jurisdiction responsible for setting the towers up like that, and they are likely getting paid well for their trouble.

(Brought to you from the department of suspicious minds.)

Last edited by BayouHazard; 09-28-2010 at 11:40 PM..
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  #6  
Old 09-28-2010, 11:41 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Originally Posted by spooje View Post
You don't have AAA? If there were no injuries, why were the police involved? (I am assuming no crimes were committed)
I know we've been back and forth over this on the Dope. But, regardless of injuries, it's always a good idea to get the police involved. If both people just shake hands and walk away it's really your word against his over who ran the stop sign or who was going the wrong way down a one way street or if one of the drivers shouldn't have been driving. The report the police officer makes is extremely valuable to the insurance companies when it comes time to decide who's going to pay for who's damage. Also, assuming you're not the party at fault, it's even more valuable if the other driver get's cited for something (like running a stop sign). Also, the officer will note things like weather and road conditions, obvious injuries etc....
I had a friend get hit by someone who ran a stop sign (she didn't have one). He agreed to pay for the repairs and they both walked away. A few weeks later she found herself in court. He lied about their direction of travel and said she ran the sign. He sued her for damage to his car, injuries he sustained and I think she would up with a hit and run ticket.
...Oh, that's the other thing. If you get the cops involved, you don't have to worry about a possible hit and run charge.
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  #7  
Old 09-28-2010, 11:46 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Auto body shops, car insurance, and car manufacturers are all in the big scam together to start with ("Hey - here's an idea - let's make cars so that they can't ever touch anything else and every scratch means a thousand dollars!"); it wouldn't surprise me at all if the towing companies are in on it, too.
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  #8  
Old 09-28-2010, 11:54 PM
Condescending Robot Condescending Robot is offline
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Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
But, regardless of injuries, it's always a good idea to get the police involved. If both people just shake hands and walk away it's really your word against his over who ran the stop sign or who was going the wrong way down a one way street or if one of the drivers shouldn't have been driving. The report the police officer makes is extremely valuable to the insurance companies when it comes time to decide who's going to pay for who's damage.
Unless the cops in your jurisdiction realize that they don't get anything out of responding to accidents and announce that it's their "policy" not to respond when the accident was on private property, or there were no injuries, or whatever. In that case, get on record with your insurance company, take copious pictures, and don't waste your time standing on the highway waiting to get clipped by the next idiot when the police aren't even going to come.
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  #9  
Old 09-29-2010, 12:17 AM
mhendo mhendo is offline
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The report the police officer makes is extremely valuable to the insurance companies when it comes time to decide who's going to pay for who's damage.
That's assuming the police officer knows how to do his fucking job.

A couple of years ago, my wife was crossing the street in Philadelphia. She was crossing with the Walk sign, so definitely had right of way. There was a car waiting to turn, and it got rear-ended by another car, pushing it into my wife and hitting her in the knee and knocking her down. She wasn't badly hurt but had a mild knee sprain and was taken by ambulance to the ER as a precaution.

A police officer responded, interviewed my wife and the drivers of both cars, and some of the many bystanders (it was about 5.00 p.m. in downtown Philly) and issued a citation to the driver who rear-ended the first car. He took my wife's information down, and he knew at the time that she was being attended by paramedics and was going to be taken to hospital.

Fast-forward a bit, and we get the bill for the ambulance and ER visit. Health insurance takes care of most of it, but there's a $500 deductible. We had no intention of paying for an injury that was caused directly by someone else's negligence, so we sought to get the money from the at-fault driver's insurance company.

They wanted paperwork showing that my wife was indeed the victim in the accident, so we applied for the Philly PD police report. When we got it, it was extremely poorly written, in almost illegible handwriting, and my wife's name appeared nowhere on the report, despite the fact that she was the one and only injured party in the incident. Extremely fucking useful.

We were forced to send a letter to the other insurance company expressing a willingness to sue, and promising that we had witnesses to the event (we did) and an ambulance report showing that my wife was collected from that corner at the time and date of the accident. They paid up.

Last edited by mhendo; 09-29-2010 at 12:19 AM..
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  #10  
Old 09-29-2010, 05:36 AM
Captain Midnight Captain Midnight is offline
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Tow truck companies are bastards for how much they charge to do a simple tow. And they all charge about the same prices. The people who drive the trucks and work the desk for two truck companies are mainly slimeballs too, people who couldn't get real jobs.
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  #11  
Old 09-29-2010, 05:52 AM
bucketybuck bucketybuck is offline
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I think those nasty towing companies should have charged you a nominal fee for being allowed to lift your car, I mean, what the fuck do they think they are, a business or something?
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  #12  
Old 09-29-2010, 06:02 AM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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The same is true of Fairfax County Virginia. Whoever agreed to that contract with the towing company should be fired. Our citizens are the victims of predatory towing at their most vulnerable moments, and it's right up there with taking money from a corpse in my books.

