Learn Everything You Need to Know About Load Boards

In 2019, the U.S. trucking industry earned over $791 billion in freight, and truckers transported over 70% of total domestic tonnage. Trucking is a pillar for the U.S. economy, and carriers need to be able to take on new loads quickly and efficiently. One of the most optimal ways that owner-operators can find new loads is through using load boards.

Load boards are online listings that connect carriers, shippers, and brokers. Carriers and brokers can search load boards for available loads that shippers post. Some listings have set prices for transporting loads, while others allow carriers or brokers to negotiate with shippers to find an optimal rate. Owner-operators can also post their empty trucks on load boards so that shippers can supply them with loads. When using load boards, carriers can form new professional relationships with shippers and brokers to transport additional loads in the future.

Load boards can be free, but many require pricey monthly membership fees. Regardless of whether you’re paying for the service, you need to find one with a wide network of shippers and brokers offering the right freight for you and additional benefits that can increase the amount of freight you transport.

1. Benefits of Posting Your Truck to Load Boards

TruckPosting

Whether you’re just starting as an owner-operator or expanding your business, load boards offer invaluable benefits that can improve your business. When you find the right load board, you'll pick up lucrative loads and find new contacts to work with. Some of the ways owner-operators can benefit from using load boards include:

  1. Low-cost investment: Whether or not your load board is free, you’ll receive a great return on your investment when you find a good load board.
  2. Real-time load information: The better quality load boards constantly refresh and update so that you can see new listings in real time.
  3. Convenient use, tracking, and pay: Load boards enable you to sign up for loads and receive payment without the hassle of dealing with time-consuming paperwork or phone calls.
  4. Fair competitive prices: Shippers and brokers will often post flat rates for their loads, but many available loads are also negotiable. Shippers, carriers, and brokers are generally aware of the average rates for freight, so you can usually expect to transport loads at a fair price.
  5. Improve earning potential and eliminate deadheading: The wide network of brokers and shippers with available freight on load boards allows you to optimize your shipping routes without deadheading, which means you won’t have to drive your truck without a load.

Load boards offer invaluable benefits that are critical for growing your business. With little to no investment, you can find great loads and form new professional relationships conveniently from your computer or smartphone.

2. What to Look for in a Load Board

Load Board

Even though load boards can quickly grow your business and clientele, it’s important to note that not all load boards have the same features and benefits. Some load boards are better than others and will help you grow your business faster and more efficiently. Additionally, some load boards are safer to use than others. When finding the load board that’s right for you, make sure to evaluate the service with the following criteria:

  1. Accuracy: Your load board needs to feature accurate information and update in real time. Some load boards contain loads that have already been booked, meaning that you could waste your time applying for loads that aren’t available.
  2. Customer Service: Find a load board that features great customer service. On the off chance your load board struggles with bugs or glitches, you may find yourself unable to access freight opportunities. Your load board needs quality customer service that can resolve technical issues quickly to keep you connected with loads.
  3. Expansive network: Load boards can make or break your business based on the number of shippers, brokers, and carriers in the community. When searching for a load board, make sure that the board has enough available loads for you.
  4. Easy-to-use interface: Your load board needs to be easy to use so that you can sign up for loads and connect with new shippers and brokers without difficulty. Your load board needs to have an intuitive interface with helpful features that will help you track down ideal loads.
  5. Mobile availability: You need to be able to access your load board on the go. As an owner-operator, you’re usually on the road transporting freight, and you need to be able to sign up for new loads from the convenience of your phone.
  6. Map View: Select a load board that has tools that support planning capabilities. For example, map view is a helpful graphical interface that allows you to see load locations. You can spot loads that are near you on the map, or you can view loads that are near your dropoff points.

Finding the best load board for your business is critical for your success as an owner-operator. You need to evaluate the many different available load boards to find one that will best serve your needs and help you find quality loads, shippers, and brokers.

3. Negotiating Freight Rates

Negotiation

In addition to finding an optimal load board, owner-operators need to have what it takes to negotiate desirable rates for transporting freight. Many load board listings have flat rate offers for transporting loads, but some listings will be negotiable. You need to have the ability to negotiate an optimal rate to increase your business revenue.

You also need to understand the different factors affecting freight rates, including supply and demand, contained vs. loose cargo, weight or space, distance, and location. Additionally, you need to know that there are two types of loads that affect freight rates:

  • LTL (Less Than Truckload): Less than truckload means carriers are transporting freight for multiple shippers at the same time. Transporting for multiple shippers increases efficiency because you're not allowing empty space within your truck, but it can be more difficult because the timing and location of the different deliveries need to align.
  • FTL (Full Truckload): A full truckload is when a carrier transports the freight of only one shipper. While it’s easier to manage a single shipper’s pick-up and drop-off times, profitability can vary.

