The Teaming Saga

Topic 20838 | Page 1

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Big T's Comment
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I put out there that I would do a "diary" of my teaming experience and I finally got on my codriver's truck yesterday.

Some things to keep in mind about this experience: 1. This is not a forced situation. I was offered a team position and was able to pick my own codriver. The position went away, but we decided to still team. 2. My codriver is not a complete stranger. I met him at the Swift Driving Academy. The original offering was with a stranger, but I've done my time in the forced team category and refuse to go that route again.

Setting up a team: Choosing a codriver obviously sets the foundation of a successful team. I asked my codriver to team with me for a couple reasons. First was his driving ability. Even though he has less experience than I do, I was comfortable with the skills he showed in school. Second was his work ethic. He is a hard runner and is as hungry as I am. Teaming up with someone that doesn't work as hard as you do will cause a problem. Third is he has a similar family set up. We both have teenage sons so we both have a need to run solo while they are on summer break.

Communication The communication started before we got on the truck. We decided I would get on his truck because he didn't want to give up his automatic. I care about the check hitting the bank; the truck is just a tool. He prefers driving in the day so Im letting him do the day driving and I am running at night.

This was our starting point.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Peter M.'s Comment
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Sounds like a recipe for success.

Michael S.'s Comment
member avatar

So Big T. wants to team, and he appears to be both forthright and a supportive collaborator. Hopefully, he'll show us how to make a few more dollars as a team than a solo driver without going crazy. From the sounds of it, both drivers have similar goals and attitudes. I want to ride along to see how it shakes out; so I look forward to reading T's diary.

MC1371's Comment
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Good luck! Looking forward to reading more.

Big T's Comment
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We left Gary, IN Tuesday morning and ran down to Lancaster, SC. We arrived about 13 hours early so we had to wait for someone with authority to get in and allow us to change from a live load to a drop and hook. Once that was done we dead headed up to NC and picked up a load going to WI.

One key to successful teaming is time management. If you can try and time swaps with other activities. For example, we had planned on swapping out at our fuel stop this morning. He could have gone in and gotten ready while I fueled then we would do our pretrip/post trip and get on the road. This meant not having to make an additional stop which would cost time. Time is boss when teaming.

Unfortunately it didn't quite workout because I was slowed down by construction and didn't quite make it. We still made it early, but could have been earlier.

We are now doing a rolling reset because he managed to burn through a lot of his clock before we teamed up. I have 36 hours left on my 70 while he had six.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Tommy's Comment
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How much are you getting paid, average per week, as a Swift team driver? I am doing the FDD (frozen dairy daily) routes and average about $1050 per week.

Big T's Comment
member avatar

Tommy we just started this week. Once we have a few weeks in I will discuss what we are avg.

How much are you getting paid, average per week, as a Swift team driver? I am doing the FDD (frozen dairy daily) routes and average about $1050 per week.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Tommy, any good solid solo driver can do just as well as a team driver, without the problems that are inherent with teaming. The way that a team comes out ahead is if they are a married couple and all the funds are going into the same household.

People get these funny ideas about teaming, like, "I'm getting paid while I sleep." While that's true, the monies are split between two people. So the team is still limited by the same HOS rules, and they cannot physically do any more miles per driver than a good solid solo driver can do on his own.

Big T likes the whole idea of driving team, and that's great - good teams are very desirable to some of these companies. Unfortunately, the idea that a team driver will make a lot more money than a solo driver is pure myth.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Big T's Comment
member avatar

This will depend on the company you drive for and how they handle their teams. To say teams cannot make more money is wrong though.

This is one of the reasons I specified that this wasn't a forced team situation.

True I am under the same HOS , but the truck will still roll once I am out of hours. This means where a solo truck will lose a day loading and unloading a team truck will still be able to move to get the next load. This allows a team truck to roll more miles than a solo truck.

Earning potential will depend on your company. I drive for Swift so keep that in mind when doing the math.

My solo rate was 38 cpm. My team rate is 51 cpm. Swift pays 1/2 pay on all miles. This would be the same as getting paid my rate on half the miles.

For ease lets figure 2000 miles for solo, 4000 miles for the team truck. I run about 40 weeks of the year. 2000*.38= $760 a wk *40= $30,400 yr

4000*.255= $1020 a wk *40= $40,800

That means I can make $10,400 more a year all things being equal.

Something else to think about is that teams are usually higher on the priority list than solo drivers. The chance that a good team will have more miles than a good solo is a possibility.

Regardless of priority, the 13 cpm raise disproves the myth that a team will not make more money than a solo truck.

Tommy, any good solid solo driver can do just as well as a team driver, without the problems that are inherent with teaming. The way that a team comes out ahead is if they are a married couple and all the funds are going into the same household.

People get these funny ideas about teaming, like, "I'm getting paid while I sleep." While that's true, the monies are split between two people. So the team is still limited by the same HOS rules, and they cannot physically do any more miles per driver than a good solid solo driver can do on his own.

Big T likes the whole idea of driving team, and that's great - good teams are very desirable to some of these companies. Unfortunately, the idea that a team driver will make a lot more money than a solo driver is pure myth.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
MC1371's Comment
member avatar

Big T. Thank you for helping illustrate another point. (This is in no way a dig.)

The numbers Big T uses show the bottom end of the scale.

Once he and his teammate are established they should get offered one of the coast to coast team accounts *Don't forget to ask.

Getting established and earning a positive rep is easy even in the big carriers, (Just looking at employee #s Swift has gone through 10k drivers since I started in Dec. I'm a 401xxx, I've seen 41xxxx recently) It doesn't take long to rise out of the newbie herd if you're doing things right.

Back to the numbers, I get .52c mi running regional. My average miles per week are 22-23. Do the math. Dedicated teams should be pulling in the 60+c bracket.

Once you start pulling decent miles as a solo it gets harder to justify the hassle of running team.

Yes you can make more team driving, but is the 200 a month worth it?

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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