The key is this: Always have them tow it to your house, or to your mechanic. Never let them take it to their lot.

I realize that doesn't help you much right now, but for the future, and the others reading this, never let them take it to their lot!
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  #13  
Old 09-29-2010, 06:04 AM
bucketybuck bucketybuck is offline
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Originally Posted by Captain Midnight View Post
Tow truck companies are bastards for how much they charge to do a simple tow. And they all charge about the same prices.
Would you say then that they charge the... "market price"?

Its always the same when it comes to the motor industry. A car breaks down/crashes. All costs involved are costs that the customer is unhappy about having to pay at all, regardless of the price. And so all these prices become "extortionate", " rip-off", "price-gouging", "it could have been done cheaper".

Maybe it could have been done cheaper. Doctors could also charge less. Tesco could also charge less for milk. Airlines could charge less for baggage. Fuel could be a lot cheaper.

Thats the price. Thats the market. Suck it up.
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  #14  
Old 09-29-2010, 06:45 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Originally Posted by Captain Midnight View Post
Tow truck companies are bastards for how much they charge to do a simple tow. And they all charge about the same prices. The people who drive the trucks and work the desk for two truck companies are mainly slimeballs too, people who couldn't get real jobs.
So, what should they charge? Keeping in mind...
1)Cost of the truck itself
2)Maintenance on the truck
3)Insurance on the truck
4)Insurance on cars they damage while picking up or while in their lot
5)Property Tax
6)Electric Bill
7)Building Maintenance
8)Employee Salary
9)Employee Heath Insurance
10)Workers Compensation
11)Gas for the trucks
12)Interest on various loans
13)Credit Card Processing Fees
14)Banking Fees
15)Profit for the owner
I can go on and on and on and on
It takes a lot of money to run a business and every fee, every charge, every single thing that the business has to pay for gets charged to the customer in one way or another. There's just no two ways about it. If they don't pass it on to the customer then the owner has to pay it out of his pocket. If he stops making as much money as he'd like to or if the business can no longer stay in the black it has to close.

Also, I have no idea whatsoever what the profit margin is for a tow company. But I'd be willing to bet that for every $100, they bring in, the owner is putting less then $5 in his pocket.
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:04 AM
ladyfoxfyre ladyfoxfyre is offline
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Originally Posted by Captain Midnight View Post
Also, I have no idea whatsoever what the profit margin is for a tow company. But I'd be willing to bet that for every $100, they bring in, the owner is putting less then $5 in his pocket.
Why would you say in one breath that you have no idea what you're talking about, and in the same sentence spout off some random speculation?

Last edited by ladyfoxfyre; 09-29-2010 at 07:04 AM..
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  #16  
Old 09-29-2010, 07:09 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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The one accident I was in where my car wasn't driveable, the tower charged $40 (which seems to be the going rate around here—but then, the distance was under 2 miles) to tow my car to my house (where, of course, I didn't have to pay anything to store it).

I seem to recall the police saying they were forbidden from recommending a specific towing company.
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:24 AM
BigT BigT is online now
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Doctors could also charge less.
Funny, I thought that right there was the reason we need so much health care reform in this country.

Face it, there is a fair price for everything, and your beloved market does absolutely nothing about it. It may mess with your mind, but if 90% of the people say it should cost less, and the only people that say it should cost more are the people that have the ability to change it. That tyrany, and as history shows, it will only last so long until people get fed up. Let's hope there's a good way to handle it.

And, anyways, think about it. The cars were drivable. The police officer is the one who told him he had to use the wrecker. It wasn't a free choice at all. In fact, it never is, which is where the fucking free market fails.

Finally, everyone I know that has ever told someone else to suck it up has wound up being told the same thing in a different situation that is important to them. So I hope nothing bad ever happens to you and you need help.
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  #18  
Old 09-29-2010, 07:37 AM
Uncommon Sense Uncommon Sense is offline
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Also, I have no idea whatsoever what the profit margin is for a tow company. But I'd be willing to bet that for every $100, they bring in, the owner is putting less then $5 in his pocket.
Why would you say in one breath that you have no idea what you're talking about, and in the same sentence spout off some random speculation?
What? He qualified his random speculation with the "I have no idea whatsoever" statement. Perfectly reasonable. Plus they weren't in the same sentence. Two.
That was JoeyP, by the way, not Captain Midnight. Captain Midnight would never wildly speculate about anything!

