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6 top tips for booking profitable freight loads

In today’s world, load boards have become a popular resource for truckers to find and bid on available freight loads. However, using load boards can have both positive and negative financial impacts.

In this article, we’ll dive deep into load boards and offer essential tips for maximizing per-load profits. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about load boards and the trucking industry. Whether you’re a seasoned owner-operator or a prospective truck driver, keep reading to learn how to maximize your income in the freight industry.

And when you’re finished, check out the other articles in our ‘Getting the most out of load boards’ article series:

What are load boards and how do they work?

Load boards are online marketplaces that connect shippers, brokers, and carriers in the freight industry. They are platforms that list available shipments from shippers seeking transport so carriers can bid on them. Truck drivers select which loads to bid on based on criteria like route preferences, equipment capabilities, and rates offered.

Load boards provide a convenient and efficient way for shippers to find available carriers and for carriers to find available shipments.

Depending on the provider, they may offer a range of services to trucking businesses, including:

  • Payment processing
  • Documentation management
  • Real-time tracking of shipments

Load boards also provide useful tools and features for shippers and carriers, such as customized search filters, truck freight rates, payment guarantees, and review systems.

Overall, load boards are an essential part of the freight industry, providing a platform for shippers and carriers to efficiently connect and do business.

Pros and cons of using load boards 


  • Access to loads: Load boards provide a wide range of available loads, making it easier to find and secure jobs.
  • Reduced empty runs: By matching with loads efficiently, truckers can reduce empty runs, optimizing vehicle usage and profitability.
  • Flexibility: Truckers can find freight that matches their schedules, preferred routes, and the type of equipment they operate.
  • Market insight: Load boards can provide an understanding of current market rates for different routes and loads.
  • Network expansion: Truckers can connect with a larger pool of shippers and freight brokers, potentially leading to new business relationships.


  • High competition: Many truckers use load boards, leading to high competition and potentially lower rates.
  • Depersonalized relationships: Relying heavily on load boards can prevent truckers from developing long-term, personal relationships with shippers or freight brokers.
  • Potential for scams: Not all load boards vet their users thoroughly, leading to potential risks of fraud or scams.
  • Subscription fees: Some load boards charge high subscription fees, which can be a burden, particularly for independent operators or small companies.
  • Dependency: Over-reliance on load boards can lead to a reactive business model, always chasing loads instead of strategically planning routes and loads.

How to calculate trucking rates and bid appropriately on loads

There are some general steps to follow when properly calculating rates and bidding on loads.

  1. Determine your costs

Before you bid on loads to haul, you need to know your costs. This includes everything from fuel expenses to maintenance and repairs of your truck. Determine your average freight cost per mile with a trucking rates calculator.

  1. Research the market rates

Once you know your costs, research the market truck loads rates for the type of load you’re bidding on. Look at industry publications and online load boards. Then contact freight brokers to get an idea of what other carriers are charging for similar loads. 

  1. Assess the load characteristics

Consider the distance, weight, and time sensitivity of the load when you bid to ship. Loads that require a quick turnaround or are particularly heavy may require a higher rate.

  1. Set your rate

Based on your trucking costs, full truckload rates at market, and load characteristics, set your rate. Make sure you’re pricing your services competitively while still covering your costs and leaving room for profit.   

  1. Submit your bid

Once you’ve determined your rate, submit your bid to the broker or shipper. Make sure you include all relevant information, such as your rate, the estimated time of delivery, and any restrictions or requirements you may have. 

  1. Negotiate

If the initial offer is not accepted, be prepared to negotiate. Be willing to make concessions, such as offering a lower rate for a higher volume of loads, to secure a profitable business relationship with the broker or shipper.

6 tips for finding profitable freight loads

Every trucker wants to find the highest paying truck loads. Here are some tips for booking the best load board jobs.

Build a niche

One way to increase your profitability is to focus on niche markets. Specializing in a certain type of freight can help you find high-paying loads. For example, hauling hazardous materials or oversized loads can pay more than regular cargo.

Foster good relationships

Relationships are everything. Develop relationships with brokers when you bid on shipping. They act as intermediaries between shippers and carriers. Developing a good relationship with a broker can help you get high-paying loads consistently.

Understand market rates

It’s also critical to know your pricing. Research the market rates for different types of freight and know your costs. This will help you negotiate better rates in your trucking contract bids for the highest paying freight loads.

Use technology

Another idea for booking loads that are profitable is to use load-matching software. It can help you find the best loads that match your route and equipment. It can also help you avoid low-paying loads by filtering out loads that don’t meet your criteria.

Avoid the spot market

Be careful to avoid spot market loads when you bid on freight. These are loads that are posted for immediate pickup by carriers. They often pay low rates because there is a high number of carriers bidding for them.

Minimize deadhead miles

Lastly, consider deadhead miles when you bid on shipments. These are the miles you drive without a load. Try to minimize them by finding loads that take you to your next destination. This will enable you to maximize your profit in competitive hauling. 

Turn more profit with freight load boards

Using freight boards effectively can make all the difference in your trucking business. Understand how to maximize the advantages they offer and keep an eye out for the potential disadvantages. Using the tips mentioned above, you can ensure that you’re earning as much as possible for all the work you put into your business.


How can I find loads for pickup trucks?

Finding loads for pickup trucks can be done through various online load boards and freight marketplaces that cater to light-duty trucks and smaller loads. The best load boards for pickup trucks can be found in this article.

How do freight brokers find loads?

Freight brokers primarily find loads through relationships with shippers who need goods transported. They also utilize load boards, which are online platforms where shippers post their loads that need to be moved. Additionally, they may use industry connections, networking, and marketing efforts to identify new opportunities and potential clients.

What is a freight dispatcher?

A freight dispatcher (also called a logistics dispatcher) is an individual who manages the transportation of goods or cargo for a company or an individual. Their main responsibility is to coordinate the movement of freight from one place to another on load boards for dispatchers, ensuring that it reaches its destination on time and within budget. 

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