If you’re a truck owner-operator, finding loads is one of your main priorities. It’s imperative to increase your loaded miles in order to maximize your profits and mileage. A great way to find loads is by utilizing online freight-matching services or online load boards. There are dozens of freight-matching sites to choose from, but the trick is to find one that matches your needs so you’re not wasting time and money.
What is a Load Board?
A load board, also known as freight board, is an online tool that lets shippers and freight brokers post available loads. It’s designed to help carriers and shippers connect so they can quickly move freight.
Once you’ve located a load board, here’s a strategy to find profitable loads on a load board:
- To be a successful owner-operator, you have to become a good businessman. The first step is to know your break-even rate. You can use the cost per mile formula here to calculate this number manually. Or you can utilize our cost-per-mile calculator.
- Be patient, yet persistent. With your cost per mile rate in hand, try to find loads that pay an acceptable rate above your break-even rate. Be professional, yet firm in your negotiation with brokers and shippers.
- Offer the best service to each client. Grow your contact list and begin negotiating direct contracts so you won’t have to rely 100% on load boards.
So what should you look for in an online load-matching service?
1. Consider the Cost
Make sure you find a service that fits within your budget, yet pays for itself after a few loads.
Here are a few tips to help you choose the right load board for your company:
- Sign up for a handful of load boards.
- Try to keep your cost to $30 or less per month.
- Post a detailed company profile.
- Never settle for unprofitable loads.
- Use their advanced search feature to see if they offer your lanes.
2. Free Load Boards for Owner Operators
If you are a new owner-operator, then I recommend that you start with a free online load board. Their free matching service is a great starting point to help you find a load for free.
Once you’ve started delivering a couple of loads, gotten paid, and improved your cash flow, then you can start looking at higher quality paid load boards with added features.
At a glance, some of the benefits include:
- It’s totally free to find loads online.
- Easy to search for truck load matching in your areas or where you are heading.
- Great way to acquire new customers.
3. Look for Added Features
Does the online freight load board offer additional services? Some offer the following with no additional cost:
- A smart app that learns how you work.
- Let’s you save load matches for later.
- Broker reviews and credit scores.
- Remember the lanes you recently search.
4. Utilize Free Trials
No single load board has all the information that your trucking company needs. Look for freight load boards that offer a free trial so you can test it out and see if their board matching service works for you. This is a great tool especially for owner-operators on a tight budget.
During the free trial, you can:
- Learn the sure-fire ways to use the online load board
- Seek out the best loads.
- Start building your reputation.
5. Is It User-Friendly
Is the trucking load board user-friendly? An intuitive interface can save you time and frustration when you’re trying to find freights. Consider the following features:
- Is the online load board mobile friendly?
- Do they provide a mobile app for their load board service?
- Is the search functions and menus intuitively designed?
6. Alarm Notifications
Choose a load board that will send alerts to your phone or email so you never miss an opportunity. It’s a huge time saver:
- You don’t have to constantly search for loads.
- You let your preferred loads find you instead.
- You never have to miss a load.
The trucking industry is very competitive. You can’t afford to choose the best load boards for your needs. We hope that the 6 tips above will give you that extra edge to thrive now and in the years to come.
Here’s a bonus financial tip:
One of the biggest challenges facing owner-operators is dealing with shipper and brokers with slow paying loads. Invoice factoring provides fast, flexible funding for trucking companies.