Starting a new trucking business can certainly be an exciting and rewarding experience. But in order to have profitable trucking operations, whether you’ll be working as an owner-operator or as part of a smaller trucking company, you’ll need to regularly find loads to grow your trucking business. Below, we go over some of the options to consider as you go in search of the loads and client relationships that will make your business grow.
Load boards are a popular and convenient online option for finding available loads. Sign up for a few load boards since no single board will give you access to all potential loads that could work well for your business. Further make your experience with load boards a positive one by:
Bonus tip: The DAT Load Board for truckers is a good place to get started with load boards. It’s available for download on Android and Apple devices.
If you prefer to eliminate the middleman and establish more direct connections with shippers, see what you can find locally. Prospective local clients can include anybody who ships on a regular basis.
Just be aware that some potential clients you may have in mind could already have established relationships or contracts with trucking companies or other owner-operators. Still, this doesn’t mean you can’t still work out a deal. For instance, a larger local shipper may appreciate getting a helping hand with smaller loads.
While every situation is different, some carriers recommend having at least half of your loads come from direct arrangements with clients. Granted, it may take a while to reach this point, but it’s a goal worth considering as you go about growing your business.
Bonus tip: If you haven’t done so already, determine a per-mile rate that’s fair but still allows you to, at the very least, break even.
Another way to find loads to grow your business is to work with a dispatch company. This can be especially appealing if you’re an owner-operator with limited time or a smaller operation preferring to spend more time on actually completing loads to further grow your business. A reputable dispatch company should be able to tailor its services to fit your needs and budget. Plus, you won’t have to spend so much time looking through load boards.
You may be surprised at how many connections you can make at trucking industry trade shows or similar events for people working in trucking-related businesses. If you have an event that interests you, come prepared with business cards to hand out that include your basic contact info.
There is no one single source for loads that’s going to be right for every owner-operator or anyone else running trucking operations. It’s often a combination of the options discussed here that results in steady work for newer trucking businesses.