The most common way to find carriers and cover loads is to utilize a load board like DAT. Load boards are the open market of the trucking industry, a place where freight brokers and motor carriers can connect to share their available loads and trucks. To make the most of the load boards, you need to take advantage of all the tools included as well as the ways to use them.
As a freight broker, you can post your available loads for all the carriers to see. When posting a load, make sure you include all relevant information for that load. This includes the origin, destination, pickup and delivery dates, equipment required, and weight to name a few. You should make sure you include a good contact phone number for carriers to call you on and include any additional comments in the post that the carrier needs to know. This could be tarps, straps, and a team of drivers to name a few. You can also post a target pay rate. Bad information on a load board posting wastes everyone’s time, so make sure you double check your posting before you save it.
Searching Posted Trucks
Don’t just post a load and pray that you get a phone call. Load boards have a function where you can search for trucks that match your load. Simply search the lane, equipment type, and date for your load, and you’ll see a list of available trucks that match your search. You can sort the results by how close the trucks are to your actual pickup location. Keep in mind that you lose some negotiating power when you call out to a truck versus fielding an inbound call. When brokers call carriers, the broker needs something that the carrier has. When carriers call brokers, it’s the carrier that needs something that the broker has. Even though brokers and carriers both need each other, whoever makes the outbound call usually has less negotiating leverage than the receiver of that call.
Search Other Posted Loads
See what your competition is doing. You can search for available loads that are similar to yours to get a vibe for how many other brokers are competing for the same carrier capacity as you are. You might even find other brokers that are competing for the same customer freight as you are.
Carrier directories can help you find carriers based on their domicile location, equipment type, and many other criteria. This is a great tool to use when trying to find a back-haul carrier later in the week. If you can give a load to a driver that gets them close to home at the end of the week, you can usually hire them at a lower than market average cost.
You need to know the market rates and how they’ve changed recently. Is a carrier asking for too much money? Are you offering too little? Understanding the range or rates in the market will keep you and your carriers honest with your rates. Don’t forget that rates are just averages, and other factors affect rates such as the load’s urgency, driver’s destination, and even holidays.