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Make Money with Box Trucks: How to Find Truck Loads

If you want to start your own trucking business with your box truck, you'll need our helpful tips to find and book freight loads with ease.

8 minutes readOctober 31, 2023

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Running your own box truck can be a very lucrative way to earn an income for your family. However, obtaining and insuring your truck is just the start. Finding consistent freight loads is the key to being productive and profitable in the trucking industry.

Tips for Finding Freight Loads for Your Box Truck

An absolutely essential business skill that you'll need to master to maintain a feasible income in the trucking industry is booking freight loads. It doesn't matter if you run a fleet of truck drivers or you're a freelance owner operator. You need to be consistently finding freight on box truck load boards to flourish.

You must also remember that some clients will demand more insurance than the minimum required by law. Make sure you have optimal box truck insurance coverage.

1- Identify Your Strengths

The key to getting consistent freight loads is not just applying for every load that you find on a load board. That's actually a pretty dangerous tactic that could lead to unsafe driving conditions and sever your relationships with past clients.

The best thing that you can do is to establish what your business's strengths and weaknesses are. Your strengths are going to be the equipment that you have and the types of loads that you can safely handle. Knowing your weight capacity is a must for everyone's safety. Additionally, you'll need to determine your cost per mile, your operating radius, and any other job-specific features you have.

As you're preparing your list of strengths that you can utilize to determine which loads your business is successfully capable of handling, you need to assess your current insurance information. Depending on the cargo that you're transporting and where you're going, there are going to be minimum box truck insurance requirements.

You'll want to ensure that your insurance coverage limits allow you to meet the necessary standards set by most companies for their shipments.


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2- Understand Load Boards Thoroughly

Load boards are one of the most utilized ways for trucking companies to be connected with clients that need their transportation services. As a trucking company, you need to understand what load boards are going to provide you with the most job opportunities.

You'll also need to be capable of efficiently working each load board to quickly find loads that match your strengths and filter out the ones that don't. Just spending an hour or so reading through the load board instructions and watching helpful videos will go a long way in saving you both time and money in the future when it comes to connecting with freight-hauling prospects.

There's no denying the fact that there are many online load boards that you can utilize to connect with those who need freight hauled from one destination to another. However, there are five very popular load boards where you'll likely be able to fill your box truck work quota with ease.

box trucks load board

1. Amazon Relay

Amazon Relay is not only a load board, but it's a full suite of trucking products. You'll get to see upfront rates for listed loads and be checked in with facilities to make loading and unloading a breeze.

Find here what are the requirements to start Amazon Relay

2. DirectFreight

DirectFreight is an all-in-one platform that allows you to work directly with brokers alongside booking loads. You'll easily get to send documents, see the average days to pay, locate job opportunities near your location, and even look at the local weather report.

3. DAT

DAT is well-known for its state-of-the-art load board that receives around 800,000 new listings every day. It has refined search filters and easy-to-read pricing details so that you can get a job that fits your rate quickly.

4. TruckStop

TruckStop is the hotspot of registered freight brokers, shippers, and carriers. It's very easy to find loads, and with a premium membership, you'll enjoy real-time updates at your fingertips.

5. 123LoadBoard

This load board currently posts over 50 million truckloads every year. They offer both a free load board and a premium load board. You'll enjoy comprehensive search options so that you can choose the best loads to fit your trucking business.

Apart from being connected with brokers who need loads hauled, these load boards make it super simple for truck drivers to find the perfect hauls. You'll easily be able to filter by the specific loads that require a box truck of your size.

3- Work With a Box Truck Dispatcher

If you're not overly motivated to do your own research to find loads through the many online load boards for freight hauling, you may want to work with a box truck dispatcher. You can find freelance dispatchers and ones that are employed by companies.

A box truck dispatcher will take care of finding jobs on load boards and through personal connections. They'll work to negotiate a fair price for the transport and complete the appropriate paperwork to initiate your haul. They will even set up routes to help make the transport process even easier for you.

The Pros of Working With a Box Truck Dispatcher

When you opt to work with a box truck dispatcher over setting up freight hauls on your own, it comes along with many awesome benefits.

