May 15

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Top 5 Load Boards for Any Carrier

By lruribe

May 15, 2022


Trucker Daily's Number 1 Choice for Load Board for Carriers

DAT Freight

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  • Over 900,000 loads posted daily.
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Load boards are indispensable tools for truck drivers who want to ensure there’s a steady flow of trips to keep income steady. The load boards help you stay on top of your game and place food on top of your table. 

But what was designed to help you secure loads easily can quickly transform into a source of frustration when you’re not getting the loads that you want. Unfortunately, this is what you get with some load boards; cheap loads and poor online interface. And this is the problem we’re here to solve.

After a lot of research, collating personal experiences of truckers, and reviews, we have here the 5 best load boards for truck drivers and owner operators. But before we dive into that, let’s tell you what load boards are:

Load boards are online platforms where truck drivers can access thousands of loads that are available for transport. Once a truck driver finds a load they don’t mind transporting, they may contact the freight broker or shipper to negotiate a rate for the service.

Now that you know what they are, we believe the 5 best load boards for truckers are:

Here are the reasons we believe these load boards are the best:

1. DAT

DAT is one of the largest marketplaces for freight in all of North America. It is so large that establishments and industry analysts rely on DAT for data insights and market trends. 

Since its establishment in 1979, the company has grown its services to ‌ cater to the needs of certain groups in the industry, including the carrier and the broker. For instance, the DAT load boards are in three categories: 

  • DAT TruckersEdge; for carriers
  • DAT Power; for both carriers and brokers, and
  • DAT Express; for brokers.

On DAT TruckersEdge alone, there are 887,000 million load posts every single business day. This vast number of load posts means there are more opportunities for truckers, hence, less competition‌. And to help truckers fully avail every opportunity, the platform offers unlimited searches. 

Another reason DAT is one of the beloved load boards for truckers is that it allows you to check load count per state. This information is helpful in choosing where you are most likely to get the best rates. 

DAT has many impressive features which have all helped it make our list of the best load boards for truckers. Another such feature is the simple, yet, intuitive load match alarms feature. This feature alerts you once a load that suits your preferences comes up.  

Also, if you’re willing to subscribe to the TruckersEdge premium plan, you also get complete access to loads in both the US and Canada.

Pricing

DAT TruckersEdge is available in three major packages. The standard package costs $39.95 per month. The Enhanced package almost doubles the standard package at $75 per month. And the professional package, which gives you access to Canadian load boards and other premium features, goes for $125 per month.

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2. DirectFreight

DirectFreight is another load board that has drawn our attention, and we believe it deserves a spot on our list of the best load boards for truckers. Here’s why.

One of the standout features of the DirectFreight load board is its simplicity and straightforwardness. You open the website and you’ll find only two search options: 

  • Search for loads, which is for truckers, and
  • Search for trucks, which is for freight brokers.

Besides these two, there are no other packages, no other options, and no other unnecessary sophistication. What this simplicity means is that you don’t have to spend the time you could better invest somewhere else trying to look for the best option for you. You are either a broker searching for trucks, or a trucker searching for loads. 

Do not take DirectFreight’s lack of sophistication for lack of good quality, though. The company has invested all its efforts and ideas into making it easy for truckers to find the perfect loads, and for brokers to find the perfect trucks.

For instance, the trucker is lavished with innovative features, such as access to the full credits report and credit scores of shippers. This report helps the trucker have an idea of the shipper’s credit performance, which can help provide an insight into the shipper’s payment habits. 

Other innovative features include timely weather reports, private load information, deadhead miles and trip miles, and so much more. You can also get text and email alerts when a load that matches your preferences appears. 

In summary, it is DirectFreight’s direct approach to ensuring a trucker everything they need to land the best loads that suit their preferences and at the best rates is what endears the load board provider to us.

Pricing

DirectFreight offers all these features at a standard rate of $34.95 per month. There are no other plans or packages. You either have all the features, or you have nothing.

3. 123Loadboard

On getting to the 123loadboard website, you see a section that displays the latest available loads. That list increases by the second! 

