Team trucking is on the rise in 2020, and it is poised for years of growth.
What are the main reasons team trucking is taking off?
- Friends are teaming up and hitting the road.
- Many women are getting into trucking as a second career, and many enjoy coming on board as team truckers.
- New truckers are needed in the industry, and team trucking offers an option that might increase the driving population.
- The trucking industry is beginning to realize great untapped potential in the team approach to driving.
At Barr-Nunn Transportation, we have positions open not just for solo drivers, but also for team truckers. Here’s what it’s about, and some aspects to consider if you’re thinking of driving as a team member.
Are You Cut Out for Driving as a Team Trucker?
While many truckers prefer to drive alone, some prefer the team approach in which two truckers alternate shifts between on-duty and off-duty on their drives. With two people sleeping in shifts, the truck keeps rolling and the load keeps moving. This is good for the trucking company. And drivers make money for their total miles – which, of course, add up much faster when two people are taking turns at the wheel.
And yes: team driving is in high demand in the industry in 2020. The growth outlook is very good. At Barr-Nunn, we point out that the team approach can definitely be a way into a trucking career in 2020 and beyond.
If you’re thinking of becoming a team driver in the near future and would like to prepare mentally, the following are some insights.
It Comes Down to Your Outlook, Preferences, and Partner
First, assess your personality. Are you an extrovert? Or do you just think you’d like to travel with a pal? If so, team driving might be just the factor that makes a trucker’s life work for you.
For people who like to handle things alone, team driving might just become nerve-wracking. You know yourself best.
Even though you’re part of a team, you’re not always interacting with each other, because one or the other is usually sleeping. (This is a good place to note that only two hours of off-duty time is allowed in the passenger seat. Drivers need to be in the sleeper berth for 8 of the mandatory 10 off-duty hours.)
As for breaks, team partners have to make their schedules fit their partners’ schedules, and their delivery timetables as well. That can get stressful unless the pair is remarkably compatible.
The main thing is this. You’re riding with another human being for days or weeks. If you no longer click with or lose trust in, your partner, this makes it nearly impossible to keep working together. But for some people who work with us at Barr-Nunn, partner driving makes their career fulfilling.
Pairing Up: A Driving Partnership Can Be a Life Partnership
Your partner must share the work equally with you and must be someone you can trust completely. Maybe it’s no surprise that some of our ace teams are married couples.
For the couple that’s cut out for it, driving with your life partner can be a unique and precious benefit. Rather than being apart while the other is on the road for long hauls, the two partners can work together and look after each other.
Did you know women truckers accumulate more mileage than men do? It’s one of the notable recent trends in trucking and it happens because female truckers often drive in teams and can switch with a teammate whenever one driver gets to their driving limit. Women tend to have excellent safety records and are less likely to leave the industry, too. Are you looking for a partner with great stamina? There is so much to be said for women truckers. If you happen to be one of them or want to get started, we heartily welcome you.
For the Right Partners, Team Driving Has Its Perks
Team driving is different — some drivers love it and some don’t. There’s someone there to help with the inspections and fixes. There’s someone to guide you as you’re backing up or parking in a tricky spot.
And, of course, there is someone to take the loneliness out of the longer rides. Back in the heyday of CB radio, there were plenty of conversations. Today, it’s different. Everyone has smartphones but no one is allowed to talk on them while driving.
Being away from home for long hauls can take its toll on some people. Interesting studies have appeared in recent years about truck drivers’ mental health and how important social relationships can be to protecting everything from heart health to longevity. Close relationships with other people can uplift our moods, strengthen our immune systems, and increase our life spans. It’s a fascinating line of research and adds yet another reason to appreciate the friendships forged for life in the trucking world.
You might have a good friend in the industry, and decide to pair up. If your friend does not have OTR driving qualifications, speak with us to see about bringing your friend on board with CDL and OTR training.
Will Teamwork Make Your Dream Work?
Yes, we couldn’t resist that one.
- Can I trust my partner 100%?
- Does my partner have the stamina and mental strength to perform consistently on the road, day and night?
- And what about the other person’s view? Am I good company in tight quarters? Am I a good communicator? Am I organized and tidy? Do I mind handling more than a 50-50 share of the work when the other person is under the weather?
Respect for the other person involves being sensitive about details that you wouldn’t bother about if it were just up to you. When sharing the same space for extended periods, it’s important to do all you can to avoid a cold, pay special attention to hygiene, avoid bean dip and burritos, keep the music volume down, and avoid bumpy or sharp moves.
Are You OK With All That?
Now to add one more (really big) thing. Both of you will be working out your sleeping patterns and getting used to your off-duty time while the truck’s rolling.
Have you tried to sleep on a train or plane? If so, you know what we mean. Will you be refreshed? How will you split day and night driving? What if you need to change shifts? Will you be able to work out your preferences?
Sleep is a major factor in keeping you safe, and safety is your first priority, so think carefully about this: In a very real sense, you’ll need to be able to trust your partner with your life, and vice versa.
If you’ve already qualified for OTR, you have had a taste of team driving. As part of your training course, you drove with a mentor. Were you comfortable with that – or itching for the time you’d be on your own? That tells you a lot about whether you’re cut out for team trucking.
At Most Companies, the Pay Might Not Differ Greatly From the Solo Driver’s Rate. But at Barr-Nunn, You Will Earn More as a Team.
There are a lot of talks and promotional material out there suggesting that team driving means exceptionally high pay. But it’s just straight math. The more miles driven, the more pay is earned. Sources show the pay per mile averaging in the range of .32 per mile up to .50 per mile across the country, for each partner in a team.
If you were driving around the clock and around the calendar, you could pull in a gross yearly pay per driver of $61,000+, or 122K+ per couple, at the average U.S. transportation company. But we’re all human. Even in teams, we can’t drive constantly. And loads are not always available, even when drivers are. Most driving teams are out on the road an average of 35 out of the 52 weeks in a year. It varies.
That said, if life partners are also trucking partners, and the pair drives with a Top Pay Certified trucking company, the situation can be particularly beneficial for them. Their pay may be shared, and because they help each other on the road, this option can be a great way to make a living. It’s quite typical for team drivers to pull in several hundred dollars in extra income each month.
Interested? Talk With Us About Team Trucking.
We’re a trucking company that’s keen on team truckers. The industry has not recruited teams to the level it should, and we’re making sure we let drivers know this is an option. We’re working to be the best trucking company for team drivers, in 2020 and beyond.
Based in Granger, Iowa, with terminals in NC, PA, and OH, we’re also a National Transportation Institute Top Pay Certified Carrier. So, please contact us to find out more about how team trucking can meet your career aspirations and your financial goals. We appreciate your consideration of a career as a team trucker.