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One of the greatest challenges for owner-operators and small fleet owners is finding loads. The search for the right load can be a difficult and time-consuming task, especially if you aren’t very familiar with the process. By keeping these 5 tips in mind, you should have all the knowledge you need to find yourself a great load.

Seek out the best loads and be patient

Don’t settle for the first load you see come across a board. Advanced searches on multiple boards will help you find the most profitable and convenient loads. Many times, loads aren’t accurately advertised on a board and sometimes boards are slow to remove loads that are no longer available. So, expect to run into a few dead ends when searching for a quality load but don’t give up hope. It may take you a few hours and many phone calls but it will be worth it in the end.

Always search “ANY”, not “ONLY” for type of trailer

When you are looking for a load, keep in mind that if you select “ONLY” one trailer type, you will not be able see listings for loads that are cross posted and actually limit your options. Many loads that are posted can go on several different types of trailers. For example, if you search ONLY VAN you won’t see any van loads that can also be booked for reefers.

Post your truck availability

A great deal of loads never get posted to a board, so the only way to get access to these loads is by getting noticed by a broker that is looking for someone to work with. To receive these calls, you will need to post your truck. Some owner-operators recommend posting your truck availability on load boards in the late afternoon hours. That way everyone else will have already cleared out of the truck stop for the day and you won’t have to compete with so many others.

Don’t just leave the destination blank when you are posting

Loads are never posted by a broker without a specific destination, and you shouldn’t post your truck that way either. If you leave it blank, your post is less likely to be seen by brokers. There are ten zones in the United States (Z0 to Z9) and if you are willing to travel, include all of those zones in the destination. If you do that, your posting is now much more likely to be noticed as it shows brokers that you have a truck are willing to go to the same location.

Reverse search and plan out your trip

It’s always better to be located in a market that has more loads going out than coming in. Reverse search is a great way to forecast what the market looks like either where you are at currently or where you are going to be heading. To do a reverse search, simply leave the origin blank and fill in the city name that you want to see in the destination box. Then you can compare the number of inbound loads versus the number of outbound loads.

By following these tips, you should be able to find yourself a great load in the future. Keep in mind that you can always stand out from the crowd by creating a good reputation for yourself. The best way to do that is to always pick up and deliver loads on time. If you build a reputation for strong reliability, shippers will start seeking you out instead and that will make your job much easier.