TEAM DRIVING - Several Questions

Topic 32596 | Page 1

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The Zen Joker 's Comment
member avatar

Hello everyone, I've spent my morning researching the forum on team driving questions but some of the answers are a bit dated.

So in speaking with some good friends, my friend has mentioned getting into truck driving with his wife too as I am in the process of considering Regional with Roehl after local CDL school. He is a great guy and very meek and I am very level-headed and teamwork oriented. So with that, the whole "can we get along spending 80% of our lives together 24/7" question which seems key as I read other posts on this question should not be an issue. So here are a few questions I would like feedback on as we consider possibly doing this:

1) SPANISH SPEAKING CDL PROGRAM: My friend is from Mexico and is a legal, tax-paying U.S. Citizen of 3 years, has had a valid license (no infractions) for 3 years. Hard-working guy BUT English is his 2nd language. Make no mistake, though not perfect, he can effectively communicate in English (85-90%). My concern is getting his CDL certification using his 2nd language. Am I correct to assume some CDL schools offer classes in Spanish such as this: https://www.wolfcdl.com/

2) SLEEPING IN A TEAM ARRANGEMENT: I'm a fairly light sleeper and take Melatonin right now. Assuming he's a good driver, am I deluding myself to think I will get 5-6 quality hours of sleep while off duty on a moving truck when my partner is driving?

3) EARNINGS POTENTIAL: Schneider advertises up to $103k per year for experienced team drivers. Obviously, those are the most aggressive assumptions (like zero home time and the top 1% of all drivers) to attract applicants. If we work hard, stay positive, maintain a good relationship with dispatch, etc. is it reasonable to assume that based on 3 weeks out and 5 days home time we can each make $45-55k first year and $70-75 in year 2 plus?

As always, thanks again for the feedback. If I move forward I look forward to adding some value to this forum to reciprocate the timely and helpful info form everyone here! :)

Thanks! ZJ

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Why team with an essentially unknown driver with an unknown work capability to sleep less, work the same (or more), share an 6 X 8 foot area, and split the money? I started with CRST which is exclusively teaming. I left after four months for all of the above reasons. I would not team again if offered $2 per mile. I disliked it that much.

English is the required language out here by law. A driver needs to have a grasp on speaking and reading it.

Melatonin now to sleep, not on a moving truck? You need to get off that because it will have an effect over time to where you cannot sleep properly without it. Spelled addiction.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar
So in speaking with some good friends, my friend has mentioned getting into truck driving with his wife too as I am in the process of considering Regional with Roehl after local CDL school.

Why not enroll in Roehl's Company Sponsored schooling/training? More and more, companies like Roehl offering Paid CDL Training Programs will not accept students graduating from a private school. You might want to read a reply that Brett posted in a thread entitled: "From Switzerland to South Dakota Full Time Traveler Resident". Without getting into details or stealing his thunder, private schools are not producing the quality candidates they once did. I encourage you to consider adjusting your thought process on this.

He is a great guy and very meek and I am very level-headed and teamwork oriented. So with that, the whole "can we get along spending 80% of our lives together 24/7" question which seems key as I read other posts on this question should not be an issue.

How do you know this to be true? Have you ever spent days at a time with your friend, sharing a space no larger than an average walk-in closet? I teamed during mentoring (road training) with Swift; although it was a very good learning experience, I would not run a team truck by choice for lots of reasons. The least of which is I enjoy the solitude and the space of solo driving. My free time is spent with friends and family outside the confines of the truck. Besides a top performing solo driver can realistically command an 80k annual income without being tethered to a potentially lesser performing teammate. Husband and wife teams? Since you keep all of the money in the family, the income potential could be worth it. But again...it's a huge living adjustment the likes of which you likely have never experienced.

1) SPANISH SPEAKING CDL PROGRAM: My friend is from Mexico and is a legal, tax-paying U.S. Citizen of 3 years, has had a valid license (no infractions) for 3 years. Hard-working guy BUT English is his 2nd language. Make no mistake, though not perfect, he can effectively communicate in English (85-90%). My concern is getting his CDL certification using his 2nd language. Am I correct to assume some CDL schools offer classes in Spanish such as this: https://www.wolfcdl.com/

The CLP and CDL require applicants speak and read English. I am not an authority on this, so hopefully someone with direct experience can offer you further input.

SLEEPING IN A TEAM ARRANGEMENT: I'm a fairly light sleeper and take Melatonin right now. Assuming he's a good driver, am I deluding myself to think I will get 5-6 quality hours of sleep while off duty on a moving truck when my partner is driving?

This has more todo with your tolerance of the constant noise, buffeting and rolling of the truck and trailer. Until you experience sleeping on a moving truck, no way of knowing this. For myself, I could not achieve quality sleep while teaming. Some can, some can't.

EARNINGS POTENTIAL: Schneider advertises up to $103k per year for experienced team drivers. Obviously, those are the most aggressive assumptions (like zero home time and the top 1% of all drivers) to attract applicants. If we work hard, stay positive, maintain a good relationship with dispatch, etc. is it reasonable to assume that based on 3 weeks out and 5 days home time we can each make $45-55k first year and $70-75 in year 2 plus?

