Trucking is the heart of the US economy, accounting for more than 72.5% of freight transportation in the country. With almost 3.3 million drivers and 7.6 million people employed by the trucking industry, it significantly influences the US employment market.
Drivers are this business’s lifeblood, constantly seeking loads to keep their vehicles on the road.
HOW TRUCKERS FIND LOADS
Truckers may use several strategies to locate loads to transport. To discover the greatest pay-outs and preferred routes in the United States, they might utilize any of the following techniques.
THE #1 WAY TO FIND LOADS: LOAD BOARDS
The load board is the most popular approach to obtaining a variety of loads and preferences. There are hundreds of free and premium load boards on the market, each with features.
Both shippers and brokers can post available loads, and load boards frequently enable truckers to advertise their trucks, route, and sort of vehicles. Truckers may also contact the brokers for more information or rate talks.
WHAT IS A LOAD BOARD, AND HOW IS IT USED?
A load board is an online marketplace where shippers and brokers can list their available loads and locate the best carrier for the assignment.
Consider it a carrier matching service, similar to a dating site, that helps drivers find the most profitable loads and drive their business profitably.
Carriers typically purchase a subscription to search for thousands of load possibilities in real-time using this online marketplace. You may also list your empty trucks and other information, such as the sort of truck(s) you have available.
Brokers and shippers can contact you with follow-up information, or you can directly contact them for a loaded shipping listing. A load board also allows you to communicate about the specific load and negotiate on price. Many load boards also assist truckers in researching a broker’s ratings and credit history.
ARE OUR LOAD BOARDS WORTH IT?
Load boards are commonly used in the US trucking sector to transport goods nationwide. With around 97% of carriers having fewer than 20 trucks, load boards are worth looking into. This is especially true if you’re starting your own trucking company, operating as an owner-driver, or have a tiny fleet.
FOR NEW OWNER-OPERATORS
Using a load board may assist you in developing your business and discovering new business partners if you’re a new trucker owner-operator.
Networking and relationships are essential to any trucking firm, whether with a broker, shipper, or other drivers. Load boards can help you build your network, establish new connections, and stay up on industry news and developments.
Load boards provide hundreds of real-time listings to pick from. It also puts you in command, as you can inform the broker where you are and where you’re heading to locate freight along your preferred routes.
According to The Economist, a truck driver’s average return trip is 28% of their overall mileage without a load. Better communication with the brokers through a load board may help you make more money with your vehicle by reducing this downtime.
TOP 5 LOAD BOARDS
There are a lot of load board alternatives on the market, both free and premium monthly subscriptions. We’ve compiled a list of the top five load boards with advanced features to help you discover your next load.
Here are some of the most significant truck drivers, owner-operators, and brokers can use.
It’s a trucker and broker-friendly load board jam-packed with every feature you’ll need in the trucking sector. It also has easy, location-based search tools for loads and trucks.
As a self-employed owner-operator, you can look up a broker’s credit score, bond, authority, and insurance records. DirectFreight also allows you to keep track of and transmit documents, show load reservations, and even evaluate the average time it takes customers to pay. Weather reporting, text and email alerts, and audible app notifications that notify the carrier about new loads are among the other useful functions. It also connects with TMW Systems’ transport management software.
For $34.95 per month, you can get all of these features. However, MarketFIT users of Express Freight have access to DirectFreight Premium for free.
The Truckstop network is particularly well-known for its number of registered brokers. The carrier pays $39 per month, while the broker and shipper pay $99 monthly.
You may quickly and easily locate loads with a large community of agents, shippers, and carriers. To use all of the features, you’ll need to purchase their Pro version, which includes a real-time load board for $149 per month.
DAT provides a state-of-the-art live load board with various search options and filters to help you find the perfect load.
This load board also displays pricing information for each shipment, allowing truckers to haggle a good deal. There are over 800,000 new advertisements added to DAT every day on average.
123Loadboard is a leader in load board solutions, with more than 50 million truckloads delivered each year.
123Loadboard provides a free load board app, a 10-day trial of its premium features, and a paid membership with unlimited load searches and live notifications.
CPF’s Trucking MSO includes all the best features you’d expect from trucker management software, such as an onboard tracking system and mobile-friendly user interface. The app has excellent search tools and reporting capabilities for carriers starting at $35 per month. Thanks to their highly regarded mobile app, you may locate available loads anytime and anywhere.
Trucker Path is a mapping and navigation mobile app for truck drivers that offers more than 800 brokers and 150,000+ loads daily.
The free platform allows you to check a dealer’s credit rating, find the nearest truck stop, and plan a truck-safe route. You can locate a load of your choice using the Trucker Path mobile app or the web version.
WHEN TO USE A BROKER VS. SOURCING LOADS INDEPENDENTLY
You may be looking for other options than using load boards to supply your loads. Freight brokers, in a nutshell, facilitate freight transportation for direct shippers.
Freight brokers can assist in establishing your carrier business by connecting you with shippers and providing you with various load choices. They also handle the legwork and bargaining on your behalf with the shipper, allowing you to focus on your work when starting or developing your company.
It’s critical to develop a good working relationship with your broker. It’s important to be clear with your broker about what you expect and to watch out for any hidden fees or charges. This is just as important as with any other contract or agreement you might make.
Once you’ve earned a certain amount of experience and industry knowledge and established your own firm, you may look for alternatives to a broker.
Finding a load for your trucks outside freight brokers might be done in various ways, including freight factoring, becoming a government contractor, brokering your contracts, and networking with other small carriers or truckers for recommendations.
ESTABLISHING A DIRECT RELATIONSHIP WITH SHIPPERS
Hauling loads straight from the shippers (or clients) may appear to be a good deal since you won’t have to pay a broker’s commission. However, this also implies that you will have to locate, negotiate and sell to the shippers yourself. This procedure requires time and effort in establishing connections and haggling over charges with the carrier.
You’ll need to develop connections with numerous carriers to ensure a load on your way back from the destination. To avoid the dread deadhead miles, ensure you have strong relationships with many shippers.
Most shippers obtain shipping contracts via competitive bids, which are generally accessible to larger carriers and fleet owners. Larger shippers need Transportation Management Systems (TMS) with EDIs and APIs. This may not be the best solution for you if you only have a single vehicle or a small fleet.
Freight brokers charge a commission to find and broker deals with the shipping company and the ship’s owner for you.
In the truck transportation industry, trust is essential. Working well with the broker aids in obtaining the finest bargains at any location and moment. Because of their vast network of truckers and carriers throughout the country, some big shippers work with freight brokers.
DIGITAL FREIGHT MATCHING APPS
Finding loads with a special rate for each haul might be more straightforward than ever. You may locate loads with a specific rate for each haul using eCommerce freight matching applications.
A fixed price per driver eliminates the hassle of bargaining and allows them to accept published tasks at a specific rate. This method eliminates the need for back-and-forth negotiations, saving both parties time. The disadvantage is that you may not make as much money as you would if you had a flexible pricing system.
According to a 2019 research by FreightWaves, carriers indicate that they only use 11% of their freight from freight matching apps.
Even though apps for matching freight are becoming more popular, carriers with one to three trucks still mostly get their freight from brokers, shippers, and load boards.