Here’s What You Need to Know about Team Driving
Perhaps the first thing to get right about team driving is to find a way to get lucky! Good teams are made in truck heaven, which must be a place because there are some really good driving teams, many of who stay permanently in the OTR zone.
The bottom line is that if you do not have a partner that you gel with, you will never discover the synergy that you came looking for in the first place. Without synergies, there are no multiplied gains.
Soon you will begin to question the basic advantage of being in a team-driving situation, and before long, you will be back to driving solo. Therefore, your success in team driving is squarely dependent upon being able to find the right partner. If you’re thinking of becoming a team driver, here’s everything you need to know.
How Was Team Driving in the Past Versus Today?
The best parts about team driving continue to remain unchanged: companionship, opportunities to learn, an immediate support structure, a shared mission, and at the end of it all, improved earnings. But not everything is the same either. Today, individualism and rigid boundaries define interpersonal relationships, and self-sufficiency is paramount.
Unlike previously, your teammate would not expect you to be looking up alternate routes or managing your logbook for you. Nowadays, you’ll rely on GPS, which may just be your only option; your partner would plan to rest or relax the whole time that he has off.
There is a stronger concept of pride, a sense of identity and of course, equality in our times. In fact, some drivers may have that point driven home to them, having to acknowledge teams with female team members.
The more quickly you will adapt to these basic realities, the better the quality of your next OTR trip.
Benefits of Team Driving
If you haven’t quite made up your mind yet, there are pointers underneath to help. Although, some people will tell you: you’re either a team driver or you are not. A team driver would tell you how much more beneficial team driving is versus going solo. Between the two of you, your rig will work doubly hard, and if there is even a bit of synergy, you’ll likely be more productive.
Customer acquisition, satisfaction, and turnover rates are improved because you are able to finish jobs twice as fast. People will come to you preferentially because it’s going to cost them the same. And they will keep you (rather, your unit) in mind for when a particularly long, off the beaten path ORT trip materializes (read tons of money for the two of you).
On the internal front, you stand to save enormously, especially with handling minor repair work that would have needed an extra set of hands – likely at a station. Not to mention savings on time, effort and the hassle involved in dealing with a repair service. Bottom line is, if you are able to tolerate one another in the small space the rig affords you, yours is the trucking world and everything inside.
But then, as advantageous as this arrangement may sound, it is not for everyone.
The Challenges of Sharing Your Space
The world of today is built upon empowerment. With that feeling of invincibility, people find a lower motivation to collaborate and make even less effort. Teamwork is challenging to begin with, and an attitude of “my way or the highway” can exacerbate the situation.
That brings us to the shortage of resources as perhaps the most formidable challenge of sharing space; that and the eventual violation of privacy.
For example, you would have to get used to individual styles of driving (your partner may not like to rest their foot off of the clutch pedal). If how the rig is being driven somehow does not make you mad, try paying attention to where the rig is going, and how it’s getting there.
To keep your calm at the nuances (and the crimes) contained in your partner’s driving requires near-absolute enlightenment – when you’re in a jungle already. On the road, it’s another story altogether.
Then take into account the health situation. You’re likely never sleeping ever again in a parked (and peaceful) rig! Otherwise, the economics would be all wonky. Being in a closed space, your health output is tied to one another.
You won’t choose to fall sick one person at a time – it will always be together. That has as much to do with infection as similar lifestyle habits. You’ll probably eat the same food for lunch, sleep in the same orthopedically challenging rig bed, and breathe in the same swampy air pocket of Savanna because you’re both in Georgia together.
How Much Can You Make As a Team Driver?
You get to write this part of your story. Depending upon the work ethic that your team can bring about to bear, the rewards shall be cascaded just as well as your punishments.
For example, if you look up urgent jobs being posted along your route, there is very little standing between you and that extra cash. Your regulars would come to rely on double the reliability and half the time and your rates should gradually rise. There is so much your synergies could create for you.
The trick is finding that golden soul with a CDL, to serve as your partner.
Of course, your earnings stand to improve if you settle down with a partner and make an effort to be that golden soul for someone else. The fact that the total earnings would likely be split evenly between you ironically reinforces the point.
Between the two of you, you are less likely to miss opportunities coming up at different times of the day! Someone is always on the watch. You will also save money on simple but not straightforward repairs that may require an extra set of hands. You will benefit from each other’s goodwill and mindfulness when you’d be losing your own otherwise.
Professional teams are accorded with greater recognition. You are likely to be offered – given everything else is stellar – the best projects, before they are even revealed to others, particularly solo drivers.
OTRs anyone? You are a strong contender, by the way!
Trusting Your Co-Driver
Those are heavy words. You are literally not going anywhere unless you get over trust issues with your partner. Remember that every day they will be driving for at least as long as they saw you drive.
That would also be the time when you want to lid your eyes and fall asleep ideally. If you find yourself unable to trust your co-driver, then you need a replacement as soon as possible or you need to go solo for the time being.
Indeed, tremendous power lies in the hands of your co-driver, in determining the output of your life, just as well as their own (or even if your rig will make any money tonight). Therefore, you need to bring some method to the madness and devise a set of rules that allow you to start to trust your co-driver. These can squarely be dependent on your observation of their performance.
For example, is he able to resist the urge of driving outside of the limit, even as the rest of the traffic appears to be zooming right past the window? Is he able to stay alert after a number of hours of driving nonstop? Are they reluctant to take feedback? Are they reluctant to really incorporate that feedback in their own driving? The answers to all of these questions will give you a start in the right direction. You won’t sleep tight overnight.
The Critique on Team Driving
The trucking universe is just so full of individual experiences; indeed that’s the lure that beckons many a wanton soul. So you owe it to yourself to stay in the truth as much as possible, so you make the right decision – your own truth.
It is true that teams have lost money, while individual truckers have fared much better, particularly on certain routes and with certain companies. It is almost a question of making your version of the truth become the reality for you. Create a team and create the profits that it can support, or stay solo and enjoy your privacy!
A few points should be remembered. Avoiding or neglecting certain boundaries or not speaking up in the moment may both lead to a great deal of resentment in the long term. It is almost as if you have to try and forge a friendship.
Then, work to build trust on top of it. If the foundation of the relationship is weak, all of your work will go into strengthening the relationship. This will take time and effort off of crucial discussions upon the topic of driving itself.
Important discussions over finances should also be important milestones. Therefore, you’re looking for someone with chemistry. Chemistry gives rise to easy communication, which can help accomplish enormous things, much bigger than an optimized road trip.