September 1, 2023

How to Find Loads for Trucks


Whether you’re new to the trucking industry or you’ve been moving goods for years, finding fresh loads for your trucks can be a constant challenge. In fact, for both large-fleet trucking businesses and owner-operators, keeping a flow of steady, profitable work is the key to success.

Here, we explore a variety of ways to get loads for your drivers and boost your company profile at the same time. Discover the importance of finding more loads and why load boards are, arguably, the best way to do it for the spot market.

The Importance of Finding More Loads for Truck Drivers

Over the past decade the trucking industry has seen numerous technological advances that have transformed the industry. The 2017 ELD mandate and its associated deadlines means that all truckers now operate Electronic Logging Device within cabs, while other devices such as dashcams and GPS telematics are helping to increase safety and boost efficiency.

While these advances have been broadly welcomed by trucking companies, hauling loads remains the goal—and the importance of finding those loads should never be underestimated. Today, technology is also helping businesses to do this, with online load boards among the most efficient ways of finding work.

However, load boards aren’t the only way to find loads, and with record shortages of truck drivers across the US, there’s plenty of ways to source work.  Read our top five tips for finding loads for your company and learn more about why load boards can help make the process more efficient. 

5 Ways to Get Loads for Your Trucking Business

Use a Freight Broker

Among the most popular ways to connect your business with shippers is through an intermediary freight broker. Freight brokers offer services that connect loads with drivers for a fee, negotiating rates with shippers, and verifying pickup and delivery.

This approach can save your businesses a lot of time and effort, as most of the work is already done for you. However, it comes at a cost and limits the opportunity for you to negotiate rates, leaving you the task of carefully weighing up potential profitability. 

Become Government Authorized

Registering as a government contractor provides carriers with a sure-fire way to regularly find loads. Local, state, and federal governments all require load matching with authorized companies to haul goods across the country and beyond, and by registering or partnering with a firm who already is, you will be eligible for government contracts.

The benefits of this approach are two-fold. First, you can count on a trustworthy and reliable freight matching with guaranteed loads. Secondly, with only authorized truck drivers able to carry those loads, your company will face less competition when bidding for work. 

Build a Network 

For established trucking companies, network building has long been the go-to method of sourcing available loads, with long-trusted partners working together in mutually beneficial relationships. However, for new trucking companies and owner-operators, this method can be both time consuming and somewhat exclusive—it’s not what you know but who you know.

Having said this, building a network that supports other methods of load searching is highly beneficial, and is something that you can expect to bear fruit over the course of years rather than weeks. Take some time to identify the leading associations in your area and attend events focussing on the types of freight that you want to haul, then begin to build relationships with other companies over a period of time.

Work Directly with a Dispatch Service

Another way to build a network is to work directly with a dispatch service to connect you with brokers and shippers. Dispatchers generally have plenty of industry experience and a broad range of contacts that will enable you to get good loads as your network grows. Additionally, truck dispatchers can help you with some admin tasks such as accounting, billing, and collections. 

Much like a freight broker, dispatchers will take a percentage of the rate, however, this means they are likely to negotiate the best rates in order to make more money themselves. Naturally, the percentage amount will depend on exactly which services you require, so make sure you’re clear regarding the costs when you discuss terms.

Use a Load Board

The best load boards offer trucking companies the easiest way to find a comprehensive range of different types of loads. In the past, these were physical boards found at truckstops, but today they are mostly digitized and provide carriers with a fast, online method of load searching that allows you to make quick decisions.

Generally speaking, load boards provide you with a comprehensive range of information including what needs to be shipped, its current location and destination, its weight and size, along with any other information and the opportunity for you to provide rates and supporting information to the shipper.

What is a load board?

In essence, modern load boards are online marketplaces that match shippers with freight brokers or freight brokers with carriers. However, with the increased functionality of these internet-based boards, they also allow carriers to maximize their earnings by increasing the chances of always carrying full loads. 

Today, load boards are far and away the most popular method of connecting carriers with shipments. In fact, with the rise of online boards, the process has become faster and more efficient, with data available instantly on your computer or mobile device. This means carriers can easily access the information they need to make good business decisions and gain access to suitable loads. 

There are plenty of options to choose from, including free load boards that require no subscription. However, generally speaking, the best load boards require some kind of investment in the form of a monthly or annual subscription. To make this investment worthwhile, these premium boards also offer a range of benefits, some of which we’ll cover below. 

The benefits of truck load boards

There are many benefits of truck load boards over other methods of load sourcing, some of which we’ll explore below. 

  • Finding loads is faster and more efficient for carriers, with a broad range of jobs always available.
  • Finding suitable loads is easier with comprehensive information on each job.
  • Expanding your operations to areas of the country you might not previously explored is simple.
  • Reducing deadhead is easier with location-based information for better routing and planning.
  • Job distribution is easier with real-time notifications of shipments as they are posted.
  • Low-cost subscriptions or free load boards help keep costs down.
  • Hot shot trucking jobs are also widely shared on load boards.
  • Jobs can be sent directly to your drivers’ ELD.

The clear benefits of load boards can help push your company to the next level or simply get you off the ground when starting a new company. However, with a wealth of loads to be distributed, it’s certainly worth combining a variety of methods to find new work. Try out our top tips and see which works best for your company, and for more information on ELD connected load boards, contact FleetOps today.

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