Ask The Trucker

Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry

otr truckingSafetyTruck Driving JobsTruckingtrucking companiestrucking life

Team Truck Driving


Team truck driving is being investigated by many people looking into the possibilities of making more money in truck driving. The ads all say the right things and I have found various articles on the subject of team truck driving jobs. What is the truth when it comes to team driving? Can you really make more money driving as a team?

As a driving team, the goal is to keep the truck moving 24/7. You will find articles and ads claiming high mileage and high pay every week, as well as there being such a high demand for team drivers. The truth is, most companies are looking for team drivers, just like they are looking for solo drivers. However, many of us know what the solo drivers go through in the world of trucking. The same applies for team drivers . . . this is still OTR trucking.

Freight slows down, even for team drivers. The average weekly miles for a driving team is 3600 to 5000. Will you get 5000 miles every week? Not likely. But most of the time, if the company is a good one, you should average close to that figure. Also, remember that in team driving, both drivers split the cents per mile pay. Therefore, if the company is paying the average of .38 cents per mile, you both are making .19 cents per mile. That is to say, if you are both considered “equals” and one is not the “lead driver.”

The average pay for teaming is .32 cents to .47 cents per mile. So let’s look at how all this figures out. We are going to say that you belong to a team that is going to run 52 weeks per year, never stopping, never going home. You are going to average 5000 miles per week. You are with a really, excellent company and they are paying your team the top dollar of .47 cents per mile!

 5000 miles X .47 cents per mile = $2,350 per week.

$2,350 divided by 2 = $1,175 per week (Gross Pay)

Gross yearly pay per driver = $61, 100

Not a bad income, right? Of course, this is an extreme exaggeration because few people can handle running 52 weeks per year, never going home. You SHOULD make more money driving as a team. Team truck driving is also the “easier” version of OTR trucking due to the average haul for team driving being around the 1500 mile mark. Is it without problems? Absolutely not. Nothing in trucking is without problems. Let’s look at team truck driving on a more realistic scale.

On the average, team drivers will run 35 weeks per year, giving them 17 weeks per year at home, enjoying a break. What kind of yearly gross pay can a team driver expect with this type of running?

5000 miles X .47 cents per mile = $2,350 per week.

$2,359 divided by 2 = $1,175 per week (Gross Pay)

$1,175 per week X 35 weeks = $41,125 . . . gross yearly pay.

This is nearly the average gross yearly pay for a solo driver. Right now, the average yearly pay for a solo driver falls between $35,000 and $45,000. The amount of income you can earn as a team driver depends on how long you want to stay out and run. However, this applies for a solo driver as well. When ads claim you can gross $160,000 per year, they are basically saying that you will have to run all the time, with very little time at home, if any. Some teams do, but for most of us, this is not realistic.

But, if your question is can you make more money in team driving, then the answer is “yes.” If you are willing to sacrifice and run hard for the miles and make the commitment to live in the truck Therefore, the next question should be, “Are you “team material?”

In order to be a successful truck driving team, you only have to ask yourself two questions :


    1. ”Can I get along with my co-driver for 24/7?”

    2. ”Do I trust my co-driver?”

 There are plenty of horror stories about team driving. Many professional, over the road drivers will never team. Why? Both drivers have to be able to get along with each other, in a cramped area, for 24 hours per day, seven day per week. Also, while one is driving, the other is sleeping . . . will you be able to trust this person with your life? Will you be able to switch shifts? Instead of one driving all day hours and the other driving all night hours, what will happen when you decide you want a change? Can you trust that your partner will be able to stay awake at night, after having driven all day hours?

Team truck driving simply boils down to using common sense. Your partner has to be someone you can get along with on a 24/7 basis, and one you who will trust with your life, as well as one who will “pull their share” of the load. The best teams on the road today are husband and wife teams. Spouses generally do very well in team truck driving. There are still problems, like anything in life, but team driving works very well for the most part, between spouses.

As you have read earlier, trucking companies regulate the amount of miles you receive, and this is true for team operations as well. Remember how I stated that mileage is nearly always based on the magical 2500 miles per week for solo drivers? This is why you will normally hear the 5000 miles per week for team driving . . . 2500 times two drivers = 5000.

So how does this average weekly mileage add up for both solo and team drivers? Let’s compare a solo driver at .36 cents per mile, and a team driver at .36 cents per mile. The solo driver averages 2500 miles per week and the team driver averages 5000 miles per week . . . not hard to figure out, is it? Each driver would gross $900 for the week. Therefore, the only way a team driver could make more money than a solo driver, is to be paid above the average pay of a solo driver. If the team is making .47 cents per mile, then the team driver would come out ahead by $275 per week. Keep in mind, however, many solo drivers are earning .47 cents per mile as well.

