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Crete Carrier Corporation vs. ATS: Which Carrier is Right for Me?

June 7th, 2023

Jeron Rennie

Jeron Rennie

Having grown up around the trucking industry — with his dad and several uncles serving as truck drivers — it’s only natural Jeron found his way into the industry as well. Jeron joined ATS in 2018 as a member of the marketing team, where he grew his knowledge of the trucking industry substantially. Now as the driver recruiting manager, he is responsible for ensuring a smooth recruiting process in order to create a quality driver experience.

Choosing the right trucking company to work for is crucial for any driver who wants to have a successful and rewarding career in the trucking industry. With so many options available, it can be challenging to know which company is the best fit for your needs and preferences. 

Factors such as pay, benefits, equipment and the company's culture are all important to consider when making a decision.

In this era of technology, drivers have access to various online platforms and resources that can help them research and evaluate trucking companies before making a commitment. However, it’s essential to do your due diligence and consider multiple factors to ensure you choose the right company to drive for. 

Chances are, if you’re doing your homework and heavily researching companies, you’ve probably stumbled upon both Anderson Trucking Service (ATS) and Crete Carrier Corporation. 

In this article, we’ll compare some of the top features drivers care most about, including: 

  • Home time
  • Division and freight type
  • Pay
  • Benefits
  • Equipment 

We’ll explore some of the key factors you should consider when evaluating Crete and ATS and help you make an informed decision about which one to work for.

History of Crete Carrier Corporation

Crete Carrier Corporation is an amalgamation of three companies in one — Crete combines Crete Carrier, Shaffer Trucking and Hunt Transportation. Each company focuses on hauling different types of freight. They each operate under different entities under the Crete Carrier Corporation. 

Hunt Transportation was formed in 1927 and they primarily hauled grain and livestock within the state of Nebraska. Their headquarters were in Omaha, Nebraska.

In 1937, Shaffer Trucking was founded in New Kingstown, Pennsylvania. They delivered chocolate for Hershey — and this is still one of the customers they work with. This made them one of the first domestic shippers of confectionery products and they’ve grown into one of the largest food carriers. 

Crete Carrier Corporation was founded in 1966. In 1971,  Duane Acklie and his wife, Phyllis, purchased Crete Carrier Corporation. They built the company on midwestern values. In 1973, the company’s headquarters were moved from Crete, Nebraska to Lincoln, Nebraska, which is still where they’re headquartered today. 

In the 1970s, the company began to expand its operations. Crete Carrier continued to grow throughout the 1980s and 1990s, acquiring other trucking companies and diversifying its services.

Today, Crete Carrier provides a wide range of transportation services, including dry van, temperature-controlled and flatbed shipping. The company serves customers across the U.S., Mexico and Canada, and has been recognized for its commitment to safety and sustainability.

Throughout its history, Crete Carrier has remained a family-owned and operated business. The company has also maintained a strong commitment to its employees, offering competitive salaries, benefits and training programs to ensure that its drivers and other staff are well-equipped to succeed.

Today, Crete Carrier is one of the largest trucking companies in the U.S. with a fleet of over 5,000 trucks and 13,000 trailers.

History of ATS

ATS is a transportation company based in St. Cloud, Minnesota. It was founded in 1955 by Harold Anderson, who started with a single truck and a strong commitment to providing exceptional service to his customers.

In the early years, ATS focused on hauling granite agricultural products. As the company grew, it expanded into other markets and started providing a broader range of transportation services.

One of the key turning points for ATS came in the 1970s when the company started to specialize in oversized and overweight freight. This was a challenging market niche that required specialized equipment and expertise, but it was a market with high demand and limited competition. 

ATS invested heavily in specialized equipment, such as flatbed trailers and heavy haul trucks, and developed a team of experienced drivers and logistics professionals to meet the needs of this market.

Today, ATS is one of the largest and most respected transportation companies in the country, with a fleet of over 3,000 trucks and more than 6,000 trailers. The company operates in 48 states and has a strong presence in Canada as well. In addition to its specialized services for oversized and overweight freight, ATS provides a wide range of transportation solutions, including truckload, expedited, intermodal and logistics services.

Over the years, ATS has earned a reputation for innovation and excellence in the transportation industry. The company has received numerous awards and recognition for its commitment to safety, sustainability and customer service. Despite its growth and success, ATS remains a family-owned and operated business.

Red ATS semi-truck driving through downtown NYC.