Last edited by Uncommon Sense; 09-29-2010 at 07:38 AM..
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:42 AM
Uncommon Sense Uncommon Sense is offline
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Tow truck companies are bastards for how much they charge to do a simple tow. And they all charge about the same prices. The people who drive the trucks and work the desk for two truck companies are mainly slimeballs too, people who couldn't get real jobs.
So, what should they charge?
Last year I needed a tow and the hook-up fee was $75, that included a tow anywhere within 10 miles. How they get up to the prices in the OP is beyond me.
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  #20  
Old 09-29-2010, 07:46 AM
bucketybuck bucketybuck is offline
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Face it, there is a fair price for everything, and your beloved market does absolutely nothing about it. It may mess with your mind, but if 90% of the people say it should cost less, and the only people that say it should cost more are the people that have the ability to change it. That tyrany, and as history shows, it will only last so long until people get fed up. Let's hope there's a good way to handle it.
This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. You are officially an idiot. Of course 90% of people say it should cost less, it is accident recovery, they wish they didnt have to pay anything at all. And the only people saying it should cost more are the people looking at the accounts of the Towing companies trying to make their business successful. So a fair price? Who sets that exactly? What is fair? (If only there were some sort of market force that could drive the price...)

Tyrany? Only last so long? What, are the masses going to revolt?, Perhaps stage a very specfic coup-detat on the towing industry? What the hell are you talking about you cretin?

Quote:
And, anyways, think about it. The cars were drivable. The police officer is the one who told him he had to use the wrecker. It wasn't a free choice at all. In fact, it never is, which is where the fucking free market fails.
Firstly, I am not from your country, which is why I ignored your equally retarded comment about health reform. Secondly, are you saying the cops can dictate which company you have to use to tow a vehicle? Unlike the civilised world, where they will tell you that the vehicle needs to be moved from the roadside, but leave the details to the owner? (Not even getting into the fact that a car can be driveable but not road worthy)

Quote:
Finally, everyone I know that has ever told someone else to suck it up has wound up being told the same thing in a different situation that is important to them. So I hope nothing bad ever happens to you and you need help.
What if I had ASPERGERS!!! ASPERGERS PEOPLE!!!
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  #21  
Old 09-29-2010, 08:55 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Why would you say in one breath that you have no idea what you're talking about, and in the same sentence spout off some random speculation?
What? He qualified his random speculation with the "I have no idea whatsoever" statement. Perfectly reasonable. Plus they weren't in the same sentence. Two.
That was JoeyP, by the way, not Captain Midnight. Captain Midnight would never wildly speculate about anything!
I say that because I have no idea what the profit margin and percentage the owner typically takes home, but I'm very familiar with how a business works.
Did you know, when you go to a normal, sit down restaurant, the prices in the menu are typically about 3 times what they paid for it? Or, more accurately, they operate at a 70% margin (also called 30% food cost). So, when your family goes out to a restaurant and the bill comes to $100, it's safe to bet the restaurant paid about $30 for that food. But, I can also tell you, after everything else is paid for, the owner will put between 50¢ and $5.00 (on the very very high end) in their pocket. This, I know for a fact. This is what I was basing my above statement on. Like I said, I don't know what the margin is on towing, but I was extrapolating from the restaurant business, which I know is a but of a stretch, but I'm guessing it's a pretty good bet. I don't think there's a lot of businesses out there where the owner is putting $50 in his pocket on a $100 charge. "Oh my god, how can you charge that much" and "You're getting rich off of my hard earned money" and "what a rip off" are all things business owners hear on a daily basis....99% of the time these are said by people have no idea what they're talking about. There's so many times when someone has said something like that, where I'd love to show them my financials and say "Here, you show me where exactly I'm getting rich, we have charge that much to keep the lights on and keep the place warm etc etc etc, no one's getting rich here".
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  #22  
Old 09-29-2010, 09:04 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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So, what should they charge?
Last year I needed a tow and the hook-up fee was $75, that included a tow anywhere within 10 miles. How they get up to the prices in the OP is beyond me.
And that's what I'm saying (though it was directed at Captain Midnight). Most people not in the towing business (myself included) have no idea whatsoever what it actually costs to tow a vehicle. Therefore it's not fair to say they were getting ripped off. You paid $75 for the tow. For all you know, it may have cost the owner $73 to do that job, but so many people just assume it must cost, like, what, $20. And ya know what, it may actually cost $20 to send someone out there and move the car, but that certainly doesn't imply that the owner put $53 in his pocket. Go back to my above example, you pay $100 for your meal, it costs $30 (again, this I know to be true in the restaurant industry), but the owner does not put $70 in his pocket.


ETA, I've been running a business (it's a family business, I've been doing the books for many years), so I get a bit worked up on topics like this, you'll have to excuse me, I'm not attempting of offend, just educate.

