Trucking for Two
The keys to successful team driving
By Timothy D. Brady
Most truckers who drive team are husband and wife, so the income supports a single family. But what makes the arrangement work for unrelated drivers? Sharing an 8-foot by 6-foot living space creates a whole list of challenges. Not only are there two families to contribute financial support to, there’s the need to work out home time for separate family occasions like birthdays and weddings. Byron Molina-Reyes and Ivan Ocasio, who team for Barr-Nunn Transportation, talk about what makes their driving partnership work.
Why did you choose to drive team?
Molina-Reyes: To keep mileage high. The truck stays moving so that I’m not waiting for my 10-hour restart. And to have someone else besides myself going through the same experiences — two heads are better than one.
What are the three most important qualities someone should look for when searching for the other half of a team? Why?
Molina-Reyes: Similar interests, which would include ethical, moral and family values. These are important because that way we can stay on the same page with each other when it comes to home time, hygiene, future goals, and for purposes of building our relationship as team members. We respect each other for having the same background.
Ocasio: One quality is compatibility. As a professional team, and also because of spending so much time together, partners must have the capability to get along. Responsibility is important. Partners must both be responsible so that they can get along. And both must be capable drivers, to ensure the safety of the team.
What experiences did you have driving team with other partners?
Molina-Reyes: I have had bad and good experiences, but it was exactly that — “experience.” I find that even in the worst scenario I learn and build, and can make any negative into a positive. So any experience that might be viewed as a bad experience I say, “It is a learning experience.” I’ve had bad experiences where the partner was not working on the same page.
Ocasio: Before teaming with Byron, I had already had one other drive partner. Unfortunately, we were not compatible as drivers and I decided to look for another partner.
What’s the best part of running as a team?
Molina-Reyes: Staying on the move, making more miles and having someone to help in different situations.
Ocasio: With team drivers, the best part is that the truck can run many more miles. Also, both partners are always keeping each other company and looking after one another.
Molina-Reyes: Trusting your life in the other driver’s hands, personal space and privacy. You have to have confidence in your partner as you sleep and know that your life is safe. It’s difficult to get space and privacy as a team driver, and that is why it’s so important to trust each other.
Ocasio: Not always will the drivers get along or agree on certain matters, which is one of the most challenging aspects. Also, different customs or habits that the partner might have that don’t agree with the other partner are also challenging.
How do you settle disagreements?
Ocasio: By discussing the issue and finding a compromise. Then we can get over a disagreement and continue.
How do you work it out so that each of you have some private space?
Molina-Reyes: I will stay in the sleeper, go take a shower, or take a walk if on downtime.
Ocasio: The driver gives the off-duty partner the privacy to sleep, and call his family. Also, because we have separate beds, we have our own space.
What driving schedule provides the greatest number of miles, yet is easiest on both drivers?
Ocasio: The schedule that we both agreed upon was to switch places every 10 hours, so the partner who is resting can have a sufficient amount of uninterrupted sleep. It works best for both of us.
How do you split the miles?
Molina-Reyes: Equally, regardless of how many miles any one driver covers.
How do you split up other duties?
Ocasio: The person who is driving does the fueling. It’s also like that when choosing loads, and when loading and unloading. With handling cash advances, we usually split the costs 50-50 with paying tolls and other necessities.
What miles do you need in order to make a decent paycheck for both?
Molina-Reyes: 5,600 miles per week.
Ocasio: 5,000 miles per week or 240,000 per year.
What if you have a scheduling conflict for a special event?
Molina-Reyes: It takes compromise and communication for all of the parties involved, including the dispatcher.
Ocasio: We try to tell each other in sufficient time if we have special events coming up so that we can adjust. Talking is our best method to overcome these problems.
Do you have families?
Molina-Reyes: Yes, and mine is getting bigger by the minute. I have three kids, ages 11, 9, and 18 months, and another on the way.
Ocasio: I have a wife, three sons and a daughter.
Any advice on how to be sure you make enough money to support two families?
Molina-Reyes: Be equal and fair, and have the same goals.
Ocasio: Good advice is to coordinate accurately, so partners know what miles to run and both are satisfied with the revenue. Then each will have the money necessary so they can be in good standing at home.
Byron Molina-Reyes and Ivan Ocasio have been driving as a team for two years. They cover the South Region for Barr-Nunn and chose the company because they liked its flexibility on home time and the benefits offered were good for their growing families.
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the Bronx, N.Y., Molina-Reyes has always enjoyed driving, traveling to different places and learning new cultures. Trucking was a natural career choice. In 2008 he attended Roadmaster School in Kissimmee, Fla. He worked OTR for two training carriers and then went to work for FedEx Ground, where he began driving with Ocasio before moving to Barr-Nunn.
Ocasio’s father worked in a warehouse and he helped out at an early age. He worked alongside truckers and it always seemed an interesting career. After moving to Orlando from Puerto Rico, he had the opportunity to drive and gladly took it. He’s been driving trucks since the summer of 2008, beginning with flatbeds. He decided to make a change and thought team driving would suit him. He had opportunities to work for several different carriers, but finally settled at FedEx Ground. Before teaming with Molina-Reyes he drove with another partner, but soon realized they didn’t have compatible work styles. Molina-Reyes was his next partner at FedEx and they moved to Barr-Nunn last year.