Alexandria, VA – Road Res-Q, a local Alexandria roadside assistance company, is celebrating its third anniversary.
Company owner Frank Scheer opened Road Res-Q after working in the roadside and towing industry for 13 years. He was born and raised in Alexandria and considers the city home. Scheer says he loves the small, quiet, and safe community feel of Alexandria and appreciates the city’s history.
“I really love this community. That’s why I chose to stay in the area,” he said. “It just feels wonderful to live here at times.”
Scheer decided to start his business after noticing a gap in the customer service and quality of work from area towing and roadside assistance companies. One of the first jobs Scheer had was in roadside assistance and towing. He says it’s where he fell in love with the industry.
“I wanted to open a company with a marked service truck coming out to assist you. You know who it is, they’re uniformed, and they have a wide range of tools, so whatever your issue, it can pretty much be handled right then and there. That’s instead of hoping that they have the right tools to help you get back on the road,” said Scheer.
While it took a while to become known in the area and to partner with insurance companies after opening in 2018, Road Res-Q was beginning to see an increase in customers and responding to multiple calls a day right before COVID-19 hit. Once the pandemic started, business slowed down again. People were no longer driving as much due to COVID-19; there was no longer much need for car maintenance.
Despite fewer customers, however, Scheer says one surprising effect of COVID-19 and the decrease in driving was that when people finally went out to use their cars, they found their car battery had died.
“We were getting quite a few jumpstart and new battery requests,” said Scheer. “That did help us a bit, but people weren’t going out to the clubs and accidentally leaving their keys locked in their car or just going out regularly, so traffic was a lot slower, rush hour didn’t exist, stuff like that.”
As things opened up again and the number of drivers on the road increased, so did Road Res-Q customers. So much so that Scheer hopes to hire an employee soon to help with the company.
The business, which Scheer runs with the help of his wife, is 100% mobile. They have three trucks: a large service truck, a small unit that can fit in low garages and on the narrow streets of Alexandria, and a pickup truck.
“You can request our services through your insurance company or you can call us directly,” said Scheer. “If you call directly, we can get to you a lot quicker because you don’t have a hold time between reaching the insurance company and them trying to get ahold of us, so it’s fewer steps.”
Road Res-Q’s services include helping with jumpstarts, battery installations, tire changes and installations, winch outs if you get stuck in mud, snow, or dirt, vehicle unlocking, and fluid delivery. They also perform fleet services for companies with more than five trucks, including handling preventive maintenance and emergency services on a regular basis.
“I think our average response is about 22 minutes from the time you call until we are on scene,” said Scheer. “So imagine sitting on the side of the highway waiting for someone for hours on end, or you could just give us a call, and we can be there in 20 minutes to get you on your way.”
While Scheer says people often confuse the two, Road Res-Q only helps with roadside assistance, not towing.
Scheer is passionate about educating people about the towing and roadside industry and, specifically, its dangers. In the years to come, he hopes to spread awareness about the dangers the job poses for tow and roadside operators.
“Our industry has one of the deadliest jobs in the United States,” said Scheer. “A tow and roadside operator is killed about every six days. In this area, we lost two drivers in the last year from people not slowing down or moving over.”
Scheer says that during the day, he responds to about two or three highway calls. “We have people riding the white line. I feel people brushing up against my back as I’m trying to get somebody off the road or clear debris or something of that nature,” he added. “People don’t care to slow down, move over, let us get home safely, and help our customers get home safely. Their biggest concern is just taking a few seconds off their trip.”
In addition to his efforts to spread awareness of the dangers of the business, Scheer is passionate about Road Res-Q and providing quality service. Scheer hopes to see his company grow and continue its 24-hour emergency service for people across the DMV.
“I would love to have a few employees running around. We already service the entire Metro area, but having a few more drivers spread out would let us help more people a lot quicker with our quality service,” said Scheer.
(Photos courtesy of Road Res-Q)