It takes a lot of hard work to be successful as a straight-truck expedite driver, and a different-but-equal kind of hard work to become a successful team. It rarely happens overnight. Recently, two of our new drivers set out to show us what they could do.
Tim and Terry came to Tempus orientation at the beginning of September. They didn’t know each other before, but over the course of spending three days in our office, they decided they’d like to drive together. Tim had expedite experience with another company in a tractor, and Terry was brand new to over-the-road trucking. We don’t typically place two new drivers who don’t know each other in a truck together right from the start, so we were a little hesitant to send Tim and Terry out on the road together. That said, our goal is to build strong teams, so we decided to give them a shot. The photo above is me having dinner with them when my school visit coincided with their brief downtime in Ohio.
Right out of the gate, they did a great job! On a weekly basis, Tim and Terry have been in the upper third of drivers for pay, and they consistently keep a high average mileage per week. And then, during the first week of October (only their fourth week on the job), they did something that many of our long-term, top-performing drivers only do occasionally. As a team, Tim and Terry ran 6,893 miles in one week, earning the distinction of top-performing team for the week AND the newest drivers to ever hit that milestone. Not only do these mileage totals require two great drivers who know how to trip plan and drive efficiently, but also a well-functioning team who can make it work and do what needs done!
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I spoke with Tim about how they made this happen, and he immediately said that teamwork is key. Personal compatibility is critical for team drivers out on the road. He also agreed with the sentiments of another top driver, Julian: You have to understand that personal problems aside, it’s a matter of being with that other person and living with him or her 24 hours a day. You just have to find a common ground and stick with it. You get on the same page as far as the work goes, what kind of money you want to make, what kinds of things you want to do, and then you do it. If you can’t meet in the middle somewhere, the team is unlikely to succeed in the long run. Being an effective team is very similar to being in any other type of effective relationship.
Some other tips from Tim: take the crappy loads. The miles still add up; it’s all in how you negotiate the load. Talk to the dispatcher to make sure you can get something on the back end to keep the truck running. A good team can cover 1,200 miles a day, so keeping the truck running is important. What each truck does will be different based on where you are and how freight is running, but being successful is possible for anyone who wants to make it happen.