Median yearly income for a tow truck driver is about $28,000 in 2015, but earnings range from around $20,000 to $45,000. Earnings include hourly wages, hourly tips, overtime pay, commissions and bonuses. Pay varies according to geographic location and experience.
On average, commissions make up about one-third of a tow truck driver's total compensation, but commissions range all the way from about $196 to $13,700 per year. Hourly rates range from about $9 to approximately $17, while hourly tips run the gamut from 10 cents to about $2. Overtime pay can add approximately another $12 to $24 per hour. Bonuses can add up to about $1,500 annually.
Tow truck drivers perform many different types of tasks. Sometimes, police departments call upon tow truck drivers to move inoperable vehicles away from accident scenes. Police and businesses also use tow truck drivers to transport abandoned and illegally parked cars to tow lots.
In addition, car repair shops and roadside service providers such as the Auto Club often hire tow truck drivers to help drivers in distress and to move broken-down vehicles. As a result, drivers need to be able to carry out basic repair functions such as giving fuel assistance, jump-starting a battery and unlocking car doors. Sometimes tow truck drivers must drive cars that are in need of repairs or pull vehicles out of snowbanks, bodies of water and other hazardous situations.
The U.S. Department of Transportation requires anyone towing a weight of more than 10,000 pounds or driving a vehicle of more than 26,001 pounds to hold a commercial, or Class A, drivers license. Tow truck drivers who have Class A licenses qualify for higher paying jobs in the truck driving industry.