By: Mike and Carol,
We are just starting out in team driving as a married couple at 53 yr young. We could always use advice, what is your best advice for us?
Response from Vicki on August 7, 2010:
Hello, Mike and Carol,
Thank you for contacting us through our website,
Congratulations on your decision to start team driving. My husband Mike and I teamed for almost 3 years right after we graduated from truck driver training school. Even now, I ride with him full-time. We no longer team but we live in the truck full-time, being “homeless.” So, I completely understand what you may be facing.
Since you didn’t give any details about your situation, I’m going to ask you some questions, provide you with links to resources already on our site that may help you, and give general guidance.
1. Will you be company drivers or owner operators? If you are company drivers, you will need to find out from your company what you are and are not allowed to have in your truck, that is, to put on your packing list.
Sure, you can spend all of your money eating out, but you’ll be dirt broke in the end. At a minimum, find out if you can have an inverter installed in your truck from which to run electrical appliances (such as a hot pot, microwave oven, crock pot, etc.) and recharge or run electronics (such as telecommunications devices, a laptop computer, a television set, etc.).
You can save a lot of money by cooking and eating in your truck instead of frequenting the restaurants. As we have detailed in our reviews, there are differences between what truck stops offer. Check out the info on our growing food and recipes page.
2. Mike and I found that having a portable toilet in our truck is invaluable. As he reminded me today, some states have either closed public rest areas or lock them up at night. So, if you’re continually moving (as most teams are), we recommend having a device of your own in your truck that you can use at any time.
3. How will you keep your cold food cold: ice chest, thermoelectric cooler or compact refrigerator? We personally have had bad experiences with the latter two options and now keep our cold food on ice. Other drivers we have met wouldn’t part with their devices and evidently have had better success with them than we have.
4. Depending on where you will be routed, the person who will be sleeping needs to prepare for the bumpiness of the bed in the sleeper unit as your truck is rolling down the road. When we teamed, we did coast to coast running. The roads were smoother going east-to-west-and-back than north-to-south-and-back. But things may have changed since then. Earlier this year, Mike’s company issued him a brand new Freightliner Cascadia. We were really surprised at how awful the mattresses were and ended up having to buy a mattress topper (or pad). That helps some. Getting good sleep is important.
5. If you need the help, check out the info on our budgeting page.
6. Be on guard against buying products or services that are marketed to truck drivers. Some of them, frankly, are cheaply made but expensive to buy. That’s why we have begun to review them on our site.
7. Please feel free to read through these pages on our website for more information:
- Become a Truck Driver: An Overview of the Job and Requirements;
- A Trucker Transition: Living Full-Time in Your Semi Tractor-Trailer Truck;
- Homeless Truckers: Considerations and Preparations for Life Without a Residence;
- The Travel Packing List of One Money-Saving Professional OTR Truck Driver; and
- Trucker Services: Saving Money on Driver Services for Professional Truck Drivers.
8. Once a month (usually on the first Friday), we summarize what we’ve worked on during the previous month in our free Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips Email Newsletter. If you don’t want to miss any of our content, please subscribe at:
I hope that these resources are helpful to you. Please contact us later on to let us know how things are going for you.
We wish you safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road!