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How to find the highest paying truck loads

According to a 2022 update released by the American Transportation Research Institute, the marginal costs of trucking have risen to $1.855 per mile since 2020. To keep pace with rising costs, you need to find higher paying freight loads, avoid deadheading whenever possible and optimize your routes.

Dodging deadhead trips and streamlining routes is fairly straightforward, but locating the highest paying truck loads can be a tough task. Fortunately, these seven surefire tips for finding lucrative truck loads near you can help.

Why truck drivers need to know how to find the highest paying truck loads

While it may be tempting to just bid on loads to haul and take whatever comes your way, searching for the highest paying jobs is the better approach. When you don’t take the time to find high paying freight to haul, you’re selling yourself short and minimizing your profitability.

With fuel, parts and insurance all on the rise, it’s vital that you make as much profit as possible every single time you hook up to a load. By comparing loads and finding top-paying freight, you can maximize your earning potential and grow your business. 

7 tips for finding the highest paying truck loads

Here are a few pointers for landing more high paying truck loads that are worth your while.

Know the different types of truck loads and associated rates

Certain types of truck loads, like oversized or heavy haul freight, pay more. As you start exploring available loads, start paying attention to which types of freight pay better. Make a mental list of loads you’re eligible for and prioritize these jobs when looking for freight to haul.

If the type of loads you’re equipped to haul doesn’t pay well, consider obtaining a new endorsement or purchasing additional equipment. In the world of trucking, the options are limitless, assuming you’re willing to put in the work.

Use load boards

Load boards are every owner-operator and small trucking business owner’s best friend. A load board is a tool you can use to search for available loads based on specific criteria, such as load type, location or pickup date. 

You can find free load boards. However, subscription-based load boards tend to offer a broader selection of shipments and provide better tools so you can pinpoint jobs that align with your business goals. 

Connect with brokers

Load boards are a great resource, but you still have to do the legwork of finding and bidding on loads. To eliminate this hassle, connect with a freight broker for owner-operators. As their name suggests, brokers will orchestrate deals on your behalf and take a small portion of the profits as payment.

While the idea of giving up some of your profits may make you hesitant to partner with a broker, remember that you’re their client. In other words, it’s in their best interest to get you high paying jobs so you’ll keep using their services. 

Build a network

You’ll form many useful business relationships in the logistics world over time. If you want to earn more and find higher paying loads, it’s wise to put these relationships to use.

Build a network of shippers and brokers based on mutual trust. Using multiple brokers or forming direct partnerships with shippers can help you obtain better contracts without going through the headache of bidding for loads. 

Research market rates

Market rates are continuously changing. By staying up to speed on the latest rates, you can negotiate with shippers and land high paying truck loads.

While negotiating may not be your thing, presenting shippers with hard statistics is a great way of encouraging them to up their rates to align with the market average. If they continue to undercut rates, use our other tips and take your services elsewhere.

Be available for time-sensitive loads

When shippers are stressed for time, they’re usually willing to pay higher rates for truck loads. If you want to earn these good-paying jobs, all you have to do is be available.

While shippers may post time-sensitive jobs any time, we suggest paying close attention to load boards on Fridays and Saturdays. Remember, clients who are desperate to get a load picked up often wait until the last minute to increase rates. 

Take on heavy hauls

Heavy hauls almost always pay higher than standard loads because of the added work involved. If you have capacity to take on larger loads, consider taking them every now and then to boost revenue.

You should also explore other higher paying loads, such as hazmat freight or oversized loads. Like heavy hauls, these loads pay more than your standard truckload and flatbed shipments.

Time to start bidding on top-paying truck loads

That rounds out our list of tips for finding the highest paying truck loads. All that’s left for you to do now is start bidding on lucrative jobs in your service area.

If you want to get creative and optimize your earning potential, consider combining some of the tactics listed above. For instance, you could use a load board to find a time-sensitive heavy haul.

Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to setting new revenue records for your trucking business. 


What truckload pays the most?

Heavy hauls, oversized loads and time-sensitive shipments tend to pay the best. But desperate shippers may pay a premium for standard freight if they’re having trouble finding a carrier. 

How do I find good-paying hotshot loads?

Load boards are great for finding all sorts of freight shipments, including hotshot loads. If you specialize in hotshots, find a load board that features these types of shipments and start searching until you find a contract that pays well.

What is the best time to check load boards?

You should be checking load boards early and often just about every day. It’s also a good idea to check the load boards late on Friday afternoons if you want to land time-sensitive, high paying jobs.

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