Good loads/bad loads


Order of The Gilded Flip Flop
Thread starter #1
Post here which loads you pull for ATS and why you think they are good and bad. And why.

I am currently on the mileage contract, and never bothered to switch because I quickly found out that being on the mileage contract vs, the percentage contract allows me to consider loads percentage guys won't touch, forcing them to sit while I leave.

I've also figured out that a lot of ATS drivers like to argue endlessly about which contract is better.

To think that ATS is going to let one group of guys get too far ahead or behind another group money-wise is a foolish argument, and one I usually walk away from.

Also, I've met a lot of guys here who HATE tarping, and won't do it if it kills them. Then, they'll brag about how much they made pulling a load of say - utility trailers out of Sumner, TX that takes HOURS loading, and is a HUGE pain in the ass to secure, and never really sits still on the trailer. don't have to tarp them...

Just because a load doesn't tarp doesn't mean its better than a load that does.

Once, I hauled a big box out of the Port of L.A. that had 150.00 tarp pay on it, and didn't have to tarp it at all. Sometimes you get lucky. Other times, you tarp something that a professional seamstress would have a hard time covering. first load I'm going to post that I've hauled that most guys wont is one terry and I just now talked about briefly.

Kettle falls, WA to Pella, IA

They'll offer you $25.00 tarp pay. Tell 'em to stick it. I managed to get $100.00 out of it, but didn't find that out until I delieverd it. Why I have to negotiate with ATS all the time I don't know, and it's pretty annoying, but there it is.

The Good: It's a load coming straight back to the midwest, with liberal recieving hours. It's FB or SD (don't let the FB ONLY thing scare you. They'll load both. DO NOT go chasing all around Seattle to find a frigging trailer. )They will weight you in light when you get there. Save yourself the 9.00.

Yes, it's heavy, and you get to drag it rhough the Rockies, but still, I averaged 6.5 on the load, and usually run about 67mph.

The Bad: Fuel up before you go in there. In Spokane if possible. Fuel in WA is pricey, but it beats having to play the half-tank-empty-half-tank game all the way to Iowa. They will load you to scale, and ignore your cries for mercy about having to buy fuel.


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Thread starter #2

Butler, IN -> ???

This is the load I'm on now. This one goes to Ft. Worth, TX. I knew it was going to be a problem when the load offer did not indicate whether or not it tarped, and being steel coils, I was instantly dubious.

Turns out, Paragon steel in Butler has a policy that all loads tarp. Period. Trinity Industries in Fort Worth cares not.

After three hours of waiting for an answer I just got in line, loaded and tarped it. Naturally, as soon as I roll, I find out I took it in the shorts. Welcome to flatbedding.

Oh, and my FM is gone until Tuesday, which is where a lot of this mess is coming from.

Ordinarily, I don't mind regular coils. Personally, I don't think it's the worst flat freight there is. And with these super heavy duty coil racks ATS sells us, it's not bad at all. Long waits and steel mills, and all the other crap that goes with coils sucks, but the load itself isn't the worst.

Tarp pay usually sucks on them though. They should at least pay Lease ops what they pay Company drivers without having to ***** at them to get decent tarp pay.


Well-Known Member
I have been spoiled since coming to ATS. I use to drive for TMC, which, mostly, hauls general freight. I have had more than my share of tarped lumber loads. I don't want to haul them anymore, if there is anything else offered. With TMC we had true lumber tarps. It only took two to cover the entire load, front to back. With ATS, and I know I can buy any tarp I want, but I have to use 4 tarps to cover a lumber load. Three "lumber" tarps ATS sold me, plus the nose tarp.

I find coils one of the easiest loads there is to haul. Dangerous, yes, but through a few chains on it and go. Even if you have to tarp, it isn't too bad. I bought some coil cuffs, large edge protectors that replace all the little metal edge protectors that are a pain on coils. I have yet to use them, but they should make the securement go so much easier. I may pick up a generic size coil tarp to make it even easier.

