How Can Independent Truckers Find Loads? Tips & Tricks

In a competitive trucking landscape, it can be challenging for independent truckers to find loads. There are 13.86 million trucks in the U.S. About 99.7% of carriers have more than 11 to 100 trucks. That’s a lot of competition competing for work at the same time. 

Staying competitive isn’t always about who has the cheapest rates. It’s about work ethics, response times, and availability. Our guide helps you find loads as an independent trucker.

The Role of Load Boards in Finding Work

Load boards are a great way to find work. They connect truckers with brokers and shippers across the country who need truckers to deliver loads. Many freight factoring companies provide access to load boards as a bonus when you sign up for freight factoring. 

Search a load board for jobs in your location, look at the rates, size of the load, and whether any special permits or hazmat certification is required, and reach out to that company. You’ll be able to discuss your payment terms, whether they’re Net 30, 60, etc. After a conversation, you may have a new, reliable client to add to your list.

Another benefit to a load-finding board is that you can ensure your trucks are full. Your client has a load to haul out of state, but that load only fills 1/3 of the trailer. It’s a waste. Use load boards to fill the rest and make the most of each trip. You can even arrange to bring loads back from the destination to your city and make much more money on one trip than you would with just one client’s load.

Taking on a new client is always a risk. With a freight factoring agreement, another beneficial service is access to free business credit checks. Check credit histories before you agree to haul a load for a new broker or shipper. With TBS, unlimited business credit checks are possible. It lowers your risk of not being paid or waiting longer than you expect.

Expand Your Searches Beyond Boards

Load boards are great for finding work, but it’s not the only option. Explore these other ways to find new clients.


Word-of-mouth marketing is incredibly beneficial. Your clients tell their associates that you’re reliable and offer your information. That referral leads to new clients. 

Freight Brokers

Work with freight brokers. A freight broker is a middleman who works with shippers to find the best match for the load that needs to be transported. Think of a freight broker as a transportation industry matchmaker. You need work. A shipper needs a driver. The broker introduces you.

You want to look for the best freight broker, as some are notorious for late payments or non-payment. Ask other truckers if they use a freight broker and what their experience is. Check credit reports, and look online to see if any complaints have been shared on trucking forums.

Skip the Middleman

You could also skip a freight broker and reach out to shippers and see if your services fill their needs. Cold calling is one way to do this. If you have certain products you use regularly, reach out to the headquarters about your trucking company. Sometimes, the best truckers for a job are the ones who have a lot of experience and knowledge regarding your product. Shippers know that.

You’ll find shippers on load boards, but you should also try to attend trade events and join trade associations. It’s a good way to get your name out there.

Tips for Setting Competitive Rates

As tempting as it is to set low rates and draw interest from brokers and shippers, you need to make sure you’re covering your costs. Leave a bit of padding for things like fuel costs that keep increasing, emergency repairs, and increases in insurance, permits, and licenses.

As you discuss rates with a broker or shipper, dress professionally, even if it’s a video chat. Speak clearly and don’t be afraid to end the call or meeting if it’s clear you’re being lowballed.

Don’t Overlook the Importance of Building Strong Relationships

When you have brokers and shippers providing regular work, continue to build a strong relationship with them. Check in regularly to make sure your drivers are doing their jobs properly. If not, make sure you address any concerns promptly and completely.

You can’t make everyone happy all of the time, but you have to do your best. If something is wrong, apologize, offer to look into it, and then address anything your driver did incorrectly. If it’s something the warehouse messed up or an incorrect address provided on the paperwork, make sure you provide proof of that as you shouldn’t take the blame for issues that are out of your control. It also helps clients know where other issues are occurring.

Avoid These Common Mistakes Independent Truckers Make

You have to be careful with scams nowadays. Once you have an offer, don’t accept it without doing some investigating work. Business credit checks are one way, but they’re not the only way. Search the news to see if the broker or shipper comes up. Check if the company has a strong online presence on multiple sites, not just the broker or shipper’s site. Always read reviews and verify that other truckers have been paid.

If rates are so high they seem unbelievable, they are likely part of a scam. Higher than normal rates draw truckers and scammers know it. They use above-average rates to lure drivers, and you’ll never get paid as it’s all been a scam.

Use SAFER to confirm broker and carrier phone numbers. It’s a site the FMCSA set up to help truckers avoid scams. If the number you were given, call SAFER to ask about it as that can be a sign of identity theft. Never agree to haul a load if you’re asked to present yourself as the driver for another carrier, to lie about where the load came from, or are told it’s a “blind load,” which means the name of the shipper or consignee is being hidden from others in the party.

Work With a Freight Factoring Company to Get Paid Fast

When you partner with a freight factoring company like TBS Factoring, load-finding boards are one benefit. You also gain unlimited credit reports that can help you judge the trustworthiness of a new broker or shipper. If you see a lot of late or missed payments, move on to someone else.

Non-recourse factoring offers a level of protection, too. If your client fails to pay the freight factoring company because of a sudden bankruptcy or closure,  you won’t have to repay the amount you received from the factor.

TBS Factoring has 50 years of experience in freight factoring. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone with our industry expertise, rates, and additional services. Get started today by providing your name, DOT, and contact information.

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