What are load boards and how do they work?

March 21, 2023

One of the most common questions that we hear from truckers who first discover SmartHop is, “Are you a load board?”

While SmartHop is not a load board in itself, we do partner with a variety of industry load boards to help you earn more with fewer headaches. Keep reading to learn more about load boards, including what they are, how they work, and the role they play in your SmartHop experience.

What are load boards?

‍Having access to the right loads can make or break your independent trucking business, especially with operational costs on the rise. Typically, large or legacy trucking companies work off of long-term contractual agreements to move freight consistently. However, when operating under your own authority, you are responsible for finding your own freight on the spot market. To do this, you can either work with a broker directly or use a load board.

If you’re a seasoned trucker navigating the spot market, you’ve likely used load boards at some point in your career. If you’re just getting started in the trucking industry, a load board is an online marketplace that allows shippers and brokers to connect with carriers to move their freight. Some are free to use, while others charge a monthly subscription fee for more advanced features.

Why use a load board?

‍Load boards are mutually beneficial for carriers and brokers. Without load boards, each broker would need to have an existing relationship with multiple carriers and a strong understanding of their trucks and preferences. Additionally, calling each carrier directly to see if they’re able to move each load would be time-consuming.

‍Load boards enable brokers to match with a variety of different carriers to meet their needs in real-time. In turn, this opens up new opportunities for truckers to pick and choose from a larger pool of load options.‍

How do load boards work?

‍Load boards give you the opportunity to find work quickly. You can either post your trucks or search available load options, filtering by details such as location, rate, and load type. Once you find a load that you like, the next step is to call the broker to negotiate a fair price. This is a great way to build new relationships and make valuable connections for your business. When the rate is agreed upon and you’ve been onboarded with the broker, you’ll receive the load details and head out to pick up the freight from the shipper. ‍

How does SmartHop partner with load boards?

‍SmartHop is a full-service solution that gives truckers access to better opportunities while allowing them to remain independent. We do this through our smart dispatching service and by offering programs designed to lower your operating expenses to ensure profitability.

‍Load boards are essential to creating a great experience for SmartHop customers. That’s because, while load boards bring together loads and make the process of booking a load more efficient, SmartHop helps you decide which of those loads is the right choice for your unique business and goals. From helping you plan a load strategy that will enable you to earn the most money and prevent empty miles to supporting you every step of the way, we have your back.

When should you use SmartHop?

‍SmartHop can be used in conjunction with the trucking load boards you prefer. It might be the right solution for you if:

  • You want to plan a long-term strategy: You’ll see the best results and highest profits if you use SmartHop on a regular basis with a long-term strategy in place. That’s because our technology predicts hot lanes and recommends the right moves to optimize your monthly profits. Although we work hard to set you up for success, you know what’s best for your business so we never force dispatch.‍
  • You enjoy running under your own authority but want additional support: Operating independently can be expensive and stressful. With SmartHop, you’ll enjoy the freedom of running your own business while benefiting from 24/7 support, including driver assistance. Our partner network can also help you save on operating costs, like fuel, insurance, and quick pay services.
  • You’re new to the industry or want help negotiating rates: Not all brokers are willing to work with smaller or less established trucking companies. SmartHop alleviates this by giving you access to high-quality loads, regardless of your size or years of experience. You can also take advantage of the scale of our network to supercharge your negotiating power. We monitor market rates to ensure that you always get what you deserve. ‍

How much does SmartHop cost to use?

We charge a 3% fee per load booked, the lowest cost in the industry for full-service dispatching. While this is an additional expense, we’ve found that our customers earn 68% more than the industry average and our service ends up paying for itself.

Customer Jose Rodriguez of Millennial Mindset Transport LLC is a perfect example of this. “When I started driving, I was self-dispatching, but that’s a lot for one person, so I decided to try SmartHop,” he shares. “It didn’t take long before I started seeing equal or more revenue, even after their fee. With SmartHop, I’m making more money and saving time — for me, it’s a no-brainer.”

SmartHop customers also have the option to add on additional services to help reduce operating costs. Your SmartHop representative can help you decide what makes the most sense for your business.

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