In addition to the different truckload types, you also need to take into account the following considerations when negotiating freight rates:

  • Know Your Operating Costs
  • Compare Prices
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No”
  • Pay Attention to the Load-to-Truck Ratio
  • Read the Fine Print
  • Get Everything in Writing

Negotiation plays an important role in every business, and that includes the trucking industry. Take into account these considerations when negotiating your rate to increase your revenue and grow your business.

4. Why Map Search Matters

Map-Search-WindingMountainRoad

Map search is a critical feature that your load board needs to have. It’s a graphical interface that allows you to see load locations. Map search is a great way for you to optimize your time, see the best trucking routes, find where trucks are in high demand, and keep your truck full.

As an owner-operator, you need to optimize your loads to transport freight efficiently and reduce deadheading. Map search is a great way to cut down on empty loads because you can view available loads near you and your drop-off locations. You can plan your transit around picking up new loads and partial loads so that your truck is always full.

Map search also offers features such as heat maps or load clusters that indicate where trucks are in the highest demand. This information can make your driving operation more profitable because you can demand a higher rate in locations where there are fewer trucks to transport excess freight. You can compare different routes, cities, and states to find the most lucrative load locations.

Many different load boards feature map search, including Xpress Technologies, J.B. Hunt, Direct Freight, and DAT.

5. Digital Load Board Comparisons

LoadBoardComparison

DAT Freight & Analytics

Memberships

Standard (39.95/mo)

  • Unlimited post/search
  • Alarm for new search results
  • Company reviews
  • Available loads by state

Enhanced ($69.95/mo)

  • Includes all standard features
  • Average rates for the past 30 days
  • Broker credit scores
  • Broker average days-to-pay

Professional ($99.95/mo)

  • Includes all standard and enhanced features
  • Average rates for the past 15 days
  • TriHaul: Better-paying routes
  • IFTA fuel tax calculator
Why carriers choose DAT
  • Great mobile app
  • Individual lane market rate
  • Hot market map search

Truckstop.com

Memberships

Basic ($39/mo)

  • Load searching
  • Truck/Lane posting
  • Decision tools
  • Book it now feature

Advanced ($125/mo)

  • Includes all basic features
  • Fuel desk
  • Credit stop broker

Pro ($149/mo)

  • Includes all basic and advanced features
  • Load comparison
  • Real-time updates
  • Rate estimate
  • Heat map
  • Best-paying loads search
  • Multi-trip
Why carriers choose Truckstop.com
  • Easy to use
  • Suggested loads
  • Wide network
  • Filter features

Uber Freight

Memberships

Uber Freight (free to sign up)

  • Upfront pricing and rates on loads
  • Facility insights report
  • Streamlined workflow
  • Hassle-free booking
  • Quick pay

Uber Freight Plus (free to sign up)

  • Discounts on tires and phone plans
  • Save on ELDs from partner providers
  • Save on trucks, parts, and maintenance
Why carriers choose Uber Freight
  • Free quick pay
  • Powerloop
  • Bundling features
  • Load details

J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc.

Memberships

Carrier 360 Member Perks (available to all carriers)

  • Save money on gas at Pilot, Flying J, and One9 Speedway
  • Maintenance discounts at Pilot Truck Care
  • Fuel points
  • Save up to 35% on Goodyear tires
  • 15% off KeepTruckin hardware and software
  • Free quick pay

Carrier 360 Silver Perks (available after completing 12 qualifying loads)

  • All member perks
  • Two cents additional savings on fuel
  • View facility names before signing up for a load

Carrier 360 Gold Perks (available after completing 24 qualifying loads)

  • All member and silver perks
  • Four cents additional savings on fuel
  • Guaranteed payment within seven days
  • Free 12-month subscription to SiriusXM
Why carriers choose J.B. Hunt
  • Easy-to-find loads
  • Search filter
  • Map view

Convoy

Convoy Includes:
  • Convoy QuickPay
  • Automated and suggested reloads
  • Convoy fuel card
  • Access to low factoring rates
Why carriers choose Convoy
  • Easy to use
  • Next-day pay
  • In-app integration

Xpress Technologies

Xpress Technologies Includes:
  • Carrier OS web/mobile app
  • No cost FMCSA-registered ELD hardware for HOS compliance
  • Machine Learning-powered load recommendations
  • Load planning and lifecycle management
Why carriers choose Xpress Technologies
  • Map search
  • Digitally book loads
  • Great customer service
  • Consistent freight

For a more complete guide to the different load boards available on the market, check out our blog “Best Load Boards for Truckers & Owner Operators in 2021” [link to Best Load Boards for Truckers & Owner Operators in 2021 blog].

