If you’re trying to decide whether load boards are worth your money, there’s much to consider.  Load board and freight management systems have significant pros and cons.  However, many new owners/operators or small fleet owners find that it’s a good option for their needs, and they need to know what they can afford to bid on a load. TruckingOffice PRO can help them.

For those of you who are new to the trucking industry, you may not know much about load boards.  So, let’s begin with that. A load board is an online brokerage system that matches shippers with carriers for the purpose of moving freight.  Some freight management systems or load boards offer a variety of services such as:

  1. Message boards
  2. Credit information
  3. Finance of pre-approved loads
  4. FMCSA verification

Most load boards are now accessed by apps on smartphones. That makes them portable and easy to use when you’re stuck in the delivery dock. Finding a local load can reduce deadhead miles, or find a late replacement if the shipping dock isn’t unloading your trailer on time.

You will find both free and paid load boards. Are paid boards always the best option?  Some can cost as much as $100 per month, so time will tell if they are worth that much money.  If you’re looking into this option, shop around before making a decision.  You want to find the one that is best for your budget and needs.

Some independent owner-operators have multiple apps. They must find it’s worth the money to maximize their options for loads.

Advantages of Load Boards

New owner/operators or small fleet owners may find load boards to be beneficial in helping get those vital first few loads.  They also help you build contacts and gain experience.  

Here are a few more advantages of load boards:

  1. Reduces deadheading
  2. Easily accessed online 24/7
  3. Many are free or inexpensive
  4. Some offer credit checks, days to pay, etc.

When you’re getting started, the advantages may outweigh the disadvantages.

Disadvantages of Load Boards for Freight Management

Although load boards can be helpful in many ways, they are not a good long-term strategy.  Why?  For one reason, they are not very profitable.  You’ll be better off getting direct contracts so you are in control and can keep all of the revenue. 

Other disadvantages of load boards include:

  1. You’ll be dealing with strangers (who you hope are trustworthy).
  2. Lots of competition for loads.
  3. Freight brokers take a lot of the revenues.
  4. Their rates for your work are low.

We haven’t told you whether you should or should not use a load board because that decision is entirely up to you.  However, below are a few more tips that may help you decide.

What You Need to Know Before You Use Load Boards

You have to know your trucking business and your value as a trucker. If you want to use a number for that, call it the cost per mile for you to haul a load.

Is there any point to taking a load that will pay less than it will cost you to haul it?


I’m sorry, was I yelling? Actually, I am yelling. Because too many new owner-operators don’t know this number for their trucking business. They “feel” like that load will be good for them. What are they basing that feeling on?

  • It’s better to get paid something than nothing.
  • Deadheading is taking money out of my pocket.
  • I want to get home and that load is (sorta) on the way.

Nothing against your feelings, but… please.

There’s a strong sentiment among truckers that the shippers will continue to pay poorly if there are truckers who are desperate or stupid enough to take the loads. Know your value, they say. There’s a lot of truth in that. Sometimes, a trucker has to take the long view rather than get the immediate “perfect” load. We get that. But when you know what it costs for you to haul a load, then you can make an informed decision. Not a guess.

A load board for some truckers is a playground. They know the rules. Until you know the unwritten rules of how a load board works, it’s a dangerous place for a new trucker to go.

If you want to build a trucking business, you might work with a load board, but consider building your own customer base so you’re not dependent on the luck of the draw on the load board.

Reasons Why You Should Switch from Load Boards

Load boards can be useful tools when you want to fill gaps in your schedule, but they aren’t perfect.  Freight management isn’t a science. It’s more like an art. Or a network. It’s who you know with freight they want to move.

Book loads directly yourself. Your trucking software can create and manage a customer list. Shippers will want to use you once they find out how reliable you are. Developing a connection with a local business may become a long-term lane. That’s more money in your pocket because you’ve removed the middleman.

Work directly with a broker. There are brokers who say that some shippers don’t want their loads on the load boards. They want to know who the trucker is who’s moving their freight. When you get a reputation for deliveries safely and on time, you can work with a broker directly, instead of going through the load boards.

More Tips to Help You Make an Informed Choice

As a general rule, load boards are an easy and efficient way to connect with people who need your services.  But, there are a few more things to consider before making that final choice.  First, and most importantly, will you make a profit?  Calculate your costs carefully and know what you can afford.  Second, you should also check the broker’s credit before accepting to take their load and avoid those with little or low credit.

Why You Need TruckingOffice TMS

Whether you’re using load board and freight management tools or finding your own clients, you need a trucking management system that can help you with all aspects of your business. 

Being a trucker involves an overwhelming amount of record keeping.  Not to mention all IFTA, IRP, DOT, FMCSA rules, regulations, and tax deadlines to remember.  This process is much easier with TruckingOffice software.    

Our TMS was created by truckers specifically to save time, reduce stress, and increase profits. There are many more reasons to switch from load boards to trucking management software.  You can learn more about our TruckingOffice PRO by checking it out for yourself.  Sign up for this no-obligation free trial and see what it’s all about.  We’re sure you’ll agree that your operation needs our system.

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