The ATS lease ops thread.

Sinister

Smartass Emeritus
Supporter
#1
So far, to my knowledge, terrylamar and I are the only two lease ops here at ATS. Terry likes working here, I pretty much don't. Hopefully we can attract some more folks as time goes on. For one, I don't buy into the whole "Gee driver, you're running your own business." idea that these lease programs seem to base themselves on. But anyway, here is the ATS lease thread.

This company pretty much had three strikes against it before I even delivered my first load.

1- The told me right at the end of orientation that I was not qualified to haul blades as I've done many time in the past at my previous company. I was told for a week that I would be hired as a class 2 to test into one after a certain time, then at the last minute was told that because I've never been behind a high pole I'll be a class 3. This makes no sense. Blades are not over hieght on ATS trailers, and were in fact higher on the trailer I did haul them on, so basically, this was a big company piece of bureaucratic garbage I had to hurdle. One thing I HATE about all big companies, and the reason I stayed away from them for so many years, is that they all have a tendency to add too much damn red tape to the simplest of projects. Hauling a blade is not simple, but the point remains. Too much red tape just to do the damn job. That's been consistent the entire time I've been here. Having to submit dimensions of OD loads that there are already permits in for is crap, especially on things like crane parts that ATS has hauled (probably literally) millions of time and again. Every now and then loads are not what was planned for, but not as often as to necessitate this practice for every single load.

2- Being right before a holiday, my fleet manager "put me" on a load that went a whopping 300 miles in the wrong direction to sit for 3 days, instead of giving me a nice long run to start with, the guy screwed me straight out of the chute. Being new, and not wanting to make waves, I didn't say anything.

3- They screwed up my very first settlement. I told the recruiter I DID NOT want my own room during orientation provided I was put with another non-smoker. They whacked my first settlement for 85.00, and it took me two weeks of arguing to get the money back. "Well you DID tell me you wanted your own room..." no sir, I did not. Let's see here. I'm ONE person dealing with one person regarding one subject, you- the recruiter - are one person dealing with god knows how many people...where do YOU think the greater chance of error lies.

I do not take kindly to assaults on my honesty and character like that. Not at all.
January is over, and I think they are done running me through the ringer, so to speak. I think they put everyone through the same stuff. I did pretty good this month, and if this continues to into May when my lease is over, I stand to have what I'm pretty sure is going to be an above average payout.

BUT, I believe that there are very few random happenings here at ATS. I think a lease op here is an owner operator like a janitor who gets to decide what room to clean first. Other than that being able to call a few shots on your own, you're still going to do what Anderson wants you to do. I honestly think that the people who think this program provides "good money" either don't have very high standards, don't need regular home time, or even semi-regular home time, and don't realize that tarping a load in -100 degree weather or +100 degree weather, then running down the road for .88 cents a mile is a good deal.

I'm sorry, you'll just never convince me that 1.32 (or so) a mile for an OD load...even the smallest one, is a good thing. Industry wide, it simply isn't. I don't care whose buying the permits.

But, I think in ATS-land, I'm one of the guys whose done well in the program.

In seven months, I've put just over 100,000 miles on this truck, and fram May of 09 to December, I'm reporting almost 96,000 made. That's not too bad on paper, so I guess I'm certainly not as bad off as some guys.

Theres a huge list of other things I simply don't like about this company, but start with this: your fleet manager has - supposedly - no control over when and what loads are sent to the truck, and yet that is the person you are supposed to work with to get good loads, and stay profitable.

If this gaping hole in the contiuum of logic makes sense you to, you'll love working here. Because that's just the start.

"Well, they're just a go-between for you and the company, driver." is the smug answer you'll get...but I've never had a secretary anywhere else I've worked, and I'm not sure why I have one now.

There are positive aspects about working here however, but it's just not a place I'm going to spend any more time than necessary.

