With so many electronic logging device (ELD) providers out there, it can be tricky to find the right ELD mandate compliance solution for you. Here are 7 items that owner-operators should consider when making their choice:
1. Industry Experience
The first rumblings of an ELD mandate started happening at the end of 2012. At this time, a lot of companies popped up as they saw an opportunity to sell a new product to the trucking industry. Many of these companies had never even worked with or been around CMV drivers before. They were just looking to make an easy sale. Make sure you select a company that has experience - not a fly-by-nighter. Look for a company that was founded prior to 2012-2013; they have more experience with truckers and they have designed solutions with drivers’ needs in mind!
2. Low Price
As an owner-operator, your bottom line is a top priority! Adding expensive hardware that requires a costly installation and permanent changes to your vehicle might be overly complicated for your needs. You just need a simple plug-and-play solution to keep your truck running in compliance with the new laws. Look for a solution that doesn’t have an upfront hardware cost and has a low monthly subscription fee. You just need the basics! Compliance doesn't have to be expensive!
3. Ease of Use
Your job is complicated enough; you need to be an operations manager, safety manager, dispatcher, and driver, all while following these new ELD laws! Look for a solution that is easy to learn and easy to use. You want a solution that allows you to quickly and effortlessly create clean and compliant electronic logs, and pull inspection reports for DOT officers. Using an ELD provider that makes a DOT enforcement’s job easier will make yours easier too; it will help you get through an inspection and back on the road faster!
4. North American Support
North American support from a North American company means that customer issues and inquiries are dealt with in-house by the team responsible for building the product. This proximity improves a support team’s ability to quickly and effectively respond to calls. Providers whose support team are located further away means that you might have a more difficult time getting the help you need in the timeframe that you need it in.
5. Safety First
For owner-operators, achieving and maintaining a great safety score is critical. You can’t afford to have costly violation fines eating away at your bottom line. Having a great safety score will make you more attractive to brokers and insurance companies. You’ll have an easier time finding loads, maintaining your contracts, and a better rate on your insurance (which always helps). Most providers will have in-app notifications to help you prevent violations, but did you know the BigRoad Web App has a Roadside Risk Dashboard too? It enables owner-operators, like you, to proactively manage violations before they are caught during an inspection, giving you even better protection against anything that could harm your CSA score.
6. Reviews Matter
See what a provider’s own users think of their product; look for consumer reviews on social media or in the iTunes or Google Play stores! Finding an app with a high rating means that it’s been vetted by truckers just like you, so you can get a good understanding of the experience you’ll have with that provider.
7. Try Before You Buy
Does the company have a free app that you can use before making a purchasing decision? It’s a great way to get familiar with a provider before you commit yourself to a compliance solution! Another great way to get familiar with a product is through a free trial. Some companies will let you use their operations management tool for a period of time before you purchase their solution, which will let you get used to their system and decide whether or not it’s right for you.
BigRoad's Got Your Back
BigRoad fits the bill! Interested in giving it a try? Start your free trial today! Remember, if you get BigRoad’s DashLink ELD now, you can continue to use it as an AOBRD until December 16, 2019 (giving you two extra years to be more flexible with your logs). When you’re ready to make the switch to full ELD compliance, it can be done through a simple, remote software upgrade at no additional cost to you.