What to consider when choosing a load board

March 13, 2020
There are countless things to consider when choosing a load board: cost, number of loads provided, real-time updates, and so much more. Check out our guide for choosing the best load board for your needs, and learn about how a load board is a key part of modern freight commerce facilitated by SemiCab, the digital freight ecosystem.

If you are in the long-haul trucking industry, you have probably used a load board at one time or another. Whether you are a shipper, broker, carrier or driver, choosing the right load board can be a tough decision. To understand exactly why, let’s start with the basics:

What is a load board?

A load board, or freight board, is an online matching system that allows shippers and brokers to post loads, and carriers and drivers to post equipment availability. The system works to match loads, solidify agreements, and move freight. Essentially, it’s a digital freight matching service.

Most load boards are smart load boards, that allow users to post and search for loads using a variety of criteria. They offer many different services and insights including:

  1. Load matching
  2. Credit information/days to pay
  3. Message boards
  4. Ability to make notes on shippers/carriers
  5. FMCSA verification
  6. Finance of pre-approved loads using factoring
  7. Mobile access

It’s important to identify which factors are most important to you when choosing the right digital freight matching service for your needs. See below for a list of important things to consider.

Load Board Considerations

Price

Load boards come in all different shapes and sizes, which means that comparison shopping is a must. When it comes to cost, some load boards are free to use while others charge monthly fees which can equal $100+/month. The most important consideration here is that the digital freight matching service you choose should fit your budget!

Number of loads

A worthwhile load board should feature hundreds and thousands of legitimate loads. This is essential because when you are searching for the right load, you will want to have multiple options to choose from. At SemiCab, we use real-time API based integrations with load boards and pre-built integrations with shipper TMS partners (like JDA and Oracle) to deliver access to countless loads.

Load update frequency

It’s 2020, and that means we are all looking for real time information. The more frequently load status is updated, the better chance you will have of booking quality loads that suit your needs. Look for a service that updates every minute or less, so you are always on top of the game. SemiCab provides real-time continuous evaluation of demand and supply, which allows you to stay in the know.

Easy to use

Learning how to use a new system always involves a learning curve, but that doesn’t mean that a load board should be complicated. In fact, the last thing you want to do is to spend hours learning how to use your digital freight matching service. It needs to be intuitive and easy to understand. Dig a little to see if there are video tutorials or forums you can access so that onboarding is quick and painless. If it’s easy to search and post on the load board, that’s a good start. If you are looking to access a load board from your mobile device, you will want to be sure the provider offers an app through Google Play or the App Store and that the app has a solid user rating.

Extra useful features

A load board worth using will offer advanced features, like credit ratings, rate analysis, and additional decision tools. Some boards offer the ability to check credit ratings and days-to-pay or analyze the average freight rate for a specific lane. These features can help increase profitability.  

Free trial

Deciding on what to use can be difficult, but if you can take the load board out for a “test drive”, that’s definitely a positive. A digital freight matching service that offers a free trial is likely more robust and confident in what they provide than one that doesn’t.

Notification enabled

Some load boards offer load alerts. Through a combination of Big Data and GPS based technology, they’re able to identify available loads near a carrier’s truck that match their equipment type and send a notification to the driver’s smartphone with the relevant load details.

Available integrations/partnerships

Last, but definitely not least, is the importance of your load board integrating with other software. Not all load boards are created equally, so take time to discover what integrations are available that would be useful to your business. At SemiCab, we leverage our integration with industry-leading TMS solutions and load boards to enable effortless participation in the ecosystem with access to reliable carrier capacity and a large volume of loads.

SemiCab: The Digital Freight Marketplace

SemiCab works with traditional load boards in building a digital freight ecosystem, which means it does all the heavy lifting of finding a load or locating capacity. By taking advantage of modern technology and advanced optimization techniques, we remove empty miles, generate new capacity, and share the value created across the ecosystem.

Why SemiCab?

Curious if SemiCab is the right choice for you? Check out the SemiCab Fact Sheet for more details.
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