There are many loads I like and few I do not like. I do not like lumber, wallboard, plastic pipe, or greasy pipe. I like military vechiles, light loads, OD loads in Winter or close to the weekend. I'll list specific loads later.


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Thread starter #4
We had "real" lumber tarps at my last job too. Heavy Duty 8 foot drops. 160 pounds each. 2 of them, and 2 four foot drops.

When guys here talk about "lumber" tarps, I have to chuckle to myself. This things are kids toys compared to those.

I'll also say that about ATS. They seem to have a lot of the "easy" flatbed freight locked up! I mean, if you're going to be running around for .88 cents a mile, you certainly don't want to have to put too much effort into a load. Especially if you're like me, and a chronic over-securer anyway...LOL.

I have a load tomorrow out of Brownwood, TX going to the ICE yard in J'Villke, Florida. We'll see what that's all about. They offered me a load of those trailers out of Sumner, TX this morning. Screw them things.


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Thread starter #5
Utility trailers. (part 2)
I’ll leave this as “matter of opinion”…as to good or bad. Me personally, I say BAD. Takes forever to load them, and they catch so much wind, that stop pay might just be wiped out by fuel costs. Well, maybe not that bad…but they are like pulling a parachute.
These come from several places, and from several companies.

Sumner, TX (middle of freakin nowhere)

Lavonia, GA

Montross, VA

Missouri Valley, IA

Mt. Orab, OH

Mexia, TX (pronounced Muh-Hey-ya)

Winnemucca, NV (pronounced Desert *****house)

The ones up in Sumner, TX are from one of two different companies parked right next to each other in the middle of nowhere. The ones I hauled used wood blocks instead of Styrofoam, and are usually larger sized utility trailers, and a bit more stable than all the other ones from places other than Sumner.

The other ones are the tiny 4x8 and sizes similar to that. Personally, I hate ALL utility trailer loads. I don’t like something that just NEVER settles on the trailer. I hate stopping 239 times to adjust something or tighten something. You can watch them sway back and forth on the trailer as you haul them. You’ll never convince me these are safe to haul. Oh, and see what happens when one of those Styrofoam block blows out as a cop is passing you. That is where the “matter of opinion” part comes in. Some guys don’t mind that at all. I drive my entire trip with white knuckles and jaws clenched. These things might pay good, when the stop pay is figured in, but the amount of time it takes to load them and secure them is insane. The one place in Sumner, TX at least has scaffolding you can back in between and climb around on. At the other place I’ve loaded these (Montross, VA) you’re on your own and bring your monkey skills.

You cannot simply throw straps over these trailers.
You cannot simply throw straps over these trailers.
You cannot simply throw straps over these trailers.
You cannot simply throw straps over these trailers.

All you will do is necessitate new straps in a record amount of time, and cost yourself a lot of money. And the damn things might actually fall off the trailer. Guess who gets to eat that bill Mr. Independent Contractor? Well, most likely your insurance, but think of the downtime, and that .02 cpm they are going to take from your pay. Isn’t that nice. For me, these loads just aren’t worth the risk.

Run your straps backwards. Use the hooks at the top trailer, and secure using the winches. You’ll have a bunch of strap left over, but it’s way better than buying straps. This also works (mostly) for 2” straps with flat hooks. I guess it would also work with 4” straps with flat hooks. I also ran the hell out of ALL my straps of both sizes, and ended up putting a few 5/16th chains on some corners mainly for looks.

NONE of you straps or chains will be tight, especially with the smaller utility trailers with Styrofoam blocks as spacers. Chains will remain loose enough to bet you laughed at. You can romp on stuff all day and all you’re doing is crushing Styrofoam. Just get them decently tight. If you’ve secured most of the stacks at all four corners, you’ll be fine. Just don’t look at the load while you’re moving too much. Seriously! The first load of these I hauled was a nightmarish repower out of the Cloud terminal, and by the time I got all the other guys crap off (his stuff was done totally wrong and all the straps were about 10 more miles from being totally gone) and put mine on it was dark so I couldn’t see the load going down the road. I think that probably saved a few years until my blood pressure related heart attack comes. The load I currently have I think I’ve spent more time looking backwards than forwards as I dragged it nailbitingly slow through DC and Baltimore traffic.

