There are 3.68 million Class B trucks moving 71% of the country's freight across the nation. That's 10.55 billion tons of freight moved every year! So how can your carrier business get a piece of that huge pie? You win trucking contracts – that's how.
But wait — you’re probably thinking that statement makes things sound too easy. Well, when you have access to a load board, it can be that easy.
Not sure what a load board is or how to use one? Don't worry, we've got you covered.
What Is a Load Board?
A load board, also known as a freight board, is an online marketplace that connects shippers, carriers, and brokers. Shippers can post their loads, carriers can bid on the available loads, and brokers can do a combination of each.
Load board technology has improved over the years. Today, many platforms are sophisticated enough to offer additional freight matching services like:
- Load matching
- Message boards
- Notetaking for shippers and carriers
- Credit information
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) verification
- Freight factoring and financing of pre-approved loads
- Mobile access
How Does a Load Board Work?
Load boards are hosted online and work as an online portal that shippers, carriers, and brokers can log into. Some boards require users to pay a fee for access.
Load boards can be used differently, depending on which type of freight service provider you are. Below we break down the different ways carriers and shippers use them to streamline their respective operations.
How to Use a Load Board as a Carrier
So far, we’ve used the term “carriers” in this article, but load boards work for truck owner-operators, small fleets, and larger freight companies alike. Whichever category you fit in, the process works the same.
As a carrier, if you see that you have empty trucks, you can log into the load board and look at the freight listings posted by shippers. You can then narrow down the listings based on load size, pay offered, and geographical origin and destination.
Once you find a shipment that fits, you can bid on it. At this point, you’ll be competing with other carriers who are also bidding on the shipment. Sometimes the shipper is purely money motivated, so they’ll pick the lowest bid. You’ll have to be strategic about how low you can bid while still remaining profitable.
On the flip side, you can also post empty trucks as a carrier. This is useful when you have a shipment going to an unpopular destination. You can then pick up a load for the return trip and cut your operating costs.
How to Use a Load Board as a Shipper
Shippers use the load board to post their shipment needs. This could include businesses that deliver oversized products, such as furniture. They’ll sell their item, then post on the board where the item is located, where it needs to go, and other relevant information about the item, such as dimensions and weight.
It’s also vital for shippers to disclose if the item has any particular restrictions. This is especially important when the item is perishable or considered hazardous. Both of these shipment types have special requirements limiting who can transport them.
The shipper will then field the bids from potential carriers. Often, they will reach out and negotiate specific terms. Then they’ll choose one and move forward.
Shippers can also browse the open truck listings. This is a great way for them to score deals. Most carriers offer discounted rates on these return shipments since the carrier made the bulk of its money on the outgoing shipment.
Why You Should Use a Load Board to Secure Trucking Contracts: 7 Benefits
Load boards offer a platform that makes it easy for shippers and carriers to connect. As a carrier, this is highly beneficial because you can have one central location to access potential customers and secure new contracts. This significantly reduces the time and labor costs of recruiting new business.
Here are some other reasons why carriers across the country rely on and rave about using load boards.
1. They’re Intuitive.
Most load boards are easy to use. They display all the necessary information you need to make an informed decision about which loads you’ll pick up and how much you’ll be paid for them.
2. They Provides Up-to-Date Information
The best load boards on the market give real-time information. This way, you have the most up-to-date information and opportunities available to you.
If you want to stay competitive in the trucking industry, you need to act fast and bid competitively. You can’t do this with outdated information.
3. They’re Affordable.
Many load boards are either free or charge a very low amount to access. This makes them a smart investment for the future of your business.
4. They’re Mobile Friendly.
If you’re a smaller carrier or driver that owns your own truck, you don’t have a lot of free time to hunt down loads. The good news is that load boards today are optimized for mobile phones and devices. You can hunt your next shipment while out on your current shipment (when it’s safe to do so and you’re not driving, of course). This can help you reduce downtime and raise profitability.
5. They’re Available 24/7.
Load boards are also up and running at all hours of the day, every day. You are no longer limited to business hours to call on potential shippers.
6. They Can Be Integrated With Other Systems.
Some load boards can integrate with existing systems you may have. Some of them offer an API that can allow direct access to the board from your own portal site. This allows you to book and manage your shippers quickly and easily, all from one place.
7. They Make Your Job Easier.
For all of the reasons listed above, load boards can make your job as a carrier so much easier than it currently is. Running a trucking business is tough enough on its own. A load board can eliminate some of the pain points you’re likely experiencing — resulting in fewer headaches, more secured contracts, and more profit.
Score More Trucking Contracts With ComFreight’s Load Board Solution.
These days, load boards are the best way for truckers and freight fleets to secure new loads. It’s a technology that’s completely revolutionizing the industry, and it’s time you get on board too. After all, you aren’t making money if your trucks aren’t moving freight.
Stop worrying about empty trucks and start winning bids on ComFreight’s free load board. Our marketplace is one of the best in the business, already having helped thousands of trucking businesses grow. Sign up for free today.