Further down, you’ll find that the company has hosted the posting of almost 54 million loads annually and has an available truckload opportunity of over $100 million dollars. 

If you want the figures of how 123loadboard can be of help to you, there you have it.

You have to agree that those numbers are quite impressive. And that is one reason we believe 123loadboards is one of the best load boards for truckers.

But let’s get this off the road first: 123loadboard does not boast as many features as the top two load boards on this list, especially when you compare their basic packages. This basic package doesn’t offer much beyond web and mobile app access to loads round-the-clock with real-time laid alerts. However, you can rest assured that the load board offers you just what you need to secure loads as quickly as possible on the basic package.

Things begin to get more interesting, though, as soon as you get to the Premium package, which is the second package. Then, you get access to a load planning feature that can be of immense help in planning your trip. You also get access to credit score information to help you filter who to work with, amongst other innovative features.

The final package takes things up a notch by showing you industry freight rates, which help you get the best deals out of every load. Finally, the company also has a freight factoring feature, which allows you to get paid for your trips instantly. 

Pricing

The basic plan costs $35 per month. The premium plan costs $45 per month, and the Premium Plus plan costs $55 per month. However, each plan comes with a free 10-day trial that helps you have a taste of what 123loadboards is like before making a monthly commitment. 

4. TruckStop

Truckstop is another worthy contender in the race for the best load boards for truckers. How it has three sections for carriers, brokers, and shippers is great, but that’s not all. It goes all out to invest innovative features and ideas to make each experience stand out. And this is probably what TruckStop has done best.

TruckStop load board is similar to 123loadboards in that its basic plan doesn’t have many features. But it does have enough to help truckers land loads quickly and easily, and also to get the best rates.

The Decision Tools feature that comes with this basic plan places in your hands the info you need to negotiate the best rates. For instance, you can check the truck-to-load ratio, which can give you an upper hand in your negotiations. You can also view truck activity by origin and destination, which can help you position yourself where you’re most likely going to get the best rates.

The Truckstop load board basic feature also gives you access to tens of thousands of loads posted by brokers. The load board then has search filter options that help you single out the loads that are best for you.

The package immediately higher than the basic package is where you get a broker’s credit score information to help you know who you can count on. But the ultimate package is probably where you’ll find features that are uncommon yet intuitive; features that other load boards don’t offer, even in their ultimate packages.

For instance, you get access to the load comparison feature that places loads side-by-side for easy comparison and swift arrival at an informed decision. You also get exclusive access to the best paying loads on any lane at any time. This feature alone places you at the forefront of the search for high-paying loads.

Pricing

The basic package comes at $39 per month while the middle package goes for $125 per month. The ultimate package is where you pay $149 per month.

5. Trucker Path

Trucker Path load board offers the cheapest rates among the load boards on this list. But Trucker Path also teaches us that inexpensiveness does not always translate to inferiority in quality.

The first reason we like Trucker Path is the free access truckers get to the load board. There are over 150,000 daily loads for over 10 trailer types on that load board. This free version allows truckers quick access to loads with no financial commitment. But if you need something beyond the bare load board with little extra features, you may need to subscribe to one of the load board provider’s packages.

On the first package, Trucker Path offers its subscribers unlimited searches with an ad-free experience. You also get access to brokers’ credit scores to build trust and filter who to work with; a feature other load boards rarely offer on their basic plan.

The second plan has three distinct features besides the basic feature. One of these features gives you access to alerts when a load that meets your requirements comes up. There’s also the Fuel Surcharge Calculator that helps you calculate the fuel costs of each load so that your profit comes into a clearer view. 

When you decide to go all out with the Trucker Path load board ultimate subscription, you enjoy everything Trucker Path has to offer. For instance, you get day rate checks that are updated to the very last day. You can also view the volumes of outbound and inbound loads per state so that you can better position yourself where you can make the most profit. 

Pricing

Trucker Path load board is available in three major packages. The first, which it calls the Essential package, goes for $16.67 per month. The second plan is called the Preferred package, and it costs $33.33 per month. Trucker Path then offers its final and Ultimate package at $74.99 per month.

