A lot of factors go into figuring how much money team drivers can make. Things like carrier rates for team drivers, specific company bonuses, the experience of the drivers, and the type of materials being hauled will be considered. While a single answer won’t cut it, we can tell you about the ways team drivers can earn more money than solo drivers. The best way to make the most out of your trucking career, though, is to stay knowledgeable and ask questions about wages with a carrier before signing on.
What is Team Driving?
It’s pretty much what it sounds like. A truck driver and another truck driver agree to sign on with a carrier to make runs together. But why is driving with a partner an option? Team driving is all about keeping the truck in motion and the goods moving. When there are two drivers in a truck, one can take the wheel while the other relaxes or does whatever they do in their off-time. This keeps the freight moving along the highways and productivity at a high level.
Solo drivers are required to stop and take time off to sleep before they can resume work. Team driving solves that issue, and the reward is both drivers are paid for the combined mileage. The carrier wage is applied to the total mileage driven between the truck drivers, and is split between both.
Many times carriers will offer sign-on bonuses for team drivers or will reward referrals (if we assume that you referred your team driver). Team drivers can average $100,000 to $150,000 and still earn sign-on bonuses of up to $10,000.*
Determining Wages for Team Drivers
Below are a couple of imaginary scenarios that help to understand the way team drivers earn more money compared to solo drivers. All of the figures are general and are not meant to represent any specific carrier wage. Things like bonuses, endorsements, and driver experience aren’t factored into the scenarios, either. The best results come from direct numbers provided by the carrier company you want to sign on with.
Let’s pretend we’re following the life of a truck driver named Carlos. He graduates from truck driving school with a Class A CDL and signs on with a carrier that will pay him 30 cents a mile. If we say he drives 2,500 miles a week, Carlos is looking at a weekly wage of $750.
2500 miles driven in a week X $.30 per mile = $750 a week
Let’s consider that Carlos and his wife Trisha both go to truck driving school and graduate with Class A CDL licenses. We’ll say that they sign on with a carrier company that offers team drivers 40 cents a mile. Remember that although they get to combine their miles together (since they were both in the truck), team drivers split the wage between them. Carlos and Trisha each earn 20 cents a mile (half of the $.40). If they drive an average of 4,500 miles a week together, Carlos is looking at a weekly wage of $900.
4500 miles driven in a week X $.20 per mile = $900 a week
When you’ve found out the wages for solo and team drivers for your carrier company, you can plug them in with your average miles to get an estimate of your potential earning. While the numbers won’t be precise, it will help you get a better view of the wages you could earn.
Why doesn’t everyone drive with a partner?
The obvious answer is that it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to spend that much time in a truck with someone else. But it isn’t impossible! Just like in our scenario above, married couples that get along are a good fit for team driving. You’ll have to share a lot more than just the space in the truck. Consider that you will have to share nearly everything from food breaks and stops to radio station choices.
If you’re considering driving in a team as a career, make sure to have a healthy relationship with your other driver. If you’ve got that covered, then there’s very little stopping you from great truck driving wages!
*wage and bonus info supplied by Werner Enterprises