Soooo...let this knock down drag out thread begin!
 

boone315

SPACE TRUCKING
#2
100g first seven months on a flatbed, I would say that is outstanding, I had my truck leased on with them from '99-'03, I left right after Harold Anderson died, Everybody thought his daughter was going to take over, she had been to Harvard business school and the works but his 'I never met a party I didn't like' son Rollie took over, things started changing right away, I had sold my old truck(the one I have now, again) and bought one with about 7 000 miles on it(1 model year old)from their St. Cloud dealership, I bought it out right not a l/p, however 10 months later the thing burned to the ground, I had my insurance through them and I ended up with a $6,500 insurance check for a brand new truck, I lost my $8000 down and almost $18,000 in payments due to 'depreciation' . I was not very happy with them. So I went to work for a company down the road from their Gary yard. I had things I did not like about them but all in all they kept me busy and I was making decent money with them.
 

boone315

SPACE TRUCKING
#3
One thing I did not like about ATS, was they nickel and dimed me to death, like I had to pay for a accountant I did not use, qual com and things like that, I just left M.S. Carriers where they payed for everything, so I did not care for all the charge backs
 

Sinister

Smartass Emeritus
Supporter
#4
Overall, this isn't the worst deal out there, and you'd have to try pretty damn hard to screw it up. Or be a total idiot. I've met guys who are without paychecks for 11 weeks at a shot, and the only reason for this that I can think of is that there are two sides to every story. These guys must be into the company for a huge pile of cash because of an accident, or damaging a load, or something... One guy blamed the fact that his dispatcher was in Montana, had just been fired, and for months had been letting his drivers go in the hole without doing anything. I'm sure that's partially true, as just in the time I've been here I've heard of several fleet managers being canned for various reasons.

I've had some bad times here, and I don't like the place overall, but I will say they are pretty fair most of the time. The payroll errors I've caught have been corrected, and they stand by thier word more often than not. It's not a "bad" company by any means, and had I found this deal before I was married, and had a life, who knows where I'd be right now. But it's just not a place I want to stay forever.
 

Sinister

Smartass Emeritus
Supporter
#5
For some reason, they didn't take anything for recurring deductions out of my last settlement. No insurance, truck payment, etc. Just fuel.

It's weird, and I have a fairly bad vibe about it.

Ryan was really cool when I turned my truck in at Cloud, and seemed pretty encouraging about it's condition, so hopefully I don't take too much of a beating after 45 days when I finally get my payouts.

I had a claim on my last load. At the last stop of my last load. As if I really needed one more kick in the cojones on the way out the door. I had that cargo damage reduction insurance so hopefully the broken windshield on the brand spankin new Case tractor that mysteriously appeared due to (I'm assuming) road debris in the last 130 miles of the trip doesn't cost much.

The leasing company (Tom and Ryan) give you your completion bonus right away when you show up, provided you give them 48 hours notice of arrival at Cloud. Your reserve and maintenance accounts are HELD for UP TO 45 days pending claims, cleverly hidden truck damage, etc.

I'll post later in detail about the whole shebang...meantime, I'm getting settled in at my new/old company, and am ecstatic over the comfort and quality of a W900 over a Crapliner Columbia. The difference is almost startling. 600 miles in the ATS truck was a wipeout every day. In this thing, it's a warm up.
 

Iamabroker

Active Member
#7
Nice Thread Sinister, I looked at ATS pretty hard myself, The biggest thing for me is I hate L/P with a passion, but I wanted to get on with them to get into wind energy. I would have come on as a company driver, but anyway. I live in Maine which is as bad as living in FL. Most companies will not hire Maine drivers, ATS said sure we will take ya on if ya don't mind being out for 4 to 6 weeks. ...lol ya I mind! so much for ATS.

Great thread though honest and full of the "real thing" should help allot of potential drivers considering ATS...Good Job Bro!

P.S. they do have a Northeast Regional deal, but it is for Van only....I don't do Van..I find it real hard to hook my chains to the side of them..and I can never seem to find the strap winches either.....strange...huh!
 

terrylamar

Well-Known Member
#9
ATS has announced the ground breaking of the new Houston terminal, it will be in Baytown on Sheldon Rd., just north of I-10.

After selling off interest in K&W years ago to Carlisle, ATS was required to stay out of Alaska for seven years an agreement to not compete. That seven years has expired and as I understand, ATS is starting to look for Alaska loads. Alot of pipe comes out of Houston going to Alaska, maybe, just maybe, there may be more opportunities to go to Alaska in the works.
 

