Free Loadboards: The Trucker’s Guide to Searching & Finding Freight For Free

When it comes to finding a free loadboard, owner-operators have several industry-leading options from which to choose. While a popular, free loadboard with rates included is ideal for most truckers, other carriers need to target a smaller, more niche market.

All of the following companies offer a free version or trial version as well as premium paid packages, but each has its pros and cons depending on your individual needs.

When it comes to finding a free loadboard, owner-operators have several industry-leading options from which to choose. While a popular, free loadboard with rates included is ideal for most truckers, other carriers need to target a smaller, more niche market.

Filling empty trucks for free is tough. Learn all about free loadboards

All of the following companies offer a free version or trial version as well as premium paid packages, but each has its pros and cons depending on your individual needs.

DAT

This company got its start in 1978 as “Dial-a-Truck.” DAT’s longevity in the competitive trucking industry is a testament to its ability to grow and change with the needs of its owner-operators.

Pros: DAT is generally accepted to be the largest loadboard for truckers, which means more opportunities for carriers. However, this size and the benefits that come with it are not free.

To help narrow down the available leads, DAT offers a “hot market map” that displays the most active areas across the country. Working in a less active area may allow carriers to negotiate a higher rate.

The DAT app offers lots of extra perks, such as showing nearby fuel prices, truck-friendly hotels, Wal-Mart locations and other useful information for truckers on the road.

Cons: While its cost ensures that DAT has an undeniably robust program for paid freight search, it also has the potential to suffer from “option overload,” particularly for new owner-operators. Their loadboard app is best designed for experienced truckers who know the ins and outs of what they need.

Getloaded

Getloaded was founded in 1999 and was eventually bought out by the same parent company that owns DAT. In fact, in 2015, Getloaded and DAT combined their customer service, billing and other operations together for a more seamless user experience.

Pros: This free freight search focuses on hotshots, flatbed and other specialized loads. Getloaded is known for getting jobs to specialized carriers more quickly than other free loadboards for truckers with a more conventional load capacity.

Their loadboard app for mobile devices is also among the highest rated by owner-operators.

Cons: On the downside, Getloaded is missing some features truckers may be very used to having. Their app requires a premium package for pulling credit scores, toll details, and other basic information. Due to their niche focus, Getloaded also tends to post fewer loads compared to its competitors.

Filling empty trucks for free is tough. Learn all about free loadboards

Truckstop.com

Otherwise known as the Internet Truckstop, this company also has a long history in the trucking industry. In 1995, they launched the very first internet-based free loadboard with rates published for owner-operators around the country.

Pros: Because many carriers have been using this loadboard for 20 years, you’ll find plenty of fans praising its long-earned reputation. Truckstop.com was also one of the first of its competitors to release a free download of their loadboard app, which has some nifty features. For example, the app can determine your GPS position and display nearby load opportunities.

Cons: The Truckstop.com app does have a troubling glitch. It does not automatically refresh available loads, making it easy to miss out. Reviewers also say the app is a bit clunky, and it takes longer to do simple searches than other competitor apps.

123Loadboard

123Loadboard became a later entry to the industry in 2004. Their mission focuses on interface usability and top-of-the-line technology for their owner-operators.

Pros: This company offers a robust and accurate “rate check” feature that promises to outline the most profitable lanes. They also offer niche services with their hotshot board. The free loadboard app is full of useful data that is presented in a clean, streamlined format.

Cons: Some carriers have been frustrated to find old load listings that have already been covered but which are not removed from the available listings. This can make it seem like there are a lot more loads than there truly are. There is also no support currently for LTL freight.

If you’re looking for free loadboards, consider trying several at once to see which features best suit your needs.

The Myth of Free Loadboards

Unfortunately, the commonly advertised “free loadboard” is a misnomer (with one exception). While their apps may sometimes be free to download, all loadboards require a paid account to log in and access the boards. Some companies offer a short free trial or demo to allow you to experiment with their features, but they, too, will require a monthly subscription to gain full access.

Most loadboards start at around $35/month for a bare bones experience. Accessing additional features usually requires a premium plan, which can drive the cost up even more.

Always make sure you understand the long-term pricing structures and cancellation terms of a loadboard before you sign up with a credit card.




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