You have your CDL-A and a friend asks if you would like run as a team driver. You are not sure if team driving is something you are interested in doing, so you find yourself weighing out both pros and cons in order to make a decision. However, you quickly realize the decision to team drive is not a simple one. You find there are many things you have to consider, ranging from pay to making sure you and your co-driver have matching personalities. The following items are some pros and cons you may consider:
(1) One thing to know is that most companies love team drivers. Very simply, team drivers never have to stop. When one driver does not have hours, the other one will. This means team trucks are able to keep customer freight constantly moving, freight is delivered at a quicker rate and the number of miles that one truck can run in a 24-hour period doubles. That is why companies such as CSA Transportation are used frequently.
(2) Hours of service can also be less stressful as a team driver. For example, you are at a customer’s lot and you are being told to leave. However, your 14-hour clock is up. As a solo driver, you would have to come up with a solution to get off the lot and find somewhere to safely park. If you were a team driver, your co-driver would be able to take over and continue down the road with the load. The stress of having to find a safe place to park in overcrowded truck stops is virtually non-existent as a team driver. Your time at trucks stops will be to fuel and load up on supplies, rather than circling round a truck stop parking lot to find a place to park.
(3) Team driving gives you the opportunity to have an extra set of eyes in all aspects of the job. You have another person double-checking your bills and making sure your trailer temperature is set per your bills. If you find yourself in a tight backing situation, you have a spotter with you at all times. When you are in rough road conditions, having another set of eyes to help navigate can be very helpful. Trip plans and load assignments can be verified and perfected by two people versus one.
(4) As a team driver, you are paid all miles that your truck runs throughout the week, whether you are the one driving or not. Because the truck does not stop, the opportunity for additional miles is constant. In addition, because you are running long miles, team driver’s equipment is more than likely maintained at the highest level.
(1) You will find that as a team driver, you and your co-driver will have a lot of togetherness. The cab of a semi –truck is not a huge space to spread out as a solo driver; add another person to the mix and the tightness doubles. You will have to learn to be a minimalist when it comes to packing, and always be mindful of your co-driver’s personal space.
(2) Items that you would not have to consider as a solo driver, will now have to be thought of when you drive in a team situation. Unbelievably, things like the temperature of the cab, cleanliness and music selection can play a part in finding a compatible team driver. Two people means twice the opinions, so be prepared to compromise.
(3) Logistically, there are also other compatibilities to contemplate. You need to find someone who has the same work ethic as you. You do not want to be the one that does all of the driving, while the other only drives half-shifts. In addition, who is going to be driving each shift? You have to find someone who is willing to drive nights while you drive days, or vice versa. Do not forget, sleeping in a moving truck is also something you will need to get used to.
Ultimately, it is up to you to weigh out the pros and cons of team driving. Only you know what works best with your personality and lifestyle. Driving as a team can be extremely rewarding, and there is nothing better than sharing the experience with another. Whether you are team driving or running as a solo driver, just remember to always keep safety in mind!