What is A Trucking Load Board?

September 5, 2021


Load boards are a useful tool used by shippers and carriers to communicate details about available trucks and loads. I used load boards myself a couple of times, and I can attest to how helpful it is. But what exactly is a trucking load board?

A trucking load board is an interactive online marketplace that matches available trucks with live loads. Truckers can communicate directly with brokers and shippers to negotiate rates and book loads which helps drivers maximize their profits and keep their trucks full.

Load boards are essential for the freight industry because they provide transparency between carriers and shippers and help loads get where they need to go.

New drivers just getting started with their own authority need an easy way to locate available jobs to keep their trucks loaded and make money. Load boards are the best way for them to do that.


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How Does a Trucking Load Board Work?

A load board is essentially a digital matchmaking service for loads and trucks. Load boards require participation from two parties, a carrier with an available truck and a shipper or broker with an available load.

Both parties will input data into the load board with details about their trucks and loads.

The load board will then take all of the data and show each party the compatible loads and equipment that can be matched together. From that point, it is the shipper's and carrier's responsibility to contact each other directly and negotiate the terms of a possible agreement.

This chart shows how corresponding data between a shipper and carriers can be matched together to find a profitable arrangement for both parties.

Carrier

Shipper

What day is your equipment available?

What day is your load available?

What type of equipment do you have?

What is the commodity you are moving?

What is your ideal end destination?

Where is your load picking up & delivering?

How far will you deadhead for a load?

What is the radius you would like to search for trucks?

What is your minimum cost per mile?

What is the rate of your shipment?


Who Can Use a Trucking Load Board?

In general, anyone with a registered MC number is permitted to use a load board. That means a load board can be used by freight brokers & shippers trying to locate trucks or carriers and independent owner-operators looking to find profitable loads.

Most private load boards require your registration on file with the FMCSA in order to create your secure profile and reduce the risk of fraud, so you will need an MC number to start using a load board.

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What are the Most Common Features of a Trucking Load Board?

Load boards come with an exhaustive list of features to equip carriers and shippers with everything they need to find contracts and hire drivers.

Today, load boards continue to grow their set of features to become an all-in-one solution to help logistics businesses of all sizes grow and prosper.

Common features of the most popular load boards include:

  • Advanced Search Options: load boards should give carriers the ability to search for loads based on their current location, their preferred destination, and commodities that fit their preferences.
  • Safety and Compliance Features:  Load boards should work to ensure the safety of every load processed through their platforms. In addition, carrier information should be securely stored and protected from cyber attacks.
  • Bidding System: Bidding systems allow carriers to submit bids for loads and view the activity of other carriers competing for the same job. Bidding provides transparency during the negotiation process so that carriers save time finding loads that work for their trucks.
  • Feedback Networks: Carriers should be able to share their personal experience with shippers and brokers with each other in an organized way. This helps build community and protect carriers from unreliable shippers and brokers.
  • Contract Opportunities: Contract opportunities give carriers a predictable flow of work and save them from the hassle of looking for new work every week.
  • Integrated TMS: Quality load boards have a built-in TMS system that streamlines communication, gives complete visibility of past, present, and future jobs, and keeps accurate accounting records.
  • Integrated Freight Factoring: Freight factoring helps carriers get paid sooner by taking a small percentage of each load in exchange for an instant cash transfer. Some premium load boards have freight factoring built into their service.
  • Cost Saving Partnerships: Load boards use their large carrier audience to negotiate exclusive deals with industry partners to save carriers money on things like fuel, tires, repairs, and other equipment.

All of these capabilities help carriers safely choose the most profitable loads possible and ensure that the transaction is safe.


How Much Does It Cost to Post on Load Boards?

Free load boards exist, but most premium load boards require that you purchase a monthly subscription to actively view, post, and engage with the platform. Load board memberships can cost anywhere from $35 - $150 per month, depending on the features.

To help you choose the right load board for your budget, we made this table where you can see the leading industry load boards and costs associated with different levels of membership.

Free & Paid Load Board Pricing Directory

Load Board

Cost

DAT TruckersEdge

Enhanced $69.95/mo

Professional $99.95/mo

Power Select $149/mo

Internet Truckstop

Carrier Basic $39/mo

Carrier Advanced $125/mo

Carrier Pro $149/mo

123 Loadboard

Standard $35/mo

Premium $45/mo

Premium Plus $55/mo

Loadmatch.com

$600/yr

Truckerpath

Free

Uship

Free

Next Load

Free

Convoy

Free


What Are the Benefits of Using a Trucking Load Board?

Using a load board is a great way to grow your trucking business. They're especially helpful for new carriers who are just getting into the industry and might not have many industry contacts.  

