A Trucker’s Guide to Online Load Boards

Phil Cohen

EVERYTHING You Need to Find Truck Loads Online

The success of small trucking companies and owner-operators hinges on finding loads to haul and maintaining a solid list of customers. Truckers can find loads that in many ways, whether through person-to-person referrals or by outreach to local industry associations. However, an easy way to secure hauls is by using an online load board for truckers.

So, what is an online load board? Think of it like a match.com for the trucking industry. Load boards are websites that essentially provide a venue for shippers and truckers to make arrangements to move freight. Shippers and/or brokers post truckloads that they need transporting, and truckers looking for loads to carry can find them.

Why do Truck Drivers Use Load Boards?

Load boards are handy for several reasons. Here is a list of a couple of the perks that come along with using them:

  • Messaging boards – If you see a truckload that you want to take, most have some sort of function that allows you to chat instantly with the broker.
  • Opportunities to review shippers/carriers— The ability to review/be reviewed by shippers helps you get a reputation within the industry.
  • Credit information —Know who you are working before you accept a load from a freight broker or shipper.
  • Mobile access – Stay connected on the go so that you can find a load to carry before your current job is even finished.
  • Proof of FMCSA certification — To show customers that you are legitimate.
  • Spot Rates — Know how much other small trucking companies are getting paid and make sure that you the best deal when freight matching.
  • Days-to-Pay Information — The best load boards can give you an idea of how long it will take brokers to pay you for the freight loads that you haul.
  • Freight Matching Alerts — Online load boards will oftentimes alert you when a shipper has expressed interest in making an arrangement with you.
  • Online Availability —24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year

Due to their wide-ranging features, online load boards can be useful tools for small trucking companies and owner-operators who are looking to build their clientele or to get their business rolling along. They’re especially handy if you’re just starting out as a driver.

General Load Board Tips

  1. Use Multiple Load Boards – Signing up for more than one load board will help you get the best load. No single load board has all the information you’ll need.
  2. Be Conscious of Spending – A lot of load boards offer free trials, but most will eventually charge a subscription fee.
  3. Avoid Over Booking – Size of the load and distance of the haul are obviously important details. Make sure you don’t take on more than you or your company can handle.
  4. Don’t Settle – Advance your searches by using more than one load board to get the best, most profitable load you can find. This requires you to…
  5. Be Patient – Depending on the board, some take a few days to remove loads that are no longer available or are already filled. Finding the right load using the load board might take you a couple hours.
  6. Create a Company Profile – This is the best way for shippers to find you. The information in your profile could include your fleet size, home base, types of freight you haul and how far you drive.
  7. Protect Your Privacy – Although you want your profile to be detailed to entice shippers, you want to be mindful of the amount of information you’re sharing. Make sure everything you put on a load board about yourself or your company you’re comfortable with publicly sharing on the internet as a whole.

Top Online Load Boards (Free and Paid)

Free Load Boards for Truckers

The phrase “you get what you pay for” can apply to some freight load boards, there are some websites that can you find some loads to haul without requiring any fee. Free load boards are great for testing the waters and can come in handy when you need a quick return load. Check out a couple of them here:

  • Load Up – No hidden fees, all you have to do is register. Truckers with this service are entitled to full load searches, free postings, directory listings and email alerts.
  • Freight Finder –  A basic, free load board search engine that has loads from every American state and Canadian province.
  • DSSLN –  Load board that has a troubleshooting service and an upcoming website revamp.
  • TRULOS Transportation – Free board that comes with video tutorials to help owner-operators just starting out in the industry. If you’re looking for FEMA loads, they seem to be offering them.
  • Free Freight Search – Claimed to be the world’s largest free load board, this system comes with a support hotline and a dozen of the services that paid load boards typically offer.
  • Fr8Connect – Connects shippers directly with carriers to bypass brokers. They’re currently offering free early-bird access for a limited time.

Paid Load Boards for Truckers

While the free freight matching services can serve owner-operators for a while, the ones that require a monthly fee often have more options. These fees can range anywhere from $30 to $100. Some of the most highly rated load boards include:

