How to Get Loads as an Owner Operator the Right Way

August 16, 2021

As an owner operator, it’s your job to get high-paying loads. For many, this is the hardest part of owning a trucking business. However, knowing how to get loads as an owner operator properly makes it easier.

Being a successful owner operator is your dream, right? Hence, you must make smart decisions to reach that dream, including understanding how to get loads as an owner operator.

We don’t mean to scare you, but if you don’t get loads, you’ll go out of business soon. To stop that from happening, we came up with this guide about how to find loads as an owner operator.

How to Get Loads as an Owner Operator: 5 Effective Methods

Here’s how to get loads as an owner operator the wise way.

Connect with the right company.

This is by far the best way to get loads as an owner operator. It’s efficient and high-rewarding if done well.

There are many trucking companies ready to take owner operators. However, you must do your due diligence before connecting with any trucking company. This is a step you must not skip.

Choosing the right trucking company helps you start off on the right foot. It guides you on the right track as well.

In particular, you must look for certain qualities that fit your needs.

For instance, your goal is to get back your starting capital back within a year. Thus, you must connect with trucking companies that offer high payments.

Additionally, if your goal is to have a flexible schedule, connecting with trucking companies that allow you to pick your loads is a must.

CargoX proudly values every owner operator in our fleet. We offer more than just high compensation and a flexible schedule. We offer free insurance, detention & layover pay, fuel card advances, and discounts on truck services as well.

Use load boards.

A load board is an online marketplace where owner operators can look for loads. Freight shippers also post on load boards to look for owner operators.

Load boards are like Craigslist, but for owner operators. Hence, a load board is a win-win medium for both shippers and owner operators.

If you’re lucky, a quick search of load boards can lead you to free ones. If not, you have to pay for it, usually on a monthly subscription basis.

While load boards sound promising, you have to be careful when using them. It’s because unreliable brokers and shippers might be there. Worse, you might come into contact with scammers.

When looking for prospects via load boards, make sure to do your due diligence. Check if the shipper you’re eyeing has legitimate contact information and/or a website. If possible, call them first before going through with any transaction.

Take note, load boards often offer low-paying loads. Owner operators usually have to filter a lot of posts before finding a decent-paying load. Plus, finding the right shippers via load boards takes a lot of time.

Reach out to a broker.           

Next on our guide about how to get loads as an owner operator involves brokers.

Owner operators, especially beginners, often rely on freight brokers to find loads. It’s mainly because of the convenience and expertise brokers offer. Brokers do most of the legwork―finding shippers, negotiating, arranging logistics, and many more.

Hence, a broker can effectively help you, given that you find a reliable one. If not, you’ll be putting money down the drain.

In particular, a broker will negotiate with a shipper until both parties agree to a certain price. Then, the broker will find an owner operator to move the freight for the shipper.

Brokers usually take 15 to 25% of the profit. This is quite high. For this sole reason, some owner operators skip brokers.

Instead, they opt for a reliable trucking company that offers revenue sharing. By doing this, owner operators save a lot of money.


Tap your network.

Another method on our how to get loads as an owner operator involves your work friends.

Having a network of fellow owner operators is great for getting updates, solving problems, and sharing business knowledge.

However, your network has an untapped feature― its capability to give you loads.

If you’ve been in the trucking industry for at least a year, you know that sometimes, you can’t take on certain loads. Well, this happens to your fellow owner operators, too.

When used the right way, your network can get you a lot of loads.

The best way to start this is by offering loads you can’t take to others. Chances are, they’ll feel compelled to return the favor. As a result, they’ll offer the loads they can’t take to you.

You can also use your connections for referrals. You can ask others to refer you to shippers they work with. In exchange, you can refer them to shippers you work with.

Hire a specialist.

The last method on how to get loads as an owner operator involves hiring someone.

If you have the budget for it, it’s ideal to hire a specialist that’ll focus on getting you prospects and closing sales. It’s like having a broker, but only for you.

While you may think that hiring a specialist is expensive, think about it this way.

A broker typically charges 15 to 25% of the profit. Let’s say a certain load costs $5,000. The broker will take $750 to $1,250 just for one load.

Now let’s say you’ll hire a specialist to work exclusively for you at $2,500 per month. All you need is to get two 5,000-dollar loads via that specialist, and you’ll break even. The rest of the loads’ profit goes to you.

Knowing How to Get Loads as an Owner Operator Is a Must

Knowing how to get loads as an owner operator is a lifeline of your business. It can make or break your business.

If you want a sustainable and successful career in the trucking industry, you better get started on understanding how to get loads as an owner operator.

In our opinion, the best method to get loads is by directly partnering with a reliable trucking company. However, at the end of the day, it’s totally up to you to determine which method works best.

Once you do so, you’ll get loaded (pun intended) in no time.

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