Benefits of Load Boards For Truckers

What are those things a trucker stands to gain from load boards?

  1. Load boards offer you a simple way to access loads in thousands.
  2. Load boards are great for truckers who are just starting out; truckers who are just learning to build their network.
  3. Load boards help you avoid deadheads. Deadhead miles can be costly. And when these accumulate, you may lose your business some significant amount of money. But with load boards, you can secure capacity to and from anywhere.
  4. Load boards don’t take from you the opportunity to negotiate your rates with brokers or shippers. This way, you have more control over how much you go home with at the end of the day.
  5. Load boards also offer features that make it easy to secure the perfect loads that suit preferences. Some even have features that can help you save operating costs in the long run.

How To Make The Best Use Of Some Load Board Features

As you may have noticed, each of the load boards providers we mentioned has innovative features that can come in handy when you’re looking for loads. But these tools can only be game-changing when you know how to put them to effective use. 

Here’s how to make the best use of some of the load board features:

1. Credit Score

No matter how tempting the rate a broker offers is, always check the credit score. You don’t want to work with a broker that has poor credit performance. A broker who has poor credit performance is likely to not pay you for your trip on time. Even the most generous freight factoring companies are not always eager to factor such freights. 

2. Search Filters

Search filters help you sieve loads that are likely to suit your preferences from the rest. The key to filtering out the load boards is to not over-filter or under-filter. 

When we say over-filter, you want to avoid being overly specific, especially if you’re open to being flexible. 

Under-filtering is the opposite, where you loosen your specifications. More often, you’ll only end up wasting your time with loads that don’t you.

3. Fuel Cards

Load board providers that offer fuel cards can also be helpful in reducing fuel costs long term. There are also those load board providers that extend the savings to truck maintenance, food, and lodging. Ultimately, accumulating these fuel cards can significantly reduce your operation costs.

4. Premium Subscriptions

Here’s an unpopular opinion: Go for premium subscriptions if you can. Some load board providers put a lot more effort into satisfying their premium subscribers than they put into serving other subscribers. The premium subscriptions also offer you access to features that can help you take your load hunting game to the next level and ultimately bring in more money.

Caveat: Don’t follow this piece of advice blindly, though. If you've gone through a load board provider’s list of features and there’s none that you think will improve your income potential, please remain on your current subscription. 

Should You Use A Load Board?

While there’s no denying that using a load board has its many benefits, you may have reasons that make you steer clear of load boards. So what then? Does that mean you can’t get capacity? No.

Other Ways To Secure Loads Without A Using A Load Board

If you’re not using load boards, some other ways to secure loads include:

1. Direct contact with brokers

Brokers often reserve loads for direct truckers they have on their network. However, this is going to require some extra networking efforts on your part as a trucker. You also need to build and maintain a strong relationship with the broker to help you remain at the top of their list whenever a load comes in.

2. Direct contact with shippers

If you want to avoid the broker commissions, however, you can establish a relationship with the shipper directly. But the process is pretty much the same for when you’re going straight to the shipper. You would need your networking skill and relationship-building skill to be top-notch. 

Conclusion

To recap, the 5 best load boards for truck drivers are DAT, DirectFreight, 123loadboard, TruckStop, and Trucker Path. 

Despite the amount of research we put into compiling this list, we admit that some truckers may still not find any of those load boards to be as useful as we think they are. In that case, we advise ‌you to check out these other load boards that could have easily made it to our list but didn’t:

  • Uber Freight
  • Convoy
  • DSSLN
  • Trulos, and
  • Live Loads

And that’s all we have for you today.  I hope this helped. 

Cheers!

About the author

I’m Luis Uribe, author of this website. I am the owner and head publisher for Trucker Daily and a freight brokerage Total Connection Logistics. I have been in and around the trucking industry for over 15 years. It is my mission with Trucker daily to equip truck drivers, with the latest in industry updates, news, and helpful tips to help further your trucking career and life. Whether you are a truck driving veteran, or beginner, you will find information on this site to save you a lot of time in your driving journey.

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