Team Versus Solo Driving

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Michael J.'s Comment
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I desire constructive make this informative for new drivers trying to learn., After reading all over the net there is a lot of confusion: i have no argument with any response, but I am amazed by a complete lack of omission regarding team driving advantages. I’m not promoting team driving just adding what most posts leave out.

Good team drivers whether a couple or independent persons make more money... usually 50% more and often 75% more and occasionally a 100% more. Here is why:

As a team driver, you are a team, business partners. Not buddies or lovers or whatever you can be, but you are business partners first. To this end:

1. You have two clocks to manage that’s twice the time to work with. ultimately you avoid stops for 10 and 34 hours sleeps and resets if you get your clocks opposite. No stopping, keep rolling. 2. The idea that solos get nearly as much pay cpm as does team after team splits truck cpm is just wrong...at least with larger better companies.

3. With most companies teams are the priority especially on longer hauls and JIT just in time loads. They are also the priority on already late loads. And if you are somewhere where freight is low teams go to the front. example: we were in Reno. Freight low. 16 trucks in front of us, most sitting 15 hours or more waiting. We T-called transfered our load To a local as we were 24 hours early to receiver. Had we been solo we would have been told sit wait. Instead we t call and were sent to move empties around, all at loaded rate. 5 hours later and two empties moved we were on a 1000 mile run. Solos in front of us still sitting. Example: recently arrived Miller coors Golden CO. Back up more than 2 hours to check out. Several solos had to simply sit it out as their clock did not have enough time. We used 8/2 split and rolled. our next load set before we delivered the beer, a 2k run.

4.As solo you arrive at a shipper or receiver. Common for live unloads and the load you are delayed by the shipper or receiver. If doing it legally you are on duty and your 14 hour burning. by the time they are done you are out of time and have to sit 10 before leaving or at least you can’t get far. Team rolls. 5.With team one driver runs out of time the other driver takes over and your rolling, not sitting. 6. Teams can make great use of the 8/2 split on sleep time. Ask if you don’t know what that is. 7. Truck stops full is common. Solo often SOL on side of road or not properly parked. Team roll. 8. common thought a solid solo driver can 3k a week and 3500 good weeks. they can if they can get the loads and not wait at shippers But without recapture they must 34 and end up under 3k next week, or simply had to wait for load. Teams keep moving. team can do the same 3k to 3500 a week consistently each 6 to 7 k and don’t have that pesky sleep and reset problem.

9. Getting home. Often solos can’t get home. Clock runs out. Teams well managed avoid that. With clocks opposite teams never sit on 34. If you are on 34 your partner is still rolling and your making money and vice versa.

even if team makes same as solo cpm the team get way more miles. A bad week for us is under 6k. We are usually north of 7k if nothing else we drop and hook and strap faster together regardless of who is on. We get a lot more drop and hooks by percentage than most solos. Often we JIT a load 1k miles or more and drop for a local to make the final delivery and we are moving another jit The company wants to keep us moving.

Other considerations:

10. home time most carriers will give teams more home time leeway especially if you stay out a month. Most solos get 1 day per week worked and home time includes that 34. In my experience teams also include the 34 but we’ve never had trouble getting 4 to 6 days.

11. Good teams can alternate solo team. We team but often want different home times so I solo a week he goes home then we swap and he solos a week then we are back to team. I went to Europe for 16 days for Christmas holiday and my partner kept rolling solo. When I got back he took 10 days while I solo. Carrier had no issue because we that truck kept making money.

11. New trucks. If you are company driver especially with bigger fleet teams get the newest trucks because we log the miles fast. So we get the new truck and a new solo gets our still year wise new truck that we already put 250k on. I’ve gotten a new truck every year three years in a row.

All this said, true enough team is hard. Takes a special breed. The breed it takes is the breed that understands whether a OO or company driver it is a business partnership. It is not a friendship or buddyship or dumb and dumber best buds national lampoon's trucker vacation film.

You have one goal and one goal only... make money.

