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ATS vs. J.B. Hunt: Which Trucking Company Should I Drive For?

November 15th, 2022

Lars Offerdahl

Lars Offerdahl

Lars has been in the trucking industry his whole working life. He started working in the shop when he was just 16 years old. Lars spent about 10 years in operations before moving to driver recruiting. He spent five years in recruiting before joining the ATS team as the vice president of driver recruiting. He currently serves as the vice president of van operations. No day is ever the same in the trucking industry and Lars enjoys the challenge that presents.

If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably done plenty of research and you’re ready to decide about your future in trucking. You’re comparing two similar companies to see what’s best for you. 

When you have two top-paying, stable, well-known companies in front of you, how do you know which is best for you? Which company do you choose? 

We pride ourselves on being transparent and providing our drivers with unbiased content to help them make the best choice for them. Even though we’re confident in our company and what we have to offer drivers, our goal is for you to be satisfied with your decision. The way we do that is by providing you with comprehensive information on other companies you might be considering. 

We know we aren’t the only carrier out there and you may not prefer our offerings. It’s not uncommon for drivers who are considering ATS to also be considering J.B. Hunt.

We want you to find the company that’s best for you. 

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

  • Career path and home time
  • Division and freight type
  • Pay
  • Benefits
  • Equipment 

Once you’ve gotten to the end of the article, your decision should be clear. 

Close-up view of a shiny red Kenworth model.

History of J.B. Hunt

J.B. Hunt was started by Johnnie Bryan Hunt and Johnelle in 1961 just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. They started with just five trucks and now they have more than 21,000 trucks. They’re also a Fortune 500 company. 

They went public in 1983 and in 1989 partnered with the railroads. This partnership pioneered what is now the modern intermodal transportation industry. J.B. Hunt started doing dedicated freight in the 1990s and by then they were one of the largest carriers in the country. They still hold the title of one of the largest trucking companies in North America. 

In addition to their fleet of 21,000 trucks, they have 151,000 trailers and pieces of equipment. They’re considered a mega-carrier.

They operate throughout the continental U.S., Canada and Mexico.

History of ATS

Anderson Trucking Service was started in 1955 by Harold Anderson in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Cold Spring Granite (now Coldspring) owned a private fleet, but as the business grew, they had more outbound goods than inbound materials and they had no freight to get them back home. They reached out to Harold Anderson to manage their overflow business, and the company was incorporated. 

In 1956, ATS started a form of less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping. By 1960, we had established an out-of-state terminal and had started building a fleet of drivers. In the 1970s, ATS started to develop the first stages of its heavy haul division. Before the new millennium, we’d expanded into a brokerage business and purchased several companies. ATS is now well-established in the wind sector and has a thriving heavy haul division. 

We operate throughout the continental U.S., Canada and Mexico. We are a midsize carrier. 

Comparing Career Path and Home Time 

J.B. Hunt

J.B. Hunt offers local, regional and over-the-road (OTR) routes for drivers. Its sheer size allows them to have routes in nearly every part of the country. This gives them a wide hiring area. They also have straight truck driving jobs for non-CDL drivers. This consists of delivering and installing items like furniture, appliances and more.

While J.B. Hunt doesn’t work with drivers trying to get their CDL, they do take on recent graduates for their apprenticeship program. Once a driver successfully completes their apprenticeship program, they can work full-time on their dedicated, intermodal or final mile fleets.

J.B. Hunt works with employee drivers, lease purchase drivers and owner-operators. They work with multiple third-party lease programs. Owner-operators have access to J.B. Hunt load boards and their DRIVE app. 

90 percent of J.B. Hunt drivers are home weekly or daily.   


ATS is strictly an OTR carrier. We offer some midwest regional and southeast regional routes for drivers in specific hiring areas. ATS does not take on student drivers. 

You can work with ATS as a company driver, lease driver or owner-operator. If you’re interested in leasing for the first time, take advantage of the industry’s only one-year lease program with no money down and no credit check. 

If you own your truck, you can contract with ATS to haul our freight in a program that’s similar to the lease program (you receive company support but own your truck). 

Comparing Division and Freight Type 

J.B. Hunt

J.B. Hunt drivers can work in four divisions: dedicated, Final Mile, intermodal or truckload. 

As a dedicated driver, you serve a single customer. This driving division provides more stability than other divisions. J.B. Hunt is the largest dedicated provider in the country. 

Final Mile drivers are the last link in the delivery chain. They deliver and install freight at customer homes, apartment complexes and so on.

Intermodal drivers transport freight containers from rail yards to customer destinations. With freight and route consistency, drivers can take advantage of more home time and different shift options. 

Truckload driving is their OTR division, with drivers spending a few weeks out on the road hauling 53’ trailers.


