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Load boards for owner-operators: Building a customer base

Are you an owner-operator or prospective truck driver looking to build a customer base? Are you wondering how to get loads for trucks?

One of the most effective ways to do so is by using load boards.

In this article, we’ll discuss how load boards work, their importance for owner-operators and the benefits of having a customer base.

We’ll also share tips on how to use load boards to build your customer base and answer frequently asked questions. This will help provide you with a better understanding of how load boards for owner-operators can contribute to your business’s growth.

How do owner-operators use load boards?

Load boards are online platforms where shippers and brokers post their available truck loading jobs for carriers to browse and book.

Owner-operators can use load boards to find available loads that match their equipment and route preferences. This enables them to fill their trucks and keep their businesses moving.

Load boards are especially valuable for owner-operators who don’t have the resources or connections to secure contracts with shippers directly. Some aren’t sure how to find loads for trucks.

By using load boards, owner-operators can access a wide range of potential customers and avoid losing money on empty miles.

Why do owner-operators use load boards?

Owner-operators — independent truck drivers that own and operate their own trucks — use load boards for many reasons, such as:

  1. Finding loads – Load boards provide owner-operators with a centralized platform to find available loads or freight that needs to be transported.
  2. Filling empty backhauls – Owner-operators often face the challenge of finding a return load or a backhaul after delivering a load to its destination. Load boards help them identify loads that need to be transported from the destination to their origin or nearby locations. This enables them to maximize earnings and reduce empty miles.
  3. Accessing a wide range of loads – Load boards can offer owner-operators access to a diverse range of loads and freight types. This can enable owner-operators to diversify their businesses and take on loads that best match their equipment and expertise.
  4. Flexibility and independence – Owner-operators value their independence and flexibility in choosing the loads they want to transport. Load boards provide them with the freedom to select loads that fit their preferences, schedule, and business strategy, without being tied to long-term contracts or commitments.
  5. Efficient communication and documentation – Load boards typically provide communication and documentation tools, such as messaging systems, document exchange, and load tracking.

Overall, load boards can be a valuable resource for owner-operators, ultimately supporting their business operations and earnings.

How do load boards help build a customer base?

By leveraging load boards effectively, owner-operators can establish and expand their customer bases, and earn repeat business. Over time this will lead to increased opportunities and revenue.

Some of the advantages load boards offer to owner-operators seeking more customers include:

  • Increased visibility – Load boards are a platform for owner-operators to showcase their services to a range of shippers, brokers and logistics companies. This can help them establish initial contacts and build relationships with new customers.
  • Diverse load options – Boards often offer diverse loads and freight types from different shippers and brokers. By taking on a variety of jobs and serving different customers, owner-operators can expand their customer base and diversify.
  • More efficient communications – Load boards typically provide communication tools, such as messaging systems, which allow owner-operators to communicate with shippers and brokers directly. This enables efficient and direct communication, allowing owner-operators to establish rapport, negotiate rates, and discuss load details with potential customers. Timely and effective communication can help build trust and rapport, leading to long-term business relationships.
  • Availability of feedback and ratings: Many load boards have feedback and ratings systems, which can enhance owner-operator reputations and help them attract more customers.
  • Data and analytic resources – Some load boards provide data and analytics on load trends, market rates, and customer preferences. By analyzing such data, owner-operators can gain insights into customer demands, market dynamics, and pricing trends. These, in turn, enable them to make more informed decisions on which customers to target and how.

Overall, owner-operator load boards are an essential tool for owner-operators looking to build their customer base and maintain a profitable business.

What are the best load boards for owner-operators?

There are so many load boards for owner operators to choose from. We recommend these:

By leveraging these load boards, you can find new opportunities, build lasting relationships and secure future success in the industry.

What is the relationship between owner-operators and customers?

Owner-operators depend on customers for their business success because customers provide work and generate revenue. Building and maintaining good customer relationships is important, as satisfied customers are likely to return and refer other potential customers. This can lead to increased opportunities and a positive reputation within the industry.

On the other hand, customers rely on owner-operators to transport their goods or their customers’ goods. They expect owner-operators to deliver goods safely, efficiently, and on time. Good communication, reliability, and professionalism are important factors in the relationship between owner-operators and customers. They help establish trust and foster a positive working relationship.

Overall, the relationship between owner-operators and customers is one of interdependence. Mutually beneficial relationships between owner-operators and customers can lead to long-term business success for both parties.

Why is it important for owner-operators to have a customer base?

Having a solid customer base is crucial for owner-operators to sustain their business and generate revenue. Without customers, there would be no loads to haul, and therefore no income.

  • Having a steady stream of direct shipper loads provides stability for your business and reduces the risk of income fluctuations.
  • A loyal customer base also helps owner-operators develop a reputation for reliability and expertise in their field.
  • A satisfied customer can lead to referrals and recommendations, which can attract new customers and expand your business.
  • A diverse customer base can provide opportunities for owner-operators. You can find ways to specialize in specific industries or types of cargo. This can lead to increased profits.

Building and maintaining a customer base is a crucial aspect of success in the trucking industry, allowing owner-operators to generate revenue, establish a positive reputation, and grow your business.

How to get loads for trucks

Load boards for owner-operators are easy to find and use. For detailed instructions on how to use a load board, read How to bid on shipping loads effectively.

Once you have an account and know how to bid on loads, you can build a strong customer base by:

  • Offering competitive rates
  • Providing excellent customer service
  • Delivering freight reliably and on time
  • Establishing a positive reputation to gain repeat business
  • Connecting with shippers and brokers in your preferred industries or regions
  • Building specialized expertise

Additionally, you can use load board data to analyze market trends and adjust their services and rates accordingly. This can help the best shippers to stay competitive, and to attract new customers.

Expand your customer base with load boards

Ultimately, load boards can be a valuable tool for owner-operators looking to build their business and find new freight opportunities. Make sure you understand the different types of load boards available, and choose the one that best suits your business. By utilizing load boards effectively and consistently, owner-operators can position themselves for success in a competitive industry.


How does an owner-operator find loads?

Owner-operators can search for available loads on load boards based on their preferences, such as location, distance, and pay rate. They can then directly contact shippers or brokers to negotiate rates and secure loads.

Can owner-operators book their own loads?

Yes, owner-operators have the ability to book their own loads. Booking loads involves finding available freight shipments and securing them for transport using their own trucks.

What is a load board?

Load boards, sometimes called freight boards, are free or subscription resources that enable drivers to search for loads meeting a specific set of criteria. Since each empty or underfilled mile traveled cuts into profitability, even contracted drivers on regular lanes should be prepared to use them when space is available.

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