You just received your CDL and now you’re looking for a start in the freight industry. The long-haul market is enticing, with higher per-mile rates and better guaranteed weekly miles offered by many carriers. Then you read about per-mile rates for team drivers and you’re sold. Team driving is a great way to get into truck driving; the opportunity to drive with presumably a veteran of the industry, have faster turnarounds on hauls, and likely drive a bigger tractor than you would driving solo. If you’re thinking of jumping into team driving, here are some points to consider before you climb behind the wheel with a co-driver.
Know Your Co-Driver
Different companies have different policies regarding team driving. Some carriers will allow new drivers to pair up to build experience together, while others will pair a seasoned driver with a new one to show them the ropes, ensure safety and company policy. When you’re looking, ask questions specifically about their team driving policies and look for carriers who pair new with veterans with good driving records.
Your A Team – Decisions Are Made Together
You’re spending long hours together, and like any relationship, communication and compromise are key. This means decisions on where and when to stop, what foods to bring along (pro tip: strong-smelling foods like canned tuna may be ill-advised). This also can get into the weeds such as seat adjustment settings (if no memory settings are available), and when to swap based on conditions such as time of day, weather, and road complexity.
Know the Incentives
Some trucking companies will offer a weekly mileage guarantee, others a base-pay for teams. The reason they incentivize team driving because it speeds deliveries and has much greater earning potential per tractor. Even so, do the math before you sign and go in understanding what your take-home will be after expenses and team split. This often means you’ll still take home more than you would as a single driver.
Aside from the few challenges a new driver might encounter, team driving remains an excellent onramp for a new truck driver to enter a long and fruitful career in freight. If you are looking to secure financing for your own or a team rig, learn more about our truck lease and loan products, and gain industry insight from an ENGS representative.