Comparing Home Time 


Create has a variety of options for drivers who want to be home daily or out on the road for months at a time. There are home daily, dedicated, regional and over-the-road (OTR) routes. OTR drivers are out on the road for 12 to 45 days at a time. However, each of these driving options might not be available in each state and for all freight types. 

There are options for both company drivers and owner-operators, but the company is heavily comprised of company drivers. Drivers can bring their own truck or purchase one through Crete. 

Drivers need one year of tractor-trailer experience; Crete doesn’t hire brand-new drivers.


ATS is a true OTR carrier and therefore primarily only has options for OTR drivers who are willing to spend two or three weeks out on the road at a time (or longer). For every week a driver spends on the road, they’ll get 1.5 days of home time.

ATS does also offer some regional routes for drivers in specific locations in the Midwest or Southeast regions. 

ATS works with company drivers, lease drivers and owner-operators. ATS offers a lease program through an affiliated company. There are options for 1-, 2- and 4-year lease terms. The short-term lease programs don’t require any money down or a credit check. Drivers can also sign their trucks on with ATS to haul ATS freight.

Drivers have access to haul both dry van and flatbed freight no matter whether they’re company drivers or independent contractors. 

Like Crete, ATS only works with experienced drivers. ATS doesn’t have a trucking school and we don’t train drivers fresh out of school. Depending on the position, drivers need six to 12 months of prior driving experience.

Comparing Freight Types 


The freight Crete Corporation hauls varies based on which company within the corporation you drive for. Crete Carrier moves dry van freight. Shaffer Trucking does reefer freight. Hunt Transportation is flatbed, oversize and overweight freight hauled on different types of trailers. 

However, depending on what type of driver you are, you may or may not be able to haul each type of freight. For instance, as an OTR driver, you have access to all the freight Crete hauls. If you want to get on a regional or dedicated route, it’ll depend state-by-state whether you can haul dry van or reefer freight.

Crete doesn’t have a clearly defined career path, but they do appear to offer the potential for drivers to move between divisions to haul different kinds of freight.

73 percent of Crete Carrier loads are drop and hook. 50.5 percent of Shaffer’s loads are drop and hook. 


ATS drivers have the opportunity to haul freight in four different divisions: dry vans, flatbed specialized, heavy haul and Department of Defense (DOD). We have freight in a variety of industries, which keeps drivers moving all year round. 

The trailer variety is large. Drivers can move freight using step-decks, lowboys, Conestogas, removable gooseneck (RGN) trailers and more. 

ATS offers great career path options for drivers who are looking to advance and haul larger freight. They can start in the dry van division and undergo securement training to move into the flatbed division. From there, drivers can move up into the heavy haul division by advancing through the class system.

There are even more options for trailer diversity once you reach the heavy haul division. Drivers can haul freight on 13-axle perimeter trailers, blade trailers, Schnabel tower trailers and 13-axle double-drop RGNs. Some drivers even work on special projects in the wind sector hauling towers and blades. 

ATS has options for team drivers who want to haul high-security military freight. Team drivers with the proper security clearance can haul transportation protective services freight (TPS) and arms, ammunition and explosives (AA&E).

White truck with yellow oversize load banner and red flags on the front bumper. The truck hauls a tarped step deck load on a road in front of black mountains.

Comparing Pay


Crete drivers start by earning 60 to 65 cents-per-mile (CPM). The top 50 percent of their drivers earn 68 CPM, for reference. 

Drivers on average drive 127,000 miles per year. This equates to earnings of approximately $86,000 per year or around $1,660 per week. 

Not only that, but Crete offers its drivers quarterly productivity bonuses. 


ATS is a percentage pay carrier with a CPM minimum for company drivers. They’re automatically paid whichever rate is higher — CPM or percentage pay — on every load. 

Company van drivers start earning 50 to 52 CPM or 26 percent. On this pay program, company van drivers currently average 75 CPM. This is an average of $1,300-$1,500 per week. 

Lease van drivers earn 65 percent — which averages $1,100-$1,700 per week after expenses. Drivers are only traveling 85,600 miles annually. 

Company flatbed drivers start at 55 to 59 CPM, but are averaging 79 CPM. This equates to about $1,600-$2,000 per week. 

Like lease van drivers, lease flatbed drivers earn 65 percent — which is approximately $1,700-$2,500 per week after expenses. Drivers only travel 97,000 miles per year. 

DOD freight pays very well. Drivers are currently averaging $6,000 to $8,000 per week. 

Related: Learn more about the ATS pay structure here. 

