How To Determine To Team Drive

Topic 708 | Page 1

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Andrew J.'s Comment
member avatar

I am new to this site and trucking (changing careers) and will be taking a CDL Class with a tentative graduation date of 7.12.13. I am middle aged with a family and mortgage and a working spouse and need to pay attention to income potential. I have been trying to find a good resource regarding Team Driving and don't think I have found one yet. I have read through several forum topics on this site and still think I need more help/information.

I have pre-hires from several large/training companies. However, I need to narrow down my priority list to further narrow down my choices.

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.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Pre-hires:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

Welcome aboard Andrew!

Well to tell you the truth, most people hate team driving. Not all, but most. There are a lot of husband/wife teams and as long as they can get along with each other it's a great way to make good money and see the country.

But it's extremely difficult to be locked in a space the size of a walk-in closet with another person 24/7 without any real privacy. And about every single decision you make is a compromise that affects the other person. Everything from the temperature in the truck to where you stop to sleep, where and when you stop to eat, what's on the CB, what's on the radio, and a million other things.

What exactly is it you'd like to know about team driving? Are you hoping to make more money? Would you prefer to have someone along with you to help make decisions? What is it you're trying to find out? We'll point you in the right direction.

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

It appears to be one way to generate more income potential than a solo gig. I was considering Tanker or Flatbed work since the pay is better, but since I am totally new to driving I am reconsidering sticking to a Refer or Dry box gig. The Team idea is something I wanted to take a hard look at since the income potential is greater.

I have seen a few of your writings pertaining to Team Driving and they are thought provoking. I recognize my age can influence my tolerance to another person in such close proximity.

You have mentioned solo gigs and can generate income close to what I team driver can make. How is that?

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Andrew, Welcome to the forum! There are so many different types of driving jobs that it can be a little confusing. It sounds like you're wanting to maximize your income possibility, but you really have to consider more than just the cents per mile. In any trucking job there is plenty of labor that you don't even get paid for, but it is even more so in the tanker and flat-bed divisions. So if you're thinking the pay rate looks a lot sweeter in the flat-bed you've also got to realize you'll be spending a lot of time each day chaining, and strapping down your load, and then undoing and packing away all the securement devices at each delivery. That can some times add up to several hours each day, and enough in a week to definitely equal a part time job's hours. Don't forget that you are getting paid by the mile, and all that other stuff is cutting into your 14 hour clock which holds within it that magical 11 hours that you can be driving and making money. Moving freight down the road is how the money is made whether you're a driver or a freight company.

Teaming sounds good if you're only considering the pay and miles, but very few teams hold up to the ravages of time. If you're out there teaming with somebody you don't even know and they all of a sudden decide their tired of your stinky boots, your snoring, and your fondness for disco music so they just up and quit on you. You're in a mess now until you can find another team member. That may take you weeks, and you won't be getting any loads until you can produce another driver. As a solo driver you can manage things on your own, and if you're smart enough and willing to really apply yourself you can make a decent living out there without having to put up with all the negatives that are inherent with teaming. With a good dispatcher that understands you and how you like to work you can do really well as a solo driver.

I always tell people that in this business it's not that you have to work harder than the other guy to make it, but you do have to work smarter. Knowing the rules and how to manage your time in a way that is consistent with being safe, legal, and productive is key to maximizing your earning potential.

Research some of the readily available resources here like the Trucker's Career Guide or Truck Driving Jobs. You may find these sections helpful. Don't jump into this thinking you're going to get rich, it's not happening, but you can make a good living. Just remember, if you're not happy making that good living then you're going to be miserable, and that's where the teaming thing usually breaks down at.

Best of luck to ya, and I hope we can be of some help to ya!

Dispatcher:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Honestly, if you're just looking for maximum income and you're willing to sacrifice anything for it then I would look into driving for Prime on their Lightweight trucks. It basically has no cabinets and no storage room at all. Just the front drivers area and a bed. You'll haul either dry or refrigerated (which I think you should start off doing) and the pay is .41cpm if I remember correctly. The average starting pay is .28 cpm. Having said that I think it's your true best option of maximizing your income as long as you are willing to compromise on space and comfortability.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I agree with everything the guys said above.

You have mentioned solo gigs and can generate income close to what I team driver can make. How is that?

Team trucks are simply two drivers that are splitting the mileage pay. They individually run under the same logbook rules as solo drivers so a team is pretty much limited to running double the miles of a solo truck. Well, a solo driver running 3,000 miles is making the same amount of money as each of the team drivers in a team truck running 6,000 miles.

Even if you could squeak out a little more money running team for whatever reason, you'd be lucky if it averaged $50 per week. You could eat two more meals per week in your truck instead of the expensive truck stop meals or buy one less toy per month and save that much money. It just isn't worth the long list of headaches that come with running teams.

Daniel has an excellent point about running for Prime Inc. They have about the best mileage pay in the industry for new drivers and I know from speaking with a ton of their drivers that they will keep their good drivers busy all year round.

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.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

The best team combo for maximizing your ability to earn money is husband and wife teams. True you split what the truck makes for money but all the money goes into the same bank so its a win win for that type of team. More miles, someone you know in the truck with you.

Now if you go with someone you don't know or the money is truly split then its like having two solo drivers in the truck that is moving all the time. You still have to follow the same rules and regs as a solo driver and the same Hours of Service. You can only do so many miles within a 11 hour drive shift the same as a solo driver.

Andrew J.'s Comment
member avatar

Logged on today and found all your replies - THANK YOU! After reading through the information and going back over some of the articles I am leaning away from Teaming, Flatbed, and Tankers. Your points all hit home. Since I do have a wife and thirteen year old son (the two other kids are 22 and 20)at home, I need to limit my time away from home to at most two weeks. Even then I think I would need to be around more frequently than every two weeks. Probably the 7-12 options I have seen with a few carriers so I can get long runs mixed in the inevitable shorts runs.

I will look into the Prime Inc option noted above. I have pre-hires with Swift, Knight, Roehl, Schneider, Werner, and US Express. They all seem reasonable places to start with. Knight, Swift, and Schneider, that I know of, have terminals with in an hour of my home (southwest Chicago suburb) so I can leave my personal vehicle there while on the road.

Of the carriers noted, does one or two stand out to you as a better starting point than another?

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Pre-hire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Pre-hires:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Andrew J.'s Comment
member avatar

Looked at Prime, Inc and the home time option doesn't look favorable to me. There is the minimum 4 weeks out. Thoughts on the carriers noted above?

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Of the carriers noted, does one or two stand out to you as a better starting point than another?

It would seem then at this point you're priorities are home time and maximizing your pay. That might seem like obvious priorities at first glance, but people have all different priorities when choosing a trucking company to work for and it can vary quite a bit.

As far as home time, you would definitely want to lean toward dry van and possibly flatbed companies. Refrigerated companies generally run a lot more coast to coast freight and usually won't get you home more than once every two or three weeks.

You mentioned leaning away from flatbed, but TMC is an excellent flatbed company with solid pay that can get you home every weekend straight out of school. If you're in their hiring zone, you may want to consider that.

As far as maximum pay, you're going to obviously want to compare mileage pay, but at the same time you need to know what a company's drivers are averaging as far as miles per week is concerned. And that's especially true since you want to be home more often.

At this point I would strongly consider Schneider National, Roehl Transport, Swift Transport, US Xpress, and TMC Transport.

Those companies all have a lot of great home time options available and solid pay. Drop TMC if you're not interested in flatbed and have a closer look at the others. Those are definitely not the only companies for you to consider but with your priorities I think those are all really strong candidates.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

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