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5 Possible Strategies For Finding Truckloads for Owner Operators

The trucking sector is one of the most well-known commercial sectors in the USA. It’s thought that 70% of America’s daily imports and exports are carried out by long-haul trucks. Consider starting a freight company by buying or renting a vehicle if you’re looking to launch a profitable venture for the long term. Finding the proper loads for your company as an owner-operator is one of the most crucial things you’ll undertake. The general revenue of your trucking firm is all directly impacted by the cargo you haul. The trucking industry has recently evolved by adopting modern technologies such as ELDs and fleet management software. However, one thing remains unchanged: the need to transport truckloads.

How Do Owner-Operators Find Loads?

As an owner-operator, take into account your company objectives when deciding how you will obtain loads:

Determine how much authority you want to hold and how many business tasks you want to give to others.

Assess if you will lease from a motor carrier and operate under that motor carrier’s operating authority or whether you wish to obtain your motor carrier’s operating permission. Furthermore, conducting further research on each option to assess their pros and cons would help you determine which is best suited for your company. 

1. Engage With A Freight Broker

Freight brokerage is a labor-intensive procedure requiring numerous people. The first person on the list is the freight broker. A freight broker can be an individual or a company connecting all parties involved in product shipping and streamlining the process. The market is too big for shippers and carriers to discover each other, so brokers are needed. The coordination of trucks to loads using a reservation system in the trucking business does not exist. 

The broker doesn’t control the freight; instead, they help the shipper and the carrier communicate. They are responsible for ensuring that cargo is delivered safely and that the handoff between shippers and carriers is simple. As they only need to deal with one point of contact and act as a communication point between shippers and truck drivers, they monitor the status of loads and provide real-time updates. 

Strategies For Finding Truckloads for Owner Operators
Freight Brokers for Owner-Operators

One of the most popular ways to link drivers and shippers is through freight brokers. Since they undertake most of the work to match cargo with drivers, they can save owner-operators a lot of time and effort.

Advantages 

  • Working with a broker removes the messy process of negotiating with a provider, planning routes, and managing paperwork and compliance requirements for transporting various types of freight.
  • Ensuring that freight with specific requirements, such as refrigerated cargo, is matched with carriers that have the ideal capacities. 

Disadvantages

  • Individual brokers work on a commission basis; the usual brokerage charge is between 15% and 20%, which results in excessive prices being passed on.

2. Use A Load Board For Trucks

Owner-operators may quickly and easily identify available loads using load boards, a great resource. A load board is an online database that matches shippers with freight brokers who can explore the list of available loads to fill empty vehicles. Brokers and shippers can advertise loads that need to be relocated. 

Fleet managers and carriers can also list their available trucks. Load boards for trucks provide clear information on what needs to be transported, including the location, destination, and other relevant details. Owner-operators can decide quickly, provide the shipper with prices and additional information, and then go.

This is a collaborative platform for everyone in the freight and trucking industry. When expanding the business, owner-operators may find load boards their best friend. They make it easier and faster to obtain available loads and give freight brokers and shippers vital networking opportunities. Building a clientele takes time, but it can be mutually beneficial in the freight and trucking industry. 

Advantages

  • It allows you to broaden your influence and discover your niche. Finding profitable loads from direct shippers is the best strategy for expanding a small trucking business. Developing direct shipper ties enables you to obtain consistent cargo from clients.
  • They are usually real-time load boards. Additionally, they offer a large selection of freight for owner-operators.
  • Load boards can reduce overhead by enabling owner-operators to schedule their subsequent loads close to their current destination.
  • Load boards are convenient when transporting specialized loads such as hazardous goods.

Disadvantages 

  • Using load boards is more complex and lucrative than many owner-operators anticipate. Every load is subject to severe competition. Because of the intense competition, you may be forced to offer meager prices to win a cargo. Knowing your cost per mile is crucial due to the fierce competition on load boards. Small trucking firms that need a reliable assessment of their cost per mile may quickly find themselves transporting loads at a loss.

3. Engage in A Dispatching Service

Dispatchers design and optimize delivery and transit routes and negotiate freight on your behalf when directly connecting you with shippers or brokers. A competent dispatch service will continually strive to maximize mileage and reduce empty-load hours to boost your profitability.

Owner-operators with their motor carrier authority who choose to use dispatching services have two options: they can directly engage a personal dispatcher or enlist the aid of a trucking dispatch agency.