Last edited by Joey P; 09-29-2010 at 09:05 AM..
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  #23  
Old 09-29-2010, 09:23 AM
Uncommon Sense Uncommon Sense is offline
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Last year I needed a tow and the hook-up fee was $75, that included a tow anywhere within 10 miles. How they get up to the prices in the OP is beyond me.
And that's what I'm saying (though it was directed at Captain Midnight). Most people not in the towing business (myself included) have no idea whatsoever what it actually costs to tow a vehicle. Therefore it's not fair to say they were getting ripped off. You paid $75 for the tow. For all you know, it may have cost the owner $73 to do that job, but so many people just assume it must cost, like, what, $20. And ya know what, it may actually cost $20 to send someone out there and move the car, but that certainly doesn't imply that the owner put $53 in his pocket. Go back to my above example, you pay $100 for your meal, it costs $30 (again, this I know to be true in the restaurant industry), but the owner does not put $70 in his pocket.



ETA, I've been running a business (it's a family business, I've been doing the books for many years), so I get a bit worked up on topics like this, you'll have to excuse me, I'm not attempting of offend, just educate.
That's fine. I knew exactly what you were doing in your posts. I understood, I was merely supporting your right to speculate and added anecdotal evidence as to what a tow costs around our parts.
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  #24  
Old 09-29-2010, 10:13 AM
Snarky_Kong Snarky_Kong is offline
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I think those nasty towing companies should have charged you a nominal fee for being allowed to lift your car, I mean, what the fuck do they think they are, a business or something?
Hey fuckhead, I'm not complaining about being charged. Im complaining about how they charged more than three times their competitors, and that I had no choice in the matter. If you could remove Ayn Rand's metaphorical cock from your face maybe you'd see that I was coerced by Johnny Law to pay above market price.


The actual cost? No, I don't know, but I have an upper bound. Which itself is inflated. Those are the words of a towing company employee.
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  #25  
Old 09-29-2010, 10:17 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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You mentioned that you wanted to know who to write a letter to. I'd write one to one of your local media outlets. They love stories like this.
Also, I'm surprised you couldn't pick your own tow company. It's odd that you would only be allowed to use the one they choose. I'll give them that you have to have your car towed after an airbag deployment (not worth the argument), but I'd be very surprised if you couldn't use your own company.
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  #26  
Old 09-29-2010, 10:41 AM
MissTake MissTake is offline
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When my mom's truck broke down a few weeks ago (and what a fiasco that was), the cop that stopped asked her if she wanted him to call a tow, or if we had it under control. I asked him to call, as mom was too tweaked about it all. She had it towed to her house, 2 miles away. $125.00. That was a discounted amount (he said) as it turned out he was buddies with my dad. Her insuance paid $30.00. Granted, it was a Sunday, so I'm sure it cost more than on a weekday.

The following day, a tow company from an hour away came and picked up her truck for repair. Since the auto repair shop was at fault, they paid. It cost $275 for the tow, according to her receipt.

If I was forced to have my vehicle towed and was requested to pay $800? I'd sign the title over and walk away. My car is barely worth $800.
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:59 AM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
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Auto body shops, car insurance, and car manufacturers are all in the big scam together to start with ("Hey - here's an idea - let's make cars so that they can't ever touch anything else and every scratch means a thousand dollars!"); it wouldn't surprise me at all if the towing companies are in on it, too.
Conspiring to pay big money as often as possible benefits the insurance company how?
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  #28  
Old 09-29-2010, 12:37 PM
control-z control-z is offline
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I will say that at least in Virginia tow truck operators are subject to a lot of fees and other costs, but yeah $800 is way over the line. And the "storage" fees are mostly bullshit too.

Wonder if it would work to try and get your own tow truck? I'll definitely try if I am in the same situation.
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  #29  
Old 09-29-2010, 12:38 PM
Snarky_Kong Snarky_Kong is offline
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The same is true of Fairfax County Virginia. Whoever agreed to that contract with the towing company should be fired. Our citizens are the victims of predatory towing at their most vulnerable moments, and it's right up there with taking money from a corpse in my books.

The key is this: Always have them tow it to your house, or to your mechanic. Never let them take it to their lot.

I realize that doesn't help you much right now, but for the future, and the others reading this, never let them take it to their lot!
That's where this occurred.
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  #30  
Old 09-29-2010, 12:57 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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OMG I am so sorry to hear it. I've been at the mercy of those _________ (I'll think of a word bad enough later) and I do not envy you. Just beg, borrow, do whatever you have to to get your car out of there now, because you can't win. I've fought them every way possible, but their contract is with the County, and you can't win.

In my case, it wasn't even an impound, although that's what they kept claiming. The police officer was just kind enough to call for me, as my cell battery was dead. I get an adrenaline jolt just thinking about it.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:35 PM
Damuri Ajashi Damuri Ajashi is offline
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Tow truck companies are bastards for how much they charge to do a simple tow. And they all charge about the same prices. The people who drive the trucks and work the desk for two truck companies are mainly slimeballs too, people who couldn't get real jobs.
So, what should they charge? Keeping in mind...
1)Cost of the truck itself...
...15)Profit for the owner
I can go on and on and on and on
It takes a lot of money to run a business and every fee, every charge, every single thing that the business has to pay for gets charged to the customer in one way or another. There's just no two ways about it. If they don't pass it on to the customer then the owner has to pay it out of his pocket. If he stops making as much money as he'd like to or if the business can no longer stay in the black it has to close.