Drivers can receive sign-on bonuses, referral bonuses and lease completion bonuses.

Comparing Benefits 


Crete offers its company drivers a wide range of benefits, including the following: 

  • Paid life insurance
  • Paid vacation time
  • 401k retirement plan
  • Health insurance
  • Optional per-diem pay
  • College scholarship programs for dependents 

Crete has a free rider policy and its pet policy allows up to two dogs or cats in the truck. 


ATS offers a similar benefits package to its company drivers, including the following: 

  • Medical, dental and vision insurance
  • Life and disability insurance
  • 401k retirement plan
  • Paid vacation time
  • Anderson Assistance Foundation (employee assistance program)

ATS also allows riders and has a pet policy, but only one dog or cat can be in the truck. 

Independent contractors and owner-operators also receive access to discounts on tires, fuel and more.

Comparing Equipment 


Crete replaces its trucks after four years. They offer Freightliner models.

They have forward collision mitigation systems installed on all the trucks in the fleet. There’s also side guard assist, speed sign recognition and adaptive and predictive cruise control. 

Crete trucks are governed at 68 miles per hour (mph) on cruise control and 65 mph on the pedal. 

They offer roadside assistance to their drivers.


ATS offers Peterbilt, Freightliner and Volvo models to its drivers and we pride ourselves on maintaining a fleet of newer trucks. 

Each truck is equipped with accident mitigation equipment and the Lytx Driver Safety Suite. 

Trucks are governed at 68 mph.

Related: Learn more about truck selection at ATS and how trucks are prepped 

White ATS semi-truck hauling a large oversized tank.

Crete or ATS — Which Carrier is Right for You?

Just like ATS, Crete is a debt-free, family-owned, stable company. Crete Carrier Corporation provides a wide range of transportation services, including dry van, temperature-controlled and flatbed shipping. 

With a strong commitment to safety and sustainability, Crete Carrier offers competitive salaries, benefits and training programs. They have options for drivers who prefer being home daily or spending extended periods on the road, and they operate under different entities within the corporation, focusing on specific types of freight.

ATS is known for its specialization in oversized and overweight freight. ATS offers various transportation solutions, including truckload, expedited, intermodal and logistics services. They provide opportunities for advancement and trailer diversity within their divisions, and their drivers are paid based on a percentage pay system with a CPM minimum.

When comparing home time, Crete Carrier offers options for drivers who want dedicated, regional or OTR routes. ATS primarily caters to OTR drivers, but they also offer some regional routes. Both companies require experienced drivers and have options for company drivers and owner-operators. ATS has options for lease drivers as well.

In terms of freight types, Crete Carrier Corporation hauls dry van, reefer, flatbed, oversize and overweight freight through its different entities. ATS provides opportunities to haul various types of freight, including dry vans, flatbed specialized, heavy haul and DOD freight, with options for trailer diversity and advancement within divisions.

When it comes to pay, Crete Carrier offers a starting range of 60 to 65 CPM, with potential quarterly productivity bonuses. ATS utilizes a percentage pay system with a CPM minimum, and their drivers earn competitive rates depending on the division they work in.

Both companies offer comprehensive benefits packages, including medical, dental, and vision insurance, retirement plans, paid vacation time and additional perks like rider and pet policies. They also provide access to discounts on various products and services.

In terms of equipment, Crete Carrier replaces its trucks after four years and offers Freightliner models equipped with advanced safety features. ATS maintains a fleet of newer trucks from Peterbilt, Freightliner and Volvo, equipped with accident mitigation equipment and forward-facing camera systems.

In a nutshell, it primarily comes down to whether you want to lease a truck or if you want more home time options. If you want to lease, go with ATS. If you a dedicated or regional route, go with Crete.

Lease With ATS

Choosing the right trucking company for your needs requires careful consideration of various factors. Both Crete and ATS offer competitive options for drivers, but understanding their differences is essential in making an informed decision.

Ultimately, the decision between Crete and ATS will depend on your personal preferences, career goals and the specific factors that matter most to you, such as home time options, freight types, pay structures, benefits and equipment. It's important to thoroughly research and evaluate each company based on your individual needs to ensure a successful and rewarding career in the trucking industry.

Not only does ATS offer an exciting career path for drivers who are looking to move heavy haul freight, but ATS also offers the industry’s only one-year, no money down, no credit check lease program. 

When you’re ready to work with a stable, family-owned, debt-free company, check out the lease program to see what ATS has to offer you.