Are you one of the 3.5 million truckers in the US?
If so, you’re part of the massive industry that delivers 68% of all goods throughout America.
To be profitable, you want to locate, haul, and deliver those goods as efficiently as possible. One of the easiest and most popular ways to do this is by using a load board.
If you’ve never considered using these boards, you’re missing valuable business opportunities.
Read on to learn why every trucker should use a load board to find hauls.
What Is a Load Board?
There’s a lot of misinformation about the trucking industry, so let’s first define exactly what a load board is.
Load boards are online “matching” systems where shippers and freight brokers post loads. The board acts as a go-between for shippers and carriers to find each other. From here, they can enter agreements to haul freight.
While load boards are useful for all trucking companies, newer operators may especially benefit from them. Some like ComFreight can even help connect you on an ongoing basis to real direct shipper business. Keeping you moving perpetually.
How Do Load Boards Work?
Most load boards feature sophisticated designs but are easy to navigate. They allow you to post routes and search for loads using different criteria. They also provide services for freight brokers and carriers.
Load boards often offer services like:
- Load matching
- Client credit information
- Message boards
- FMCSA verification
- Mobile access/apps
- Create, read, or send notes
Because the market is so competitive, you’ll find many load boards online. Some are free to use, while others require a paid subscription.
Which is better? In most cases, you get what you pay for. However, the most important thing to do is shop around and find the boards that best suit your business and budget.
Benefits of Using a Load Board
If you’re just getting started or trying to expand your business, load boards are a terrific place to start. Some load boards aren’t quite as advanced as others though.
Here are seven benefits you’ll experience when you use a load board.
1. Easy to Use
Most load boards list all the information you need in one simple, easy to use table. Even if you’re not especially tech-savvy, you’ll have no problem navigating the boards. Click here for an example of how it works.
2. Up-to-Date Information
For the most current information on freight waiting for pick up, you won’t find a better source than load boards. Most sites update hourly; some are even updated every few minutes.
3. Low Cost (or Even Free)
Joining loads boards doesn’t require a large investment. Monthly subscriptions costs are generally low, and in some cases, even free.
One of the best advantages of using a load board is having access to all this information anytime. It’s there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
5. Good for Shippers
Load boards benefit shippers that have excess freight and insufficient carriers to move it. The board allows them to find reputable carriers so their products get moved faster.
6. Good for Carriers
Load boards help to keep trucks fuller and minimize deadhead miles. Instead of driving back empty from a delivery, drivers can use boards to locate freight along their route.
7. Easy Accessibility
Drivers can access load boards wherever they have an internet connection. In today’s era of smartphones, this means almost anywhere. Many boards also offer mobile apps for easy access on the road.
Tips for Using Load Boards
Now that you know why you should use load boards, let’s outline a few helpful tips for getting the most out of them.
Don’t settle for whichever boards show up first in your Google search. Do your research and find the boards that offer the most loads and the best rates for the areas you service.
If possible, sign up on more than one load board. No single board has all the information you need, so being active on a few boards increases your chances of finding better loads.
Post a Company Profile
When you log onto load boards, you’re sure to read up on the shipper’s company, reputation, and reviews. Don’t forget that works both ways!
Draw shippers to your company by creating a standout company profile on whichever boards you choose. Highlight your fleet size, home base, type of freight you haul, and any stellar customer reviews.
Know Your Bottom Line
As a business owner, you should always know your break-even point. Before you start calling about loads, keep your per-mile rate in mind to ensure you’ll at least break even on the journey.
Keeping these numbers handy will enable you to select the best loads and negotiate better rates. This will save you a lot of time, effort, and money.
Like everywhere else, scammers sometimes appear on load boards. Trust your gut when talking to potential leads. Remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Be smart and make sure to run credit checks on anyone you’re considering doing business with. You should also request and review their identification and insurance verification.
Be Patient and Persistent
It’s not always easy to locate loads that fit your schedule and offer an acceptable rate. Sometimes it may take several hours and dozens of phone calls or emails.
Don’t settle for the first loads that appear on the board. Use advanced search features to find the most profitable loads on the routes you want to travel.
Whatever you do, don’t settle for less than your bottom line. Be professional but firm in your negotiations. And don’t be afraid to turn down a load that simply won’t benefit your business.
Build Your Reputation
Both online and face-to-face, nothing is as powerful as your reputation. Stand out from the crowd by picking up and delivering loads on time and as promised.
Get those positive reviews rolling in. As you build your reputation across these boards, shippers may start coming to you with loads instead of you seeking them out.
Whether you’re new to the industry or you’ve been in it for a while, there are compelling reasons to use load boards for your business.
Would you like to learn more about how load boards work? Would you like to see a live one to get a feel for it?
Click here to learn more about our carrier load board at Comfreight.
We’re building an advanced load board that takes half the work out of what the other load boards require to enable you to book loads. Join today or stay tuned for more!