Rules for Owning a Tow Company in Massachusetts

by Roger Thorne J.D.; Updated September 26, 2017

Towing companies in Massachusetts have to meet specific state requirements covering areas ranging from pricing to driver qualifications. The Massachusettes Department of Telecommunications and Energy is responsible for establishing many of the towing regulations that apply, and violating these requirements may result in fines or other civil penalties. The laws and regulations governing tow truck companies in Massachusetts can change, so talk to a Massachusetts attorney if you need advice and assistance with any tow truck company question.

Towing Rates

According to the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, towing companies are limited in the amount they can charge for the towing and transportation of motor vehicles. 220 CMR 272.00 states that a towing company can charge a maximum amount of $90 for the first five miles. After the initial five miles, a company can charge up to $3 per mile and up to $32 per manhour or fraction thereof.

Other Rates

Apart from the actual towing of the vehicles, Massachusetts tow truck companies are also limited in other fees and rates. 220 CMR 272.00 states, for example, the a tow truck company may charge a commercial motor vehicle, such as a tractor-trailer, up to $90 for the first five miles and $4.25 per mile after the first five. If the tow truck operator has to employ services outside its capabilities, such as bulldozers or special labor, it can only charge the exact amount it takes to obtain such services.

Licensed Drivers

Anyone operating a commercial tow truck in Massachusetts has to have a commercial driver's license, or CDL. According to MassDOT, if the gross vehicle weight of any combination of towed and towing vehicle exceeds 26,000 pounds, provided the vehicle being towed is greater than 10,000 pounds, the driver needs a Class A commercial driver's license. If the combined gross weight is more than 26,000 pounds and the vehicle is not in excess of 10,000 pounds, the driver needs a Class B license.

Business Formation

Like other businesses in Massachusetts, tow truck company operators have to register their business with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. Tow company operators can choose from any business structure available in the state, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies and corporations. Some forms of business, such as sole proprietorships, are relatively simple to create, though they offer fewer legal protections to owners as other more complicated forms such as corporations or LLCs.

About the Author

Roger Thorne is an attorney who began freelance writing in 2003. He has written for publications ranging from "MotorHome" magazine to "Cruising World." Thorne specializes in writing for law firms, Web sites, and professionals. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas.