Load board bidding can be tough for owner-operators and truck drivers looking to secure profitable loads.
Freight brokers are constantly on the lookout for bids that offer them the best value, and the competition to bid on freight loads is fierce.
In this article, we’ll explore:
- What freight brokers look for in carrier bids
- How owner-operators can stand out from the crowd on load boards
- Tips for truck drivers to make their rates more competitive
Whether you’re a truck driver or freight broker looking for insights, read on to learn more about load board bidding. And when you’re done, be sure to 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 trucking load boards
How do load boards work?
Load boards are typically used by two main groups: freight brokers and trucking companies (or independent owner-operators).
Freight brokers act as intermediaries between shippers (those who have goods to transport) and carriers (those who provide transportation). Brokers search load boards to find loads that match the capabilities and schedules of the carriers they represent. They bid on these loads with the aim to secure a profitable transportation deal.
Trucking companies and independent truckers are the carriers who will physically transport the goods. They use load boards to find loads that match their equipment, preferred routes, and scheduling. Carriers will bid on the loads they’re interested in, hoping to secure jobs that will minimize their empty miles (when a truck is traveling without carrying a load) and maximize their profits.
Both groups are competing for the best loads, making the process very competitive. It’s essentially an open marketplace, with carriers and brokers bidding to win the transportation contracts posted by shippers.
What freight brokers look for in carrier bids
Freight brokers typically look for the following things in carrier bids:
- Competitive pricing: Brokers want carriers to quote prices that are fair and competitive. They will compare quotes from several carriers to ensure they are getting the best price for their clients.
- Good communication: Freight brokers prefer carriers that are easy to communicate with and respond promptly to their inquiries. Good communication helps to ensure that the shipment is delivered on time and according to the client’s specifications.
- Experience: Typically brokers look for carriers with experience handling the specific type of freight they’re trying to ship. Experienced carriers are less likely to have accidents or delays and are more likely to have all the necessary equipment and resources.
- Strong safety record: A good safety record is important to brokers. Using a carrier with few accidents or violations helps to ensure that their shipments are delivered safely and without incident.
- Capacity: Brokers need carriers that have the capacity to handle the shipment. They will look for carriers that have the right type and number of trucks to handle the job.
- Insurance coverage: Adequate insurance coverage is a must for brokers, who want tto protect the shipment in case of damage or loss.
- Reliability: Brokers want carriers that are reliable and dependable. They count on carriers to deliver shipments on time and in good condition.
How owner-operators can differentiate themselves
There are many ways that an owner-operator can stand out on the top load boards when they bid on freight loads.
Great customer service
To provide great customer service on the best truck load boards, be sure to:
- Respond to load postings quickly
- Communicate effectively
- Arrive on time
This will help to build trust with clients, and in turn, will help get more repeat businesses.
Price your services competitively when you bid on shipping loads, without significantly undercutting the competition. To offer competitive prices:
- Monitor competitors’ pricing
- Offer discounts and promotions
- Optimize your operations to reduce costs and increase efficiency
- Leverage technology
Remaining competitive is one of the best ways to make money with a truck.
Provide specialized and value-adding services
Wondering how to make money with a truck? On broker load boards, offer services like:
- Expedited shipping
- Temperature-controlled transportation
- Hazardous material shipping
- Loading and unloading assistance
- Logistics planning
Build a strong online presence
To build a strong online presence, have a professional website and social media presence to increase brand awareness and credibility.
Invest in technology
Use advanced software and equipment to track routes, monitor fuel consumption, and share real-time data with clients. Consider using the following, for instance:
- GPS navigational systems
- Mobile apps
- Transportation management systems (TMS)
These technologies can help truckers remain competitive, improve efficiencies, decrease costs on freight contracts, and enhance overall operations.
Establish strong relationships with customers and brokers to earn their trust and loyalty, and in turn, win freight contracts.
Some ways in which an owner-operator can build relationships:
- Communicate regularly
- Provide great customer service
- Offer special deals and fair prices
- Listen to feedback
This will help you to improve your services when you bid on freight contracts and help you to build stronger relationships over time. Read more about how load boards can help you build a strong customer base.
Be a load board stand-out
To stand out while bidding on a load board freight shipping contract, you need to differentiate yourself and make your business more attractive to potential clients.
Make sure you’re providing high-quality service to your clients on load boards for brokers. Responding quickly to requests, delivering on time, and communicating effectively about freight bids can help you build a positive reputation. With a few adjustments, you’ll soon be on your way to winning more loads and building a more profitable business.
To bid on shipping loads, first you need to register with an online load board platform, providing information about your trucking company or brokerage. Once registered, you can search for available loads that fit your equipment, preferred routes, and scheduling, and then place a bid on those loads with a proposed price and service terms. The shipper will review all bids and select a carrier based on factors like price, reputation, and delivery time.
Load boards can certainly be worth it, particularly for smaller carriers or independent owner-operators who are looking for loads to transport. They provide a convenient and centralized marketplace for finding freight, can help minimize empty miles, and allow truckers to maximize their revenue. However, their effectiveness largely depends on the user’s strategy, their ability to sift through loads for profitable ones, and their capacity to negotiate good rates.
While load boards provide opportunities, they also have disadvantages. The competition on load boards can be fierce, often leading to lower freight rates due to carriers undercutting each other’s bids. Additionally, some load boards may charge high subscription fees. There’s also the risk of encountering dishonest shippers or brokers, as not all load boards vet their users. Lastly, relying too heavily on load boards can prevent carriers from developing long-term relationships with shippers, who can provide more steady and predictable work.
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