A guide to pick the best ELD provider
Since the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) declared the final rule of the Electronic Logging Device or ELD mandate, the rules of it started to get implemented in several phases. Generally, the fleets had until the end of 2017 to implement the ELD’s which have the purpose of recording the Hours of Service (HOS). The HOS are regulated by the government of the United States of America, and everybody has to be compliant with them. The fleets that already had ELD systems implemented prior to 2017, have until the end of this year 2019 to make their systems compliant with the necessary specifications.
Since E-logs are mandatory, finding one that best suits your needs is of crucial importance. However, that can prove to be quite a tricky process for any company. By now, there are plenty of options out there offering different ranges of model types, different installation requirements, variable prices, and many other specifications that can make the process overwhelming for any carrier. Even though the price is a big part of making the decision, it shouldn’t be the only one thing taken into account since some of the cheapest solutions might lack the features that would best suit your individual needs. With that being said, we prepared this guide on how to pick the best ELD provider without too much trouble.
How to pick the best ELD Provider
1. Choose a certified ELD
This has to be the first step that you take when picking the best E-log provider like Samsara for your company. The reason is that registered ELDs are approved by the FMCSA and are compliant with the ELD mandate. The way these manufacturers are getting on the list is by self-certifying so it’s their responsibility to make sure that the devices are according to regulations. If you choose ELD that is not on the FMCSA list, you are risking working with a device that is not up to standards which can mean more expenses in the future when you have to change it for an ELD that is compliant with the standards.
2. Look into the provider
We’re living in a world where we have access to plenty of information about everything, so we ought to use that to our advantage when making important business decisions. Mindlessly choosing a random provider without checking their work, might not work out well for your business. One of the things you can do is to look at online reviews from previous users of the E-logs. You can see the reputation that the provider has, and what are the pros and cons of using their ELD’s firsthand from users.
3. Do a price comparison
Once you go through a few carriers, it’s time for an informed decision. A bit portion of that decision can be the price. Not only you have to consider the equipment which can be bought or rented, but you also have to not forget about other types of costs that come with your choice. One of those is the signing-up fee or activation fee. These can range quite a while from $25 to $150 per one account, and the difference is quite big. Other fees that will come into the equation are monthly service fees that are connected to E-log monitoring, data allowances, geo-positioning, DVIR reporting, etc.
4. Think about the installation
When it comes to installing the ELDs’ into your trucks, you can go two ways.
– Telematics—requires taking your truck to a center that is an authorized service where they install the E-logs for you. These installations are costly, but oftentimes these services offer discounts for fleets. The installation is usually not too long, up to a few hours, and for that, you have to previously arrange a meeting with the service.
– Plug and Play—are a bit easier to install since they are self-installed so there’s no extra fee, and it takes a few minutes to get them up and running.
5. Think long-term
It is no surprise that the commercial vehicle industry, just like many others, is constantly evolving. As technology progresses, it is integrated into the industry. Moreover, there are constantly new regulations that you have to oblige. All of these things have to be thought through when you are choosing an ELD provider or software. You have to pick a collaborator that is up to the challenges of change and constantly updates their product without any delays. It is very important that the E-log equipment is open to future changes, updates and upgrades so both you and the equipment can grow within the regulations.
6. Integration and expandability
Similarly to the previous point, if you are committing to a certain ELD you have to think about its integration and expandability. This means that even though you don’t have those needs now, sometime in the future you might want to connect a third-party app to your ELDs. Integrating the E-log platform with accounting, dispatching or other, can make your management quite easier. If the ELD that you’re planning to get doesn’t have this possibility, you might want to take other providers into consideration.
Once you go over these main points, you should keep in mind some others that might be less significant when it comes to influencing your decision. However, it’s good to make thorough research before making the decision to purchase the ELDs. Look into the guarantee, how long does it last and what does it cover. Even though most carriers give lifetime warranties, the conditions might differ. Take the location of the carrier into consideration as well since if there are any malfunctions you’d want a place close to you so the problem can be fixed as soon as possible. Make sure that your plan includes data. Also, dig into the security of the devices. Think about the time of waiting for your equipment, how easy it is to make an appointment for installation, etc. It is definitely not a small decision, so having all the information possible about your carrier is crucial.