Carrier, Industry

The Pros and Cons of Paid and Free Load Boards

by admin

This is an updated version of a blog post from 2020. Updated in Summer 2022.

Load boards are what make the world go round for most owner-operator car haulers, especially those who are new to the industry. As one of the very first load boards, Central Dispatch made auto transport more accessible for carriers, brokers, and even some dealers. After its inception in 1999, anyone could create a car hauling business or brokerage and become profitable by easily finding loads through Central. And since its launch, countless other load boards have hit the market, but none have beaten its influence.

But while load boards have improved and connected the industry, some industry professionals would argue that load boards have simultaneously aided in lower pay and worse conditions for carriers.

We talked to some owner-operators for their opinions on the positives and negatives of load boards, as well as what features they’d like to see added to load boards. For the purpose of this series, most load boards fall into two categories: broker-owned or free load boards, and Central Dispatch.

Central Dispatch

Overall, Central Dispatch seems to be a necessary evil for car hauling owner-operators; a hurdle to overcome before creating lasting broker or dealer relationships to fill their trailer. All of the available loads and the route planning are there, but paying over $1,000 a year for the service is hard, especially since the service is far from perfect and has more issues to name.

Central Dispatch Pros Wants and Cons comparison chart versus free load boardsBroker and Free Load Boards

Broker-owned load boards are generally free and seem to be a dime a dozen. We’ve grouped them all here because most car haulers see them all as secondary to Central Dispatch. The major 5 at the time of writing are: CarsArrive, MetroGistics, Ship.cars, Ready Logistics (a.k.a. 1Dispatch) and United Road.

Overall, broker-owned and free load boards are easy because they are free, but have a host of problems, from strict operating requirements to speed of payment, load availability, and required load processing apps.

Operating Requirements

Some load boards require incredibly demanding operating requirements. As just one example, CarsArrive requires 3 months of active authority and a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance.

Load Availability

Many load boards lack a significant amount of loads available at any given time. CarsArrive, Ship.cars, and MetroGistics have far fewer loads than Central Dispatch, and to many owner-operators, that means they will rarely use them.

United Road consistently boasts the most loads of any free load board, but many are double-posted to Central Dispatch.

Payment and Speed of Payment

United Road appears to have an automatic payment system, instead of manual billing. Carriers have reported being paid in the middle of the night, very quickly after delivery. Unfortunately, you must use their United Road App (Veritas) to get paid in this fashion.

MetroGistics Ready Logistics appears to have the fastest payment of any broker, by far.

CarsArrive appears to be the quickest of the broker-owned free load boards.

Pros of Broker Load Boards

  • On platforms like CarsArrive, night bookings are possible, so carriers don’t have to call anyone.
  • Getting paid is much quicker when you book directly with the broker.
  • On a broker load board, you always know it’s a legitimate load. Carriers don’t have to guess if it’s double posted or not actually brokered to that broker.

Wants for Broker Load Boards

Some of the reported improvements that owner-operators have stated that they wanted to see in load boards are the following:

  • Better load descriptions
  • Better pay
  • The ability to use third-party apps to process loads

Try Super Loadboard

Since first publishing this post, Super Dispatch has launched an advanced load board of its own called Super Loadboard. Overall, Super Loadboard offers many of the features that have long been requested from owner-operators. Super Loadboard offers integration from third-party applications, the ability to import loads directly from other load boards like Central Dispatch, the ability to rate or block other carriers via blocklisting, and much more.

Super Loadboard comes bundled together with Super Dispatch’s Shipper TMS, in one great platform. If Super Loadboard sounds like something that your car hauling business could use, then try it for free today!

 
Published on March 1, 2019

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