6 min read
Team drivers are known for hitting high miles and bringing home more pay, but have you ever wondered what it’s actually like to be part of a driving team? We think team driving is a great opportunity to increase your income, keep you moving, help you troubleshoot any issues that arise on the road and, best of all, have some company while you’re working. Don’t just take our word for it - we asked several of our Averitt teams to sit down and share all about what it’s like to be team drivers:
David and JoAnn Carlson
Husband and wife team David and JoAnn Carlson have been driving together for five years. The only time in their careers when they haven’t driven together has been during their initial weeks of training. They both came to trucking as a second career; David had worked in finance for a local university while JoAnn was working in restaurant management.
“Neighbors of ours were team drivers together and they kept telling us what it was like to be on the road as a couple,” explains David.
David and JoAnn, who have been married for 42 years, say that teaming up behind the wheel has been a natural transition for them.
“We’ve been a team for so many years. We are best friends and enjoy each other’s company, so honestly becoming drivers together hasn’t changed that,” says JoAnn.
Their advice for anyone thinking about becoming a team driver?
“You’ll need to find someone you have common interests with. You’re going to be together in a truck for five days at a time with them, so you’ll have to be on the same page and have great communication.”
The Carlsons are part of our shuttle wild division, which means they don’t have a set route. However, they’re still able to make it to their home in Leland, N.C., on the weekends. Whenever they’re not on the road, David and JoAnn like to visit the beach, enjoy local restaurants and spend time with their chihuahua, Milo.
Bob Dill and Jerry Collins
Not all partnerships last forever. Bob Dill, one of our shuttle team drivers, has had about 10 different teammates in his 18 years driving with us.
“A driving partnership can end for a variety of reasons,” Bob says. “One of my last partners wanted to take a job where he could be home every day instead. We still talk almost every night, and he’s a really good friend.”
For the last 11 years, Bob has teamed up with Jerry Collins. Many of our team drivers already have their partner in mind, but for others, we use commonalities like similar ages or smoking preferences to find a fit. Communication is important, Bob says, but he also recommends drivers come up with a routine to follow.
“When you’re driving, the other driver should be in bed and vice versa,” he advises. “A lot of teams have the other guy sit in the seat next to him and then he ends up being kind of a backseat driver. You don’t want someone else telling you what to do and how to drive, and it doesn’t take long for things like that to create bad feelings.”
He also says that team drivers should have an extroverted personality that allows them to get along with people.
“If you’re someone who’s ‘never met a stranger,’ then team driving might be perfect for you,” he explains. “You should be able to get along with everyone, no matter where they come from.”
Bob admits that this job isn’t for everyone, but he recommends giving it a try to know if it’s the right thing for you.
Tim and Alison Rorabaugh
Tim and Alison Rorabaugh are another one of our married driving teams. Tim actually started as one of our part-time dock associates and is a true testament to our commitment to Promote From Within.
“Our local leadership said they needed someone to back up trailers around the dock. They helped me get my license and after a month, they asked me if I was interest in getting my CDL,” says Tim. “After I was overseas with the Marine Reserves, I took a shuttle position and did that for the next 20 or so years.”
Tim’s wife, Alison, was a schoolteacher in need of a career change. She already had her bus license, and Tim encouraged her to sign up for driving school so they could go on the road together. They’ve now been team drivers for eight years.
Teaming up as a married couple takes the right kind of relationship, they say.
“Some couples fight like cats and dogs,” explains Tim. “If you’re a guy that doesn’t want to spend time away from your wife, being a solo driver who’s gone all the time probably isn’t the best choice for you. Likewise, some wives are fine staying at home while their husbands are on the road. That’s just not us.”
Alison agrees. She also stresses the importance of having a teammate you can trust, which is helpful when it’s your spouse.
“I’ve always got backup, right there on the other side of the curtain,” she adds. “I’m a very skittish person by nature, so if I get detoured off the interstate, I don’t know what to do. Having Tim’s support is great to have.”
They both admit that even though they’re together 24/7, they don’t get a chance to see enough of each other between juggling sleeping and driving, paperwork and getting things done at home between trips. Tim and Alison have a standing date night every Saturday to help them stay connected. The couple also says that choosing the right company to work with is an important part of the equation.
“You might be able to get good pay and miles at a number of different companies, but Averitt stands out because we’re all about our associates,” says Tim. “We have great insurance benefits, an open-door policy, and I’ve never had a problem getting a question answered. Averitt has taken care of us through the ups and downs of the economy. I learned from my dad the importance of finding a company to stay with and pour your heart and soul into them. I do my best for Averitt and they do their best for us.”
Larry Barnwell and Ed Mercer
Married couples aren’t the only ones who team up already knowing their co-driver. Some of our other teams are made up of relatives or friends like Larry Barnwell and Ed Mercer. The two of them have known each other for years, having grown up together in the same neighborhood and going to the same school. Larry was working out of our Asheville, NC facility before transferring to one of our shuttle positions in Orlando, FL. Once Ed become an Averitt driver, the two friends talked about how much they might enjoy teaming up together. All it took was a move home for Larry, and the rest is history.
“The pay is better as a team, of course, but there’s also a lot to be said for having the camaraderie of a teammate,” Ed says. “You don’t have to worry about finding safe locations to park and sleep, because you sleep while the truck is moving. If you get into a situation that might be hard to deal with as a single driver, you’ve got someone to help you.”
Ed and Larry were both raising kids when they started driving together, so the weekend home time was a huge plus. As for the harder parts about being a team driver? They both agree that it all comes down to sleep.
“It’s can be hard to get your rest in,” explains Larry. “We get new, comfortable equipment regularly, but sleeping out here can be hard to get used to.”
Larry and Ed are also part of our shuttle wild division, but they say they spend most of their time between Georgia and Florida.
Team drivers here at Averitt enjoy weekly home time, predictable schedules and consistent freight. We currently have team openings in our LTL shuttle division and on some dedicated accounts. LTL shuttle teams average $3,918 per week and $203,772 per year split. Dedicated route pay varies by account. We also have a company-sponsored per diem program that allows you to take advantage of tax savings and bring home more money every week. This program adds an average of $80-$100 in tax savings in your paycheck each week.
Interested in becoming one of our team drivers? Reach out to us to find our more!