Industry Insight: Free Car Hauling Load Boards

By David Insley

In the auto transport industry, having access to a quality load board—especially a free car hauling load board—is essential to achieving business success. Nothing else matters if you can’t move a car or are unable to find one at a good rate. 

Think of load boards as online marketplaces where Supply and Demand interact with each other in a (mostly) friendly way for the purpose of shipping vehicles from point A to point B. Are you looking for a truck to move a load? Post on a load board. Are you looking for cars to haul? Go to your favorite load board and start searching for loads in the right lanes at a price that's works for you. Pretty simple, right?

The problem—if you can call it that—is one of choice. There are numerous car hauling load boards currently out there, with some obviously outperforming others; some free car hauling load boards and a small number of (also free) digital marketplaces that present users with a wealth of features and options. At the end of the day, both brokers and carriers are basically looking for a common space to conduct the business of shipping cars. Of course, with an increasing number of options available from an expanding list of providers, deciding the best fit for your business can be seriously confusing.

At Ship.Cars, we make things straightforward by offering a free car hauling load boardMarket Load Board—to both brokers/shippers as well as carriers/owner operators. Quickly becoming a top destination for car haulers everywhere, our load board processes thousands of loads per month and is smartly designed to help brokers post quickly and carriers find good-paying loads—all without ever picking up the phone.


For more information on the Ship.Cars Market Load Board and how 

it can boost your business, sign up for demo today.

Request Demo____________________________________________________________________________

As a carrier/dispatcher/owner operator, the Ship.Cars Market Load Board puts you in the best position to select competitively priced trips that align with driver’s preferred routes. You can:

  • Choose from a constantly refreshing list of thousands of loads
  • Negotiate online with brokers for optimal price
  • Receive automatic email notifications on saved searches
  • Explore loads exclusively available only on Ship.Cars' load board ahead of others
  • Filter loads by origin and destination, including city, state and zip code and see results update in real time
  • Book loads instantly—no need to go offline
The Ship.Cars load board is a leading destination for carriers and brokers looking to ship cars.

And this is just the beginning. In early January 2020, carriers can expect a refreshed and updated Market Load Board that delivers increased elegance, robust features and improved functionality, all in a focused effort to bring more value to the car hauling industry.

Now, to the rest of the load boards...

Rule #1: Volume matters

In the search for the ideal online marketplace, volume of loads posted will always be of paramount importance. Why? It signals real cross-industry activity where a deal posted quickly becomes a deal selected, dispatched and shipped. But close behind volume are ease of use and price of access. Yes, a free car hauling load board that checks all the boxes is the ideal scenario. But is that what the industry is offering? Exactly, what are the options for those seeking a solid everyday solution?

If you’re a broker, you’ll typically want to post on an active, bustling auto transport load board well attended by the many carriers and owner operators who will invariably select your load for transport. Without a lot of daily activity, the opposite is true. Your load will likely languish in isolation, making it difficult to move at even a reasonable price. Like I said, volume matters. And the time and effort you put in to constantly raise the price in hopes of enticing carriers takes you away from your business and prevents you from optimizing your day.

Rule #2: Like ‘em or hate ‘em, CD is tough to beat

Historically, many shippers and brokers have posted on Central Dispatch, the leading destination (by far) for loads in the car hauling industry. With thousands of loads appearing here at any given time, Central Dispatch (CD) is certainly not in danger of suffering from low activity. From large brokers to mid-sized operations all the way to the small, at-home broker, the entire industry depends on this one specific site to move the vast majority of loads due to the sheer volume of vehicles being posted here on a daily basis. But there’s a wrinkle—the price is formidable. At around $115/month, access to the leading industry load board doesn’t come cheap. Additionally, CD is an industry relic not especially interested in updating its platform, offering online negotiations or streamlining the process in any noticeable way.

Takeaway: Beyond a 30-day trial period, Central Dispatch does not offer a free car hauling load board, but it does present a wide cross section of available loads—thousands of them at any given time. While brokers, carriers and owner operators will continue to complain about its poor technology, frequent double postings, nonexistent backhaul functionality and an inability to allow brokers and carriers to finalize deals online, it’s hard to argue with thousands of live loads per day. With extensive industry recognition, deep corporate pockets (Cox Automotive) and just enough reliability to make it acceptable to a wide range of car haulers, Central Dispatch isn’t going anywhere. But consensus opinion says their load board could absolutely be better--and cheaper.

Auto transport brokers and shippers post loads on top industry load boards.

Free car hauling load boards

If you think it’s weird that auto transport load boards are either premium platforms (CD) or complete giveaways (virtually the rest of the industry), you’re not paying attention to the logic that guides the rationale; namely, that every other digital marketplace in this fragmented industry needs to be free in order to compete with the behemoth that is Central Dispatch.

  • Cars Arrive a leading provider of automated vehicle-shipping services and boasts a popular load board and an impressive partnership with ADESA (car auctions and remarketing). All in all, they are now moving close to 2 million loads per year, including auctions, dealers and OEMs—and they offer direct deposit payment into your bank account within 24-48 hours from receipt of Proof of Delivery. What might be most impressive about their offering is the fact that they cover the entire North American market, connecting with partners in Canada to move loads across the border. It’s a unique offering, and recent partnerships have only increased the company's scope and size.
  • Ready Auto Transport is another company with a leading load board. While its volume isn’t on the CD level, there are thousands of loads here and access to online tools to close deals. Plus, carriers have a favorable opinion of the company and generally approve of the pay provided. And because they are so diligent about establishing requirements around inspection and compliance, they attract some of the best carriers in the business to their digital marketplace. By actively listening to drivers and dispatchers, Ready has created a place where they can establish relationships and find quality loads. Also, they’re part of the Cox family so deep pockets are to be expected. Their load board is free but as a top tier broker, they monetize by moving loads and taking a cut.
  • United Road also recently came out with its own load board designed for third-party carriers, Haully, with a mobile-friendly way to find backhaul loads and switch payment preferences easily. Already established as one of the giants of the industry on the auto logistics side, United moves an estimated 3 million vehicles per year and wields significant industry influence. If marketed correctly, expect Haully to have significant industry adoption.

Beyond the top tier, Metrogistics is another capable auto logistic company that boasts a popular free car hauling load board and deserves to be in any conversation about leading load boards. Of course, there are many more: Dispatch Center, CarShipIO, RunBuggy are just a few.

Load boards: 2020 and beyond

The emerging players often position themselves as disruptors with a flare for the latest technology, but with many of them it’s not clear if they have a natural constituency or a viable way to attract brokers and carriers to their newly minted load boards. In that respect, these new players in loadboard land are not unlike similar companies developing new apps and business management platforms for the car hauling community. Just because you can design an application and drop it in the App Store or Google Play, doesn’t mean auto haulers will embrace it; it has to be seamless, it has to serve a purpose and it has to solve a compelling problem. The good ones do precisely that. 

This is a relationship industry as much as anything else, and while creating value through innovative technology is always a sound idea, it behooves companies to find out what carriers, drivers, dispatchers and brokers really want in a load board—especially if they intend to go head-to-head against Central. We’ve tracked some of the leading contenders and their offerings here today, but industry ground is always shifting, allowing new opportunities to emerge. We intend to return to this subject again in the coming months as the competition heats up, new partnerships are forged and enterprising ways to Ship Cars Smarter are unveiled and improved upon.

For an inside view of the Ship.Cars Market Load Board and how it can boost your business, sign up for a demo today.

Request Demo


Tags: Small brokers, Large brokers, Dealers, Carriers, Owner operators, Load Board

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