As a final note, hard numbers. Most solos I know are getting 900-1100 weekly checks. We have never had less than a 1400 and typical is 1500 to 1650 depending on how the weeks start and end. For example a 1400 check usually results in a 1600 check the next week simply because the load we just dropped kicked over to the next week. A several times we have landed 1800 checks because we just did 2k and dropped after midnight on the previous week so we are only a few hours into the next week check and already have 2k miles.

In sum on average, true average, when I compare to solos I am friends with my check is 50% higher. But then admittedly there are sacrifices as were discussed in other posts, such as sleep and privacy.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Old School's Comment
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What company are you with Michael J?

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

I know you are not with Prime because everything you said is not how it is with us. My last solo check i did 3063 miles and grossed like $1600...solo reefer. i am team training now so the pay is much higher. i have landed several solo checks that are much higher as well which i could post.

i get per diem , so on the Total Gross $1350 you must then add the $245 travel allowance on my stub below to see my full gross. on the left you see 3063 which is my miles.

i NEVER sit for a load. i am.almost always preplanned and always get home on time. if freight is slow they will bobtail or deadhead me 600 miles away if they have to.

Company solos do get brand new trucks.

If i am 24 hours early i can drop the load and roll.

teams taking alternate home time then reduces the amount of team driving, hence affecting the pay. as a team, yes you get more hometime leeway, but again the the other gets paid solo, so whats the point?

because i am a top driver on my fleet i rarely wait for traditionally long waiting loads such as meat. i often repower...or Tcall (Swift term?) and i know i get more drop and hook than newer drivers on my fleet.

so i can honestly say most of what is stated above may be true at your company but not at mine.

heres my last solo paystub

0489448001523760824.jpg

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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.

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Heres my trainer team pay...

miles 5456

Gross $2883 + $272 travel allowance = Total for one week. $3155

making broad statements of "most large carriers" would.be incorrect.

According to primes website company teams get 44cpm up to 3000 miles then get 67cpm. the team then splits the truck pay.

at 6000 team miles woth prime:

44cpm x 3000 miles = $1320 67cpm x 3000 = $2010

add that together and you get $3330 for the truck. divide by 2 and you get

$1665 per driver solo at 3000 miles i made $1600 not.much of an advantage

however, team driving is great if someone feels sick the other takes over. for newbies there is someone to help guide you a d the companiomship is there.

0668078001523761761.jpg

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Found my highest paying solo check...

3600 miles

$1800 gross (gross + travel allowance) this was right before hometime so yeah the next week sucked cause i wasnt on the road 5 days. more like 2100 and grossed something like $1000.

so yeah i can say for a fact it is possible for solo drivers to be as good as team or lease ops.

the better you manage your clock, the more you make and consistently.

I know Turtle here is a flatbedder and he does 3000+ miles consistently as well.

0402234001523764402.jpg

Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

Love a post about team driving cause that's what I'm aiming for. There are sacrifices for sure. And God help ya if you end up with someone who you can't stand (or someone whom can't stand you.) But if you find a person you can live and work with (and vice-versa) then there's some miles to be made.

The money sounds great, and so does the home-time. But something else not mentioned above is that (for a rookie) starting out on a team there is likely going to be more experience overall (at shippers, trip planning, backing, just driving, etc.) because you will likely get to more pick-up/drop-off locations just a little quicker. And another benefit (for me, at least) is that if my teammate has any decent experience, it's sort of a continuation in my training. I've heard the podcast and read it multiple times - that first year is so important because of the learning. And if I have someone there to converse with or maybe warn me to (or not to) do something, etc. Well, that may be a lesson I don't have to learn the hard way.

I understand if some people take a hard line on that and maybe feel that I'm not really learning things if I'm not out on my own. But (to me) it seems like a safer, better paying, more-mileage way to get started.

Now, if I could just get Rainy's paycheck when I start my team driving as a rookie, then all will be well in the universe.

No, don't anyone say it... I know she's put in the work, put in the time, and shined like a star. And I'll do all that at some point, too (I hope!) But in the meantime, I'd just like to start out making checks that look like that! :-D

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Michael J, like Rainy pointed out, I noticed so many of the things you pointed out as benefits of being a team driver, are the same benefits that any Top Tier Driver experiences. As a solo driver I seldom ever experience any unusual delays or end up sitting and waiting on loads. I always have my next assignment pre-planned before I'm finished with my current one. My solo driver paychecks are equally impressive as are your team driving paychecks.

