Payless Auto Towing’s Founder and Owner Passes Away

On May 19, 2023, Gordon Carmichael, the founder of Payless Auto Towing Ltd. in North Vancouver, B.C., passed away. Gordon, who co-owned the company with his partner Robin, battled cancer for several years before succumbing to the disease.

Gordon’s passion for the towing industry developed during his high school years while working for the District of North Vancouver. In 1973, he founded Payless Auto Towing, which he successfully operated alongside his wife Robin for nearly five decades. The company gained prominence in the Lower Mainland’s towing industry, serving the Sea-to-Sky corridor in North Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, and Pemberton areas.

Gordon Carmichael,
founder of Payless Auto Towing Ltd.

Renowned for his kindness and always ready to lend a hand, Gordon was respected within the industry. Randy Sorley, former chairman of the Towing and Recovery Division of the Automotive Retailers Association (ARA) and former owner of Maple Ridge Towing in Maple Ridge, B.C., fondly recalls Gordon as one of the industry’s good guys. “While I chaired the Towing and Recovery Division, we had many conversations, and I never once heard him speak badly of any competitor in the industry. He seemed to have a commonsense approach to the ongoing problems our industry faced and was always more than willing to help anybody,” said Randy.

Gordon’s longtime friend, Gary Tarantino, president of Unitow Services (1978) Ltd., also attests to his exceptional character. Gary emphasized Gordon’s remarkable helpfulness whenever needed, going above and beyond to support his neighbours in the industry.

Gary and Gordon shared numerous stories and collaborated on various recovery jobs throughout their careers. They often crossed paths at ARA meetings. When asked whether he thinks Gordon was a better operator or a business owner, with a chuckle Gary replied: “Well, he has been in it for 40-plus years, so he must have been okay at both. Not many people last that long.”

Following Gordon’s passing, Reliable Towing Services Group acquired his lifelong business. In the announcement of his passing, it was stated that Gordon wished for his company’s legacy to continue, and so he agreed to sell the business to Reliable Towing Services Group. The intention is to maintain the same level of dedication and commitment to serving the communities as Gordon and Robin did throughout their tenure. ■