The domestic trucking industry is a $700 Billion industry here in the U.S. Not surprisingly, with this amount of volume, there are TONS of different aspects of what makes up “trucking.” Companies come in all shapes and sizes, specialties, and ways of working. And the net result, for customers, is that it’s often hard to keep up with what types of options you have when booking a shipping company. We’re going to tackle a single small area you should know: Solo Trucking vs. Team Trucking.
When vetting various carriers or bidding out FTL or LTL trucking work, it’s important to understand the difference between team trucking and solo trucking. In short, team driving essentially involves two drivers (hence the name). The goal of team trucking is to get the load to where it needs to go ASAP—minimizing time in transit. Two drivers are assigned by a carrier to the truck so that while one driver drives, the other can rest and be ready to take the next shift.
Now here’s the first important bit: drivers are required by law to stop and take time off to sleep before they can keep driving. All truck drivers (solo and team drivers) can drive for a maximum of 11 hours after having 10 consecutive hours off duty. A 30-minute break is also required during the 11 hours of driving! So that means solo drivers will have a ceiling of how much they can drive, while team drivers have more flex.
From a consumer standpoint, it’s important to understand carrier quotes that involve team trucking will likely be more expensive— but they can get loads to their destination much faster. Solo drivers need to stop and rest, so travel time will be longer, but more affordable. Most quotes you get are going to be a Solo Driver, so with the above rules you can start to get an idea of what transit times are reasonable vs not when booking freight (ie a 1 day transit time for a load greater than 11 hours away is unlikely).
A final tidbit:
Did you know that most trucks have full sleeping quarters or sleepers in the front of the tractor trailer? Long-haul truck drivers spend days if not weeks on the road so having a place to rest and recoup is essential.
Amenities vary by carrier, but most include a bed and storage space, while other luxury sleepers include: TVs (and electricity), bathrooms with toilets and showers, small kitchenettes and dinettes, and more. Some companies even woo potential truck drivers with their own customized sleepers!
Check out some of these decked out truck sleepers: