The United States trucking industry is worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Every year, truck drivers transport over 10 billion tons of freight, making up over 70% of the United States' total tonnage. Trucking is lucrative, and it's an invaluable part of the U.S. economy, but truck drivers are not guaranteed success. Almost 8 million people are currently employed as truck drivers in the United States. That means that nearly 6% of full-time workers in America are working in the trucking industry! While there’s a lot of money to be made in trucking, you need to use every tool at your disposal to acquire loads.
As an owner-operator, you need to utilize the best load boards to find great loads and connect with shippers and brokers. There are many load boards out there that offer a wide variety of benefits, but you need to find the right one that will set you apart from your competition.
As an owner-operator looking to expand your business, you can use hybrid load boards to access loads the way you prefer. Hybrid load boards offer both independence and flexibility when booking loads by allowing owner-operators to claim loads through self-service software and giving them access to traditional brokerage services.
Before we get into the benefits of using a hybrid load board, it’s critical that you understand the functions of a load board and why you should use them as an owner-operator.
Whether you’re starting your new business or if you’ve been working as an owner-operator for years, you can utilize load boards to find new loads and clientele. Load boards help you manage your truck by connecting you directly to shippers and brokers searching for trucks to transport freight.
One immediate benefit of utilizing load boards is that you can see what loads shippers need to transport. You can search for both full loads and partial loads for your truck to maximize your travel efficiency. Depending on the type of load board you’re using, you can sign up for a load or connect with a broker that will mediate and facilitate the transaction. After you sign up for a load, you transport the freight and receive payment through the load board.
Some load boards also offer map search features [link to Map Search blog] so that you can view available loads near you or your drop-off destinations on a map. That way, you can pick up new loads near your drop-off point so that you can significantly reduce your deadhead time, meaning that you won’t have to drive an empty truck.
In addition to finding available loads through a load board, you can also post your truck to load boards and indicate your truck’s availability and capacity. When you post your truck and the amount of freight you can transport, brokers will contact you to transport freight.
Load boards are not only critical for finding new business quickly — they’re also invaluable for establishing new relationships with shippers and brokers. If you’re new to the trucking industry or an owner-operator looking to expand, it’s crucial to formulate new professional relationships and grow your client base.
Although there are many available load boards on the market today, you should be on the lookout for load boards that will optimize your ability to find great loads and connect with reliable clients. Some essential features to look for include:
- Map search
- Easy-to-use interface
- Great mobile application
- Expansive network
- Hybrid capabilities
What’s the Difference Between a Traditional Load Board and a Hybrid Load Board?
Now that you know all about load boards, it’s important to understand the features of hybrid load boards and what makes them different from standard load boards. The difference between traditional and hybrid load boards boils down to your ability to choose how you book your loads.
Traditional load boards may only offer owner-operators the option of using self-service software OR traditional brokerage services to book their loads. A hybrid load board gives you access to self-service software AND brokerage services.
There are pros and cons to exclusively utilizing brokers or self-service software that connects drivers with shippers. However, hybrid load boards offer both software that connects drivers and shippers digitally and traditional brokers that mediate deals.
As an owner-operator looking to find new loads and connect with clients, you need to utilize a hybrid load board to experience the benefits of both the traditional booking services and the self-service methods.
The Benefits of Utilizing Self-Service Features on Hybrid Load Boards
Utilizing the self-service features on a hybrid load board has many benefits that can lead you to pick up more loads in less time. Hybrid load boards that offer software that connects owner-operators directly with shippers can save you time and help you maximize the amount of money you can make from an individual load. With self-service software, you can negotiate and book your next load with the touch of a button.
Self-service features can save you time acquiring a load because you have the freedom to book on your own time. You can spot an available load on a load board and claim it without having to work around a broker’s schedule. Combining the immediacy of self-service software with strategic negotiation allows you to efficiently run your business at a profit.
The instantaneous nature of self-service makes it easy to daisy-chain your loads to avoid deadheading. You can also sign up for loads while on the go without having to call a broker. You can conveniently claim a load via your load board’s smartphone app.
Self-service software makes it possible for you to sign up for full and partial loads along your route to significantly increase your overall efficiency and maximize the amount of profit you’ll earn when transporting freight.
The Benefits of Using Traditional Brokerage Services
Although there are many benefits to using self-service, utilizing traditional brokers can still be incredibly beneficial to your trucking business. By going through traditional brokers, you have the support of an interested party that wants the same thing you do: more loads for your business.
The broker mediating your transactions with shippers will earn a commission, but they may be able to connect you with shippers you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. As a result, you’re put in contact with more potential clients and loads.
Hybrid load boards offer carriers personalized assistance. They help you find the right loads for your business so that you can earn more and expand your operation. Having access to brokerage services also means that you can talk to a physical person on the phone if you need support. This partnership is incredibly useful in the digital age because receiving software support can often take a great deal of time. The reality of any technology is that it can fail and crash, so you need instantaneous support. Otherwise, you might not be able to pick up new loads.
Every moment your truck is not full of freight is a waste of time and money. You need every tool at your disposal to ensure that you maximize your efficiency. Having access to both the self-service software and traditional brokerage services that hybrid loads boards offer lets you make the most of your valuable time.
Xpress Technologies Hybrid Load Board
Xpress Technologies has developed an exceptional hybrid load board that enables you to access self-service software and is backed by traditional brokerage services. Our Smart Load Platform learns your load preferences and recommends loads that suit your needs. Our self-service technology offers great features like lane alerts, easy bid submissions, and load management. You can also post your truck onto our hybrid loading platform with ease so that we can alert you directly of freight opportunities that work for your schedule.
Our self-service software suite offers ELD, Driver, Loads, and Fleet Management tools so that you have all the best tools available for finding the best loads and running an efficient carrier operation. With this software carriers can take advantage of personalized load matching and recommendations, searchable loads, automatic and manual truck posting, real-time GPS vehicle tracking, GPS navigation, and freight scheduling options.
Xpress Technologies (XT) also provides two key devices to help you find the best loads: the XT Telematics Device (previously called the Haulynx X2F) and XT ELD. These devices offer carriers reduced check calls, advanced freight management functions, and dedicated lane opportunities. Our no-cost XT ELD also includes hours of service, duty status, eLogs, manual log edits, hours of service violations, International Fuel Tax Agreement reports, digital vehicle inspection reports, team driving, and fuel receipt tracking. It’s also fully FMCSA compliant.
Although our hybrid load board features exceptional software for tracking and increasing the number of loads you can acquire, it also features a personalized booking service. You need to be able to talk with a real person at a moment’s notice, and that’s why our hybrid load board offers great support for owner-operators. With Xpress Technologies, you can use both our self-service software and personalized booking service to find the best loads to expand your business.
Take Your Business Further with Xpress Technologies
The trucking industry is incredibly lucrative, but it’s also highly competitive. As an owner-operator, you need to have every tool in your arsenal to find the best loads that suit your needs, and that’s why you need to utilize a hybrid load board. You’ll experience the convenience and flexibility of self-service software while also having access to the support of a dedicated representative who provides traditional brokerage services.
If you’re ready to see what makes Xpress Technologies different, use our hybrid load board today to look for great loads and connect with reliable brokers and shippers. You’ll immediately gain access to invaluable software and support that will maximize your efficiency and revenue.
Go further with Xpress Technologies. With over 40 years of experience helping owner-operators like you, you can count on us to offer reliable and cost-effective services that will take your trucking business to the next level