Double time

James Jaillet | September 01, 2010

In other cases of “to the truck” payments, the owner would pay the other team member according to their agreement, usually based on miles. If the owner-operator has a small fleet, the employees would be paid in one of the typical methods used for paying company team drivers:

Split pay: Pay is split evenly between drivers.

Each pay: Each driver is paid accordingly to the miles he or she drove.

An owner-operator can choose to use split pay with a non-owner team driver. That’s how Brian Hale handles payment for his co-driver Randy Feik. “I wanted it to feel fair, and it wasn’t worth the headache of keeping track of who drove how many miles exactly,” Hale says.

How to survive working together

Since team driving requires spending so much on-duty and off-duty time together, it can create tough relational challenges for couples. Here are tips on handling the typical stresses that arise:

COMMUNICATE. “Communication is key to making it work,” says Kiersten Coleman, who drives with her husband William. Even if each party is angry, work issues still have to be talked about and dealt with, she says. “As long as you talk through the differences and not let your emotions get the best of you, it’ll work out fine.”

DIVIDE RESPONSIBILITIES. Delegating tasks can help minimize confrontation and ensure that all critical areas are maintained by the partner who is best suited. In Michael McNeely’s operation, trucking- and equipment-related duties are his responsibility, while paperwork and administrative duties are handled by his wife Cheryl.

Brian Hale, of Sunset, Utah, covers all fuel and truck-related expenses in his operation. His co-driver, Randy Feik, takes care of some of the maintenance issues. “You’ve got to be a cohesive unit that’s willing to work together to make the operation a success,” Hale says.

Dora Colvin, who drove team with her husband Butch for 18 years, says creating a schedule of duties helps. “Division of labor is an important issue,” she says. “It’s something you have to have, and each side should be aware of what it is.”

SPEND TIME ALONE ON THE ROAD. Each partner needs to carve out solo time to take a shower, go into a restaurant or walk around at a rest area, says Kiersten Coleman. “You can’t just stay in that truck,” she says.

SPEND TIME ALONE AT HOME. “Give one another some space,” says McNeely. His wife has “a nice office and I’ve got a man cave. It’s important to have some time where each of you can just sit, relax and be away from one another.”

  • shelby townsend

    How does one get involved with being an owner operator wanting to delivery goods using a 24 box truck making around $3500 a week? Does anyone know how to get started? Please share. Thanks

  • Todd Dills

    Depends on a lot of things, Shelby — you’ll need authority to haul if you’re moving interstate, customers, etc. Assuming you have your own truck, which it sounds like you may. If you’re running a Class 8 truck and are interested in doing what the teams here are doing, primarily expedited freight, call around to some of the companies mentioned and inquire about leasing opportunities. You may well be more attractive to them if you have a team driver, but that’s not exclusive. I’ve talked to solo drivers leased to expediters, too, of course. Good luck. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.