  • Decreased downtime
  • Access to more loads
  • Higher rates per mile
  • Less confusion

The Cons of Working With a Box Truck Dispatcher

While working with a box truck dispatcher can provide you with some great benefits, there are always going to be some cons to doing so. It's imperative that you take these cons into consideration when deciding whether or not working with a box truck dispatcher is right for your trucking company.

  • Rely heavily on load board postings
  • Directly bill your company instead of the shipper

4- Use a Freight Broker

Unlike box truck dispatchers, freight brokers are licensed and bonded to do their job. They work directly with shippers to connect them with buyers. When you use a freight broker, they will set up loads in a similar fashion to that of a truck dispatcher.

However, realize that freight brokers aren't going to be using load boards. Rather, they're going to rely on their direct relationships with shippers to get you booked. It's likely that you'll find yourself transporting loads for many of the same companies over and over again.

Unlike box truck dispatchers, freight brokers will charge the shipper directly for their services. From the freight broker's perspective, they want to charge the shipper as much money as possible and keep what the trucker gets paid to a minimum.

For this reason, you'll likely notice that freight brokers will take a higher percentage of the payout for a prospective load as compared to a box truck dispatcher.

Working with a freight broker can provide your trucking company with many great benefits, including:

  • Consistent loads
  • More loads tailored to your needs
  • Save time and money
  • Ample experience in the transportation industry
box truck freight agent

5- Operate as a Government Contractor

If you're looking for consistent work, then becoming a government contractor can be a great option. You can work for federal, state, and even local governments. However, as with any type of business relationship, it's imperative that you take the time to weigh the pros and cons of doing so.

The many benefits that come along with being a government-contracted freight hauler include the following:

  • Consistent work
  • On-time payments
  • Premium rates

The cons of working as a government contractor include the following:

  • Difficult for small contractors to get approved
  • May not have all equipment needed to take certain contracts

When you opt for working with a government contract, you get to enjoy the great benefit of consistent work with guaranteed on-time payments. Most contractors even find that government loads come at a premium price when compared to other loads that they're used to doing. However, as a small owner operator, it can be hard to get approved.

You may need to pair up with an existing contractor that is already approved to haul government freight.

6- Invest in Creating and Expanding Your Own Network

As a box truck driver, you want to be given early access to the highest-paying jobs. One of the best ways to do this is by creating your own network. You need to realize the value of every relationship that you create in the industry. Over time, your entire network can end up supplying you with a plethora of high-paying loads.

A great way to help expand your network is to get to know local truckers in your area. Not only will this help you to become aware of new industry news and helpful info about suppliers or brokers you haven't worked with yet, but it can provide a new stream of load opportunities.

trucking networking

For example, a fellow trucker may have a supplier that needs a load hauled that the trucker simply can't do because of their booked schedule. However, they want to keep the shipper happy, so they keep sending them loads. The said trucker could connect you with the shipper to fulfill their shipment and may even offer you other jobs where they receive a small finder's fee.

Stay active on social media. Apart from creating friendships on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, these sites can also allow you to enjoy a plethora of information. People post about suppliers and brokers they've worked with. They will share who is paying premium rates and which companies they've had trouble getting payouts from. Think of social media sites as your ear to the ground for updated trucking information.

Another must to expand your network is joining trucking groups and organizations. Some key ones include the National Truckers Association, America's Independent Trucking Association, and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). Additionally, be sure to make time to attend industry conferences and seminars where you can learn a lot and create valuable industry connections.

7- Directly Contact Shippers

Another method for finding loads is to contact shippers directly and offer your services. It's important to realize that this can be a very time-consuming process. However, it does allow you to talk directly with a shipper to determine their needs and allows you to negotiate prices in the process.

Even if you don't get a contract with a specific shipper, you can at least outstretch a branch to start a new relationship. If they ever become unhappy with their current carrier, they may just contact you for assistance.

8- Local Delivery Jobs

It can be very easy to get so carried away with load boards and finding great freight brokers that you may miss the local opportunities available near you. There may be local businesses around you that need to have their freight hauled. Think of hardware and furniture stores.