Also, I have no idea whatsoever what the profit margin is for a tow company. But I'd be willing to bet that for every $100, they bring in, the owner is putting less then $5 in his pocket.
Then explain to me how I can get a tow when my car breaks down on the side of the road for $125?

Why does that tow cost 75% less?

Now they might not get a tow every day under this aprticular contract, but when they do, they are making more than 5%.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:41 PM
Damuri Ajashi Damuri Ajashi is offline
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Originally Posted by Uncommon Sense View Post

Last year I needed a tow and the hook-up fee was $75, that included a tow anywhere within 10 miles. How they get up to the prices in the OP is beyond me.
And that's what I'm saying (though it was directed at Captain Midnight). Most people not in the towing business (myself included) have no idea whatsoever what it actually costs to tow a vehicle. Therefore it's not fair to say they were getting ripped off. You paid $75 for the tow. For all you know, it may have cost the owner $73 to do that job, but so many people just assume it must cost, like, what, $20. And ya know what, it may actually cost $20 to send someone out there and move the car, but that certainly doesn't imply that the owner put $53 in his pocket. Go back to my above example, you pay $100 for your meal, it costs $30 (again, this I know to be true in the restaurant industry), but the owner does not put $70 in his pocket.

ETA, I've been running a business (it's a family business, I've been doing the books for many years), so I get a bit worked up on topics like this, you'll have to excuse me, I'm not attempting of offend, just educate.
I hear you. I have been involved ina LOT of family businesses and the worst margin I have seen was on our supermarket. It was about 2% of gross but the daily sales gross was over $15,000 so it generated about $300 in income every day. The best margin we had was on our liquor store.

If youa re running a restaurant and you are making 5% on your gross, they you are in trouble. You would be better off running a McDonalds (chick-fil-A's deal seems to make a lot fo sense these days).

In any event, the OP was complaining about a $475 tow fee not a $75 tow fee. Its extortionate.

Last edited by Damuri Ajashi; 09-29-2010 at 04:42 PM..
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:20 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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In any event, the OP was complaining about a $475 tow fee not a $75 tow fee. Its extortionate.
Sounds more like an impound to me.

Police tow contracts at least here come with some nasty stipulations, you have to jump through a bunch of legal hoops then once you are cleared you go on the list of "authorized tow providers" IIRC the response times are like 30 minutes or something like that. IF you are not there on time, more than a couple times a year they drop you off the list for 2 years.

So the tow companies that are on the list usually have several guys and several trucks on call to be able to pounce on the calls when they happen. Its ungodly expensive, but its more about having a service that can respond consistently within a very short period of time to get the street cleared.
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:48 PM
The Tao's Revenge The Tao's Revenge is offline
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Part of the reason why it took so long is that they required a notarized letter from the owner. $800. $475 instantly for the tow, administration fees, and one day of storage.
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Originally Posted by bucketybuck the retard View Post
Would you say then that they charge the... "market price"?

Its always the same when it comes to the motor industry. A car breaks down/crashes. All costs involved are costs that the customer is unhappy about having to pay at all, regardless of the price. And so all these prices become "extortionate", " rip-off", "price-gouging", "it could have been done cheaper".
So you're saying $800 was a reasonable price? Are you a retard or a troll?
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Old 09-29-2010, 06:34 PM
SoulFrost SoulFrost is offline
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The one accident I was in where my car wasn't driveable, the tower charged $40 (which seems to be the going rate around here—but then, the distance was under 2 miles) to tow my car to my house (where, of course, I didn't have to pay anything to store it).

I seem to recall the police saying they were forbidden from recommending a specific towing company.
Last time I got arrested, they asked me if I had a specific towing company I wanted to use. I asked who the officer would recommend, and he told me that he wasn't allowed to answer that question.

If I chose a particular company, I'd just have to pay that company's normal towing charge (about $75 for the two miles to the impound yard), but if I didn't specify, then whichever company was next on the rotation would get the call, and I'd have an additional $100 fee for being an official police impound.
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Old 09-29-2010, 06:38 PM
Vinyl Turnip Vinyl Turnip is offline
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Guess it's time I preemptively forged a relationship with a towing company. Do tow truck drivers like fruit baskets?
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:01 PM
SoulFrost SoulFrost is offline
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Guess it's time I preemptively forged a relationship with a towing company. Do tow truck drivers like fruit baskets?
I think the going rate is a six-pack and a pair of football tickets.
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:17 PM
BayouHazard BayouHazard is offline
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Okay-I've had to have my old hoopty towed to an engine and transmission rebuilder couple of times, crosstown, at a cost of 90$ per trip.

