Driving with a partner offers income, lifestyle opportunities
Good team partners learn to drive softly, says Victorian, who tells the story of a previous team arrangement. “I was trying to sleep, and I noticed every time he came up on somebody, I found myself hanging onto the bed. After a couple days of this, I said, ‘Let’s talk about coming to a smooth stop.’ ”
Jon and Miriam Brown, team owner-operators leased to Landstar, say the elimination of the sleeper split put a damper on their on-highway sleep habits. The elimination ignored, says John, the reality of rest on the road. A five-on-five-off sleep-drive schedule “worked great for us. When the rules banned the split and we went to a 10-hour schedule, a lot of us teams didn’t like that. To think somebody can soundly sleep 10 hours in a moving vehicle is unrealistic. The nice thing about the split was, depending on the kind of day you’re having, if you woke up and you weren’t feeling the best, or it was a day you’d worked hard the previous day, you could simply adjust the split. You had options.”
Even “after almost 15 years,” adds Miriam, “there’s nothing like being parked for sleeping.”
If you’re not in a position to bring on a family member, says Victorian and others, finding the right partner can make or break a team business. “I have been with drivers that I didn’t have good common interests with,” he says, which can make for a dreary time on the long road.
The other side of the coin is that a family member might not work out because of the closeness of the personal relationship. Not all marriages have a dynamic that enables a team arrangement to work well.
When it does, a productive or wisely choosy team can make their time pay with the right carrier. “Because there aren’t as many teams out there as solo guys, there’s more freight available” for better rates, often on quick-turn dedicated operations like what Duke had teaming while leased to Swift. He and his driving partner could put down as much as 7,400 miles a week on a dedicated Con-Way subcontracted account.
“We both had our hazmat licenses also, which made us even more valuable,” Duke says. “A lot of these companies are trying to get the freight moved so quickly, team freight has increased for all of us.”
The Teamwork series of team profiles:
**Chris Litzinger and Henry Kuperus, leased to Minnesota-based Brenny Transportation
**Jon and Miriam Brown, leased to Landstar
**Martin and Carolina Hill, leased to CRST Van Expedited
**Tom and Tina Evans, leased to Load One