It's important to make the connection between your performance and your results. There are plenty of teams who probably aren't doing as well as you are. Just as there are plenty of solo drivers who don't do as well as someone like Rainy. We've often made the argument that you can make just as good money while running solo as you can while running team. It really boils down to establishing yourself as someone who "gets it," as my driver manager is fond of saying.

I just think you are confusing your results with the fact that you are a team, rather than what it really is. You are a really good team, and I'm quite certain you'd find you get the same results if you were a really good solo driver.

I'm pointing all this out because we have so many newbies in here reading this stuff. It is quite easy for a post like this to easily influence and confuse them on this subject. There are perfectly good reasons to team up with someone, and you mentioned several of them, but to do it because you think you will earn more money solely because you are a team driver is not a valid reason.

Driver Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

Im not advocating teaming or solo. and i wasnt trying to brag either just prove to those reading that teams do not necessarily make more money.

but since the only mention of negatives was "sacrifice of sleep and privacy" lets talk about it.

In reality, you have no privacy. none. want to argue with your wife on the phone? guess who is listening and chiming in. have an argument with the teammate? you cant get off the truck to get away or cool.off. have a new partner still learning to shift? you might not sleep or could even get thrown on the floor when they cant downshift fast enough. want to sleep naked? forget it. If you are the same sex you cant even go to the restroom to get away cause they are in the stall next to you.

what if you are felix trying to live in a closet with oscar madison? ( a neat freak and a slob).

it is hard to get used to sleeping in a rolling truck. the better the driver the easier it is. i was with one aggressive driver who constantly blew the airhorns, followed too closely so the on guard safety device kept beeping and activating hard brakes, and blasting the radio while i supposedly slept. afyer sleepong maybe 2 hours a night it was not safe for me to drive 10 hours.

with two A personalitites who gets to be the lead seat and decide routes and fuel and such?

Jeremy, i completely understand how a newbie wants a safety net of having someone there. but in reality, that person is not getting paid to train. so get some grumpy guy and you could be on your own anyway. "im on my 10 hour break, dont ask me nothin"

and as old school said, unsuccessful teams make less than i do solo. a guy from my class went teaming our first four months. i made more solo tha he did teaming so he went solo with my FM he still makes less than i do cause he is lazy.

and some of our forum members at prime in lightweights are making 5cpm more than me.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

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.
Jeremy C.'s Comment
member avatar

Jeremy, i completely understand how a newbie wants a safety net of having someone there. but in reality, that person is not getting paid to train. so get some grumpy guy and you could be on your own anyway. "im on my 10 hour break, dont ask me nothin"

Yup! That's why I carefully prefaced my response with...

... And God help ya if you end up with someone who you can't stand (or someone whom can't stand you.) But if you find a person you can live and work with (and vice-versa) then there's some miles to be made.

Everything IDEAL is based upon teaming up with just the right person (or as close as you can get.)

I'm not expecting to be paired with the ideal person (or that I will be ideal for them.) But a boy can hope, can't he? :-D

In the meantime, if it's someone that I can at least tolerate until I can get a new teammate without making too many ripples, well, that's still bearable. (I think...) I have no plans to just attempt teammate exchanges until I find the perfect running mate. That is not only impractical, but will most likely put me in the doghouse with the entire company.

I'm not heading into this with too many expectations and certainly no demands - just lots of hopes and from there I'm gonna do my best to make due until things can improve.

I've done what little research I can (nothing provides information like sitting right there in the chair yourself) and reached what I consider to be the best decison based on my best S.W.A.G. (Scientific Wild Ass Guess!)

shocked.png

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

SWAG? Jeremy, your IT background is showing...! Greatest estimation methodology ever...

Here is one for you...

SLUF

Here is a picture of one that I frequently drive...

0228132001523800243.jpg

Give it your best guess!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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