Sinister

Smartass Emeritus
Supporter
#10
That sounds pretty cool Terry. As long as they can get loads out also!

ATS sent me a bill for $80.16, for my hieght pole, which was part of my securment package, which I overpaid for by about $25.

They can kiss my $80.16 ass.
 
#11
So lease purchase isn't the best idea I've been reading I just don't think I've seen anyone chime I'm about already having there own truck and going to work for them would this same .80 tp 1.32 Still apply tp thé Guy Who already owns there own truck ?
 

terrylamar

Well-Known Member
#12
So lease purchase isn't the best idea I've been reading I just don't think I've seen anyone chime I'm about already having there own truck and going to work for them would this same .80 tp 1.32 Still apply tp thé Guy Who already owns there own truck ?
That is just the basic pay. You will need to add Fuel Surcharge and any other Accessorial Pay. It can add up to well over $2.00 per mile. I did fantastic of the Lease, Lease Purchase and Leased on with ATS. I ran where and when I wanted, I was home, at a minimum of every two weeks, frequently throughout the week and sometimes each and every day. I went into Canada a lot, I made good money doing so. I bought the original truck I was in. The only difference now, is that ATS has gone to Electronic Logs. If you have the company driver mentality, you will not fare well. If you treat the Lease like a business, chances are that you will do well. Catastrophe can strike at any time, be prepared.
 

PrettyInPurple

Well-Known Member
#13
I just looked at ATS and I have to admit I am not overly excited about their L/P. There offer a "used pre certified" lease program that is a 12 month lease with no down payment, no credit check, no fixed expenses for the first two weeks, and then the go on to offer whatever one else offers.

No fixed expenses for the first two weeks? So are you telling me that after the first two weeks I'm going to be hit with the truck payments from the previous two weeks, the escrow, and the insurance? All from the previous first two weeks? Or am I just going to get to slide on by with all the lovely money in my pocket and nothing to worry about?

The lease completion bonus for $3,200? I don't see anything on their site about a ballon payment at the end of the lease. So... does this basically cover the ballon payment that MIGHT be at the end of the lease? Or are they being gracious enough to put money into your pocket when they alread gave you the first two weeks scott free? Hmmm....

Oh and is there ballon payment? How much? Why no mention of it at all? What are the hiding?

And I don't have flatbed experience. So does this lease only apply to flatbed drivers or for dry van drivers as well?

So much information lacking....
 

Sinister

Smartass Emeritus
Supporter
#14
There is no balloon payment at the end of the lease, it's simply a lease with a ending date on the contract. I actually kept my truck an additional week or so and they charged me a rental fee.

There really is two free weeks...BUT...one week is eaten up by orientation in St. Cloud. Orientation is a WEEK long. It was a bit much. So that was kinda shady IMO, but about the only thing I found "dishonest" in any way. ATS was pretty square in any other area. I found one or two monetary errors the whole year, and they were corrected immediately upon being brought to light. Also, if youre not careful, you can lose a chunk of change in equipment if you have to swap out tarps and chains if you end up repowering a load the previous guy left his stuff on.

The entire duration of the lease, you put money into a "reserve" account as well as a "maintenance" account. This for me, plus the completion bonius totalled close to $13000, as I recall.

When you turn the truck in they do a quick cursory inspection, then during the 60 waiting period, pending claims, etc, they "inspect the truck closely" and find between $3-4000 in things "that needed fixed or replaced". At the end of a successful one year lease, you will walk away with between $9-11000, as I did. If you choose to lease again, you have the option to drain those accounts, or leave them in place to build and build. You can also use the $3200 as a down payment to buy your truck if you choose.

I talked to other people who turned trucks in, and that's pretty standard. I did NOT trash the inside of my truck, and returned it a HELL of a lot cleaner than I got it. IN reality, I think they find a million things with trucks, or invent them, and fix nothing, and just keep charging for it. My driver seat had a cigarette burn that I'm sure they charged the last guy and myself for. I did not ask for an itemized list of things they charged me for, and I can imagine the resistance and delay I would have experienced had I done so.

The dry van side is pretty much an entirely different company, and I think they run exclusively on percentage. They also have a lease deal though, and the terms are similar to the flatbed side.
 
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