Aaron Watkins transformed what he has learned about lighting in the towing industry into a fully functioning second business: a custom lighting company for emergency vehicles. We talked to Watkins about what he’s setting his sights on next: a creative approach to custom lighting for Jeeps and other off-road vehicles.
What is Enforcement One?
Enforcement One builds service cars from the ground up, including tow trucks, emergency vehicles and patrol cars. We can build out any vehicle that needs emergency or extra lighting.
What inspired you to start Enforcement One?
We started installing emergency lighting for other towing companies. We were approached to do lights on vehicles in different industries, and the business took off.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background? How long have you been the towing industry?
I’ve been in the towing industry for 17 years, working for my family’s business. My uncle had a towing company in New York. He moved down here in 1995 and started this company. I’ve been running Pasco Towing on my own for about four years now.
We have 24 trucks on the road. We are now up to three guys in the lighting shop and two salesmen for the products.
What do you do differently to make the process of equipping vehicles easier than your competitors?
We give customers the whole package. Being in the towing industry, we are able to pick up and deliver vehicles. When we buy a vehicle for a customer to outfit, we make sure that it is checked over and mechanically sound. Every vehicle gets washed and detailed. We used to go to auctions, but we are mostly installing on new vehicles now. We’ll buy them from a dealer.
We are hoping to team up with local dealerships soon. With that being said, we’ve been wanting to get into the Jeep line. The creativity around the different stuff we are able do with Jeeps inspires us.
What do you like about customizing Jeeps?
Most of the Jeeps we have done are on the East Coast of Florida. They are outfitted with emergency lighting, such as the lifeguard Jeeps on Daytona Beach. Those projects were installing pre-existing products.
We like the creative part — brainstorming and getting together with skilled people to figure out how to make a customer’s idea happen. My installer, Al, and I spearhead that kind of stuff. We both really enjoy that process.
What products and parts do you sell and install?
We’re just doing lighting right now, but we are thinking about getting into lifts and other work in the future. We install interior consoles by Havis and are always looking to expand on the variety of lighting brands that we carry. There is a limit to the number of distributors in a radius for certain brands. We just bought out a local business for their distributorship of the Whelen product line.
How much custom work are you doing for law enforcement versus civilians?
Emergency lighting is 99% of what we do, but we’d like to change that. We are trying to get our name out there more and we are excited to attend more events.
We heard you will be working with Jeepin 4 Justice, a Pasco County charity event.
Yes, this will be the first year we participate in Jeepin 4 Justice. We are excited to be there. My towing company, Pasco Towing, is sponsoring the mudhole.
Are there certain things that you can only install on law enforcement vehicles and not civilian vehicles?
Civilians cannot use blue or green lighting on their vehicles. Blue is police-only and green is security-only. A civilian can have them on their vehicle for show purposes, but they must sign a waiver if they ask us to put them on.
What did you install on the first couple Jeeps?
A deputy whose agency used our services sent in our first Jeeper. We had to think outside the box to build the custom light bars he wanted.
We also did some flashing Whelen lights on the hood of a Jeep that we built from scratch. We like when someone brings us an idea. We get to run with it and make it into something.
How long did the second project take?
We custom-designed and fabricated the brackets for the lights on the hood. It took about a week and half.
You have the capabilities to build entirely custom pieces?
Yes. Our whole staff has been through emergency vehicle training and we have QTM Inc. right around the corner. They do our welding.
What is the warranty on your work?
Every product is under a five-year warranty from the manufacturer. We match that five-year warranty on our labor.
Nuts and Bolts
Aaron Watkins owns and runs Pasco Towing and Enforcement One, both based in the Tampa area. Besides being in the towing industry for 17 years now, he specializes in emergency lighting for vehicles. His company, Enforcement One, is branching out into the Jeepin’ world by offering custom light solutions to Jeepers.
What is the average cost to equip a Jeep with emergency/safety lights?
It depends on what you are looking for. It can range from around $500 on up. The customizing can get as expensive as you want. It’s a different experience for us and our clients to have the creative challenge of making something unique.