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How Do Owner-Operators Find Loads

10/12/2022 19:25

When planning to start your own trucking business, it is essential that you have the ability to find loads. There are effective methods for acquiring these loads, though each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Some may cost you upfront, while others may require more time and effort to sort through all options. However, if you are willing to invest the time and effort, you will be rewarded with the best possible option for you.

New motor carriers are advised to find a dispatcher, as they will directly work with you to find appropriate brokers. This is since owner-operators are best suited for new businesses.

There are many ways to find loads when you are looking to transport goods across the country. Load boards and load prospecting are some methods that can help you find loads. 

The way in which owner-operators find work is contingent upon whether they are contracted with motor carriers.

There are 5 main methods they can use to source loads.

1. They can find loads through lease agreements with motor carriers.

Given that the motor carrier they work with has exclusive rights to their services, they will usually be matched with loads to move.

However, because they are independent contractors rather than employee drivers, these owner-operators have a level of control over which loads they want and can decline the ones they don’t want.

2. They can bid on loads independently on digital load boards.

Load boards are marketplaces where shippers can post loads they need to move, and carriers can bid on them. Carriers can find loads that fit their needs and schedule, and shippers can find carriers that can transport their loads.

As the proprietors of their own for-hire carriers, owner-operators who are their own bosses are responsible for finding their own loads.

The benefits of load boards: 

- For centuries, the trucking industry has relied on truckload boards to keep track of available loads. Originally, these boards could be found at truck stops. However, in recent years, they have become digitized and are now available on your computer or mobile phone. This makes it easier than ever to find the loads you need to keep your business running smoothly.

 - Advanced electronic truckload boards offer many benefits for owner-operators, carriers, and fleet managers. These boards help to manage loads and route trucks more efficiently, improving coordination between dispatchers and drivers. In addition, electronic truckload boards provide real-time tracking of loads, so that owner-operators and carriers can be sure that their trucks are on schedule. This can save time and money, as well as improve customer satisfaction.

- The truckload boards offer a quick and easy way for owner-operators and fleet managers to find loads. This makes the process faster and easier for everyone involved.

- Many new owner-operators find that working with a truckload company helps them get their businesses off the ground much faster. The company can help match their location and equipment with the right loads, making it easier for the new business to get started.

- The board offers many opportunities for the driver. He can find loads in different parts of the country that he might not have been able to access before. This is a great way to expand his horizons and increase his chances of success.

- The ability to load boards can help reduce deadhead by allowing owner-operators to book their next load in the area of their current destination. This is a great way to help keep things organized and efficient.

- The owner-operators can haggle over the price on some load boards.

-The ability to load boards offers drivers a great deal of flexibility when it comes to their driving and working schedule. This is a great option for those who want to be able to have a more relaxed and stress-free job.

3. They can work with 3PLs/brokers to find loads.

As owner-operators who have their own motor carrier authority, you are also vetted carriers in third-party logistics providers (3PL) carrier networks (aka freight brokers). These 3PLs work to match you with available loads from shippers, so that you can fulfill your business goals.

When you work with a 3PL, you get the best of both worlds: the independence of working on a digital load board, and the experience of working with logistics professionals. 3PLs can help you find backhauls, negotiate rates, and optimize routes to minimize dead miles.

It is important to note that 3PLs do not employ drivers. They contract with independent motor carriers.

4. Government Contracts

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) website provides a way for private contractors and owner-operators to register their companies in order to move government loads. By outsourcing their transportation needs to these private contractors and owner-operators, government entities (Federal, state, and local) are able to take advantage of their expertise and services.

Registering as a government contractor is the best way to find loads quickly and efficiently within your own city or area. Doing so allows you to tap into a wealth of resources and connect with potential clients who may be interested in your services. In addition, it gives you the opportunity to showcase your skills and experience to a wider audience, which can help you attract more business in the future.

The acquisition of contracts can be contingent upon the security clearance necessary to procure the bids. A contract with a government agency like the USPS can provide a reliable source of income as well as competitive compensation. Government contracts are an excellent option for an owner-operator looking for loads.

5. Networking

As with any other enterprise, networking can be a pivotal step for ensuring an owner-operator's exposure and potential expansion within the industry.

If you're looking to expand your professional network and perhaps land some new clients, consider getting involved with local associations like the American Association of Owner Operators (AAOO). You might be surprised at how many doors this can open for you, both in terms of new friendships and potential business opportunities.

The trucking industry is a constantly evolving landscape, and it is of utmost importance to stay informed about the latest news and developments in order to ensure the success of your business. In addition to keeping up with the latest news, following tips and guidelines from industry experts can help you to take your business to the next level.

What impacts the number of owner-operators in the truckload market?

The number of owner-operators driving at any given time is largely dependent on the ebb and flow of supply and demand in the truckload market.

The truckload market is cyclical, with rates rising when demand for coverage outpaces supply. By tracking year-over-year inflation, we can better understand the ebb and flow of the market.

When this happens, the market will be flooded with more capacity, as carriers order more trucks and hire more drivers. Equipment owners who may have been doing other work will get their trucks back on the road, resulting in a greater flow of resources.

As the market turns deflationary and rates dip, owner-operators may seek work elsewhere; it is not uncommon for drivers to park their trucks and take jobs in construction or another blue-collar industry during these periods.

Is the Independent contractor classification for owner-operators in danger of changing?

The answer, though short, is of the utmost importance: California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) could potentially change the way drivers are classified in that state, and this could have rippling effects for owner-operators across the country.

This momentous law would reclassify all owner-operators who lease their equipment and services to motor carriers based in California as employees. It has withstood all legal challenges in California and in the U.S. District Court of Appeals and is now finally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

If AB5 does eventually go into effect for truck drivers, they will have to choose whether to seek employment with a carrier or become fully independent for-hire carriers themselves.

If that should happen, it would come as no surprise if other states were to emulate such legislation or if we were to see a new worker classification law passed at the federal level.

In Conclusion

Now that you have a better idea of how an owner-operator finds loads, it's time to expand your network.

In line with that, we at Labworks USA have a vast network of owner-operator for which we offer our DOT and FMCSA compliance services.

Feel free to connect with us today.

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