When finding loads, the ultimate goal is to maximize your earning potential. Getting high-paying loads involves careful planning and strategies. Here are tips to help you get started.

1. Find a niche.

The high-paying freight loads are usually with direct shippers. This will save you between 10-20% that goes to brokers or load board fees. However, it can be a challenge to find a direct shipper especially if you are an owner-operator and are new to the business.

One effective way to finding direct shippers is to find a niche and become a go-to person for that niche. It may take time to build a good name but it will be worth it.

2. Make use of freight-forecasting tools.

Many load boards have similar tools which allow you to see where most loads are. From there, you would know the load-to-truck ratio of the place. Load-to-truck ratio shows the balance between the freight availability and truckload capacity. This information is vital as it greatly influences the spot market rate for loads. Oftentimes, as the load-to-truck ratio increases, the load rates also increase. As the principle of supply and demand applies, hotshot businesses will have more negotiating power when it comes to load rates.

3. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.

In every negotiation, there is always a best case number and worst case number. Try to negotiate a win-win. Oftentimes, the load rates may change based on other factors such as time constraint, type of load you are hauling, deadhead miles, and weight of the load among others. Remember, if the load-to-truck ratio in the area is high, you have a better negotiating power.

4. Familiarize where you are going and plan your route.

When you are driving with an empty truck (deadhead), this will cut into your potential profit. While deadhead miles are near impossible to avoid, familiarization of the place and careful planning help reduce them. Before your trip, make sure to check your load board for potential back hauls to avoid driving back empty.

5. Consider filling your space with partial loads.

If you have extra time and your trailer can handle it, consider picking up partial loads along the way. Many load boards allow you to search for partial freight and have them show on a map. If there is an available partial load on your route, you might as well take advantage of it.

Many hot shot truckers go out of business because they don’t know how to find high-paying loads. Don’t make the same mistake. Our top 5 tips should help you out.