FreightWaves Ratings cuts through the noise of freight technology product reviews to make you a smarter buyer

Complete guide to load boards

Do you want to learn more about load boards and how they can benefit truck drivers, owner-operators and freight brokers? This guide is perfect for anyone interested in truck driving jobs, whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out.

In this specially curated collection of articles, you’ll learn everything you need to know about load boards, including:

  • How they work 
  • How to make money using them 
  • Tips for finding high-paying truck loads and bidding on shipping load bidding sites 
  • The best freight broker load boards for truckers and direct shippers 
  • Evaluation criteria for selecting the right ones for your needs

And along the way, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked load board questions. Let’s get started. 

Quicklook: FreightWaves Ratings articles included in this guide

What is a load board?

A load board is an online platform where shippers and carriers (trucking companies or owner-operators) can find and book loads. Shippers or brokers post jobs for carriers to bid on, effectively matching truck capacity with freight in need of transport. 

Freight broker bidding sites usually charge a fee to carriers, either on a per load or monthly subscription basis. In contrast, shippers typically use the service for free. Load boards range from nationwide marketplaces with thousands of loads, to niche boards for specific industries, regions or truck types.

Load boards can be a great way for carriers to find new customers and keep trucks running at full capacity. However, it’s important to understand how they work to find the best fit for your business.

For more in-depth information about load boards, including costs, examples and other considerations, read “What is a load board?

How to make money using a load board

Now that you understand what load boards are for, you may wonder if using one makes sense for your business. The article How to make money using a load board explains four considerations to bear in mind.

On a high level, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • When bidding on freight loads, be sure to negotiate rates with freight carriers. Doing so can help you secure better pricing and maximize your profit margins.
  • Build strong relationships with carriers and customers alike. By providing exceptional service and communication, you can keep customers happy and keep them coming back.
  • When it comes to finding loads for truck drivers, stay up-to-date on the best load boards and current industry trends. Understanding new regulations and market fluctuations keeps you competitive.

How to bid on shipping loads

If you’re thinking about sourcing jobs from a load board, you should know what to expect before diving in. The process will vary from board to board, but read How to bid on shipping loads for detailed pointers. It offers several tips for increasing the value of your services as you begin using a load board.

In the meantime, to ensure you get the most out of any load board, there are two main points to remember. First, clear and concise communication with both broker and shipper is essential. Be sure that you fully understand their specific needs and requirements. Doing so will help you provide accurate and competitive pricing on freight bidding boards.

And second, research the best freight bidding software and current market conditions. This will facilitate your understanding of the demand for each type of transport. You can then adjust your bidding rates accordingly and remain competitive in the market.

When it comes down to it, successful load bidding requires many things. Market knowledge, effective communication skills, and the ability to provide added value are at the top of the list. By utilizing these strategies, you will increase your chances of winning profitable shipping loads and growing your trucking business.

The best load boards

With the basics out of the way, it’s time to figure out which load boards make sense for your business. In the article Best load boards for truckers, we review seven of the best options across a variety of categories. Whether you’re looking for specialized or last-minute loads, or need a free or low-cost option, we’ve got you covered.

To help you evaluate your choices, consider the following:

  1. The type of loads you typically haul and the regions you operate in. Some load boards may have more loads available in certain regions or industries than others.
  2. Next, look at the user interfaces and features of each load board in the running. Can you easily search for loads and filter results based on your preferences? Are there additional tools or resources available, such as weather and traffic updates, or payment and invoicing options?
  3. You’ll also want to look into the pricing structure and fees associated with each load board. Some may charge a flat monthly fee, while others take a percentage of the load payment as commission.
  4. Finally, consider each board’s customer support capabilities and user reputation. Do your top choices have strong track records of connecting carriers with quality loads and reliable shippers? Do they offer support if you encounter any issues or have questions about their service?   

Direct shipper load boards

Outside of traditional load boards, some carriers also choose to work with direct shipper load boards. The best trucking load boards for direct shipping connect carriers directly with shippers. 

By cutting out the middleman, they potentially offer higher paying loads. On the other hand, direct shipper load boards may require more paperwork and communication between carriers and shippers. Read Best direct shipper load board for the top options across a variety of categories.

Generally speaking, when considering a direct shipper load board, look for one that offers easy communication and payment processes. The best options will offer a variety of different shippers and types of loads. Some examples of direct shipper load boards include Uber Freight and Convoy. Ultimately, the best load board for your business will depend on your specific needs and preferences. 

Load boards from A to Z

There are many ways to increase the profitability of your trucking business. Up-to-date market expertise and effective communication skills go a long way, no matter your specific business strategy.

But on a tactical level, drivers of any experience level can benefit from using load boards to keep trucks filled. With a thorough understanding of what load boards do, how to use them and how to find the best ones, you’re better positioned to benefit from them. Persistence and strategic planning will bring you more profitable loads that will keep your trucking business thriving for a long time!


What load boards pay the most?

The answer depends on many factors. Fee structures and commissions vary, and the types of loads you’re willing and able to carry may be a consideration. Experts recommend relying on more than one board to find the most profitable loads.

How do I get access to trucking load boards?

Load boards can be accessed by registering for an account, either online or via a mobile app. Some load boards are free, but most charge carriers on a per-load or monthly basis.

What is a freight board?

A freight board, also known as a load board, is an online platform where shippers and carriers (trucking companies or owner-operators) can find and book loads. Shippers or brokers post jobs for carriers to bid on, effectively matching truck capacity with freight in need of transport.

Sign up for a FreightWaves e-newsletter to stay informed of all news and trends impacting supply chain careers and operations.

Find Your Next Load Now.

One load board. Unlimited opportunities! Truckstop Load Board Pro gives you freedom, flexibility, and control to run your business your way.