When someone ran a stop sign and totalled the hoopty in a very thorough fashion, I was forced to use a towing company not of my choosing, and a tow half the distance of the tow to the engine rebuilder's cost me $250.

So, I can say with authority, they gouge you when you've been in a wreck.

I was most not amused. And in pain-no airbag, so I was spectacularly bruised.

The way the sheriff at the scene selected the tower was this-he threw all the present tower's keys in a hat and drew one at random. If the free market was in play, I would have been allowed to take bids from the ten or so towers who showed up, to see who could haul my wreck the cheapest.
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Last edited by BayouHazard; 09-29-2010 at 07:22 PM..
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  #39  
Old 09-29-2010, 07:57 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
Auto body shops, car insurance, and car manufacturers are all in the big scam together to start with ("Hey - here's an idea - let's make cars so that they can't ever touch anything else and every scratch means a thousand dollars!"); it wouldn't surprise me at all if the towing companies are in on it, too.
Conspiring to pay big money as often as possible benefits the insurance company how?
Insurance companies don't pay big money very often; everyone is forced by law to buy insurance, but only a few people collect on it every year; the rest is profit. Then, once you do claim on your insurance, your insurance company cancels you as a bad risk.
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Old 09-30-2010, 07:18 AM
The Tao's Revenge The Tao's Revenge is offline
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Conspiring to pay big money as often as possible benefits the insurance company how?
Insurance companies don't pay big money very often; everyone is forced by law to buy insurance, but only a few people collect on it every year; the rest is profit. Then, once you do claim on your insurance, your insurance company cancels you as a bad risk.
Well the payouts can be spectacular. At least in Michigan which by law doesn't have limits. When I was a kid my grandfather got in an accident that probably cost over $300,000 in 1993 dollars.
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:35 AM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Now they might not get a tow every day under this aprticular contract, but when they do, they are making more than 5%.
here is the issue. You don't get to skip expenses on employee benefits, administrative staff, property leases, on days that nothing happens. Same thing in my biz with onsite techs. It does not cost me $79/hr to have an onsite guy go to your home, but when that employee ends up only billing a couple hours in a day, there isn't much left over.
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:53 AM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Tow truck companies are bastards for how much they charge to do a simple tow. And they all charge about the same prices. The people who drive the trucks and work the desk for two truck companies are mainly slimeballs too, people who couldn't get real jobs.
IME a percentage of them are, but I have two tow companies and a repo outfit among my customers. All of them have very clean, nicely kept trucks. One of them has the local AAA contract. Part of that contract requires them to be able to provide transport for a powered wheelchair if needed 24/7, in the event that a handicapped AAA customer needs a tow.

There can be good money in towing, but just like any biz, it comes with hassles and expenses too. If you start a tow company, plan on being on call 24/7 for several years. Needing several acres of land for your impound collection and dealing with all the legal hassels that come with impounds/hold pending payment.

It's a business just like everything else.
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:06 AM
NinetyWt NinetyWt is offline
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Sounds more like an impound to me.
Agreed. A tow here in the metro area runs around $100. If your car is impounded, however, the 'storage' fee runs around $250.

Law enforcement also does a round robin thing with the towing companies; they have a list and for each accident they pick the next one on the list. Everyone charges about the same so it's no biggie.
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  #44  
Old 09-30-2010, 09:39 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Quote:
Now they might not get a tow every day under this aprticular contract, but when they do, they are making more than 5%.
here is the issue. You don't get to skip expenses on employee benefits, administrative staff, property leases, on days that nothing happens. Same thing in my biz with onsite techs. It does not cost me $79/hr to have an onsite guy go to your home, but when that employee ends up only billing a couple hours in a day, there isn't much left over.
Or put in to other words. Sure, when they get a tow they might make more then 5%, but when they have two drivers sitting around the office doing nothing, they're making 0%...or probably less since they may be paying out of their pocket at that point. You can't look at what happens on a particular job, you have to take a bigger chunk of time (like, a year, for example) and get an average. A grocery store might have some products that cost $2, and they sell them for $5. Sure they are running a 60% margin on those items. But they also have items that cost $2, they sell for $3 and they have to throw some of them away because the rot before they can be sold. It all averages out.
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  #45  
Old 09-30-2010, 10:21 AM
The Great Sun Jester The Great Sun Jester is offline
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Conspiring to pay big money as often as possible benefits the insurance company how?

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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
Insurance companies don't pay big money very often
Under which coverages? I pay, on average, about $20,000 per bodily injury claim (some very large cases, some very small cases). Personally, I pay about $700/year per car for liability insurance. Assuming my insurer has no overhead like salaries, power bills, etc. It'll take them nearly 30 years to collect enough money to cover an average accident. "Oh sure, but they're not just collecting from YOU. There's hundreds of other people paying into the pot that aren't having accidents." Sure. But how many of them are gonna go 30 years without an accident? And my insurance company DOES have overhead. And while they do make some money in the stock market, it ain't on the order of 10%+. I pay $6/year for towing insurance and there's no restriction apart from, "nearest facility that can provide the necessary services to get the car going again." How many years do I pay for that before I cover a $300 tow/storage bill? When it comes to payouts vs. premiums, "Big Money" is a relative term.

