A load board (sometimes referred to as a freight board) is an online marketplace where truck owner-operators, shippers, and freight brokers can post and search for loads to keep freight moving.
It’s no secret: shipping is the foundation of our country. Nearly every sector of our economy depends on the movement of goods from point A to B (and C, and D…). According to The American Trucking Associations, the trucking industry generated $738.9 billion in revenue in 2016.
We often underestimate just how vital the trucking community is. Did you know that 70% of all shipped goods are moved by a truck?
The complexities of a supply chain are endless, but a load board is an essential tool for business owners who are working together to move freight across the country.
How does a load board work?
A load board is usually hosted online. Users of the specific load board pay a subscription to log into the load board to post loads or post empty trucks in order to either cover their freight or get their truck loaded. The load board facilitates communication between broker, shipper, and owner-operator or small carrier.
A real-life load board example
Let’s break it down with a story of people using a load board in their day-to-day operations to increase revenue.
Let’s use Joe, a truck owner-operator, as an example.
Meet Joe. Joe owns a truck. He is a business owner, entrepreneur, and family man. His goal is to keep his truck full during the week so that he can optimize his time on the road and maximize his truck’s profits. Joe lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico and today he wants to drive to Illinois. Why? Because he knows that this route pays well, and that he can quickly find a returning load to travel home to his family. Joe needs to earn a fair wage for hauling the load and wants to work with trusted third parties to find freight for his truck.
Joe posts his truck’s information (things like: can haul refrigerated loads, maximum weight allowance, etc.) and desired destination on the load board, a web-based marketplace where subscribers of that board can search for empty trucks and available loads.
How does Joe the Owner-Operator use the load board to fill his truck?
Cue Mary, a transportation broker, who is also a business owner and who uses a load board. Her customers are shippers (like Amazon or Walmart) who work with third parties (brokers like Mary) to get their product from point A to B. Mary works primarily with refrigerated loads, and she has a list of loads each morning that she needs to move for her customers.
Mary needs to cover her freight quickly (ie. find a truck with a reliable driver) so that she meets her customer’s needs. She needs a driver with an empty, refrigerated truck who is currently near Albuquerque, New Mexico who wants to drive to Illinois to carry frozen pies.
Mary needs to find a driver for the pie load, so she posts her load on a load board, where she will begin to receive calls from interested drivers. She also calls on available trucks in the Albuquerque area and finds Joe.
After negotiating a fair rate and checking credentials, Mary and Joe agree to work together.
How does a load board help grow a business?
For Joe and Mary, less downtime means more money.
- If Joe’s truck stays empty, money is lost and Joe may need to work on weekends to make up the difference.
- Late shipments brokered for Mary means lost money and potentially a lost customer. Customers are Mary’s lifeline so it is essential that she keeps her customers happy.
When load boards were introduced, thousands of hours of efficiency were gained by facilitating the real-time connections like the one between Joe and Mary.
What else can a load board help with?
Load Boards are usually more than just a freight marketplace. Truckstop.com’s Load Board, for example, provides users with accurate and robust data within the load board to better their experience when freight matching.
For Joe and Mary, accurate data means more money. Here is an example:
- Because Joe sees the paid rates on his Truckstop.com account while he is talking to Mary, he knows the exact average rate paid for the New Mexico to Illinois lane. If Mary offers him a lower rate, he can point to the data to easily negotiate a fair rate based on real averages.
- For Mary, the same is true. If Joe wants a rate that is too high, she can easily point to paid rates to negotiate.
An easy way to think about load boards
Think of load boards as a data-informed matchmaker for the three main freight parties: broker, shipper and carrier.
- Owner-operators tell brokers where they are and where they want to go.
- Brokers post the loads they have available from shippers and find owner-operators.
- Shippers save time and earn more money when their goods are transported efficiently.
All parties are able to use data provided to protect their businesses and make informed decisions.
Win-win-win for everyone involved!
Could your business benefit from a load board?
Are you a small carrier, broker or shipper? If you are not yet using a load board, it may be something to consider if you are looking to grow your business.
Truckstop.com’s Load Board Pro version gives you VIP access to real-time data so you can increase your efficiencies and revenue across the board.