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For companies and owner-operators established in the trucking industry, load boards are often only an option for occasional slow periods. But for smaller businesses, new start-ups, and owner-operators without a significant customer base, load boards are a common way to find new jobs. If you’re just starting to explore boards, you may be wondering if it’s really worth the effort. Realistically, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider when making your decision about boards.

Load Board Advantages

Boards can be an effective way to find loads in one convenient location if you’re fairly new to the industry. Plus, it can take time to directly contact shippers and iron out contract and load details. As you start getting loads, you’ll be able to build up your reputation and revenue. You’ll likely reach a point where you don’t have to rely solely on boards for loads as you get more regular customers. Additional advantages of using load boards include:

  • Availability 24-7
  • Easy accessibility from both iOS and Android mobile devices, which allows for board access while on the road
  •  Credit checks and other additional services are available on many of the reputable boards
  •  Sometimes boards can help reduce the amount of time/number of miles driving with an empty load (deadheading) if you choose loads closer to your location
  • Many boards are free to use (unless you choose to pay for the premium subscription)
  • Some of the broker companies have their own load boards which are free to use.

Load Board Disadvantages

Yes, boards can be a good resource for owner-operators. However, you’re more likely to up your profits by transitioning from boards to direct contacts with shippers. Some other potential drawbacks associated with boards include:

  • You’ll have to keep coming back to get loads, so it can be a time-consuming process
  •  Even with reputable boards, there’s always the risk of running into a shipper with some questionable practices
  • Popular boards have a lot of competition, so you may miss out on some of the more appealing loads
  • Rates offered are generally on the low side

Tips for Load Board Use

Start by doing some homework before choosing a load board. A good starting place is with reputable factoring companies like Pay4Freight. Many of these companies have their own boards. Check out posted reviews online to get an idea of what kind of experiences other users are having with boards you are considering.

Calculate your costs before taking loads to make sure you’ll be making a profit. If you’re low on funds, which is common with newer owner-operators, consider exploring freight factoring programs as you start taking loads to improve your cash flow.

As for your dealings with clients on boards, keep these tips in mind:

  • Check a broker’s credit before accepting a load
  • Stay away from brokers with little or no credit
  •  Confirm all details of the load before accepting it (e.g., how far you have to go to pick up the load, the total distance you’ll have to travel, and the nature of the load)

When used wisely, quality load boards can be an effective way to find new clients and develop mutually beneficial client relationships. And if you combine your use of boards with freight factoring programs, you could find yourself enjoying a better flow of work and revenue. Once you get established, however, the general consensus in the trucking industry is that it’s best to seek long-term relationships with shippers and use boards sparingly for times when you need to pick up some new loads.

Your trusted source for freight factoring programs, add-on services, and trucking industry resources is Pay4Freight. Take a moment to explore our website and learn more about how we can help you do what you do with added peace of mind.