We spent the last article looking at being a solo driver. In this article, we want to focus on what it takes to be successful if you want to spend your time team driving. We want to discuss some of the different aspects that you will be dealing with when you chose a team driving operation. And some of the new thought processes that you will have to adopt if you want to drive team. We will also examine some of the different team driving operations that you can chose from.
The worst decision you could make when you decide team driving is for you is to start out fresh off your trainer’s truck and team up with another truck driver right off his trainer’s truck. Neither of you have any real experience and may not be compatible. If I was going to start up a permanent team driving operation in my big rig, I would only consider my really good friends. You’re not going to always get along with your team driving companion. However, if you chose someone that you already have a friendship relationship with, it will be less of an adjustment. And to that end, you can layout ground rules for the both of you. This way, there’s no confusing “I quit” conversations later. You will already understand the expectations and the air will be clear between the both of you.
Another team driving situation I would caution you about is to come off your trainer’s truck and go work on an owner operator’s truck. I have heard more often than not that these situations do not work very well. Unless you were great friends with that owner operator, you don’t know their personality and they don’t know yours. This can make it super difficult for the team driving situation to work. The other thing that happens is that you spend the majority of your time on a truck that is an extension of your time with your trainer as well as possibly not getting paid as well as being just a solo driver. You actually don’t know what a solo driver makes because you never took that time to get that experience.
However, not all team driving operations are bad. Most of the informed, experienced team driving operations that I have come across are actually very successful and can make a good amount of money. The key here though is to be informed and experienced! You have to know how to take care of your own business before you can work with someone else. Beyond that you need to find someone that has your same work ethic. Not all truck drivers are as crazy as I am, running every bit of their hours out every week and making the most of every minute on our clock. Some drivers are happy with being average and taking the time to see the sights. This is okay, just don’t pair yourself up with someone who wants to see the sights if you want to take advantage of every minute of your available time. This is just another thing you need to consider before pursuing a team driving operation.
When you decide to share your limited living space with another driver, you need to make sure that your personality and work habits are fairly similar. You can work through most any personality trait. However, if you are constantly bickering and fighting you won’t be running many miles. Even though you have limited space in the truck you need to establish clear boundaries. If you don’t mind it if someone goes through your stuff, then that’s fine. However, if it bothers you when people rummage through your stuff then you need to draw that line. This is why it is better if you find a good friend to go out on the road with. And if at all possible, someone that lives close to you so that you don’t have to split home-time. When you are they go home the truck gets parked close to both of you and you can share the home-time.
Not all team driving operations are permanent. Once you have displayed a competence to run a truck efficiently. The company that you work for will let you train the new drivers. They should give you the mileage that the trainee drives and maybe even more to compensate you. This is a great way for you to take home some extra cash. Now, I know that it can be nerve wracking to have a new student drive your truck. And if you don’t think you can stomach this concept then you shouldn’t do it. However, with that being said, you can make some good cash being a new driver trainer and it can be rewarding to see someone pickup a skill that will last a lifetime and make a huge difference in their lives and the lives of their family.
So in the end, Team driving isn’t all that bad and once you have been informed and have the experience. You too can run a successful team driving operation. I have spent time as a new driver trainer and actually enjoyed the rookies rotating in and out. This way you don’t have to put up with the same old person in the truck forever. And it is rewarding to see them acquire a skill that will change their lives for the better. One of my favorite things is to hear someone tell me they’ve never make more than $300 a week in their life. And I know from experience that they are going to make twice to three times that driving a truck. So make sure that if you are going to enter a team driving situation you take your time, match up your personality and your work ethic. Let me know what you think and be safe out there!