For any small business owner, time is money. For a trucking company, miles are money too. Whether you’re an owner operator or a fleet owner, you need to keep rolling in order to get paid, and that means finding trucking contracts and loads. Here are 7 ways to find more loads.
Owner Operators or Fleet Owners Looking for Freight Brokers.
So, how do owner operators or fleet owners find loads? For independent contractors looking for freight to haul, a freight broker can help. Freight brokers connect shippers to truckers, and this is a good option if you’re just starting out. Freight brokers help find truck loads for owner operators and fleet owners. The best part is they do most of the legwork for you, including negotiating the rates with shippers. Brokers make it easier for independent truck drivers looking for quality loads because they usually have a relationship with the shippers. Using a freight broker is one way to find loads to haul but it can cost you. Look out for hidden fees associated with this service.
Dispatch Services for Owner Operators and Fleet Owners.
Hire a dispatcher directly (with industry experience and contacts in tow) or contract with a trucking dispatching service to help connect you with brokers and shippers. In many cases, trucking dispatchers can also provide some administrative services like accounting, billing, and collections. In other cases, trucking dispatchers provide everything for independent truckers looking for loads, ensuring shippers pay invoices on time.
Load boards are another method that connects shippers directly to truckers. These boards make it very convenient to find freight loads by having multiple listings to choose from and most of the shipment details are spelled out. A quick Google search will uncover online load boards with free or paid options to choose from. The trick is finding good load boards that meet your needs so you’re not wasting time. The best load boards for trucking offer free trials, have mobile apps so you can search for loads to haul on the go and send you notifications so you never miss a high-paying load. Make sure you receive notifications from the load board for load searches. You don’t want to miss any load posts.
Registering as a Government Contractor.
More frequently, the government is outsourcing its staffing needs, and transportation is no exception. What’s more, it isn’t just the federal government with government trucking contracts to fill. State and local governments have transportation needs as well, and you can bet no matter where in the country you are, there is a government agency nearby. Being a government contractor requires a few extra steps, including registering to be one. Another approach is to partner with a company already hauling under a government contract. Call your city or state government for more details.
Prospecting for Owner Operator Loads.
Although it takes a little more work at the start, many freight companies find their owner operator trucking contracts through prospecting. Do some research on what shippers are in your area, what they ship and where. Then you make contact, either by cold calling the person in charge of shipping or knocking on their doors. Introduce yourself. Set up a meeting. Ask questions about their trucking needs and be prepared to check back in with them. You never know, new opportunities might come up at a later date. Prospecting for trucker loads can be a bit of a numbers game, so keep at it.
Networking is the bread and butter of most small businesses, including freight companies. Start by getting involved with industry associations and going to events that your shippers are attending. The internet is a great place to do some sleuthing on what is going on in your industry. Find out what associations there are. You want to find one that focuses on the type of freight you’re interested in. Can you join them? Some associations only allow companies that work in their industry to join. Joining a trucking association might not be the best idea if networking or prospecting is your end goal. There are no clients there — mostly just competitors. However, there are opportunities to get referrals from people who work in your industry. Shake some hands and meet people. You’ll be surprised at how this small investment in time can pay off in the future. Many of these associations can also provide you with industry tips on how to save money for your trucking business. Some even provide members with a membership list that can be used to build a prospect list.
Broker Your Own Loads
After doing all of the above are you still having a hard time finding shipments to haul? It might be time to think about becoming a freight broker to broker your own loads. This is probably the most complex way to find loads for trucking and the lead time is substantial. You will need to train to be a broker, either with an established broker or by taking some classes. The payoff of being your own broker could be huge but it might not be a gamble you’re comfortable with.
Like most marketing strategies, it is best to try a few different ones to see what works best for you. If you know your competitors are using one method, try standing out and being different. Freight brokers and load boards can help you become familiar with the opportunities in your area. Prospecting and networking take time to produce great leads, but there are reasons businesses use these strategies.
Whatever option you choose, stick with it and watch your trucking business grow. When it does, we’ll be here to help you on the financial side with our invoice factoring services. It’s simple, fast, and free to get started. Why not get a free, no-obligation quote? Contact eCapital today to see how we can help!