6. The Benefits of Using a Hybrid Load Board

LoadBoard8

An important feature you should consider when choosing the right load board is whether it offers hybrid services. Hybrid load boards offer owner-operators the ability to claim loads through self-service software while also giving them access to traditional brokerage services.

While traditional load boards may only give owner-operators the option of using self-service software or a booking service, hybrid load boards give access to both services.

Some of the benefits of using self-service software include:

  • Save time, boost efficiency: Instantly book loads on your time, any time.
  • Access loads details: View all of the load details without waiting for someone to send over additional information.
  • Reduce deadhead: Sign up for loads on the go. With booking options at your fingertips, you’re able to daisy-chain your loads and keep your truck full.

Some of the benefits of using booking services include:

  • Customer support: You’ll be able to speak with actual people and build relationships around future freight opportunities.
  • Could gain access to more loads: Although brokers take a commission fee, they may be able to connect you to freight that you wouldn’t have been able to connect with otherwise.
  • Loads outside of the application: If the load board you’re using experiences technical issues, you’ll still be able to book loads over the phone by using a traditional booking service.

To get the most loads as an owner-operator, utilizing hybrid load boards is your ideal solution. You’ll gain the convenience and flexibility of self-service booking while also having the support of traditional broker services.

7. How Xpress Technologies Load Board Differs From the Competition

OurLoadboard

As an owner-operator, you have many different load board options to choose from, but many load boards are plagued with costly fees and subscriptions, outdated data, time-consuming follow-ups, and a great deal of competition that results in low rates. Your business needs a load board that offers more stability and meets your needs without software bugs, stale data, and low rates. Fortunately, Xpress Technologies has developed an invaluable load board that reaches far beyond what the competition offers.

Xpress Technologies offers a Smart Load Platform that learns your needs and preferences so that it can offer you the ideal loads at the right time. In addition, our suite includes powerhouse tools for growing your business, including an ELD, Driver, Loads, and Fleet Management tools that will give you access to personalized freight.

Here are some key features included in the Xpress Technologies (XT) suite:

  • Favorite Lane Alerts: You’ll receive notifications on newly available loads in your favorite lanes.
  • Post Trucks: Post your truck directly to our app and view available loads.
  • Load Management: Keep track of all of your loads—XT loads and loads from other customers or load boards.

Xpress Technologies also offers the XT Telematics Device (formally known as the Haulynx X2F) and XT ELD (Haulynx ELD) to help you improve your business.

The XT Telematics Device and XT ELD include:

  • Smart Load Distribution Platform
  • Personalized Load Matching and Recommendations
  • Searchable Loads
  • Automatic and Manual Truck Posting
  • Fleet Management
  • Real-time GPS Vehicle Tracking
  • Load Management
  • Automatic Load Completion Based on Geofencing
  • GPS Navigation
  • Plug & Play Installation

The XT ELD also includes additional features:

  • Fully FMCSA Compliant ELD Hardware
  • Hours of Service (HOS)
  • Duty Status
  • eLogs
  • Manual Log Edits
  • HOS Violation Reporting
  • IFTA
  • DVIR
  • Team Driving
  • Fuel Receipt Tracking

With the XT Telematics Device and XT ELD, you’ll receive individualized loads that match your preferences and needs.

8. Getting Started with Your XT Load Board

XT-Guide

Getting started with your Xpress Technologies load board will save you the trouble and headache of finding a high-quality load board that's also affordable. Many load boards offer great rates to start but will then lower their payouts with hidden fees, negatively impacting your profits.

Xpress Technologies does not charge you for access to our load board, app, or hardware products. Our revenue comes from the freight itself, meaning that you can save more while using premium products for finding available loads.

Getting started with Xpress Technologies is simple and painless. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:

  1. Connect with our Xpress Technologies Team.
  2. Download our app and begin choosing and managing loads in real time.
  3. Take freight with us and get your XT Telematics Device or XT ELD

You’ll immediately gain access to our distinguished load board, where you can connect with thousands of quality loads and a carrier experience team dedicated to matching you with freight that suits your needs and preferences.

With Xpress Technologies, you’ll be able to track down and book great loads faster than ever, and earn opportunities for dedicated lanes.

Excel as an Owner-Operator with Xpress Technologies

Load boards are critical for your success as an owner-operator. You need to find the best loads and clientele to increase your revenue and expand your business. With Xpress Technologies, you’ll gain access to software that will find loads catered to your individual preferences and needs. Our integrated platform will keep you updated about the best loads while you’re on the go with our easy-to-use and reliable iOS and Android-enabled app. Take the hassle out of finding the best loads by incorporating our full software suite into your business.

Whether you’re new to the trucking industry or if you’re looking to expand your business, Xpress Technologies is here to help. We’re leveraging more than 40 years of experience to provide owner-operators like you with reliable and affordable services and outstanding customer service using the best technology.