For the most part, truck driving is considered a solo profession. However, teaming up with a partner is a great way to leverage your truck driving career. Team driving is merely partnering with another CDL licensed driver, whether that’s your spouse, family member, or friend, and sharing a single truck, jobs, and all other responsibilities. While team truck driving isn’t new, in recent years it has grown in popularity. This is especially true since the EDL rules have placed so many limitations on truck drivers. Of course solo driving still exists, and is the best option for some professional drivers, but team driving offers more benefits than ever.
A Business Partnership
Think of it as any other successful business partnership, which is comprised of give and take. A successful truck driving team must have personalities that mesh well together, and it’s also important that you generally like, respect, and trust one another.
The following are some of the primary benefits of team driving:
- Driving teams are able to tag team between resting and driving so more miles are generally covered in a 24-hour period, which translates to more money. To put this into perspective, because of EDL regulations, a solo driver averages between 2400 and 2800 miles per week whereas a driving couple logs double that amount.
- Better mileage loads
- Nowadays, there is a high demand for team drivers due to EDL mandates, which makes teams invaluable. As such, these drivers often get the better mileage load opportunities.
- Less driving for free in order to meet deadlines.
- A strong partnership can result in better health and improved quality of life.
- Agreeing to be a team driver often results in larger sign-on bonuses, a higher pay rate per mile, and more priority loads.
- Increased security and efficiency on the road and off. From sharing drive time to taking care of restocking food or showering at a truck stop, with two drivers you can avoid the need of ever leaving the truck and/or load unattended.
- There’s someone to share downtime with, which can be especially meaningful when you’re partnered with someone you truly care about.
What Makes a Driving Team Successful?
While it’s common for married couples to team up on routes, oftentimes, individuals who are just starting their career in truck driving don’t know anyone they can team up with. Fortunately, there are personality tests and programs available that successfully match drivers.
Undoubtedly, sharing the small space of a truck cab and spending long hours with the same person on the road presents its own set of challenges. That’s why finding the right partner is important. Some key factors to consider when choosing a driving partner include personality traits, hygiene and cleanliness habits, work ethic, and similar interests.
Here are the top things required for a successful driving team:
Good Communication: It goes without saying that logging miles with a partner can make the time go by more quickly. But, like all partnerships, open communication is a must. It is imperative that when issues arise, they are taken care of quickly. You and your partner can provide one another with great companionship on the road, especially when trekking across miles of wide open landscapes. Make a point of talking through issues and building a strong foundation for your business partnership and hopefully friendship.
Mutual Trust and Respect: Disagreements are inevitable. That means a mutual respect for boundaries is paramount. Practicing an open-minded attitude and having a willingness to listen and compromise will help to build a successful partnership.
In addition to respecting each other, the two people must earn each other’s trust as well. This is comprised of having the other’s back, sharing and agreeing with one another’s views on driving techniques, work ethic, and so on. For instance, if you are a very focused individual and consistently pushing your limits, you’ll want to choose a likeminded partner to ensure the workload is equally shared.
Key Points to Consider When Choosing a Partner
Many driving teams consist of spouses, best friends, an adult child, or another family member. However, if you’re using other ways to find a partner, consider having him or her answer the following:
- How much and what type of driving experience do you have?
- Do you prefer to drive during the day or night hours?
- What are your hobbies, interests, favorite types of music?
- What’s the average number of driving hours you log before taking a break?
- Discuss driving, sleeping, eating habits.
- Be sure to address cleanliness and hygiene. Remember, sharing a truck space during long hauls can feel quite cramped – especially if you’re a clean freak and your partner is a slob.
- Are there any health concerns to be aware of? (i.e. allergies, disease, etc.)
Is Team Driving Right for You?
Bottom line, team driving doesn’t come without its disadvantages and it isn’t for everyone. However, team driving opens the door for many opportunities that solo driving doesn’t. In this day and age where carriers and customers prefer faster deliveries, it should be carefully considered.
At TCI, we are dedicated to serving the transportation industry. If you enjoyed this article and would like to stay up-to-date with more articles like this one, please sign up for our email list.