It's a Team's Life
Team Driving vs. Having a Life
Many MANY years ago, when Bob and I decided we would become full-time truck drivers after our youngest daughter left home, we were clueless. Bob was a diesel mechanic in the oil field, and while both of us knew a lot about trucks, we did not know about driving over the road.
It did not take us long after Bob started driving to know we did not want the typical operation of driving our lives away and not seeing each other except in passing. That is when we started looking outside of the box, and we found expediting as owner-operators. There are also drivers for fleet owners, but we wanted to drive our own truck, so we purchased and jumped in feet first.
We found what we were looking for; a lucrative business as well as having a life. We learned quickly that at many companies, it is not about the miles; it is about the income per mile. Our goals were to drive a truck, see the country if we wanted, to be able to stop and discover that area of the country.
We also wanted quality of life, and that we found in a straight truck with a custom sleeper. It is much easier to prepare a meal when there is room to move around and to store food and cooking appliances. Now looking at buying our 5th truck, I still cannot believe how much our lives changed from when Bob was a driver with an OEM sleeper to what we have now.
Back to the driving part of our business. In the past five years, we have averaged less than 2500 miles a week as a team. That was as far back as I looked, but I believe those miles are pretty accurate for the 16 years we have been driving as a team. The key to surviving that few miles as a team is having hobbies or something we enjoy doing in our downtime. We do not have a TV in our truck, so we spend time on our iPads, reading, or working on the truck. Cleaning or polishing is always something that needs to be done.
Our goal when we went trucking was to enjoy life and not drive constantly till we could get home again. We wanted and do enjoy our time away from home, and we are never in a rush to get home. We usually stay out for two months at a time and then stay home for one to two weeks. We have a few times stayed out for four months but that was mainly because there was a lot of freight and we wanted to stay in the income loop.
In our truck, we can go into many campgrounds all over the nation. With our shorter length, we are able to visit many of the tourist sites around the country.
Expediting can be a challenge and the income is often very volatile. Instead of figuring our bills on a weekly schedule, I figure them by the month. We can make very little one week and the next week make what we need for our monthly income. Any income over what is budgeted is put into savings for a rainy day that we know is coming.
There are other team drivers we know that are in the same situation as us that pull a trailer and the key is finding the right company. For us, it was a company that paid on percentage and treated us as business owners. We decide when we want to take off and for how long we will have the truck shut down. While we still drive as a team and many of our loads are team loads we do not drive continually day after day after day after day…
Team driving for us has been incredible and while both of us have our Class A CDL, we choose the less stressful life of our straight truck and the opportunities. While some may laugh over our miles others will see the quality of life we have.
Bob & Linda Caffee
Saint Louis MO
Expediters since January 2005
Expediting isn't just trucking, it's a lifestyle;
Expediting isn't just a lifestyle, it's an adventure;
Expediting isn't just an adventure, it's a job;
Expediting isn't just a job, it's a business.