How to Effectively Use Load Boards to Find Trucking Opportunities

How to Effectively Use Load Boards to Find Trucking Opportunities

Whether you’re a shipper, broker, or owner-operator, if you’ve worked in the trucking industry for any length of time, you know the tremendous value of load boards. Load boards, also known as freight boards, are online marketplaces where shippers, brokers, and carriers can connect and contract with one another to quickly move freight wherever it needs to go.

As valuable a resource as they are for truckers, however, load boards are still a tool that requires a bit of mastery. If you’re new to the industry and the load board process, it will be important to learn how to use them effectively. Doing so can make the difference between picking up an occasional load and building a strong, resilient, long-term business. Interested? Here are a few tips for getting the most out of load boards.

Do Your Research

First things first. All load boards fall into one of two categories. There are load boards that offer their services free of charge, and there are those that require a paid subscription. Both are respectable options that provide truckers with search and filtering options where freight jobs can be found for their specific location, their type of truck and weight, and their intended destination. The only difference is that, for a price, paid load boards often provide greater search capabilities and a larger selection of loads.

Many truckers new to the industry (and with tighter budgets) opt for services provided by free load boards. Whichever type you choose, however, invest some time getting online and becoming familiar with the dashboards of two or three reputable load board companies that cater to the types of loads you want to handle. Get to know them inside and out. The better you are able to navigate their programs, the easier it will be to quickly and efficiently line up work.

Line Up Your Work

By this we mean that you should not just look at lining up a single job but rather a series of jobs along a mapped-out route. It will take a little more planning on your part, but if you string together a series of pickups and deliveries, you can avoid deadhead miles.

Use Every Opportunity to Network

Keep in mind that load boards provide information both ways. They allow carriers to see the loads that brokers need to move, and they let brokers see what carriers are available that might be able to fill their needs. That’s why it’s important to think of every online communication as a means to create connections that can lead to long-lasting relationships. The more information you provide on a load board, the more brokers get to see what you can and want to do. The more questions you ask, the better you can deliver on your promises. And the more you make a company happy, the more they’re apt to send work your way.

Learn to Negotiate

Many load boards provide shippers/brokers and carriers opportunities to negotiate payment and other important details. This is where you can get a feel for the market and where your niche might be. Be an astute learner and watch how other carriers manage their trucking business.

By learning to use load boards effectively, you’ll be sure to grow your business substantially!