The Top 5 Load Boards for Freight Brokers
Updated: Aug 2
What is a Load Board?
A load board is a free or paid service that lists loads to haul digitally online. Another use of a load board is for brokers to find shippers. Shippers and freight brokers alike can post available loads to haul just like independent drivers can post about their equipment, preferred routes, type of truck, etc. The load board allows shippers and freight brokers to negotiate rates and lanes, then find a driver to negotiate the load haul.
Freight load boards are an online marketplace that functions like a freight matching system, enabling shippers and brokers to find the right carrier for the job. Typically load boards are a subscription service charging a monthly fee. There are some that are free to use, however, you get what you pay for.
Why Do I Need a Load Board?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, as of April 2023, there were over 750,000 active US motor carriers that own or lease at least one tractor. Out of those carriers:
95.8% operate 10 or fewer trucks.
99.7% operate 100 or fewer trucks.
With over 100 trucks, placing our company in the top .3% of carriers, Veltri Logistics understand that finding loads to haul is vital for business success. Load boards are beneficial, especially for new businesses since you may not have the relationships with shippers and drivers yet to find hauls on your own. Additionally, a load board isn't one-sided, nor is it only searching for hauls to find work. Freight brokers, shippers, and drivers all utilize load boards to get freight moved, which means work is always looking for you, too. Lastly, load boards contain important information about the parties involved that you may not receive if working independently. Info such as ratings, reviews, driver history, negotiation tools, and credit scores are available on load boards allowing mutual agreements between everyone involved.
The Top 5 Load Boards for Freight Brokers
We have compiled the top load boards for freight brokers and recommend at least the first paid tier of each to find the best results.
DAT - Probably the largest load board, this live load board has multiple search and filter options and shows pricing details for each load. DAT has about 800,000 new listings daily on average.
TruckStop - TruckStop is a popular load board for brokers, known for its large number of registered brokers. Membership is $39/month for carriers and $99/month for brokers and shippers.
DirectFreight - DirectFreight is both driver and broker-friendly, giving you everything you need to find loads and negotiate hauls. One of the features is a well-constructed location-based search option in case you want to stay on a certain route or stay close to home. Other helpful features include saving/sending documents, text/email alerts, weather reports, and integration with the transport management software provider TMW systems.
123Leaderboard - This load board offers 50 million truckloads posted annually, a free load board app, and many comprehensive search options and reporting tools.
Trucker Path - Trucker Path is home to 800 brokers where 150k loads are posted per day. Drivers also get a mapping and navigation mobile app to help them stay on course. This platform is the best free option simply because it offers so many features that others charge for such as checking broker credit scores, finding the closest truck stop or weight station, and truck-safe routing.
SEE ALSO: What Is Real Time Tracking in Logistics?
Relationships Matter Most When Finding Loads
Like many industries, the freight industry is one built on relationships. Even with powerful tools like load boards and apps, sometimes the best jobs are the ones you get because of networking. In the same way, the relationship between shippers, brokers, and drivers is one of trust built over time and solidified by experience. So once you have worked with someone successfully for a while, they become a trusted partner.
Building relationships with shippers require a lot of negotiation, not to mention a guarantee of the load on your way back from the destination to prevent "deadhead" miles. Most shippers like to go with larger carriers and fleet owners, so developing relationships as a small fleet is difficult.
Finding a team of solid, reliable drivers with a good record is a major factor in the success of your brokerage of future loads. Shippers want to trust your fleet as well as your numbers.
Digital Freight Matching Apps
These types of apps make finding loads with a set rate for each haul easier. However, a 2019 study showed that carriers only source about 11% of their freight from freight-matching apps. The number one tool continues to be load boards. This shows us that even as tools improve, some industries are slower to adopt change than others. Relationships still drive the freight industry, even if they start somewhere online.
Load Boards are Great, but Partnerships are Better
Load boards for brokers are still the best tool for finding loads, negotiating rates, and moving freight on time. But don't do it alone. You need a partner who can work for you behind the scenes to organize your entire shipping process so you can get back to doing what you love. Veltri Logistics offers a nationwide service, expert consultations, reliable communication, and competitive rates to shippers and drivers alike. Talk to one of our experts about streamlining your supply chain and saving time and money through a Veltri Logistics freight broker today.
A load board is a free or paid service that lists loads to haul digitally online. It functions like a freight matching system, enabling shippers and brokers to find the right carrier for the job. A load board is especially beneficial for new businesses since you may not have relationships with shipper and drivers yet to find hauls on your own. It's also a two-way street since shippers, brokers, and drivers can all post about the freight they have to haul or the equipment they have. Load boards also contain important information such as ratings, reviews, driver history, negotiation tools, and credit scores. The main benefit of using a load board is that it provides brokers with access to a wide range of shippers and carriers. Load boards also offer a range of search and filter options, rate information, and tracking tools.
The most popular load boards are DAT, Truckstop, DirectFreight, 123Leaderboard, and Trucker Path. DAT is the largest load board with 800,000 listings daily, while Truckstop is a popular board for brokers. DirectFreight offers location-based search option, and 123Leaderboard offers 50 million truckloads posted annually. Trucker Path is the best free option and provides 800 brokers with 150K loads per day.