Are Free Load Boards Really Worth It?

Take another look at the question, ARE FREE LOAD BOARDS WORTH IT? A better question would be are they worth your time and effort? Can you find a good truckload at a competitive rate on a free load board?

I’m not talking about subscription services with a free trial. I’m talking about no cost, free forever load boards. These are the ones we are talking about in this article.

How Do Free Load Boards Make Money?

It takes time and effort to build and maintain a load board. And it takes money. Common sense tells us there has to be a financial return. I can think of several.

  • Ads on the site from Google or elsewhere.
  • Referrals to upgraded products and services.
  • Selling their website user data.
  • Creating a mailing list to market to or sell to 3rd parties.

Companies like JB Hunt, Landstar, and a few others have their own free load boards. Others like Schneider actually have a free load board app.

Obviously, their motive is to book and move their freight on your truck.  It’s a simple business strategy.

Having their own load board or app gives them a way to present their offered truckloads within a controlled platform. Their freight isn’t posted between offerings from other companies or brokers.

Here is a list of several load boards that are absolutely free.

  1. Atlantic Logistics
  3. Forest Commodities
  4. Greenbush Logistics
  5. Harte Hanks
  6. JB Hunt
  7. Maverick
  8. Mercer
  9. NFI
  10. QT Inc
  11. Quad Express
  12. Reliant Transportation
  13. TSH
  14. Transport Investments
  15. Werner

There’s a story behind this list. I actually started with a list from another site that had dozens of “free” load boards on their list.

First, I removed the premium load boards that offered free trials, then I checked each link, only to find nearly half of these companies or services were either gone or no longer offering load boards.

Your next question should be, is the load you find on these boards competitive?

Should You Book Loads From Free Load Boards?

  • This is where the process of due diligence comes in. Before you book any load, you owe it to yourself to research the rate, lane, and the company offering the load.
  • Is the rate competitive?
  • Who’s actually paying you?
  • Can you check their credit score?
  • Do they pay their bills in a timely manner? (days to pay)

You might find the load on a free load board, but the best tools to conduct research will be found elsewhere.

This is where services like Trucker’s Edge Pro come into play. Powered by DAT, Trucker’s Edge Pro offers the data you need to make an intelligent decision on any truckload offering.

  • Nearly 900,000 loads are posted daily
  • Broker days to pay
  • Broker credit scores
  • 15-day lane rate average
  • Load to truck ratio
  • Tri-haul options
  • So much more

You get the point. Companies are competing for your business and you need to know how your next load stands against the competition.

What About Bidding On Loads On Sites Like U-Ship?

There are several sites that offer you the opportunity to bid on a load. U-ship is probably the best known in the lowest bidder competition.

I’m sure these sites have their fan base, but I have a few issues with the concept.

1. Many sites like U-ship allow anyone to post nearly anything to be shipped. I’d much rather deal with a reputable shipper than Bob on Elm Street.
2. Wrapping, packaging and loading could be all on you. After all, Bob doesn’t own a warehouse.
3. Who’s going to pay? Will the check clear the bank?
4. Are both the shipping and delivery locations accessible for your size of truck?

Some of these shipping sites might make interesting reality television shows, but when I can find competitive freight from reputable carriers and agents, why would I bid on the unknown?

I see most of these load offerings as a race to the bottom.

What Is The Best Free Load Board?

That is a good question. To steal a line from Bill Clinton, it depends on what your definition of free is.

You can buy cheap recaps for your truck and save a few bucks up front, or you can buy a low rolling resistance tire with a proven history and save enough to cover the difference in a month or two.
Load boards are the same concept. If you can recover the monthly subscription fee in the first days of the month, it’s not only free, it’s generating income.

Use Trucker’s Edge Pro Free For 30 Days

Finding the best truckloads is a learned skill. You need the right tools to find potential freight and do your homework.
Trucker’s Edge Pro has the tools you need, along with nearly 900,000 loads every day.
Just follow this link to Trucker’s Edge. You will have the opportunity to try any of the 3 plans offered. As long as it’s free, you may as well start with the Pro plan.
DAT and The Trucking Podcast go back several years. They’re a solid company with a stellar track record of success, and they’ve been at it since 1978.

The Bottom Line On Free Load Boards

Free load boards are out there, and only you can decide if they’re worth pursuing, but they certainly aren’t your best first option for finding better freight. None of them will give you what you need to make a wise business decision without doing some homework. But who knows?

You may get lucky. Remember, it takes a lot more than luck to be a successful owner of any business. Trucking is no different.

A Big Thank You To Nick Skeen and Paper Transport, Inc For Their Help

My goal in these podcast episodes is to bring you the latest information I can to bring help you, the independent trucker, find the best freight for your trucking business. Nick Skeen has well over a decade of experience handling brokered freight for PTI and others. I appreciate the cooperative effort from both the company and Nick.

Disclaimer: DAT® and Trucker’s Edge® and have an affiliate relationship. This means we receive a small commission should you subscribe through our links. It doesn’t alter your price on the product, and it helps us pay the bills. We thank you for that.