  • 123 Load Board — This load board offers a Standard Plan for $35 per month, a Premium Plan for $45 per month and Premium Plus Plan for $55 a month. The Premium Plan offers LTL freight finding, instant load and truck matching, load payment rates in searches and credit reports. Both plans offer a 10-day free trial. If they decide to sign up for a yearly plan, drivers can save up to $100 and get a free t-shirt.
  • TruckersEdge -Load board powered by DAT. Standard plan which provides unlimited posting and searching is around $35-$50/month. OOIDA members can receive a discounted rate & a 30-day free trial by using Mymembersedge.com. One feature of TruckersEdge is the broker days-to-pay score which lets drivers see how many days it will take to get paid for hauling the load. With the enhanced version, truckers can view what others have gotten paid on particular loads. This way, you can compare the rate to the average to see whether the haul is a good deal or not. Since it’s powered by DAT, if you’re looking for government freight or FEMA loads to haul, you’ll find loads here.
  • Get Loaded — Trucker packages range from $29.99-$99 per month. Getloaded Plus offers email alerts, unlimited truck posts, credit scores, a favorites list, on-call support and an auto-matching service that connects loads to equipment.
  • Truckstop.com –  The basic account is $39 per month and provides access to over 500,000 loads. Their search feature lets truckers filter their search based on a number of criteria (credit history, days-to-pay, etc.) so that they can find the ideal business partner.
  • Direct Freight Services —  Load board that, for $35 per month, offers a wide array of services that many other load boards do not, like text alerts, file storage, alert searching, etc. Before signing up, drivers have the option of a 15-day free trial.
  • Comfreight —  Freight matching for $19 per month and offers a 15-day free trial. Offers all of the usual services as the previous boards plus a beta version of their truck load rate index tool.

Most, if not all, of these services, are popular among truckers and owner-operators and also have free trials. So, give one a try—and if you don’t like it, switch and incur no cost.

Factoring for Freight

Hot Shot and LTL Loads

What are Hotshot and LTL (Less Than Truckload) Loads?

According to Overdrive, the term “hotshot” in the trucking industry can refer to either a type of truck or the type of freight. When it comes to classifying the truck as hotshot, it generally means that the vehicle is a smaller truck that is employed in combination with a variety of trailers that work on a for-hire basis. In terms of the customer/freight, hotshot means that the load is irregular and needs to be moved rather quickly.

In the trucking industry, the acronym LTL stands for “Less than Truck Load.” An LTL load is, thereby, freight that is not large enough to take up an entire trailer’s worth of space, and can be coupled with other freight.

Where Can I Find Hotshot and LTL Freight?

The load boards in the above sections are some of the best free and paid options for owner-operators and small trucking companies looking to find full loads to haul. But do you ever wish you had a way to fill up that last couple of cubic feet in your truck? Do you ever feel that you could make some side cash by hauling smaller loads with a pickup truck or a van? Well wish no more—there are even hotshot and LTL load boards out there that can help you maximize your efficiency.

Check out this list of LTL and hotshot boards:

Each of those websites can come in handy for truckers looking to move hotshot freight or pick up an LTL load when they’ve got some extra space on their trip.

Find Loads for Car Haulers

Truckers can make quite a bit of money when they take advantage of car hauling opportunities. The great thing is that, despite being a niche job within the industry, there are still some load boards for truckers looking for auto hauling work.

  • Central Dispatch — Meant specifically for truckers looking to transport other vehicles. New members are offered a 30-day free trial, and plans start at $60 per month.
  • UShip Auto Hauler — Online car hauling load board that doesn’t require a sign-up fee, only a transaction fee.
  • Super Dispatch – App-based load board for auto haulers that offers plans starting at $15 per month. The mobile app lets you upload a virtual signature, create invoices, take load photos, mark damages, etc., and there is a free trial.

Find Loads for Misc. Hauling

Looking to diversify your clientele and picking up some extra cash by hauling unconventional loads? If so, you are on to something—hauling miscellaneous freight that most others do not will help you succeed as an owner-operator or the owner of a small trucking company. And, odds are that there is at least one reliable load board for every subgenre of trucking that exists.


Download our free eBook for additional tips on finding new customers: An Owner Operator’s Guide to Getting More Loads

Are Load Boards Worthwhile for Carriers?

Online load boards work well for truckers that are just starting out or as a way to reduce your deadhead miles. However, they shouldn’t be your only method of finding loads.  High-paying loads can be scarce on these boards and the good ones get swooped up quickly since there are thousands of truckers vying for the same.

The best way to build a successful trucking business is to find your own clients and shippers to work with on a routine basis. Finding customers isn’t easy, but the work you put in now will pay off in the long run.  Put yourself out there, contact shippers and potential customers directly to see if they have any opportunities.

We’ve got a few tips for marketing a trucking company here.

You’ve Delivered the Load. Now What?

All of the aforementioned load boards can help you find freights to haul. But after you find freight and transport it to where it needs to go, how do you go about getting paid? If the freight brokers and shippers you work with don’t pay right away, factoring your freight bills can get you paid immediately. You can’t afford to sit around and wait to be paid—you have other loads to haul!

Here’s what you should know about factoring for truckers.

If you could use some extra cash for hauling, give us a call. We specialize in factoring services for truckers.

What do truck drivers really make? Check out truck driver pay by state.












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Phil Cohen

Phil is the owner of PRN Funding and sister company Factor Finders. He has been an authority in the factoring industry for over 20 years, serving on the board of directors for several factoring associations.


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