You noted a key element of all truck driving income advertising... key words "up to". Your numbers are realistic for both teaming and solo running.

I know you said you researched the forum. Have you read Brett's book? Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving or reviewed any of the articles in the Trucking Truth Blog section? Or the Podcasts? You may have invested time researching through the forum, but there are many other tools available on this website that I encourage you to check out. Click the menu bars in the upper left corner of this page and a dropdown of topics will appear.

Best of luck to you.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

The Zen Joker 's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Pack Rat & G-Town! Apperciate it!

Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

1) team driving, did it 22 months w/ CRST also, hard to get straight, good sleep.More like cat-naps because the roads out there are brutal !! Tore up potholes, bridge connections too, a LOT are bad, and dang near toss ya off the bunk lol. Maybe if you have to park for whatever reason long term, THEN you can get real sleep.....I could get to sleep at times, then BAMM, he'd hit bad road and it would wake me up, "maybe" I'd get 3 hours snooze, eventually, I just got used to it, and survived it.

2) If his english is borderline good, he should be fine, my 1st classmate co-driver was from El Salvadore (US citizen) with heavy accent, he was fine communicating with anyone.

3) Went solo finally, before my planned retirement date, to move to S.E. Asia..... Liked it a whole LOT more having the truck to myself, and getting good sleep during my 10 hour breaks, or 34 resets.

4) First year doing teaming, learning the ropes @ CRST, started at 31 cpm , reached 47 cpm, company retaining bonus's brought those with 1 year up to 60 cpm. My solo gig, I was getting the same @ the new company, running solo, on track to do $85k +, without killing myself doing it, and solo

ANYTHING, is possible out there,

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

I do not have a lot of experience with team driving. The time I did it was during my four weeks of training almost 10 years ago. It was exhausting for me. I could barely sleep at all. We started team driving my second day of training and we crossed the nation several times during that four weeks.

Team driving is often used for expedited freight. It can be perishables that have to get from California to somewhere like Maine in an incredibly short time frame. It may be something else, but it needs to go a long distance in a short time. That's why a team is required. Ideally the truck seldom stops for a break. Ideally it's on the move all the time.

I am of the opinion that it's a really bad way to start this career. There are certainly folks who disagree with me. If you start as a solo driver you can get sufficient rest and focus on learning safely. A good team is expected to keep moving most of the time.

Getting started at this is hard enough. Most newcomers are surprised at how exhausting it can be. When you add team driving into the mix it just makes it that much harder to rest during your ten hour break. I don't recommend it for beginners.

NaeNaeInNC's Comment
member avatar

I wholeheartedly agree that team training is less than ideal. I had to take up the mantra "Embrace the Suck" because it sucks. Bad. Trying to get good sleep when you are mentally exhausted in a moving truck is brutal. I was launched on more than one occasion going across Louisiana. It was NOT a fun way to wake up.

I do not have a lot of experience with team driving. The time I did it was during my four weeks of training almost 10 years ago. It was exhausting for me. I could barely sleep at all. We started team driving my second day of training and we crossed the nation several times during that four weeks.

Team driving is often used for expedited freight. It can be perishables that have to get from California to somewhere like Maine in an incredibly short time frame. It may be something else, but it needs to go a long distance in a short time. That's why a team is required. Ideally the truck seldom stops for a break. Ideally it's on the move all the time.

I am of the opinion that it's a really bad way to start this career. There are certainly folks who disagree with me. If you start as a solo driver you can get sufficient rest and focus on learning safely. A good team is expected to keep moving most of the time.

Getting started at this is hard enough. Most newcomers are surprised at how exhausting it can be. When you add team driving into the mix it just makes it that much harder to rest during your ten hour break. I don't recommend it for beginners.

RealDiehl's Comment
member avatar

It sounds like you might have a plan in the works with your friend to team up. Offer him this feedback as well:

You can plan now to team up when you have finished your training however, once you've experienced team driving during training, you might totally rethink everything. It might not be something you are able to do bc of an inability to sleep, or maybe you'll see how small the living space is and decide you don't want to share such a small space with another person.

Just make it clear that there are no guarantees. Either one or both of you may decide team driving is not for you. I wouldn't be so quick to agree to teaming with someone until you've experienced it first-hand.

As others have said, you can earn just as much driving solo. Plus you get the added benefit of learning how to manage your time effectively. While teaming it is easy to manage your time bc one of you will be able to drive when the other runs out of hours. When you are solo you must plan more.

The Zen Joker 's Comment
member avatar

I can see the consensus from experienced drivers here. My friend will be on his own with language limitations and whatnot since my #1 priority is supporting my family and I can't risk having him hold me back. Looks like Midwest Regional at Roehl (learning AT THEIR school) is my best bet if I make the leap in early 2023.

Appreciate everyone's feedback.

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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