Everything You Need to Know about Team Trucking


Team trucking means two truckers are sharing the driving time for the same truck. Doing this has both pros and cons to driving with another. Some want it; some do not.

Though many people prefer team trucking, some CDL training schools require you to pair up with a trainer to complete the training. Whatever your situation is, there will have ups and downs of running a team driving.

How Team Trucking Works?

From the word itself, it is just like how it sounds. You are with another driver who trades drive time. Both of you have on-duty and off-duty shifts. By permitting one driving to sleep while the other driver is keeping the truck going, the downtime of trucking is significantly reduced.

It’s pretty straightforward and exactly how it sounds. You have two drivers who trade drive time. Each driver will have on-duty and off-duty shifts. By allowing one driver to sleep while the other driver is keeping the rig going, the amount of downtime a truck has is significantly reduced.

In team trucking, both drivers are paid for their combined mileage, which averages at a higher amount than a solo driver. Most companies like team trucking because it maximizes their times of delivery.

What are the Pros and Cons of Team Trucking?

Some aspects of the team trucking fall into a neutral area.  Some things are advantageous to some but could be disadvantageous to others.

The partnership between the co-drivers is one of the most crucial aspects of a successful team trucking.

Things like personal habits, scheduling, sharing control, division of pay, and trust come into play when working with another person – having a rapport with your partner eases things up.

Regardless, you should know the pros and cons of team trucking to get the best idea of whether it is something ideal for you.

Pros of Team Trucking

More Trucking Jobs

Trucking companies prefer teams due to the hours of service. Through this, the profit margin increases as the trucks are moving around the clock.  Moreover, doing this kind of truck job gives you a better chance, especially if you are newly licensed or inexperienced.

Trucking companies and their clients want the deliveries to be transported faster. This is the reason why team trucking is in demand.  This fact is a good way for new truckers to get to the company they want to work for.

Higher Pay and More Available Jobs

More team trucking jobs are available now. Having this means the trucker’s income should be consistent. That said, any trucker should not be worried about getting enough work.

For team truckers, the income at the end of the day is about the same as solo drivers. At times, it can be a bit more, but not too much.  Some trucks work harder than others, but most cannot keep up the pace and feel burnout.

Husband and Wife Teams

Driving with your wife is one way to enjoy spending time together while getting work done. Imagine doing both of these can be enough of a benefit in itself.

Cons Of Truck Trucking Teams

Quality of Sleep

Even if some truckers can sleep when the vehicle is moving, still, the sleep is not a quality one. Our bodies are designed to sleep when it is dark and be awake when it is light. Our human bodies do not function they way bouncing around in the bunk of a moving truck.

Tricking your mind and money that it is time to sleep unhealthy. However, because this is how most trucking duties work and it is legal, we cannot do something about it. The result is that truckers’ sleep is messed up and often feel exhausted.

Anyone can say that not having a decent sleep throughout the night can feel rugged the next day. Now, shifting schedules when your sleeping pattern needs to adjust is even worse.

Noise

There is a familiar noise you can hear inside the truck – truck and highway noise, the CB radio, and from your co-driver. While this may look typical, some drivers who are trying to get some rest find it challenging to get accustomed to this.

Stopping for Breaks

Not because a driver needs a break would mean that he can easily acquire it whenever he needs it. The driver cannot stop whenever he likes to stop.

Drivers with team trucking jobs are under strict schedules with their co-driver and delivery schedules. There is no excuse when you are feeling unwell and want to bounce around in a big truck.

Sharing Control

Some drivers have difficulty sharing control. Sometimes, dealing with your co-driver who gets to drive when or how the route should run can lead to some arguments.

However, arguing with your co-driver does not mean you can take a breather. Remember that you are sitting to that person for days or even weeks at a time. This means you have to maintain a balance and respect with each other. Expect that it can be challenging at times.

You May Not Like Your Driving Partner

Sharing space can be a problem. You need to tolerate the quirks of your team’s trucking partner. Sometimes, a mildly annoying habit can irritate you when you are under high stress.  Together with frequent stop breaks and poor quality sleep can worsen your mood.

The key here is to trust your partner’s driving abilities. If you do not like your driving partner, you will feel worried and miserable all the time.

Long Time Away from Home

It is common for trucking teams to work 2 to 3 weeks and up to 7 week stretches at a time. The truck can go non-stop, as long the team drivers want to. If this is how both of you work, then there is no solid family life at all.

Team Trucking Grey Areas

The grey areas can either be on your personality, driving partner, and your choices.

We outline both perspectives for you to decide.

Trusting Your Co-driver

A huge leap of faith is needed here. Both team drivers rely on one another to do the right thing at the right time. Any mistake done during driving can be dangerous.  Now, if your partner is not trucking will add a lot of unnecessary stress to your day. However, if you trust him, you can kick back and relax.

Co-driver is Sick or Both Drivers are Sick

Both of you are inside a tiny space for long periods of time. Now, when one is sick, it is not long until you get too ill. If you have a great immune system, then this may be favorable to you. However, if not, then keeping on track will be a problem for both of you.

Getting Along with the Co-driver

Are the drivers compatible? Who gets the day shift or the night shift? These things are what both should be discussing.

To think that solo driving is already stressful means that doing team trucking doubles the stress. It is hard on the mind and body to run a team. You get to experience restless sleep, long and hard-driving time, and poor appetite.

If you are a social person, this will keep you sane. But for most, the added aspect of working with another person results in more frustration than satisfaction.

Team Trucking Pay

When compared to working as a solo driver, team truck drivers usually receive less pay. Just to inform, the average pay-per-mile for team truck drivers vary between .32 per mile up to .50 per mile.

This may look good at first, but most companies divide the pay by 2. Some companies pay the lead driver a little more than the other.

To receive more, teams should run more miles. This is their edge from the single drivers. At the end of the day, the team’s motivation will be the answer to make up the difference when it comes to income.

Husband and Wife Trucking Teams

Husband and wife truck driving teams seem to work reasonably well. They can share and enjoy each other’s company comfortably. The money they earned often goes into the same bank account, which is a profitable venture.

Even if you and your wife have a good relationship, there are times where it could feel strained when you do not have balance. This fact also applies when working in a professional relationship. Both of you should have respect and trust to make your team trucking work.

Is It Worth to Do Team Trucking?

Team trucking jobs can be pretty attractive, especially to a newly licensed trucker who wants to work on lots of miles and make the big bucks.

However, many truckers find out that it is not as easy as what you thought it would be. It can be rough going for most. 

There could be long hours and lack of rest set in which is sometimes much heftier than a solo driver. So, I hope that by reading this article, you can think about this carefully as this job is not for everyone.

 

Joel Curtis

Joel Curtis from Texas is a 30-year veteran in the trucking industry. He's driven refrigerated, flatbed, tankers, intermodals and more. You can find him as the primary author at America's Driving Force and at industry events.

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