There are many opportunities in our industry for people to run as teams and there are also many things to consider before you enter into a team operation as it can be a good and bad experience depending on the people involved. Understanding what team driving is and how it works should be the first step in deciding on being part of a team.
Benefits of Team Driving
I have run team a couple of times throughout my career and both times were with people I knew very well. The benefits of working in a team operation are usually money, camaraderie, and faster turn around times on trips. Team operations usually get paid for every mile of the trip whether driving or sleeping. A single driver may get paid 50 cents per mile for every mile they drive but not when stopped or sleeping. In a team operation one person drives and the other sleeps and both team members would get 25 cents per mile the whole time the truck is rolling.
If you are a husband and wife team and both have an interest in trucking then team driving is very popular. Many feel as though they are on vacation and stay out for long periods of time to enjoy the many amazing places in North America.
Teams usually driver far distances because they can keep driving and the truck doesn’t need to stop. You can drive double the distances in half the time of a single driver operation which is why it is so attractive for new people. If you make more money, turn a trip around faster, and have someone with you on the road that you enjoy then what is the downside to team driving?
What to Consider Before Team Driving
Team driving may sound like an attractive option, but there are also many things to consider before jumping into this type of arrangement. You have to really know who you are driving with while trusting them as a driver and their skills behind the wheel. Here are three things you should consider before team driving.
Neglecting safety in any operation is bad but neglecting it in team driving can get you killed. You will be sleeping in a moving vehicle while the other person is driving at highway speeds. Are you comfortable with that and can trust that they can handle situations on the road confidently and safely. There have been many accidents in the history of trucking with team members when things went wrong. The team operations that I have seen successfully operate is where both members have strong driving skills with experience behind the wheel. Both team members need to have a safe driving mindset. Safety first!
Even the largest truck can seem small after a few days on the road and you will be with your partner 24 hours a day. Not only do you need to get along but you need to work together as a team. If one person has to clean up after the other then the operation will go down hill fast. Like minded personalities is a good start but that will only take you so far before you get tired of that person. This is why husband and wife teams work well because there is a stronger connection to each other. Make sure you get along with the other person.
Personal Time and Expenses
We all need time off, but you want to think about your personal time off. Even though a team operation can turn trips faster they also travel longer distances. If you are the type of person that needs to be home during the week or home often then team driving may not be for you.
If the team operation is owner operator based then expenses are something that should be considered. Two people eating on the road can add up quickly and if the operation is employer / employee based with one person paying expenses it may be costing you more money to operate.
Team operations can be good and bad as it really depends on the people. Spouse based teams seem to do well and many enjoy the road making the most of traveling the Country. Teams that don’t have the experience or haven’t thought through the whole process usually have a lot of trouble so really think through the opportunity before accepting a position in a team. Everything looks good on paper.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is the author of the books Driven to Drive, Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com