Some of these places may be relying on inconsistent subcontractors or trying to deliver items themselves. You can come in and offer them a convenient solution for handling all of their shipping needs at an affordable price.

9- Go to Auctions to Get Box Truck Loads

Auctions present a ripe opportunity for leveraging your box truck and boosting your earnings. Many individuals come away from auctions with valuable finds, but transporting these treasures can be a major challenge.

That's where your trusty box truck comes into play. By offering your hauling services to auction-goers, you become the solution to their logistical headache. Whether it's furniture, machinery, or any other sizable items, your truck's ample space and strength make the difference between a successful auction win and a daunting transportation task.

This venture not only helps others but also brings in a steady income. You're not just a truck owner; you're a problem solver for those in need of extra hauling capacity after scoring big at auctions.

Establish clear pricing and terms, and you'll likely find yourself in high demand among the local auction community.

Worst case scenario, ¡you might find something interesting to buy!

box truck money making

10- Work with Caterings

Renting out your box truck for catering services is a savvy move. It's a reliable way to secure weekend work, as caterers often have high demand during events. Plus, it offers a unique opportunity to have someone else do the driving for you, giving you more flexibility in managing your time and resources.

So, don't miss out on this chance to turn your truck into a profitable asset in the catering industry and get more box truck loads!

11- Offer Junk removal services

Junk removal is a goldmine opportunity for a box truck owner. Think about it – people often have large items or quantities of junk that need to be hauled away. Your box truck provides the perfect solution for this. By offering junk removal services, you tap into a market where demand is consistently high. Whether it's residential clean-outs, office clearances, or construction debris, your truck has the capacity to handle it all.

This venture not only generates steady income but also allows you to contribute to a cleaner, more organized environment. It's a win-win. So, if you're looking to maximize the potential of your box truck, consider diving into the junk removal business. You'll find yourself in high demand among folks in need of a reliable and efficient hauling service.

box truck junk removal services

Tips for Making Extra Money With Your Box Truck

Once we have unveiled the best options to find box truck loads, there are other options that will help you pay the bills without investing a lot of time and money. Keep reading and find new sources of income for your box truck business.

Use your box truck as a mobile advertising

Using your box truck as an advertising tool can be a real game-changer in the money-making department. Imagine your truck cruising down the streets, showcasing brands and messages to a wide audience.

You can achieve this by applying vinyl wraps or decals featuring the ads. Local businesses, hungry for exposure, are willing to pay for this kind of visibility. It's a win-win situation – they get their name out there, and you get paid.

Don't forget the power of the digital world. Social media is your friend. Post photos and videos of your truck with the ads, giving credit to the businesses you're promoting.

This extra push can give your advertisers even more bang for their buck. And remember, keeping your truck spick and span not only reflects positively on your business but also on the companies whose ads you're showcasing.

So, keep it clean, negotiate fair rates, and hit the road to a profitable venture!

Rent your box truck to make money

Renting out your box truck at night is a smart way to increase your earnings. While you're catching some rest, your truck is out there making money. It's a win-win. Offer your truck to skilled individuals who want to drive at night but don't have their own vehicle.

This way, you're providing them the means to put their skills to work. Establish clear terms and consider charging an hourly or nightly rate for fair compensation.

Don't limit yourself to just drivers. Many nighttime workers need reliable transportation. This could be musicians or bands moving equipment for gigs, event organizers setting up for the night, or even businesses running around the clock. Catering to this niche market opens up a new income stream during off-hours.

Keep in mind, that every moment your truck is on the move or in use, you're making money. Offering your box truck for nighttime rentals taps into a potential goldmine of opportunities.

Just ensure you have a solid rental agreement in place, and you'll be on your way to maximizing your truck's earning potential.

Finding a plethora of good-paying freight-hauling opportunities doesn't have to be difficult. When you follow our tips above for finding box truck loads, you'll be sure to keep your schedule booked. And you can even make some money on the side with the various side hustles that we recommended.

Just be sure to talk with a CoverWallet agent today to ensure that you have the insurance coverage for the jobs that you're doing.

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