The American supply chain depends on trucking. Everything shipped here or from here has to be loaded on a truck at some point and driven to another location. With thousands of trucks on the roads daily, organizing them is big business.
Freight brokers are middlemen who work between shippers and drivers to get a company’s goods from one place to another. Someone has to manage the 3.3 million drivers on the road so that the interstates aren’t packed and the freight arrives on time.
If you’re wondering where freight brokers can find loads to haul, they have several options, but none are more helpful than a load board. Below we will explain what a load board is, how it works, and give you five of the best load boards out there right now.
What is a load board?
A load board is a free or paid service that lists loads to haul digitally online.
Another use of a load board is for brokers to find shippers. Shippers and freight brokers alike can post available loads to haul just like independent drivers can post about their equipment, preferred routes, type of truck, etc. The board allows shippers and freight brokers to negotiate rates and lanes, then find a driver to negotiate the load haul.
Freight load boards are an online marketplace that functions like a freight matching system, enabling shippers and brokers to find the right carrier for the job.
Typically load boards are a subscription service charging a monthly fee. There are some that are free to use, however, you get what you pay for.
Why Do I Need a Load Board?
About 97% of carriers operate with 20 or fewer trucks, so finding loads to haul is paramount. Load boards are very beneficial, especially for new businesses since you may not have the relationships with shippers and drivers yet to find hauls on your own.
Also, a load board isn’t one-sided. It isn’t just you searching for hauls and trying to find work. Brokers, shippers, and drivers alike are all on the board trying to get freight moved, so work is always looking for you too.
Last, load boards contain important information about the parties involved that you may not receive if working independently. Info such as ratings, reviews, driver history, negotiation tools, and credit scores are available on load boards so everyone enters agreements knowing exactly who you are working with.
The Top 5 Load Boards
There are several load boards out there that provide free services. However, many brokers and drivers alike will tell you that “you get what you pay for” when it comes to load boards. We have compiled our favorites and recommend at least the first paid tier of each to find the best results.
Probably the largest load board, this live load board has multiple search and filter options and shows pricing details for each load. DAT has about 800,000 new listings daily on average.
Truckstop is a popular load board for brokers, known for its large number of registered brokers. Membership is $39/month for carriers and $99/month for brokers and shippers.
DirectFreight is both driver and broker-friendly, giving you everything you need to find loads and negotiate hauls. One of the features is a well-constructed location-based search option in case you want to stay on a certain route or stay close to home. Other helpful features include saving/sending documents, text/email alerts, weather reports, and integration with the transport management software provider TMW systems.
This load board offers 50 million truckloads posted annually, a free load board app, and many comprehensive search options and reporting tools.
Trucker Path is home to 800 brokers where 150k loads are posted per day. Drivers also get a mapping and navigation mobile app to help them stay on course. This platform is the best free option simply because it offers so many features that others charge for such as checking broker credit scores, finding the closest truck stop or weight station, and truck-safe routing.
SEE ALSO: What Is Real Time Tracking in Logistics?
Relationships Matter Most When Finding Loads
Like many industries, the freight industry is one built on relationships. Even with powerful tools like load boards and apps, sometimes the best jobs are the ones you get because of who you know.
In the same way, the relationship between shippers, brokers, and drivers is one of trust built over time and solidified by experience. So once you have worked with someone successfully for a while, they become a trusted partner.
Building relationships with shippers require a lot of negotiation, not to mention a guarantee of the load on your way back from the destination to prevent “deadhead” miles. Most shippers like to go with larger carriers and fleet owners, so developing relationships as a small fleet is difficult.
Finding a team of solid, reliable drivers with a good record is a major factor in the success of your brokerage of future loads. Shippers want to trust your fleet as well as your numbers.
Digital Freight Matching Apps
These types of apps make finding loads with a set rate for each haul easier. However, a 2019 study showed that carriers only source about 11% of their freight from freight-matching apps. The number one tool continues to be load boards. This shows us that even as tools improve, some industries are slower to adopt change than others.
Relationships still drive the freight industry, even if they start somewhere online.
Load Boards are Great, but Partnerships are Better
Load boards for brokers are still the best tool for finding loads, negotiating rates, and moving freight on time. But don’t do it alone. You need a partner who can work for you behind the scenes to organize your entire shipping process so you can get back to doing what you love.
Veltri Logistics offers a nationwide service, expert consultations, reliable communication, and competitive rates to shippers and drivers alike.
Talk to one of our experts about streamlining your supply chain and saving time and money through a Veltri Logistics freight broker today.
What is a load board?
A load board is a free or paid service that lists loads to haul digitally online. It functions like a freight matching system, enabling shippers and brokers to find the right carrier for the job.
How can a load board help me as a broker?
A load board is especially beneficial for new businesses since you may not have relationships with shipper and drivers yet to find hauls on your own. It’s also a two-way street since shippers, brokers, and drivers can all post about the freight they have to haul or the equipment they have. Load boards also contain important information such as ratings, reviews, driver history, negotiation tools, and credit scores.
What are the benefits of using a load board?
The main benefit of using a load board is that it provides brokers with access to a wide range of shippers and carriers. Load boards also offer a range of search and filter options, rate information, and tracking tools.
What are the best load boards out there?
The most popular load boards are DAT, Truckstop, DirectFreight, 123Leaderboard, and Trucker Path. DAT is the largest load board with 800,000 listings daily, while Truckstop is a popular board for brokers. DirectFreight offers location-based search option, and 123Leaderboard offers 50 million truckloads posted annually. Trucker Path is the best free option and provides 800 brokers with 150K loads per day.