Buying an ELD is an important decision.
The right ELD solution will not only help your fleet become FMCSA compliant after December 18, 2017, but its various features will also help you streamline operations and maximize profits.
However, with so many ELD providers out there, it can be difficult to pick the right ELD solution.
11 questions to ask before buying an ELD solution
The following questions will help you find the right ELD solution, based on the specific requirements of your fleets.
1. Is the ELD solution FMCSA-registered?
The ELD mandate is about compliance. Therefore, it is imperative that you find an ELD solution that is on the FMCSA’s list of certified ELDs.
It is important to note that not every ELD will guarantee compliance.
There are several technical specifications set by the DOT that makes an ELD compliant, as per federal regulations. The FMCSA’s list of certified ELDs is a good place to start finding a reliable and certified ELD provider.
2. Which features does the ELD solution have?
Electronic logging devices, or ELDs, aren’t just limited to making your fleet compliant. They are packed with amazing features that help you reduce administrative burden, minimize expenses, and maximize profits.
The ELD solution you pick for your fleet must have the most common features. These features play an important role in making lives easier for drivers as well as fleet managers.
The Motive ELD solution has the following features:
- Log auditing
- Automatic IFTA calculation
- Idle-time tracking
- Vehicle diagnostics
- Driver scorecards
- GPS tracking
- Real-time alerts and notifications
- AOBRD settings
3. Can it integrate with other software?
Certain ELD solutions, like Motive, integrate and partner with other companies to provide their customers some additional services. For instance, offering features such as dispatch and fuel purchase tracking might need integrations with other software and companies.
A good question to ask would be whether the ELD solution you want offers such additional features and services or not. From a fleet management perspective, these integrations and partnerships lead to easier management and a reduction in administrative burdens.
4. Can it evolve with my business?
As your business grows, your ELD solution should grow with you.
Can an ELD provider grow and evolve with the expansion of your business? It depends on many important factors, e.g., the total amount of funding the ELD company has.
The bottom line is that expansion and growth are crucial aspects that you must keep an eye on.
5. Does the ELD solution offer a user-friendly interface?
User experience is extremely important — especially at a time when the trucking industry is evolving and adopting a technology it is not entirely familiar with.
The ELD solution that you are considering must provide a simple user interface that is extremely easy to use. It would make the lives of commercial drivers and fleet managers a lot easier.
On the other hand, if they are constantly battling with finding features and navigating the fleet management dashboard or e-log apps, they can’t be very efficient and productive. Moreover, this frustration can also translate into a high driver turnover rate, which can be very costly for your fleet.
6. In-cab or BYOD?
Depending on the way you carry out operations, you have to make your choice between Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and in-cab fixed ELD solutions.
A BYOD-based ELD system often costs less, because it leverages existing mobile devices by drivers. You won’t have to purchase a new display device because, in the BYOD-based ELD system, the mobile device would be enough.
Ultimately, carriers have to bear the cost of the ELD mandate. A cost-effective BYOD solution can help minimize the overall burden and cost of ELDs.
7. Is the technical support good?
The importance of a good technical support system cannot be undermined.
ELDs are fairly new to the industry. Fleet managers, as well as drivers, are still learning about them. An active 24×7 support system can be the difference between compliance and noncompliance.
Assume that one of your drivers is facing a connectivity problem, which is keeping him noncompliant. The luxury to call the support department of your ELD company and get instant help would be extremely useful.
8. How does it relay data?
This is an important question, and it could be the difference between compliance and noncompliance for your fleet.
The engine-connected ELDs relay data to drivers’ mobile devices. Most ELDs in the market use cellular connections to relay that data. However, the FMCSA has recently confirmed that cellular-based ELDs cannot be relied upon — especially if drivers are operating in an area with spotty or no cellular coverage.
Instead, ELDs should use Bluetooth connections or USBs to sync the data. Motive ELDs use a Bluetooth connection. Moreover, we have also added USB connectivity for Android devices to ensure 100% compliance. USB connectivity for iOS devices is coming very soon!
9. What is the monthly price?
Although ELDs are not expensive, some ELD manufacturers are charging a lot of money for them.
The monthly price for an ELD is something that you will be paying on a regular basis. Assuming you buy an ELD solution at $40 per month — and you have 200 trucks in your fleet — you will be paying $8,000 every month.
However, there are some cost-effective ELD solutions out there. Make sure to find a solution that fits your financial needs.
10. Are there any additional charges?
Most ELD vendors charge hardware, installation, or implementation charges on top of the monthly fees. Therefore, it’s important to ask if there are any additional charges that you will have to pay per ELD.
Motive doesn’t charge its customers any additional charges whatsoever.
11. How’s the e-log mobile app?
Ultimately, drivers would be using the e-log mobile apps. Therefore, the app should be very easy to use, rich in features, and bug-free.
If the app is clunky or full of bugs, it may frustrate drivers. Also, it can pose a compliance risk.
The Motive mobile app is rated #1 on Google Play Store (for Android) and the Apple App Store (for iOS) with over 12,000 5-star reviews. Drivers can download it for free and start e-logging their hours of service.
Find the best ELD solution for your fleet
Asking these 11 questions will help you pick a better ELD solution.
If you have any questions, call 844-325-9230.