No matter how much the world changes around us, one thing that remains constant is the need for truckers to know how to find loads to haul. Through freight recessions to capacity shortages, pandemics to recovery, trucks need to keep rolling to get paid.
Whether you’re an owner operator trying to find the best load board for trucking, or a fleet owner trying to learn how to get freight contracts, all truckers are on the same hunting trail. Your best strategy is to use every tactic available to book freight. Here are 7 ways to find more loads.
1. Owner Operators or Fleet Owners Looking for Freight Brokers
How to find loads to haul is always a big question on the minds of owner operators and fleets owners. For independent contractors looking for freight to haul, a freight broker can help. Freight brokers connect shippers to truckers, and this is a good option if you’re just starting out. Freight brokers help find truck loads for owner operators and fleet owners. The best part is they do most of the legwork for you, including negotiating the rates with shippers. Brokers make it easier for independent truck drivers looking for quality loads because they usually have a relationship with the shippers. Using a freight broker is one way to get loads for trucks but it can cost you. Look out for hidden fees associated with this service.
2. Dispatch Services for Owner Operators and Fleet Owners
Hire a dispatcher directly (with industry experience and contacts in tow) or contract with a trucking dispatching service to help connect you with brokers and shippers. In many cases, trucking dispatchers can also provide some administrative services like accounting, billing, and collections. In other cases, trucking dispatchers solve more than how to get loads to truckers by providing the back office services that help to ensure shippers pay invoices on time.
3. Best Load Boards for Owner Operators
Load boards are another method that connects shippers directly to truckers. These boards make it very convenient to find freight loads by having multiple listings to choose from and most of the shipment details are spelled out. A quick Google search will uncover online load boards with free or paid options to choose from. The trick is finding good load boards that meet your needs so you’re not wasting time. The best load board for owner operators and trucking fleets of all sizes will offer free trials, have mobile apps so you can search for loads to haul on the go and send you notifications so you never miss a high-paying load. Make sure you receive notifications from the load board for load searches. You don’t want to miss any load posts.
4. Registering as a Government Contractor
Adapting a successful strategy for how to get trucking contracts would be a big win. More frequently, the government is outsourcing its staffing needs, and transportation is no exception. What’s more, it isn’t just the federal government with government trucking contracts to fill. State and local governments have transportation needs as well, and you can bet no matter where in the country you are, there is a government agency nearby. Being a government contractor requires a few extra steps, including registering to be one. Another approach is to partner with a company already hauling under a government contract. Call your city or state government for more details.
5. How to Get Freight Contracts for Owner Operators
Although it takes a little more work at the start, many freight companies find their owner operator trucking contracts through prospecting. Do some research on what shippers are in your area, what they ship and where. Then you make contact, either by cold calling the person in charge of shipping or knocking on their doors. Introduce yourself. Set up a meeting. Ask questions about their trucking needs and be prepared to check back in with them. You never know, new opportunities might come up at a later date. Prospecting for trucker loads can be a bit of a numbers game, so keep at it.
Networking is the bread and butter of most small businesses, including freight companies. Start by getting involved with industry associations and going to events that your shippers are attending. The internet is a great place to do some sleuthing on what is going on in your industry. Find out what associations there are. You want to find one that focuses on the type of freight you’re interested in. Can you join them? Some associations only allow companies that work in their industry to join. Joining a trucking association might not be the best idea if networking or prospecting is your end goal. There are no clients there — mostly just competitors. However, there are opportunities to get referrals from people who work in your industry. Shake some hands and meet people. You’ll be surprised at how this small investment in time can pay off in the future. Many of these associations can also provide you with industry tips on how to save money for your trucking business. Some even provide members with a membership list that can be used to build a prospect list.
7. Broker Your Own Loads
After doing all of the above are you still having a hard time solving how to find loads to haul? It might be time to think about becoming a freight broker to broker your own loads. This is probably the most complex way to find loads for trucking and the lead time is substantial. You will need to train to be a broker, either with an established broker or by taking some classes. The payoff of being your own broker could be huge but it might not be a gamble you’re comfortable with.
*Bonus* 8. Follow a Truckers’ Hub
A Truckers’ Hub provides all the resources and information you need to develop your trucking business in one spot.
Like most marketing strategies, it is best to try a few different ones to see what works best for you. If you know your competitors are using one method to approach the problem of how to get loads for trucks, try standing out and being different. Discovering the best load board for trucking and dealing with freight brokers can help you become familiar with the opportunities in your area. Prospecting and networking take time to produce great leads, but there are reasons businesses use these strategies.
Whatever option you choose, stick with it and watch your trucking business grow. When it does, we’ll be here to help you on the financial side with our invoice factoring services. It’s simple, fast, and free to get started. Why not get a free, no-obligation quote? Contact eCapital today to see how we can help!
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