Tough business: Collier's boss talks shop

It's early afternoon at Collier's Towing Service, and owner Glenda Jones takes a break from the phones to greet a reporter in the impound lot for cars towed from Keith Woodard's and other parking lots. Her purple shirt, earrings, and necklace all sport the Harley Davidson logo, a tribute to her favorite pasttime and a suggestion that this woman's tough. To run a business that puts her in the company of angry vehicle owners takes nerve of steel. But hardness, she says, doesn't mean heartless.

"I'm a good person," says Jones, reaching a hand through the fence that runs the length of the lot to scratch the heads of her two rescued pit bulls.

"They're really just big babies," she says, as one of the dogs offers a fetchable stick and the other, tail wagging, stops barking to poke her nose through a fence to greet a visitor.

At nearly 60, Jones has been in the business for decades. In the '80s and 1990s she co-owned Jones' Wrecker Service with her husband. After divorce, about eight years ago, she purchased Collier's to provide independent income.

"It's been good," says Jones. "I'm not rich, but I can pay my bills."

The public's perception of towing operators as greedy and predatory, however, can be hard to take.

"I feel like I shouldn't have to defend us," she says. "We're doing our job."

The majority of that job, she says, is not "violation" tows– which only happen, she estimates, about 20 times a week– but contracts with the American Automobile Association, Allstate Insurance, and myriad repair shops.

"I've been called a bitch; I've been called a rip-off artist," says Jones. "I don't argue with them."

As unpleasant as it is to be on the receiving end of vitriol, she says that she's never had to call the police and that most encounters are pleasant.

"Probably 80 percent of people come in here respectful," she says. "They understand they didn't follow the rules." As for the other 20 percent, "They are mad at themselves, and they take it out on everybody."

One of the biggest complaints about towing is the demand for cash, particularly at night, when withdrawing and carrying a wad of bills may create its own safety hazard. Jones says she stopped accepting credit cards and checks after "multiple" towees stopped payment.

"People say, 'Well, you only take cash, so you pocket it," says Jones, stressing that she issues receipts for every transaction and pays taxes on all income.

So is it true that the drivers who patrol the Woodard lot and other lots get a cut of the action? It is. Jones says her drivers work on a 40 percent commission, a fact that explains their reluctance, when the owner returns, to release vehicles without receiving the full fee.

Jones says she encourages her drivers to be courteous, even in the face of rudeness, and she understands the frustration of her unwilling customers.

"I'd be upset if I got towed," she says. "I know it's not fun."


I'm going to presume that a hook reporter while in dire need of some story news got towed and that is how this news story hatched? How it got by the editor god only knows. I have to admit Glenda seems like a real sweety.

At 20 impounds a week minus the 40% commission and kickbacks it looks like she is making about 100k for herself just on the impounds...

Has there ever been anyone who siad thet they DIDN"T pay all their taxes?

Well, folks, you see the article! There is a reason a stereotype becomes a stereotype.

R.I.P.: James Buchanan

As a "liberal-ace" I suppose you would rather she be on government assistance?

R.I.P.: Those annoying RIPs

Not sure what my post has to do with her being gainfully employed. Read the first two graphs; they answer the "stereotype" question.

R.I.P: Marty Allen

Bill Marshall, someone who has CLEARLY never owned his own business.


Why do you say that

20 impounds at 145 is 2900 bucks... less the kickback to the lot owner of 25 bucks per tow leaves 2400 bucks, less 40% of the 95 dollar towing fee going to the drivers leaves $1545

Assuming that we take her at her word that impounds are only a small part of her business then the office, insurance and truck maintanace (for the 1 mile tow) is already amortized then she is grossing $80,340 bucks on impounds alone. Thats a lot of ducketts for such a "small" part of her business.

sorry,,,,, "netting" $80340 bucks on impounds alone.....

"As unpleasant as it is to be on the receiving end of vitriol, she says that she's never had to call the police and that most encounters are pleasant."

Totally False. As a person who is very aware of where the police go and why they are going, there are calls for disorders several times a month at Collier's towing. I've also dealt with the owner on several of these issues and she's not the nice person portrayed in this article. A simple FOIA request to the police department and the 911 center for calls for service to 202 5th St SW would show this.

the people call the cops not the owner and its nothing the cops can do about a car being towed

Untrue. The complainant is sometimes the person towed. But there are many calls from Ms. Jones and/or one of her wrecker operators.

why are they calling they have the car in a locked lot they may call for the person and how do u know are u a cop why are u dealing with them u must be a cop or got towed and if u not a cop you don't know whats going on i know a few cops and a few at the call center but i dont know what they do everyday

A simple FOIA request to the police department and the 911 center for calls for service to 202 5th St SW would not give anybody a true picture. The tow truck drivers themselves often call the police for assistance when an unruly person shows up at the various parking lots, refuses to pay, and wants his/her car dropped. The addresses would therefore be assorted.

I didn't pay. I got towed. I got my car back. lesson learned. this town SURE knows how to over react. wow. put on your big city pants and deal