Strategies For Finding Truckloads for Owner Operators
Freight Loadboard Dispatcher for Owner Operator

Hiring a dispatcher may be advantageous if you have control over numerous trucks and require someone to oversee multiple drivers simultaneously. Working with a dispatching provider might make more sense if you operate as a single owner-operator. When a trucking firm is just getting off the ground and still needs more cargo to haul, freight dispatchers can be very beneficial, especially in controlling the complexities of back-office operations.

Advantages

  • Despite working in the background, truck dispatchers are crucial to the transportation business—Dispatchers aid drivers in maintaining route concentration and completing deliveries on time. 
  • Owner-operators and shippers are connected through personal dispatchers and dispatching services.
  • They can assist your small business with the majority of its operations. Dispatchers frequently oversee freight movement, help with paperwork, and perform accounting tasks. Owner-operators can concentrate on moving freight because of this.

Disadvantages 

  • There is a charge for using a dispatcher or dispatching services. Most dispatchers impose flat fees or retain 5–10% of each cargo. Independent dispatchers are paid a flat charge or a percentage. 
  • Some dispatchers may handle your scheduling needs, while others may only contact you when they have work available. While dispatchers can be an excellent resource, this also means there may be a need for more consistency in the loads provided by dispatchers. 

4. Lease On With A Carrier

Don’t worry if you desire the independence of being an owner-operator without the strain of locating your contracts. Consider signing a lease with a more prominent trucking firm. Leasing benefits both parties. The carrier saves money and acquires highly motivated drivers, while owner-operators are independent contractors. 

Strategies For Finding Truckloads for Owner Operators
Owner-Operator Truck Load Board Freights

Meanwhile, the drivers enjoy all the advantages of being owner-operator with the additional benefit of guaranteed work. As an owner-operator leasing with a carrier, you can choose when you want to work, the routes you wish to take, the cargo you want to haul, and the amount to be paid for your services. Several carriers offer incentives like free tires and subsidized fuel to entice customers further.

Advantages

  • Due to the guaranteed work, leasing to a carrier can often result in many stable and higher earnings.
  • Owner-operators who lease on with a carrier benefit from the security and support of collaboration with a colossal parent company 
  • This arrangement offers a lot of backend assistance in handling the billing and paperwork, assisting with IFTA tax preparation, acquiring state licenses, etc.

Disadvantages

  • You may have to accept the terms of the carrier. For instance, you might need help to choose your routes and schedule.
  • The support that carriers offer comes at a cost. Each carrier levies a fee for their services in the form of a certain percentage of your overall revenue. Some carriers impose fees of up to 35%. 

5. Networking

A lot of small businesses, particularly truckers, depend heavily on networking. Begin by joining trade organizations and attending events that your clients are following. Find one that specializes in the kind of freight you are most interested in, and joining a trucking group might be a good move. 

However, there are opportunities to receive recommendations from people in your industry. Investigate the local shippers, brokers, and other load dispatchers. Initiate a cold call, ask about their shipping requirements, and establish a reputation as a dependable trucking service supplier. You never know when a new chance might present itself in the future. 

Social media and online marketing are currently so dominant that it only makes sense for them to have that they get their оwn special ѕесtiоn. There are now many methods to use social media to develop new contacts and draw in customers. First, you must create an account for your trucking business on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

You can join plenty of online trucking communities to expand your social media presence and pick up some trade secrets. Encourage customers to leave reviews about your services on Facebook to build your online reputation. 

Advantages

  • Trucking companies will be best positioned to make the most money if they can establish relationships with shippers. They find, negotiate with, and sell to the shipper, earning their sales commissions. 
  • As a sole operator, you have total authority over your company. All of the conditions governing how you conduct business are determined by you. You only pay the exact service cost when you have control, such as when engaging with a third party. 
  • You can acquire more knowledge when you carefully research the sector. Every day, new things emerge. Every year, the logistics, shipping, and transportation sector changes. When you are aware of the changes, you can better serve your clients and customers and avoid legal problems by abiding by the new legislation.

Disadvantages

  • Establishing relationships with reliable shippers can be challenging and time-consuming. Finding and approaching shippers with reliable channels and predictable volumes can be difficult.
  • A bidding process is used to award contracts; only larger carriers are often eligible to participate.

Conclusion

Along with employing load boards, conducting local outreach, and improving your social media game, manage your trucking business with thoroughness, timeliness, and professionalism. Keeping customers returning and encouraging them to spread the word about your services through word-of-mouth referrals are the finest ways to guarantee more business. Never turn down a load, and avoid unnecessary delays. By consistently delivering excellent service and building a solid reputation, you can position your trucking business for success and watch it thrive.