Are you trying to build a career in long haul shipping as the owner-operator of a tractor trailer? Maybe you’re just starting out in transportation management and you haven’t built a supply chain, or you don’t want to lose the freedom of making your own hours by working for trucking companies. There’s a way to break into the trucking business and maintain your independence thanks to online load board services, which give owner-operators access to job listings for individual shipments in particular areas.
The biggest and longest-running online load board is Internet Truckstop, a service that allows truckers to pay for access to a variety of job listings. In this article we’ll take a look at how to access Internet Truckstop, register for freight matching, and find the best load to make the best rates as an owner-operator trucker.
What Is Internet Truckstop?
Before Scott Moscrip founded www.truckstop.com, known originally as Internet Truckstop in 1995, the trucking industry and freight marketplace lacked any kind of centralized system for owner-operators and shippers to connect to pair truckers with freights that needed to be sent to a destination. Often times truckers would advertise their services on the sides of their rigs, and freight brokers would post for drivers on physical bulletin boards at truck stops.
Moscrip changed the entire transportation industry with Internet Truckstop, which created the United States’ first online freight matching service. Today www.truckstop.com claims 450 employees and seven locations in North America, headed by CEO Paris Cole and based in Idaho. Through Truckstop, shippers and drivers can search for one another through the site’s load boards. If you’re an owner-operator looking for a truckload to haul, this is the fastest and most comprehensive way to start working.
How to Register at Internet Truckstop
At www.truckstop.com you can set up a profile as a carrier or shipper, but for the purposes of this article we’ll focus on working as an independent owner-operator. As a trucker looking for work you’ll need to have an active trucker’s license as well as registration and permits for your vehicle. Once you access one of the www.truckstop.com load board tiers, you’re required to enter that information immediately before you can scan for jobs. This will include the make and model of your vehicle, license information, registration, and your personal identification.
You can either visit www.truckstop.com and pay for a load board, or download the Truckstop mobile app on either Android or iOS. Truckstop doesn’t require any contract, and each subscription is billed monthly and can be cancelled at anytime.
Which Internet Truckstop Load Board Is Right for You?
Truckstop’s business model is selling shippers and owner-operators access to one another. As a trucker you’ll have to determine how much you’ll need a service like Truckstop before you purchase a load board.
Here are the load board options:
- Truckstop Basic: If you’re just starting out and don’t want to overspend, try the Truckstop Basic load board. There’s no free trial, but you can contact Truckstop at their site to set up a free product demo. Once you’re familiar with the load boards, the Basic service offers you access to load board listings you can bid on as a driver for just $35 a month.
- Truckstop Advanced: The Truckstop Advanced package is a jump up in price to $149 a month, but it offers more extensive information (not just basic load board listings) for potential jobs. Upgrading to Truckstop Advanced will also better help truckers calculate costs, including automatic calculations for fuel stops and IFTA taxes, rates by equipment, and spot market rates, which are immediate real-time fees for job listings. The Advanced package also offers ProMiles Routing, which optimizes routes for the most cost-effective solutions.
- Truckstop Pro: If you’re a full-time owner-operator or you’re looking to maximize your profits across multiple loads, you’ll likely end up upgrading to Truckstop Pro. Truckstop Pro offers load boards and every feature of the Advanced package as well as heat maps for the most popular jobs in your area, real-time search results and aggregation of the best-paying loads available on every search. You can also customize search results, pin preferred loads by category and evaluate ratings for brokers.
Truckstop Pro is the most detailed form of real-time freight matching available, and it also allows for the best spot market rate evaluation for truckers. Because owner-operators bid on jobs, underbidding can constantly drive down the market. Truckstop Pro provides analytics for truckers to see a load’s estimated market value to prevent underbidding.
Use the Truckstop App for the Best Experience
Trucking is the definition of a mobile business, so it makes perfect sense that Truckstop has ported its intricate load boards and features into an easy-to-use mobile app. Reviews for the Truckstop app on both Android and iOS are very positive. Compared to the user interface of www.truckstop.com, Truckstop app users are more fond of the mobile app’s ease of use, and because all of the Advanced and Pro features are available on the mobile app, many users are using the app exclusively.
Check Out Competing Load Boards to Compare Rates
Truckstop claims to feature over 500,000 load listings, making it the largest marketplace for freight matching in the United States and Canada. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only load board available. It’s possible to find work using free load boards available on Google search.
DAT Solutions is a direct competitor to Truckstop, offering an identical subscription-based service that boasts its load board as the most popular in trucking. Through DAT’s TruckersEdge mobile app, owner-operators can sign up for tiered programs of $35, $50, or $100 tiers virtually identical to Truckstop. DAT claims that you can access over 900,000 loads a day on its service.
The Truckloads App by www.truckerpath.com is a free-to-access load board that claims 150,000 loads. Users can download Truckloads via iOS or Android and search load boards for free. Truckloads offers premium services similar to Truckstop, like optimized navigation, without fees. The difference is that Truckstop boasts a substantially larger load board. But since Truckloads is a free mobile app, it’s worth downloading in addition to your Truckloads membership plan to maximize potential loads.
Uber Is Moving Into the Trucking World
Much like it did with traditional taxi services, Uber could completely disrupt online freight matching and load board services in the coming years. The rideshare service is aiming to overtake the trucking industry by installing its ease-of-use philosophy to trucking. Uber Freight wants to connect truckers and shippers through a single mobile command, the same way its rideshare pairs drivers and riders.
Uber Freight is also promising a new rating system for truckers to identify shippers who detain drivers with unnecessary wait times before shipments. Truckers can be slowed down from making money if a shipment isn’t ready for pickup or if loading or unloading a shipment takes longer than estimated. Uber is trying to incentivize truckers by allowing them to rate how fast, efficient, and accommodating various shippers are. If they’re successful, they could disrupt the entire trucking industry by overhauling third party logistics, or “3pl.”
Internet Truckstop Is a Great Way to Build Your Trucking Career
It doesn’t matter if you’re starting out as a rookie trucker or you’re experienced in long haul and freight matching — you’re going to need a service that offers load boards at a high volume. While it seems that change is headed to the industry by established rideshare companies like Uber and free-to-search load boards like Truckloads, truckers looking to make the most money per load and create a full-time living will still need the volume and specific tools offered by Truckstop or DAT.
Because the market is set to change, it’s best for owner-operators to evaluate multiple services, and do so frequently. As Uber continues to streamline 3pl and free load boards populate Google, chances are services like Truckstop and DAT will have to adjust to the future. But if you’re driving right now and want to make the best money possible on the best loads, you’ll still need Truckstop.