The cornerstone of trucking is finding loads to haul and having a consistent list of customers to haul for. That being said, load boards can be a vital resource for truckers to find work easily without the stress of person to person networking, outreach, and contracts. So, what are the best load boards for truck drivers? This guide will help you with finding the best premium or free load board for you.
Having such an accessible online venue for work allows truckers to get work easily, and is a very efficient way for shippers to find truckers to pick up their items for shipment. Load Boards are even more important to the drivers who are just getting started and need work now.
So, what is a load board? Well, they are a forum-like site for truckers and shippers. Shippers post the loads that need to be hauled, while truckers looking for loads can reach out and pick up the job. For drivers looking for jobs, it’s simple, quick, and easy.
They offer the ability for drivers to search for loads 24/7, 365 days a year.
The Perks of Load Boards:
There are many things on load boards that help trucker’s life get easier. Here are a few of them:
There are message boards that often allow you to speak immediately with the freight broker if you see a load you want to pick up. The instant communication allows for people offering work and those looking for work to get connected with ease.
Load boards also give the ability to review shippers or be reviewed by shippers in the industry, so you know if you’re talking to a reputable shipper. The shipper also can see if you have good reviews which allow you to get work easier.
In addition, you can see how much similar small trucking companies are making for hauling, allowing you to freight match. They also give you an idea of how and when you will be paid for your work.
The websites and apps can be accessed while on the road. You can use your phone or tablet to find a whole new load before your current one is completed. This access creates more efficiency for truckers.
There are also alerts that can be set up if a shipper has reached out to you or offered a job.
Because of their wide range of features, these load boards are very beneficial for drivers and companies that need help building their business and clientele. Owner-operators who are just starting with their first semi truck out can especially take advantage of the resources a load board can give them.
The Best Way to Use Load Boards:
Now a lot of boards will say they are the best of the best, the only board you need… but the truth is, you should be using multiple boards to get the most outreach possible. It is additionally important to represent yourself and your business well. Make sure all of your profiles are clear, clean, and informational so potential shippers will want to work with you.
Basic information you would want to include would be things like fleet size, the freight you haul, years in business (if you’ve been in it for a while), state and city you operate out of, and the distance you haul… etc. You can add anything you like, really, but remember to treat the information as a form of online resume.
Now that you know the basics, you’re ready to find your best load board. We’ve compiled a list of the best premium and free load boards out there. Premium boards, while having a monthly fee, will have more options, resources, loads, and features. Free load boards, on the other hand, have limited features but still provide good content.
Pay To Use: Is it worth it?
Load boards that you pay for come with a lot of extra features, but is it really worth it and the end of the day? That depends.
Are you looking for a more direct approach, where all you get is a list of loads and locations? If you don’t need notifications, extra information on who you’re working with, mobile apps, tracking, and all the bits and pieces that come with some of these subscription sites then the free boards will work for you.
At the end of the day, these load boards all provide the same product with either extra assistance or not. So if you’re wondering if free is best, you have to decide that for yourself.
Below is our list of the best load boards for truckers available on the web.
The Best Premium Load Boards:
These Load Boards are the go-to resource for the best information. While they do come with a price, the quality and features provided do surpass the free options mentioned in this. In no particular order (as most of these boards offer all the same resources) here are the top premium load boards for truckers:
- Truckstop.com – Price starts at $35 per month and gives you access to an amount of over 500,000 loads. Truckstop.com offers many resources complex search filters, and a large pool of jobs to search through. In addition to being a load board, the site of other services to help manage and protect your business.
There is a free demo available to try out on their site available after contacting a representative. Features included are an adaptive mobile app, search filtering, text message alerts, load tracking, insights, direct messaging to shippers, and much more.
- TruckersEdge – This load board was founded by DAT, who has a very long history in trucking. Like many other boards, the plans start at around $35-$50/month. Marketed as having the most loads and best rates, TruckersEdge is focused on the Owner-Operator. In addition, they do offer a free demo of their services to truckers. Features included are broker spot rates, match notifications, credit scores, unlimited load searches, routing, and more.
- Direct Freight Services – Another load board that starts at $35 per month, after an optional 15-day free trial. The website is user-friendly and has an interface dedicated to a simple, fast search. The site offers features like days to pay, truck routing, text, and email alerts, storing and sending documents, custom search categories for improved load filtering, credit scores, and much more.
- 123 Load Board — Standard plan starts at $35 per month and a Premium Plan for $45 per month. This board advertises that 52,643,645 truckloads are posted annually with $100 million available truckload opportunity. The website also offers a mobile app to aid truckers on the go. Features include rate checks, quick pay, notifications, backhaul/return load functions, plans with multiple users, document management, credit score, and much more.
- Comfreight— Offered as low as $19 a month, Comfrieght is a cheap but viable solution for truckers. There is also a 15 day free trial for users. It is a simple site that gets the job done. Features include a mobile app, search filters, direct messaging, notifications, and much more.
The Top Free Load Boards:
If you aren’t looking to make a monthly payment to find shippers or the price just isn’t worth it, these free load boards below will do the job of searching for loads with little frill, excitement, or fluff.
- Free Freight Search – Free Freight Search advertises that over 173 Million Loads have been posted on their site with over 107 thousand carriers and brokers registered. It has unlimited free searching and posting. It also has free notifications when you find a match.
- LoadUp – Simple but effective, LoadUp offers a directory of freely posted loads for truckers. Its search interface requires just a few clicks and you’re able to see live postings in your area.
- Freight Finder – Freight Finder is another simple and easy to use load board. There isn’t much to the site, but it does have a good quantity of loads on it that you can search either state to state or by a city radius.
- Fr8Connect – While not an entirely free site, Fr8 Connect offers free membership to its users with some of the features the premium plans offer. The site connects carriers with shippers to create mutually beneficial shipping relationships.
Focused Hauling Load Boards:
Whether you’re an LTL driver or hauling cars, there are specific boards for you. Because of their focused design, these boards may have fewer options, jobs, or resources than the ones listed above. See the different industry boards below:
- Central Dispatch – First 30 Days Free, starting at $89.95 a month.
- FDS Dispatch – $30 per month.
- Super Dispatch – Starting $15 a month, with a mobile app.
- Run Buggy – Mobile App available
Hot Shot Driving/ LTL:
Looking For Something else?
Chances are there is a network of load boards for your specified industry. Whether you are hauling livestock or looking for reefer specific loads, there is most likely a connection for you that can be searched.
The Cons of Using a Load Board:
Owner-operators and companies alike would agree that load boards are not the best long-term business strategy. Often they do not provide the profit that you will receive if you work directly with shippers through contracts. At the end of the day, using them means working with strangers over the internet and hoping for the best while fighting off lots of competition, with lighter pay. Not only that, you give up revenue to freight brokers and you could be paying to use the board itself.
Internet load boards work best for trucking businesses that are getting started. In reality, these boards are most likely a limited resource for companies looking to grow in the long term. So If you’re in trucking for the big long haul, finding clients and shippers to do business with is the basis of your success.
While not the easiest process, the relationships built over time via person to person networking, word of mouth, or other connections, will pay off most as time goes on. The best thing you can do for your business is to put yourself out there and contact your potential and future business relationships to find any new opportunities. The Load Boards can be a good supplemental resource to use in addition to the business you do with companies and shippers around you.
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