Like anything in life, there are advantages and drawbacks to using a load board. Let's look at what you have to gain using a load board first.

  1. Convenience - Load boards keep everything organized in one place. Shippers, contact information, load information, rates, and more. This saves you time organizing your important load information and makes it easy to decide whether a load is a right fit for you.
  1. Avoid Empty Miles - When a truck isn't moving, it isn't earning money. But when a truck is moving and not hauling freight, it is operating at a loss. Load boards help trucks fill their empty trailers based on loads close to their location.
  1. Increase Freight Opportunities - If you were to call shippers and brokers one at a time, it would take you hours to find a load that fits your criteria. Since load boards are accessible on the internet, plenty of shippers and carriers worldwide use them to cover their freight. There is never a shortage of loads to be hauled.
  1. Minimize Risk of Fraud - Load boards have strict identification standards in place to ensure that the person or company you are doing business with is exactly who they say they are. There is always a small risk of fraud in the trucking industry, but load boards do a great job of keeping the risk as small as possible.
  1. Network - Loadbards give you access to companies you may not run into on a regular basis. Simply by posting your equipment, you will get phone calls from new brokers and shippers who may turn into life-long customers and friends.

What Are the Drawbacks To Using a Trucking Load Board?

Of course, we can't talk about the good without examining the bad. There are a few drawbacks to depending on load boards that can't be ignored.

  1. High Competition - Since signing up for a load board is so easy, the barrier to entry is very low. Load boards are full of new and old carriers, all competing for the same freight. Since the load board companies do such a great job at vetting carrier reputations, the carriers who have been around for the longest time usually get the first opportunity at the best quality freight.
  1. Slow Response Times - Shippers and brokers are very busy and often don't have time to sit and stare at their load board accounts all day. This could mean that when you reach out to ask about a load, it could take up to a few hours to get a response back. This can ruin the flow of your day and interrupt your driving schedule if you don't have someone to follow up in a timely manner.
  1. Low Rates - When shippers turn to load boards to cover their freight, they are usually looking for a deal to lower their shipping costs. Brokers are very active on load boards as well, and since they put a small profit for themselves on every load they post, it is common for some opportunities to pay below the market rate.
  1. Risk of Fraud - while the risk of fraud is small, it still does exist. The most common type of fraud you will see on a load board is "double brokering", which I will show you how to avoid.

What Does Double Brokering Mean in Load Boards?

Double brokering is one of the most common scams carriers fall victim to. But to keep yourself from falling prey to this elaborate scheme, you first have to understand what double brokering is.

Double brokering is the unauthorized re-brokering of a load from a carrier with no brokerage authority to another carrier. This usually happens without the consent or knowledge of the original shipper and concludes with one or all parties involved not receiving payment for the work completed.

Double brokering is illegal because carriers do not have the authority from the FMCSA to give a load to another party. They are required by law to transport cargo in their own registered equipment.

This is how the scam works: Carrier A will hijack a broker's identity and try to assign the load to another carrier (Carrier B) under false pretenses. Carrier B will accept the load and proceed to pick up and deliver.

In the interim, the fraudulent Carrier A will collect payment from the shipper for the load, delete all traces of their existence, and Carrier B will be left with an unpaid bill.

Truck Driver Duties and Responsibilities

How To Avoid Double Brokering Scams on a Load Board

Here are the best measures you can take to protect yourself as a carrier against double brokering:

  1. Verify Broker Contact Information: Always make sure the MC number and phone number match with the broker profile on SAFER. Be sure that the email address matches the company website. It can help if you ask the dispatcher to verify the base state of the organization as you will see that information on safersys as well.
  1. Ask them to fill out a credit application: Sending a credit application will require the broker to disclose some of their credit references. You can use that information to call them and verify the reputation of the broker as well as confirm contact information.
  1. Verify the rate confirmation: Once you confirm the identification details of the broker, you should receive a rate confirmation. See if the rate con was created using a professional TMS system or if it looks just like an excel sheet. If it is not professionally formatted, It might require further investigation.

Just by following these 3 simple steps, you can eliminate falling for 99% of double brokering scams. If you are unsure about any load, you always have the right to say "NO". Sometimes the risk is not worth the reward.


Closing Thoughts

Load boards are an excellent resource for carriers to find jobs and avoid running empty miles. 

If done correctly, a load board can be a profitable resource for any trucking company, from beginners with a single truck to a large company with a fleet of trucks. 

Just like any other industry, there are risks associated with using a load board, but with the proper due diligence and the right attitude, you can use a load board to make a lot of money over the course of your truck driving career.

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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