So what is the advantage of team driving? In my opinion, only the ability to earn $200 to $300 more per week, if your current solo position is paying less than what the team position will be paying. If you are already making .45 cents per mile as a solo driver, what purpose would it serve to go work as a team driver making .45 cents per mile? If you are with a really bad company paying only .32 cents per mile, let’s say, as solo, and you can team for .42 cents per mile, you will increase your weekly gross pay by an average of $250. This may be worth it for you if things are tight financially.

Driving as a team could bring you an extra $8,750 to $10,000 per year in income, if the pay surpasses what you are making as a solo driver. Again, you will have to find the right partner who you can get along with for long periods of time and one you can trust with your life. If you can do this, and you’re up to the sacrifice, then teaming can bring you a great income. Just remember that you will not always get exactly 5000 miles per week, and this style of trucking is not problem free.

Allen Smith

Author of the first and original, Truth About Trucking.

© 2008, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,



By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 37 year veteran who started at an early age in a household goods family moving business. He began driving straight trucks in 1977 and moved to the big rigs in 1982. His experience within the industry includes; owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and owner of a long distance HHG moving business, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. Allen Smith, a truck driver advocate who is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. Allen and his wife Donna are hosts of Truth About Trucking ”Live” on Blog Talk Radio. Other websites include AskTheTrucker, TruckingSocialMedia, NorthAmericanTruckingALerts, TruthAboutTrucking, and many Social Media websites. In 2011 Allen and Donna hosted the first Truck Driver Social Media Convention, designed to create unity and solutions for the trucking industry. This is now being extended through the North American Trucking Alerts network as those within the industry join forces for the betterment of the industry. Allen strongly supports other industry advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who share honesty, guidance and direction. He believes that all those involved in trucking need to be accountable for their part within the industry, including drivers, carriers, brokers, shippers, receivers, etc… The list of supporters and likeminded people grow daily, networking together and sharing thoughts and ideas for the betterment of trucking. He has coined the popular phrase "Raising the standards of the trucking industry"

View all posts by Allen Smith →

Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to Team Truck Driving. - Post a Comment

  1. […] For more on drive teams, check out this informative article at AskTheTrucker. […]

  2. Matt Parrott

    So how does this average weekly mileage add up for both solo and team drivers? Let’s compare a solo driver at .36 cents per mile, and a team driver at .36 cents per mile. The solo driver averages 2500 miles per week and the team driver averages 5000 miles per week . . . not hard to figure out, is it?

    What’s being missed here is that team drivers tend to get high-mileage cross-country loads while solo drivers tend to get low-mileage regional and local loads. Team drivers spend fewer hours in drop yards, warehouses, and traffic jams.

    If you don’t mind forgetting what it feels like to sleep in a real bed and don’t mind your driving partner, team driving can be and often is less stressful and more profitable.

  3. Matthew

    Its been a long time since I was a professional over the road driver. I started solo and end my short career as a team driver. As I said it was a long time ago but, it stayed with me most of my life. In those days we drove so fast and so hard we were often forced to stop just to let our log books catch up with us. I was a very health young man when I began my carrier driving for one of the worst companies in the states and ended driving for one of the best. The two factors one needs to consider when considering working with someone else is not if you can get along or even how much money you’ll make. Number one is, can you sleep at night with you’re life in the hands of another. Most of the drivers I worked with are all dead now. I.m 62 and of all the careers I had. it is the over the road drivers that I knew who have suffered the highest rate of illness and death. Both I believe related to unhealthy life style that existed when I was a driver. I only spent 6 years in the business but they were the most detrimental too my health than any I have lived. I know nothing of the trucks that are on the room today nor the rules that regulate them. I do know that I drove for one of the fastest fleets. We had trucks that were always in excellent condition. Our shop and company was 100% behind us and all ways did anything we requested too the truck. Despite all this I never felt as if I had one good nights sleep in those years if I was at work. Maybe it was just me. The truth is I don’t think I was alone and I have never heard of a study testing the quality of rest a team driver lives with when in a moving truck. That I believe is the second factor to consider and the most important factor to consider when considering the job of a team driver.
    My first year I drove solo and would stop at National Parks. lakes. anywhere I wanted and loved seeing all of America. As a team driver I could leave Tennessee one day with a drop in Canada and be home for date the following night. The money was good and I proffered that to seeing sites such as Niagara falls with no one to share it with. I saved my money which allowed me to begin other careers but I still suffer from sleepless nights than began after I left the business. Its very possible that driving as a team had nothing to do with my sleeping disorders and I did enjoyed the job, the people and seeing the US very much but it isn’t a job for a old man. Maybe If my wife could drive I might have a different attitude. I must say that being an over the road trucker is a skill every young man can always use and provided me the money to change careers at a time that defined my yearly income. In the coming years they say plan on more than one career and if you can drive a truck or want to learn I highly recommend it. I don’t recommend it as a life time career if you choose to be a team driver. I have know older driver but all worked solo. One man I know drives an old cab over that is as slow as Christmas but he says he doesn’t want anything bigger or faster and he all ways makes his drops. And he has outlived most of his friends. Its all a matter of who you are what you want.

What do you have to say about this?

To the top