Any place your straps touch a trailer MUST BE PADDED. It’s A LOT of climbing, and it adds retarded amounts of time to tying these down, and that’s another problem with them. One careless or lazy strap will cost you a strap. Period.
Oh, and I guess if you want to you can strap the intermediate levels past #2 high if you want to. And if you have 345 straps or chains. I didn’t this time. Last time I did and it’s just too much.

Way too much work, way too much time. The only redeemer is the stop pay. Don’t take one of these if it’s only one stop. All you’ll do is burn up a day or more getting loaded, and eat A LOT of fuel. I hauled a load from Sumner to Wisconsin once and 5.2mpg was about all I got. There was a guy in Montross this morning who’d been there just about 24 hours. I guess that place is especially bad.

As far as deliveries, Tractor Supply stores aren’t bad. They’ll let you sleep in the parking lot, and unload pretty quickly anytime during normal business hours from 7-5. I’ve heard Lowe’s and Home Depots can be a pain in the ass with actually wanting scheduled appointments. Screw that.

Well, there you go. 924 words on why these loads suck. Can I *****, or can I *****?
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OK I get it now, your talking about the little tow behinds they sell at lowe's, At first I thought you were talking about the enclosed utility tool trailers like featherlite sells, took me a second to figure it out when you were saying put the hooks on top,(I'm a little slow on the uptake), never hauled them but I can imagine they are strap eaters, like when the swiftys and j.b. flatbedders took over at the aluminum plant and they all were using the six inch straps on the aluminum sows, I should have opened up a strap store, could have retired in a couple weeks


Active Member
There's a bit of reading on this post, but I'd like to focus on something I can speak to: As far as which is best pay per miles or percentage: I'd like to build my entire case on one simple question: what if you got a freaken hundred percent of the load; but it only booked for $1.15 a mile and you need $1.20 a mile to run your operation. These percentage guys brag about they don't accept anything less than $2.25 a mile, yeah but by the time the company finish rippin you for there percentage you making like $1.45 a mile (and a lot of them don't get paid for dead head) no thanks. Way I figure, if the company screws up and books it cheap, and I'm locked into pay per mile, let them take the hit not me.......JMO, Jo Bernard


Order of The Gilded Flip Flop
Thread starter #8
that's a different discussion, and we can start another thread if you like. You raise some good points about the merits of mileage over percentage.

FYI: I'm trying to get some pictures of these loads uploaded to the site or hosted somewhere...or something...

OK. I got them up. In #35 if you zoom in on the forklift a bit you can see the tongue of the utility trailer resting on my stepdeck. It wasn't set there gently, I assure you. I think they heard the noise in the next county.

Good times.


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Thread starter #10
Both loading and unloading involve a lot of climbing. Once up for the hook. Then down. Then up for the padding. Then down. Repeat. Then something falls out before you get it taped in. Climb down. Then up again.

I woke up the next morning feeling like the first time I tarped a load of lumber. It's happened every time Ive pulled these.

Like I said, too much work, too much risk, not near enough return.


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Thread starter #11

Lafayette, IN -> Griffin, GA

CAT plant to CAT plant. Preloaded, light, easy to secure. Sometimes you only get one engine, other times you get two, for about 35000 lbs. First time I went in, I had to wait a little while for my trailer to be ready, but the second load I just did was all ready to go. At the reciever you don't wait very long at all.

You may have to push a little hard to make the delivery in the window (and keep in mind you cross into eastern time) but it's easy running.

If time is a key to making a good paycheck in this lease, these are the kinds of loads you want to look for as much as possible.


