For new owner-operators who don’t have a long list of direct shipper contacts yet, load boards can be a great tool to keep the truck moving. Load boards can help make owner operators more efficient, as well, so that they can grow their business and earn more. Here are some key considerations new owner operators should keep in mind when choosing load boards, plus some explanations about working on load boards while using freight factoring.
QUESTIONS NEW OWNER OPERATORS CAN ASK WHEN CONSIDERING A LOAD BOARD
What Kind of Loads Are Available?
One of the most important considerations for owner operators looking at load boards is the types of loads that are available, including the lanes and rates that are commonly found on a particular load board. For instance, a flatbed driver might want to choose a load board that specializes in flatbed loads.
Is it User-Friendly?
A good load board should be quick and easy to use to help you be more efficient. It should be easy to search for loads and filter out results that don’t apply to your particular business. The right load board will also make it easy to reach out to shippers or brokers with questions and book loads.
Does the Load Board Update in Real-Time?
Many load boards keep load availability and status updated in real-time. This is a valuable feature because it can help you plan more effectively and find the best, most profitable loads for you at any given moment.
Can You See All Load Details and Requirements Upfront?
Ideally, a load board should provide comprehensive details about each load, including pickup and delivery locations, load weight, dimensions, required equipment, and any specific requirements or restrictions. Having that information upfront can help you avoid wasting time digging into a load that ultimately isn’t right for you.
Are Freight Rates and Payment Terms Transparent?
A load board should be able to give you some insight into market rates so that you know you’re getting an acceptable price on a load based on the rates other shippers and brokers are currently paying for similar loads. You can also check into whether the load board provides payment options and the terms therein.
Can You Rate and Review Brokers and Shippers?
Reviews are a great way to know whether you’re working with an upstanding, reputable broker or shipper. They allow you to learn from other carriers’ experiences with the broker or shipper to decide whether they’re a good fit for your business.
Does the Load Board Offer Good Customer Service?
If everything goes smoothly booking a load through a load board, you won’t need their customer service. If something goes wrong, how their customer service responds could make all the difference in whether the issue can be resolved or not.
How Much Will It Cost?
Every penny counts when you’re running your own business. While there are free load boards out there, many of the more feature-rich load boards come with a monthly or yearly subscription or membership fee. The right load board will be able to pay for itself within a couple of loads, offering ROI. When you start factoring with Express Freight Finance, you get premium load board access through our partner, Direct Freight.
Does it Offer Additional Tools That Can Help You Make Smarter Business Decisions?
Many load boards offer additional tools and features that can help you run your trucking business better. For example, fuel surcharge calculators or lane data can help you bid smarter on loads.
Does It Integrate with Other Tools and Systems?
Many of the top load boards integrate with TMS systems and other tools that owner operators commonly use to run their businesses. This allows for the seamless transfer of data from one system to the next. Check to see whether the load boards you’re considering integrate with your other tools.
Load Boards and Freight Factoring: How Does That Work?
It’s likely that if you’re working on a load board, especially if you’re a new owner operator, you’ll be working with a lot of new shippers and/or brokers. That may make you wonder how freight factoring comes into play, but it’s very simple with Express Freight Finance. You don’t have to factor invoices for every shipper or broker you work with.Express Freight Finance will help you ensure you’re working with a reputable broker through free credit checks. This helps you know you can trust the customer you’re working with. If you do decide to send an invoice to your factoring provider, they’ll reach out to the shipper or broker to send them a Notice of Assignment (NOA). The shipper/broker would then pay invoices to the factoring provider, and you would receive payment as usual via the factoring provider. You can find the answer to other commonly asked factoring questions here.