Last month’s Becoming an Owner Operator blog post explained the advantages and disadvantages of being on a master insurance policy. This week’s post will discuss load boards.
Load Board Flashback.
Before the new age of technology, load boards were physical screens found in truck stops. These screens displayed a seemingly endless scroll of available loads, along with the broker information, a telephone number to call, the type of trailer needed to haul the load, and the origin and destination of the load.
On any given day, a crowd of truckers would be huddled around the screen, waiting to find a load that met his/her trailer capabilities and was destined for either a well-paid location or home.
When a load popped up that you were interested in, you had to quick jot down the phone number, rush to the nearest payphone, and pray both that you were the first caller and that the pay was good. If not, back to the screen you would go.
Today’s Load Boards.
Today, a load board is typically an online site where owner operators find loads posted by shippers and freight brokers. Sometimes, online load boards also have a Smartphone App option, enabling truck drivers to find loads without having to physically be seated at a computer with an Internet connection. The load boards of today can also be filtered by origin/destination, trailer type, and other determining criteria.
Public vs. Private Load Boards
The type of load board you are able to use depends, in part, on whether you are leased onto a motor carrier or operate under your own authority.
If you are leased onto a motor carrier, then you most likely will have access to your motor carrier’s internal load board. The loads on this site have been found for you by your motor carrier, making it easier to secure a load since you are only competing with other drivers leased onto your same motor carrier. Dispatch may also assist you in locating a load.
On the flip-side, owner operators who operate under their own authority must rely solely on public load boards. The competition is much fiercer as the supply of loads doesn’t always match the demand from truck drivers using the website. Additionally, public load boards vary depending on whether they’re free to use or require a subscription.
Free vs. Paid Load Boards
If you’re operating under your own authority, you need to decide whether or not you want to pay to subscribe to a load board or rely solely on free ones.
Subscription-based load boards will usually have better quality loads and will also typically display the payout on the site.
Free load boards differ in that they tend to be cheap freight and require you to call the broker to find out the rates.
If you’ve taken in all of the financial considerations of becoming an owner operator and have it in your budget to subscribe to a load board, then it may be in your best interest since quality freight is becoming hard to come by.
If you’re interest in learning more about becoming an owner operator or have any questions about trucking insurance, contact Truck Writers today!