If hitting the open road with your best friend sounds like the life for you, then team professional driving in the trucking industry may be the perfect fit for you. In addition to increased pay and higher priority loads, team driving gives drivers more freedom and flexibility than their fellow solo team members.
We recently sat down with two of our team drivers, husband and wife team, Bobby and Amy, to chat about their team driving experience at Werner, things they’ve learned on the road and how it’s changed their lives.
Werner: How long have you been driving together?
Bobby & Amy: Five years.
W: Were either of you solo drivers before team driving?
B: I was driving for about nine years. Before that I drove on and off over the past 15 -20 years—long time.
W: How did you end up with Werner?
A: The company he was working for upset him bad enough he said, “I’m gonna quit. They keep treating me like just a truck driver, so I’m just gonna be a truck driver but make the money.” We prayed on it for a while, and he started researching companies, and he chose Werner.
B: Well, I looked up the top ten companies, and I was reading through the benefits and about the company. I didn’t care for some of the companies closer to us. But, it was several things with their insurance, how old the company was and all the new equipment.
W: So, you signed up as a single driver first. How did you get to team driving?
A: He was all signed up and everything, ready to start at Werner, and then somebody called him one day and said, “Hey, you know anybody that would want to be a team driver?” And he goes, “Well, I don’t know.” I came home from work that day tired and frustrated, and I said, “You know what, I’ve decided you can take my job, and I’ll just go out on the road.” And he goes, “It’s funny you mention that – why don’t you just come out on the road with me?” I said no at first, but then I thought about it and was like, “Well, what would I have to do?” I had a Class B license but not a Class A.
So, we talked to the recruiter, and he gave me a list of schools I could go to in order to get my license bumped up, and there was one right here. I went to school while Bobby went to his orientation for Werner, and about five weeks later, when he got his truck, and I got through school, they just routed him to come get me. They set him up to be my trainer on the truck, and then we took off.
W: What has your experience been like driving for Werner?
A: Werner has just been amazing. We came home for Halloween in 2019, and my mom got sick. By Christmas, she couldn’t even stand up. I told Bobby I couldn’t get back on the truck until I knew what was going on with her. I called up my fleet manager and explained the situation, and they helped me proceed to get my FMLA paperwork in order and everything. They told me as long as I kept them updated, I was fine. I ended up being away for nine months, through my mom’s death and then taking care of her estate. I got a letter in April that said my FMLA was up, and I called Werner up, panicking that I was gonna be let go, and they said, “No, no. We’re just required to do that by law. But your position is held. As soon as you’re ready, give us a call, and we’ll get you back.”
When I did go back, they got me set up within five minutes. They helped me get the paperwork together so my dog could ride with us and everything. Then, I was talking to a gentleman about my orientation, and he goes, “You know, is your comeback date really important to you?” And I said, “Not really. Why?” And he tells me if I come back just a few days earlier, I’d be able to come back as a resign instead of a new hire, and that would reduce my orientation. I said, “I’ll see you Thursday, then!” I was just impressed that there was somebody paying that close attention, that they were trying to take care of the drivers.
I just never thought that I would find a job where it felt like I was in control. I feel like I need a day off, I’m taking a day off. If I’m sick, they’re like, okay, do you need help finding a doctor? It’s nice to have someone care about you as people, not just employees.
W: What have some of the benefits of team driving been?
A: I feel safer with him as a team driver; it’s an extra pair of hands and eyes. One time he spotted a broken landing gear. I drive at night, and, yeah, I do the pre-trip of the trailer and everything, but sometimes you just don’t see stuff. But luckily, when we picked up that load during the day, he saw it.
W: Werner takes pride in the equipment it offers. How have you liked the trucks you’ve had?
A: We’ve had a freightliner ever since we’ve been there. Bobby chose it because he said that it would be the easiest truck, as far as me starting out. I’ve seen some upgrades from when we got new trucks that I really liked, and there are some I don’t. But I know me and Bobby are of a certain maturity. I know the drivers are getting young and younger, so maybe that’s part of it.
This newest truck actually has a little refrigerator in it. And Werner makes sure that we have plenty of outlets and all our trucks have had inverters. We also get these quarterly review videos, and when they update the trucks, they tell us all about the new features. Then we’ll go get out and underneath the truck, and we look at it to see what it is.
W: What have been some of your favorite things about driving together?
A: I’ll tell you what, the first couple of years, I was in awe of all the things we got to go see together. We’ve had really great dispatchers and fleet managers. Like, he wanted to take me to go see Niagara Falls, and we had a load heading that way. So he calls up the dispatcher and asks if we can do a reset here, and they made it happen.
B: She got to see the waterfall completely frozen, with the light show behind the ice and everything. It was, like, negative ten outside.
A: We got to see our daughter-in-law graduate in Phoenix, Arizona. We’d never have been able to do that if we were still working jobs at home. While the truck was in the shop for a week, we rented a car and went to the Grand Canyon. I still have family in North Carolina, so this job has allowed us to go visit them more often than we would ever have been able to otherwise.
W: Bobby, how has team driving compared to solo driving?
B: Well, you know, without being too biased, the bottom line is, there ain’t nobody I’d want to team drive with other than my wife. I got the best of both worlds: I work with my wife, and then I get to do 34-hour resets with my best friend.