ATS drivers can work in four divisions: dry vans, flatbed specialized, heavy haul and Department of Defense (DOD). ATS serves multiple markets, including manufacturing, mining, aerospace/aviation, construction and agriculture. 

As a van driver, you’ll haul primarily drop-and-hook freight. 

Flatbed specialized drivers haul a variety of freight on different types of trailers, like step-decks, lowboys, Conestogas, removable gooseneck (RGN) trailers and more. Flatbed specialized drivers have the opportunity to advance through a class system that allows them to haul larger and larger freight. This advancement takes time, but drivers receive additional securement training and support from their driver manager and the safety team. 

Drivers can progress from the flatbed specialized division to the heavy haul division. That’s when the trailers get even larger and more specialized, including the 13-axle perimeter trailer, 19-axle steerable, blade trailer, Schnabel tower trailer and 13-axle double-drop RGN. 

Drivers have the opportunity to haul freight like large construction equipment, engines and more. Some drivers work on special projects hauling equipment for the wind sector like towers and blades.

DOD team drivers haul transportation protective services (TPS) freight. That includes everything from a filing cabinet of important paperwork to uniforms to aircraft and tanks.

Comparing Pay

J.B. Hunt

There’s a wide pay range for J.B. Hunt drivers depending on which division they drive in. 

Driver pay can range anywhere from $60,000 to $200,000 per year, with $70,000 to $80,000 being the average. Keep in mind the highest ranges are typically made by owner-operators. 

J.B. Hunt drivers can be paid differently depending on their career path. They could be paid daily, hourly, per mile, percentage or per stop. 

They do offer bonuses, like sign-on bonuses, referral bonuses and productivity bonuses. 


AT ATS, drivers average $85,000 per year and higher. Owner-operators in the heavy haul division are averaging as high as $200,000 per year after expenses. DOD drivers can make upwards of $10,000 per week.

Drivers are paid per mile or percentage. You can learn more about ATS’ pay structure here. 

We offer sign-on bonuses, referral bonuses and lease completion bonuses. Company drivers earn a guaranteed minimum for their first eight weeks of employment. 

Semi with dry van trailer driving over an overpass.

Comparing Benefits 

J.B. Hunt

Because J.B. Hunt is such a large carrier, they have a lot of buying power and, therefore, greater access to good benefits

Employee drivers receive access to medical, dental and vision plans and life insurance policies as well as 401k plans and paid time off. 

Independent contractors have access to discounts on everything from tires and fuel to insurance plans. 

The company aims to get all drivers home for Christmas. They have a free rider program and, in some cases, pets are allowed in the trucks.


Company drivers get medical, dental and vision insurance, life and disability insurance, 401k and vacation pay. Flights/car rentals, rooms and meals are covered at orientation and spouses are welcome. 

Pets are allowed in all trucks. 


J.B. Hunt

J.B. Hunt has newer, well-maintained equipment — from their trucks to their trailers. You won’t see a lot (if any) beat-up trucks in their fleet. 


ATS also has a well-maintained fleet of newer trucks. We offer Peterbilt, Freightliner, and Volvo models.

So, is ATS or J.B. Hunt Right for You?

Now that you’ve seen a side-by-side comparison of J.B. Hunt and ATS, it’s time to compare their offerings to your needs and wants. There are multiple factors to consider. 

J.B. Hunt and ATS rank similarly in several categories. Both companies pay well, have great benefits and have options for company drivers, lease drivers or owner-operators. 

Where the two companies differ primarily comes down to career path and freight options. While J.B. Hunt has a majority of local and regional routes, ATS focuses primarily on OTR routes. 

With J.B. Hunt you’ll be able to haul and install products on a dedicated route (high-touch freight) or haul intermodal shipping containers from railroad to customer. 

With ATS, on the other hand, you can haul everything from general freight in a dry van to oversized construction equipment to a 19-axle trailer to a wind blade. You can also haul lucrative freight for the DOD. 

If you want a local or regional route, J.B. Hunt might be your best bet. If you want freight variety, ATS might be the choice for you.

Red ATS truck with flatbed trailer being loaded by two cranes.

Advance Your Career and Make More Money With ATS

ATS offers an exciting career path for drivers who want to go from hauling general freight in the flatbed division to hauling over-dimensional, heavy freight in our heavy haul division. Many drivers pride themselves on being able to haul freight that very few drivers on the road can haul. 

With ATS, that can be you. We provide the opportunity you desire to advance your career safely. They’ll provide access to the training you need to succeed — from comprehensive securement training to permit training. 

If you’re ready to get started in our flatbed division — and prepared to get rewarded handsomely — fill out an application today. A driver consultant will reach out to you within 24 business hours.