Let’s just say you want to be a truck driver but you have concerns. You are worried you’ll be lonely or struggle with solitude with over the road trucking jobs. You want to be a trucker while maximizing your ability to make as much money as possible. This is where team truck driving jobs take the cake. When you drive as part of a team, you have a partner with you at all times. Plus, since you are continually rolling you stand to gain financially. Before you set out to apply for team truck driving jobs, check out this handy getting started guide.
Basics: How to Drive as a Team
When you are on a trucking team, it is you and one other Class A CDL truck driver operating a single big rig. You two are responsible for driving, loading/unloading, and paperwork. You also share a sleeper in the sense that one person sleeps while the other person drives. In some cases, you don’t even have to share a sleeper thanks to bunk beds in big rigs. Now, since you are both driving, that means the truck is constantly moving. You are able to get to your destination in half the time since fewer off-duty hours are happening with the truck.
Hours of Service for Team Drivers
For team drivers, the hours of service rules are different compared to solo truck driving jobs—but there are still HOS rules. The advantage here is that you can adapt to the hours of service based on sleeper times. Here are a couple of the most common trucking schedules for team drivers:
- Drivers take 12/12 shifts, which means each driver operates the truck for 12 hours and then take a 12-hour break while the other person drives. In this case, drivers typically switch positions at 3 am, and 3 pm or 6 am and 6 pm.
- Drivers take 10/10 shifts where each driver operates the truck for 10-hour stretches. This is common when a haul is considered a hot load and needs to arrive expediently.
So what about driving a truck at night versus day? Teams will need to decide which driver takes the night shift and vice versa. If neither of the drivers is too keen on driving at night all the time, the team can switch shifts every week. One driver is on night shift one week, and the next week they get the day hours.
Choosing a Team Driver
Once you decide you want to be a team truck driver, you’ll need to pick who you want to partner with. In some cases, you can choose your partner, while trucking companies hiring team drivers will likely pair you up with someone. If you are an independent contractor with your own truck, you will get to select your teammate. Often the situation is that owner-operators run with their spouse, a relative, or a close friend. This helps you eliminate the concern of getting stuck with someone you don’t like or can’t get along with.
Why Teams Earn More Than Solo Drivers
Now back to the earlier point of making more money as a team driver. Is this true? Since you are driving the same amount of time that you would if you were a solo driver, it doesn’t necessarily make sense that you would earn more money. But here’s the deal. A truck that is operated by a team of drivers has a higher rate of success when getting freight to the destination on time. For instance, if one driver is under the weather or feeling fatigued, there is a backup driver right there on the rig. Trucking companies also pay team drivers more because they want to keep their trucks moving as much as possible. When you have two drivers, they can keep the truck in operation even while obeying hour of service rules.
As a result, team drivers get paid split pay for all miles traveled by truck. This includes split pay on those miles where a team driver is off-duty and asleep in the sleeper. You can see how getting paid even when you aren’t driving can benefit your wallet.
Trucking Companies Hiring Team Drivers
There are several trucking companies out there that hire team drivers. However, to make the most money choose a line haul company. These carriers provide consistent freight and regular routes. As a result, you can maximize your driving abilities by continually having freight to move. Some truck drivers report earning as much as $100,000 with these types of trucking jobs—and that is per driver. Some companies to look into for team driving jobs include:
- Old Dominion
- Estes Express
- TWT Refrigerated Service
- Schneider National
- R & R Trucking
To get started with team driving jobs, you don’t have to have team driving experience. However, it helps if you do. Start the process by applying for a trucking job after searching for team driving jobs here at CareersinGear.