As a freight broker, truck driver, or owner-operator, load boards are an essential tool to help you find available carriers for your freight needs.
However, with different pricing structures and features, it can be challenging to choose the right load board for your specific needs.
In this article, we will provide:
- An answer to “how much do load boards cost,” on average per month
- Insight into load board pricing structures, and how free boards make their money
- Key factors to consider when choosing the best trucking load boards
Then we will give answers to frequently asked questions about load boards.
Are load boards worth it?
Yes; typically costing anywhere from $35 to $150 per month for premium features, using load boards can certainly be worthwhile. This is particularly the case for industry newcomers, such as owner-operators and smaller carriers.
They’re also very useful for freight brokers seeking transport capacity on trucks. Load boards offer a wide variety of jobs, providing a diverse selection that can meet the needs and capacities of carriers and brokers. They also enable a reduction in empty runs, enhancing profits and ensuring vehicles are used to their maximum potential.
Furthermore, load boards provide valuable flexibility by enabling carriers to locate freight that aligns with their schedules, preferred routes, and the type of equipment they manage. Beyond these functional advantages, load boards can serve as an important networking tool. They offer the opportunity to connect with a larger network of shippers and freight brokers. This can lead to business relationships that may not have been established otherwise.
However, while load boards offer numerous benefits, they should be considered as part of a well-rounded business strategy. Establishing direct, long-lasting relationships with shippers and brokers often results in more consistent, reliable work. Thus, while load boards can present valuable opportunities, they shouldn’t be the sole resource relied upon for business growth and sustainability.
Understanding load board pricing structures
There are several different types of pricing structures for load boards. Here are the most common ones:
This model charges users a flat fee for access to the load board for a certain period of time, like monthly or annually. This is typically the most cost-effective pricing plan for frequent users. Some of the best load boards feature this pricing structure.
Some of the best load boards for owner-operators offer pay-per-use. With this model, users pay a fee for each load or transaction they engage in on the load board. This is generally the best option for occasional users who don’t need frequent access to the platform.
This model charges users a percentage of the price of each load they book through the load board. It’s commonly used by brokers and shippers who want to offload some of their financial risks to the load board provider.
This model offers users different pricing tiers based on their level of usage. Typically, the more loads a user books through the platform, the lower their per-load fee will be. This is a flexible pricing structure that can accommodate a wide range of users and their unique needs.
There are also some free truck load boards. Some load boards are free to use. While these can be a cost-effective option, they may not have as many features or as functionality as paid load boards. Read how the best free load boards make their money below.
Remember to consider not only the cost but also the features and reliability of the load board when choosing which one to use. The cheapest option may not always be the best one if it doesn’t meet your business needs.
How free load boards make their money
As mentioned, some load boards are free to basic users. Instead of charging fees or commissions, they make their money in various other ways, including:
These may include access to:
- Premium posting options
- Detailed credit reporting capabilities
- Shippers’ and brokers’ payment histories
- Advanced search tools and filters
Advertising and partnering
Some load boards also make money through advertising and partnerships with third-party service providers.
For example, let’s say a load board company makes a deal to advertise a factoring company’s services throughout their site. In return, the load board company receives a commission for each new factoring customer it sends to its partner.
Fees for special access
Additionally, even the best trucker load boards may charge a fee for accessing certain loads or for transactions processed through their platform.
What to consider when choosing a load board
- Cost: Be sure to compare the pricing structures of different load boards to determine their affordability, whether it’s a monthly subscription, a per-load fee, or a combination of both. Research the freight broker profit margin.
- Reputation: The best truck load boards have a trustworthy reputation and positive user reviews.
- User-friendliness: Consider load boards that are easy to navigate and filter results.
- Customer support: Consider the availability and quality of customer support provided by load board companies.
- Load volume: Choose shipper load boards that have ample loads available in your preferred lanes and regions, particularly if you are an owner-operator or a small carrier.
- Load type: Some load boards specialize in certain types of freight, such as flatbeds, reefers, or dry vans. Search up “load boards for pickup trucks”, etc.
- Data accuracy: Good load boards for trucking companies must have accurate and up-to-date load and rate data to prevent wasted time and resources.
- Integration: Consider whether the load board you choose can integrate with your existing software systems to streamline operations.
Be sure to visit our Complete guide to load boards for further information.
Read more in our “Getting the most out of load boards” article series
- Pros and cons of using load boards for trucking companies
- How much do load boards cost?
- Top tips for booking profitable loads
- How to stand out from the competition on truck load boards
They typically earn between 10% to 20% of the total load cost. Freight broker commission can vary, though, based on the specific agreement and the complexity of the service.
Top load boards can vary depending on individual needs and capabilities. To help narrow it down, read this breakdown of the best load boards for truckers, based on truck type.
A load board is an online marketplace where shippers and freight brokers can post their available loads that need to be transported. Trucking companies and independent truckers can then search these postings and bid on jobs that fit their schedule, equipment, and preferred routes.
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