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Thread starter #12

Port Allen, LA -> Groves, TX

Port Allen is Baton Rouge, basically. I won't tell you how to find this place, because you simply MUST experience the qualcomm directions for yourself. I earned knowing my way in and out, you will too grasshoppa!

Oilfield pipeline going to a massive refinery expansion.

Preloaded, light, sometimes OD - which you may not want to flag because it's only one stinky little peice of pipe sticking out someplace. Unless your that anal about that type of stuff. Three inches over on one side kinda stuff. The yard in Pt. Allen is tight as can be, dusty, and not a fun place. But, grab your load, pull out the gate, back up, and secure your load in the road if need be.

Don't put too much effort into securing these. You might have one peice of pipe, or you might have 61 peices. You're not going to be able to strap all the little valves and things that go with this. Just strap it best you can. I think the scales in LA fully realize that the petroleum industry is HUGE bread and butter, so unless you do soemthing really stupid crossing a scale on your way out of LA, they wont look twice at you. The shipper does a pretty good job of putting the loads together anyways. It may not look like it at first, but I've hauled worse looking, and more unstable loads.

At Groves, TX.

These directions are decent. The lot is good to park in. It may take a LONG time to get unloaded. Be patient, mark your times, get them signed if it gets out of hand. I've hauled two of these loads, and the first time they didn't bat an eye at a good amount of detention for 8 hours I lost sitting there. I forget how much it was.

Follow the safety rules, don't smart off.

And like the sign says, "DO NOT FEED OR HARASS THE ALLIGATORS."

I almost had dispatch talked into letting me run about four of these this weekend, when it looked like I wasn't getting empty at a decent time on a Friday (a VERY bad thing at ATS), but I got a different load instead.


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Thread starter #13

Port Hueneme, CA -> ??
Waterloo, IA
Dubuque, IA
Baltimore, MD

Whereever there is farm equipment.

Farm equipment pays dick. Got that straight? Unless it's legal, and you can load it and unload it fast, don't even mess with it unless you REALLY need to move up in class. Other than that, it's way too much work for way too little money. The excuse you'll hear is, "Well that's just what we bill the customer..." I'm not sure if it's just my FM, but that answer is a complete non-sequitur. It means nothing.

This latest fiasco had me at Port Hueneme, CA. It's way the hell out on the Pacific Ocean buried underneat Oxnard. It doesn't look too bad on the map, but to give you an idea, from Fontana its about a 4 hour ride. From Barstow it was almost FIVE. There is no truck stop out there, and no overnight parking available.

I had to load a JD 7950 Harvester myself. I was told in orientation that I would NOT have to operate equipment to put it on a trailer. I think at this point I've decided EVERYTHING I was told in orientation was false.

Watching me try to operate a $300,000 harvester was probably pretty funny - to someone...

Then, they have you call a tire service to come out and remove the tires, and stack them.

The guy who comes out intends to make an entire day of this project. Myself and a company driver waited 8 hours for this process to be complete.

So, now the tricky part - wait until 930!! the next morning, or try to squeeze out of Ventura county between the end of curfew and dark.

Permits involved: Port Hueneme annual, City of Oxnard, Ventura County, City of Camarillo, LA county permit, Cali state permit. Make sure your printer ink is full.

I didn't make it out before dark. Good thing I had those magnetic lights I bought a while back.

Then, 3 hours for the dealiership to put it together to unload.

All this for 295 loaded miles (mine only went up to Merced, CA) and thirty eight dollars OD pay.

It pisses me off to even think about it. It's insulting even. I'm willing to bet ATS got about 4 bucks a mile for this pain in the ass mess, especially if they are ready and willing to pay a tire service to come out. I"m sure that guy's making a pretty penny.

God I hate farm equipment. TMC and HUNT transportation can have this ****. All of it. JD, Case, Hesston, ALL of it...