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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
everyone is forced by law to buy insurance
That only applies to liability insurance. Nobody's forced to by towing or collision insurance, which is relevant in this thread.
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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
but only a few people collect on it every year
See my above argument--if it takes 30 years to make up an AVERAGE payout, then a significant portion of the drivers out there have to go more than 30 years without an accident to just break even--again, we're not even talking about overhead.
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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
the rest is profit.
Nope, after office space, utility bills, advertising and salaries (the vast majority of which are "average" I assure you) the rest is invested, mostly in relatively safe stuff like bonds which aren't big money producers.
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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
Then, once you do claim on your insurance, your insurance company cancels you as a bad risk.
Not even usually true. And NEVER true for me--I've been accident-free for so long my company has agreed they'll only drop me if I lose my license or lapse my policy.

So I guess I'm not understanding the car insurer's angle in this scam. Any payout, big or small, represents a financial loss to the insurer and a gain to the shop, tow yard and manufacturer. Are insurance companies getting kickbacks then? Or are insurers using the perception of unreasonable repair costs as an excuse to gouge customers and hope they won't notice the premiums are disproportionate to the losses? Last time I checked, car insurance is a fiercely competetive business. A practice like that would eliminate someone pretty quick.

For what it's woth, I spent 7 years fighting with tow companies about storage costs and tow fees. I even found legislation that restricts how much they can charge thet even THEY didn't know about. Still they'd be reluctant to comply because they knew I wasn't going to spend a bunch of money suing them over a $500 over charge.

Listen, I like you and it looks like you could use a drink. Here, have som Flav-r-ade. Better?

Ok. Car manufacturers are under pressur to build safer cars. Doing so has resulted in materials and designs that often defy repair--the cars are made to basically self destruct in order to protect the occupants. Think the car repair shops like that? Normal repairs are expensive enough (salaries, materials, overhead, etc), but when cars are designed to total out on impact, they don't get to do much repair work anymore. Tow companies LOVE it because as many cars aren't being driven away from crash sites anymore--someone has to haul the junk off and they get to charge arbitrary fees for storage. $20-$40/day to have something keeping the gravel shaded from the blistering sun. Yeah, they've got their costs, too. But, speaking as an insider, I'd say the racket belongs to the manufacturers and the tow companies.
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:29 PM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is offline
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So, when your family goes out to a restaurant and the bill comes to $100, it's safe to bet the restaurant paid about $30 for that food. But, I can also tell you, after everything else is paid for, the owner will put between 50¢ and $5.00 (on the very very high end) in their pocket..
You do not know this for a fact. You are as wrong as wrong can be, and you're spreading ignorance throughout this thread. Successful restaurants do not operate on profit margins that equal one half of 1% of revenue. That's ridiculous.

You don't know what you're talking about.
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  #47  
Old 09-30-2010, 01:50 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Originally Posted by Labrador Deceiver View Post
You do not know this for a fact. You are as wrong as wrong can be, and you're spreading ignorance throughout this thread. Successful restaurants do not operate on profit margins that equal one half of 1% of revenue. That's ridiculous.

You don't know what you're talking about.
Well, first of all, I personally have been in the food service/restaurant/catering/retail business for 18 years now, my father for 31 years, my grandfather for even longer. I have a pretty good grasp on the percentages that are used. Also, you'll notice I said 50¢ UP TO $5.00 per $100 go into the owners pocket, I can 1000000% guarantee some restaurants operate at .05%, I know this for a FACT. You can say I don't but I have seen the books. I'm not saying they all do, I'm saying some do.

From http://www.wirestaurant.org/press/statistics.php
"Restaurants generally have profit margins that are much lower than most other small businesses. Nationally, the average profit margin (net income before taxes) for restaurants is only 3-9%."

So 3-9% BEFORE TAXES, I think that fits in nicely with my saying the owner typically takes home between .05% and 5%.
FWIW, my business paid out 3% of our gross income to the government in the form of various taxes in 2009.

Unless you can show me that no restaurants run at .05%, you're the one spreading ignorance, I CAN find counter-examples.

Also, you put a word into my mouth....I never said "successful." Not every restaurant is successful, in fact many restaurants manage to be unsuccessful for many many years before they bounce back. During those times the owners often bite into their own take home pay or even pump money back into the business.

Again, I challenge you to prove to me that no restaurant owners only take home .05% before you tell me I'm spreading ignorance.

