When Kathi Alberg, a recruiter with Transport America, picks up the phone and talks with a driver about what it takes to drive as a team for the company, she leans on the hundreds of thousands of miles that she and her husband Scott put in, hauling trailer after trailer for Transport America clients.
Whether she’s recruiting a team of drivers that is driving for another company, or she’s bringing two drivers together who have an interest in driving team, the lesson that Kathi has learned is “don’t rush anyone to make a decision.”
That’s because she says, driving a truck with another person, even a spouse, goes far beyond the technical aspects of operating a tractor.
“You need people who are open and willing to communicate really well, compromise, and work together,” she says. “They need to feel safe with one another in order to drive safely.”
So why would anyone consider driving as a team?
The fact is, based on Kathi and Scott’s experience in driving for two years for Transport America, drivers can make significantly more money as a team than as solo drivers.
Weren’t Planning to Drive as a Team
Of course, as stories like this go, it’s important to note that Kathi and Scott weren’t planning to drive together. That’s because Scott was a truck driver and Kathi was a nurse, and they both enjoyed their respective careers.
“When I had some vacation time, Scott invited me to ride in the truck with him,” she says. “And I immediately loved it! Maybe I had truck driver blood in me – my father was a truck driver.”
With the kids out of the house, Kathi went to truck driving school and obtained her CDL in 2009, and in 2010, she and Scott hit the road together. In 2012, they joined Transport America.
“Lesson learned!” she says, “Scott and I wish we would have found Transport American when we first made the transition to team drivers. At our first company we weren’t treated very well, to put it kindly. But eventually we did find Transport America, and it’s been great ever since.”
Passion for Driving
In driving together as a team, Kathi learned that having a passion for driving is essential for a team to succeed.
“If one team member likes to drive and the other always wants to take breaks or wants to come home frequently, it’s probably not going to work out,” says Kathi. “Both Scott and I have a passion for truck driving, and we worked closely with our Transport America fleet leader to keep our truck moving.”
From coordinating sleep schedules to getting in and out of a fuel station as quickly as possible, together, Kathi and Scott built a system for keeping their truck rolling to obtain as many miles as possible.
“So when I’m looking to bring two people together as a team,” she says, “I’m looking for two drivers who are responsible in their own right. They have a strong desire to want to work together, and that comes through communication.”
In a way, Kathi acts like a matchmaker for truck drivers.
“I’m kind of like eHarmony,” Kathi says, “In addition to watching for how drivers communicate, as well as their attitude, I also look at their work habits, their personal habits (such as keeping the interior of a truck clean), their music preferences, and their home-time habits.”
If everything looks good on paper, she lets two drivers talk. And talk. And talk with each other until they truly feel comfortable.
“We want our drivers to actually interview each other before committing to be team drivers,” she says. “We don’t give two drivers the keys to the truck and say, ‘hit the road.’ Our drivers need to know for themselves that it’s going to work.”
Some drivers know almost instantly. For others, it may take more time.
As for husbands and wives who worry about the effect of spending so much time together in a confined space, Kathi speaks to her experience.
“Team driving actually made my marriage stronger,” she says. “It wasn’t just the time we spent talking, it was learning how to communicate better with each other, and learning to trust each other.”
By being more thorough and more transparent about the process, Kathi and the rest of the recruiting team at Transport America, have put more teams on the road who are better prepared to be successful.
“We are constantly looking for more teams,” Kathi says. “It really is a win-win. More team drivers means that drivers make more and that Transport America is more profitable. But we take our time to make sure two people are truly compatible – we want them to be a success for a long, long time.
Have you ever thought about driving team for Transport America? Whether you’re a current solo Transport America truck driver or you’re driving team for another trucking company, we’d like to meet you. We want to expand the number of our driving teams across the country. We offer great miles, great pay, sign-up bonuses, great trucks, and we even let you bring your four-legged friend with. Learn more, call us at 877-223-1759.