Online load boards are a great way to help keep your wheels turning so you never have to deadhead. Some load boards are among the oldest websites in the trucking industry. A truckers network is his most valuable asset and frequenting a reliable load board can be a great way to meet brokers and find work where you otherwise wouldn’t be looking. Most of the time all you need is a MC# (Motor Carrier Number) or a DOT# depending on if you are looking for loads or providing them. The big question then becomes: How do I know which load board to trust and how much is too much as far as fees are concerned? Many drivers won’t get out of bed for less than $2.00 a mile while others don’t seem to mind. It is all about finding the finding a place that consistently offers freight tailored to your schedule, equipment and desired rates.
So where to start?
Let’s look at some reviews and analysis from across the web of different load boards. We’ll compare size, average rates, and user feedback. Because freight rates can vary so much from week to week, we’ll be trying to aim for averages. There will obviously be exceptionally bad and good loads to find on all of the load boards so we don’t suggest using this information to rule out a company completely.
TruckersEdge Load Board Powered by DAT – Find more loads from DAT: The largest load board on the web, and in many respects, the most useful. They have frequently updated freight trends available on their site as well as a large list of driver resources. Get unlimited load searching, truck posting, free broker credit scores and days to pay details, fuel tax reporting, mileage and routing information, alarm match notification, phone-in posting and searching, rate index and access from virtually any smartphone. DAT has a free reporting tool to get estimates on their rates averaged by region, weekly. For example, they are reporting that Memphis is averaging $2.15 a mile while Atlanta is at $1.94 a mile.
Getloaded.com – One of the most streamlined boards, Get Loaded is tailored primarily to drivers who quickly need to find a load. They have a very highly rated mobile app for both iOS and Android phones. Their basic package is $29.99 but it doesn’t include many features that most truckers desire. You’ll have to go to a more premium plan if you want credit scores, back-haul links and toll information. There are also some questionable reviews on this site concerning the site.
TruckStop.com – Also called the Internet Truckstop, this loadboard has been around since 1995 and charges $35.00 a month for its services. The site is a bit dated, but from what we’ve read online the loads are fine. You will also have to pay for credit checks on brokers at a clip of $15 per 25 checks.
123Loadboard.com – Another board with a good reputation and useful features such as their Rate Check. According to 123Loadboard.com:
Rate Check will track critical freight rate data from thousands of truck lanes for all major North American market areas… Rate Check breaks down the most profitable truckload lanes by analyzing the average rate per mile, line haul revenue and average fuel cost per trip. Transportation professionals can target where they want to haul freight based on the dollar amount generated by specific routes. This allows them to negotiate better rates to increase their profits.
Picking smarter loads is definitely part of remaining profitable in this industry. For the best results, it seems good to mix the rate matching tools of different load boards and compare the regions you’d be most interested in. Many times the advertised price will not be what the freight left the dock for so make sure to establish terms with reputable brokers.
There are load boards popping up on the internet all the time so make sure to never settle for a sub-par service. The monthly fees can add up, so make sure to look for promotional offers and free trials. Here is a list of a few trials you could get started with:
- 10 days free at 123loadboard.com
- 10 days free at getloaded.com
- 30 days free at truckersedge.net
- 30 days free at transcore.com
The internet is here to stay and is quickly becoming the best and fastest way to do business in the trucking industry. If you are an owner/operator make sure to make online load boards part of your business model moving forward. Even if they are not a primary source of leads and revenue it is always a good idea to have a backup plan for when times are slow. With some boards costing nothing, or next to nothing, what do you have to lose?