Truck driving is generally considered a solitary, independent career. But it can be a team operation if you partner with one or more other drivers to share the driving and the benefits.
Should you take up team driving or continue on your own? Here are a few good indicators that you might find a partner the perfect fit.
You Get Along With Your Co-Driver
When you share the work of driving a truck, you also have to spend a lot of time with the other driver. While one of you will likely be in the sleeping compartment while the other is driving, both drivers will still be in each other’s space far longer than they may expect. There will be more noise, more movement, and more stuff in the cab.
This close proximity and shared decision-making is one key reason why many team drivers are real-life couples. While you don’t have to be a couple, you should be able to enjoy one another’s company and get along comfortably — including handling disagreements without a third party to intervene. Two drivers who already work together and have a close bond could be an ideal pair.
You can mitigate conflicts and boost privacy when you create ground rules both of you can agree on and continue to have an open dialogue, of course. But you’ll need to work that out and you may face an adjustment period that can test both parties.
You Can Share Profits
A reduced workload is great, but team drivers each must wrestle with reduced individual earnings as well. After all, two people will split the per-mile pay. An owner-operator would have to weigh the revenue loss against the potential for longer trips, more loads, and time to focus on other aspects of their business. Ideally, you’ll have a healthy profit margin and a good business plan.
How much profit you share depends on your contract with the co-driver. You’ll need to determine how to handle the expenses and financial responsibility for the truck as well as the business obligations of each party. Before entering into an agreement — even an informal or verbal one — you would do well to consult with an attorney and an accountant.
You Can Give Up Control
Are you one to comfortably share many of the decisions involved when you’re on the road, operating your trucks, and running a business? If your co-driver needs a break when you don’t, you may be obliged to stop. If one person has fuel stop preferences or likes to drive during certain hours, you may need to compromise. And two experienced drivers need to trust one another’s driving skills and maintenance choices.
Owner-operators like the freedom and control that comes with being their own boss. But team drivers must work together and genuinely respect their partners’ choices. This mindset is an adjustment, but it could be a profitable one if you can learn to let some things go and trust your partner.
You Can Sleep Anywhere
Don’t overlook the physical benefits of letting someone else do the driving. The purpose of team driving is to provide rest and break periods for each person without having to stop the truck. That means you can take your breaks — and get your requisite amount of sleep — while the truck is chugging down the road. If you can tune out the road, get sleep in any conditions, and enjoy private time in motion, team driving will be a great fit.
You Want to Grow Your Business
Any business person who shares the workload with a partner has more opportunities to grow that business through their shared efforts. Team drivers can often stay out on the road for weeks at a time and operate a nearly 24/7 business. If you’ve wondered how you might grow your business without investing huge sums in new trucks, contractors, or employees, using existing assets could be an ideal solution.
Along with more opportunities, you may also see better opportunities when you’re part of a team. Many individual shippers and carriers like to work with driving teams because they are considered a safer bet than sole drivers. You could qualify for priority loads, higher pay per mile, mileage guarantees, and safety incentives. And you may find yourself more attractive to individual shipping clients.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether or not to pursue team driving. Many truckers find that it adds great new opportunities and provides some needed companionship on the road. Others may not be ready to share their cab — for weeks on end — with someone else.
At Arrow Truck Sales, we specialize in helping owner-operators find solutions no matter what their truck driving goals and interests are. Learn more about team driving arrangements by meeting with a trucking professional today.