For many owner-operators, the ELD (Electronic Logging Device) mandate brought a new level of technology into their business. Electronic logs for owner operators are now a reality across all fleet-based industries. Whether you’re running one truck or a small fleet, your business can benefit greatly from choosing the correct ELD.
Because of the busy nature of owning your own trucking business, many owners never took the time to fully research devices. Instead, they picked the first thing that would meet compliance requirements and allow them to get back to work. This may have been a device found through their favorite online marketplace or the first one that came up in a quick internet search. But this may not have been the best approach.
Now that the mandate has been in place for a while, you may be noticing annoyances with the device you’ve chosen. Many have run into trouble with a lack of support from their device’s manufacturer. Or perhaps you’re just ready to learn about the features available in various ELDs on the market.
Whatever the case, we’re happy to help you determine the best ELD devices for owner-operator businesses like yours. Here are a few items to consider when choosing a device.
ELD Mandate Compliance
The ELD Mandate went into effect in 2017, yet there are still devices on the market that do not meet compliance standards. Compliant devices must track engine hours, vehicle movements, miles driven, and driver data.
It’s unlikely that you have time to test out a number of devices on your own to ensure they meet the standards required. Fortunately, compliant devices must be certified and registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). You can find the list of registered ELDs on their website.
Ease of ELD Implementation
Once you choose a device and purchase it, you’ll need to have it installed in your vehicles. Some devices make this incredibly simple by plugging into an OBDII port inside the cab. Others are more complex, requiring a mechanic to remove panels in the cab or install sensors under the hood.
The last thing you want is for your vehicles to be out of commission while you wait for someone to install a device. That means lost productivity and lost revenue. Instead, look for a simple plug-and-play device that you can install in a matter of minutes. And just in case you run into trouble, be sure your device comes with support options to help with setup if necessary.
The Best ELDs Have Ongoing Support
There’s no question: the best ELD for owner operator businesses must include ongoing support. This is a device that you need to avoid a lapse regulatory compliance – meaning hefty fines and other penalties. If something happens to it or you have trouble with the app or software that connects to it, you’re going to need a solution ASAP.
You’re a small business owner, not an IT pro. If something goes wrong with your device or you can’t figure out how to run a needed report, you should have the option to get help. Look for US-based support options to avoid communication confusion. An ideal company should offer a variety of contact points to make this easy and efficient.
Determine the Best ELD Cost & ROI
Simply put, your ELDs are an investment in your company. They’re required for compliance, yes, but they can also provide returns. An electronic logbook for owner operator businesses that only monitors hours-of-service (HOS) will keep you in compliance, but won’t help your business run more efficiently.
Before you shop for a new ELD, take careful stock of what sort of investment you’re willing to make. Then look for a company that offers real, concrete numbers to help you figure out what sort of ROI you can expect. You might be surprised by how much your device can improve your bottom line!
Examine Additional Features
How can an electronic logging device help your bottom line? With additional features, of course. The features that work best for your business will vary, but here are a few options small businesses want in a tracking device:
- Does the device help route vehicles more efficiently?
- Does it offer ways to improve driver safety and save on insurance premiums?
- Will it help streamline your maintenance tasks and keep your vehicles on the road?
- Can an ELD help you save on fuel costs?
- Can the device improve driver retention for small fleets?
- Does it offer the sort of reports that will help you run your business more smoothly?
- Does the same company offer dashcams or asset tracking?
If you’d like help figuring out the features that will be beneficial for your business, contact the experts at Azuga today. We’ll be happy to help you explore just how much benefit your ELD solution can offer.