Well-Known Member
I, too, had a great experience at Port Hueneme, CA. I was picking up four tractors for a three stop delivery in California. A stepdeck was requested. I get there well after noon and found I had to load the tractors myself. Not only do I have to load them, but I have to find them on a large lot. I found two of the easily, but could not find the other two. I looked for most of the afternoon for them, finally, admiting defeat, I went back to the office for help. Come to find out they were mismarked. I went back and found them, got them staged at the loading dock in the reverse order for deliver, first on, last off. I could not get the 1st tractor up onto the upper deck of the stepdeck. I tried, I looked for ramps, asked everyone for ramps and just couldn't do it. I was running out of time and had to do something quickly before the port closed. I called dispatch, because of the time difference my dispatcher was gone for the day and I had to deal with night dispatch. You know how that went. Thinking three were better than none, I loaded three and left one and got out, actually, was kicked out at 1600.

My dispatcher asked me what happened, I told her and never heard another word.


Well-Known Member
I had a favorable experience with another tractor place, AGCO in Hesston, KS. I accepted the load, loading in two days, I was only a 100 miles away. I showed up the first morning a full day early playing dumb. They commented that I was a day early, but didn't even blink and got me loaded and away I went.


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Thread starter #16

Nuke Loads.

Suwanee, GA, and New Kensington, PA.

Suwanee, GA is ATL area, and New Kensington is Pittsburgh area.

Keep your eyes open for anything going to and from these places. Watch the load comments when it's offered. It should - SHOULD say "Nuke Load Requirements", you FM will brief you on what that is. Here's a hint: take a bath, clean your truck, ditch your pee bottles. The one I was offered did not list the nuke pay in the offer. It was only after I passed on it my FM sent me a message saying "Hey that was a nuke load!" And I could hear him utter you idiot.

Okay, so ATS is trying to get me to stay. So, they're throwing all these "good" loads at me. I just recently hauled my first "nuke" load. 1250 Nuke pay, 100 tarp. 65% of 1250 is 812.50. That's more than ANY OD load I've seen yet.

Waiting on it sucked, getting through security into the plant sucked, tarping it sucked. They all tarp.

But the load came in at around 2.10 a mile, which is pretty unheard of for general freight. Most stuff I see in the ATS lease program is about 1.15 to 1.20.

When tarping it, bring LOTS of padding, especially if there's a lot of pieces involved.

There was a second load today out of Suwanee, GA but I have a sub-dispatcher who i think was pretty new, and she swore it was not a nuke load, with nuke pay. My driver tech is dead though, but I have a feeling I'll be kicking myself tomorrow when my guy comes in and I'm screwing around with an Okonite load back to MN (so I can get my DriverTech fixed - again).


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Thread starter #17


Six locations going everywhere.

No tarp, preloaded, often multistop, sometimes OD (with terrible pay).

It's real work this stuff, and usually preloaded. Some loads end up in the middle of nowhere though, so you have to be careful about where you end up, and deadhead on your next load, other than than, securement is easy and these loads are a breeze.


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Thread starter #18

Kansas City, MO -> ?

"Bins" they call them. There used to be a place in Columbus, NE, but I think it closed.

Preloaded, good tarp pay, kinda heavy, but low on the deck.

These are pieces of corrugated steel that are used to build giant grain "bins". Pad the hell out of your straps, and use a few safety chains to keep it from sliding forward. Pad your tarps also. Even if you get them tight, the slightest movement will make holes. This stuff is SHARP.

One of the instructional messages I got said "First come First Served, please be patient." I would not want to wait on this stuff, so make sure it's says PRE in the equipment type on your driver tech.


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Thread starter #19

Brooklyn Park, MN -> ??

"Equipment" it will say in the load offer. What you are loading is either Bobcats, or something similar from a warehouse. No tarp, mine was multistop. Make aure you have the BOL number for pickup. You will have to bump a dock. I was loaded very quickly, and out within 2 hours. Not bad at all.
OK, I give up. Fill me in. What is a "nuke" load, and what is a "DriverTech"?

Inquiring minds want to know.