Also, it might be important for me to mention that I'm referring to family restaurants (as opposed to chains or franchises ).
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:18 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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I just realized that in my editing of this post, I missed something. Where I said .05%, I meant .5%.
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:34 PM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is offline
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Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
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Originally Posted by Labrador Deceiver View Post
You do not know this for a fact. You are as wrong as wrong can be, and you're spreading ignorance throughout this thread. Successful restaurants do not operate on profit margins that equal one half of 1% of revenue. That's ridiculous.

You don't know what you're talking about.
Well, first of all, I personally have been in the food service/restaurant/catering/retail business for 18 years now, my father for 31 years, my grandfather for even longer. I have a pretty good grasp on the percentages that are used. Also, you'll notice I said 50¢ UP TO $5.00 per $100 go into the owners pocket, I can 1000000% guarantee some restaurants operate at .05%, I know this for a FACT. You can say I don't but I have seen the books. I'm not saying they all do, I'm saying some do.

From http://www.wirestaurant.org/press/statistics.php
"Restaurants generally have profit margins that are much lower than most other small businesses. Nationally, the average profit margin (net income before taxes) for restaurants is only 3-9%."

So 3-9% BEFORE TAXES, I think that fits in nicely with my saying the owner typically takes home between .05% and 5%.
FWIW, my business paid out 3% of our gross income to the government in the form of various taxes in 2009.

Unless you can show me that no restaurants run at .05%, you're the one spreading ignorance, I CAN find counter-examples.

Also, you put a word into my mouth....I never said "successful." Not every restaurant is successful, in fact many restaurants manage to be unsuccessful for many many years before they bounce back. During those times the owners often bite into their own take home pay or even pump money back into the business.

Again, I challenge you to prove to me that no restaurant owners only take home .05% before you tell me I'm spreading ignorance.

Also, it might be important for me to mention that I'm referring to family restaurants (as opposed to chains or franchises ).
Give me a fucking break. So your point now is that failing businesses operate at .5%? What a meaningless statement. In fact, let's alter it so that it really encompasses all restaurants, shall we?:

"For every $100 in revenue, owners will put between -$100 to $5 in their pocket.

There we go. That's really fighting Snarky Kong's ingnorance with a shit ton of stupidity now, isn't it?

Besides that, your own cite shows you to be wrong, since you set the upper limit at 5%, when the average is higher than that after taxes. I personally know people making more than 10%.

Last edited by Labrador Deceiver; 09-30-2010 at 02:34 PM..
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:41 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Originally Posted by Labrador Deceiver View Post
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Originally Posted by Joey P View Post

Well, first of all, I personally have been in the food service/restaurant/catering/retail business for 18 years now, my father for 31 years, my grandfather for even longer. I have a pretty good grasp on the percentages that are used. Also, you'll notice I said 50¢ UP TO $5.00 per $100 go into the owners pocket, I can 1000000% guarantee some restaurants operate at .05%, I know this for a FACT. You can say I don't but I have seen the books. I'm not saying they all do, I'm saying some do.

From http://www.wirestaurant.org/press/statistics.php
"Restaurants generally have profit margins that are much lower than most other small businesses. Nationally, the average profit margin (net income before taxes) for restaurants is only 3-9%."

So 3-9% BEFORE TAXES, I think that fits in nicely with my saying the owner typically takes home between .05% and 5%.
FWIW, my business paid out 3% of our gross income to the government in the form of various taxes in 2009.

Unless you can show me that no restaurants run at .05%, you're the one spreading ignorance, I CAN find counter-examples.

Also, you put a word into my mouth....I never said "successful." Not every restaurant is successful, in fact many restaurants manage to be unsuccessful for many many years before they bounce back. During those times the owners often bite into their own take home pay or even pump money back into the business.

Again, I challenge you to prove to me that no restaurant owners only take home .05% before you tell me I'm spreading ignorance.

Also, it might be important for me to mention that I'm referring to family restaurants (as opposed to chains or franchises ).
Give me a fucking break. So your point now is that failing businesses operate at .5%? What a meaningless statement. In fact, let's alter it so that it really encompasses all restaurants, shall we?:

"For every $100 in revenue, owners will put between -$100 to $5 in their pocket.

There we go. That's really fighting Snarky Kong's ingnorance with a shit ton of stupidity now, isn't it?

Besides that, your own cite shows you to be wrong, since you set the upper limit at 5%, when the average is higher than that after taxes. I personally know people making more than 10%.

::Joey reminds himself to pick his battles and bows out of this one. ::

You win. I don't feel that any amount of logic I throw at you will change your mind that there does not exist a restaurant where the owner takes home .5% of the net income. Apparently even telling you I've seen the books of said restaurants doesn't convince you.

Again, you win. I'm happy to keep participating in this thread, but I won't be part of this specific side discussion any more. I refuse to get worked up about something when you're not really arguing, you're just name calling.

Last edited by Joey P; 09-30-2010 at 02:45 PM..
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