Truck drivers are the backbone of the American logistics industry. They take products and materials to their destination after ships, air, and rail links take care of the import process. When many people think of the life of a truck driver, they picture a life of freedom. Movies and American folklore have portrayed truckers as lone wolves, subjected to little oversight, with their own cultures and standards out on the road.
While this is true to some extent, the trucking industry is less a place of freedom and more a place of competition. Owner drivers and logistics companies compete to see who can offer haulage clients the most efficient and swift service. Various structures exist that truckers can use to find work. Here is the lowdown on how truck drivers find employment in the United States.
Online load boards have replaced the physical load boards that truckers used to find jobs at truck stops using. Shippers can upload jobs onto a load board, which can then be accessed by potential contract-winning truckers. Some load boards require truckers to pay a small joining fee, while others make money by taking a cut of the fee paid by shippers. Owner drivers tend to find their work on load boards.
Direct from Shippers
Some independent truck drivers manage to develop working relationships with shippers, which can lead to them being offered work directly. There are several advantages to finding work directly, the most obvious of which is that nobody takes a cut of any fee paid for shipping work found in this way. Once a relationship has been developed with a shipper, it is vitally important to keep hold of it. Trucking is a dog-eat-dog business, and shippers will often find new drivers to offer direct contracts to if they can sense that they may save money and improve their logistics efficiency.
Freight brokers are responsible for acting as intermediaries between drivers and shipping companies. They aim to match up appropriate professionals and earn a percentage of the fee paid for the job. Think of them almost like trucking agents. While some freight brokers require drivers to pay an initial joining fee, the new generation of brokers tends to only charge a percentage once shipping work has been found, leaving drivers free to search through listings. For more, check out https://www.shiply.com/us/truck-loads.
Load Matching Apps
Load-matching apps work on the same principles as load boards. These apps act as intermediaries between shipping parties and truck drivers. A load can be accepted and delivered by a truck driver with little human interaction and payment can be automatically delivered. As you might expect, companies with previous experience in similar matchmaking automation have invested a great deal of money into load-matching applications. Uber is one of the largest investors, with the Uber Freight application being downloaded by thousands of truck drivers across the United States. This kind of relationship between truckers and technology is almost certain to continue to grow.