The difference between a cheap ELD and an expensive one can be night and day in terms of the features and support they provide.
Their Cheap Price = Cheap Quality
The money you think you’re “saving” by buying the cheapest ELDs will be used for countless repairs and service appointments required to fix the shoddy craftsmanship of the devices.
Time is money as they say.
Imagine the annoyance of having to send in (for the 10th time!) the ELD you bought for only 20 bucks.
The amount of time wasted alone in the service process already costs much more the device itself.
This means drivers are stuck using paper logs during the repair period until a replacement device is sent by the ELD provider.
Now, just think how pain-free your life will be if you just invest your money into an ELD that doesn’t break every other week.
ELD providers have no control over hardware malfunctions since the hardware is supplied by a 3rd party.
Meaning that the communication feedback loops required just for a simple fix of an ELD can be aggravating.
They Come From Shady ELD Providers
If you’re browsing cheap ELDs from providers who have only entered the U.S. Transportation Industry space within the past few years, you need to be very careful.
Due to the FMCSA ELD mandate, there have been a large number of companies that have seemingly appeared out of nowhere in the past couple of years, offering a plethora of identical ELDs, all at dirt cheap prices.
These are companies that are just looking to make a quick buck and take advantage of the fact that truckers/drivers have no other choice but to accept the ELD mandate as a reality.
These companies know that people are going to try to choose the cheapest option, perhaps due to lack of funds, the sheer volume of ELDs needed for larger fleets, or the usual case: simple misinformation.
If you find an ELD provider, and it’s the only product/service they have to offer, run away and don’t look back.
Choose companies that have a proven track record in the industry, that already provide other products/services such as fleet management, order management, etc.
The reason for this is that these companies integrate their ELD/elogs service into the rest of their existing product ecosystems.
Meaning that you’ll not only have an ELD provider but an integrated service that you can use to manage every facet of your fleet operations.
They Lack Features & Updates
Continuing on from the point above…. As you should know by now, ELDs aren’t enough, you also need an electronic logs solution (usually an app or proprietary device) that pairs with the ELD.
Since these aforementioned companies are only out to make a quick buck, they’re not going to reinvest the profits made from selling their cheap ELDs into their elogs solution. (Granted they even have enough funds to do that in the first place).
Add to this the fact that the elogs apps from these companies are devoid of any features that aren’t specifically required by the FMCSA mandate.
You’ll never get to experience the joys of geofencing, automated IFTA reporting, driver scorecards… The list goes on.
So, while your competitors are enjoying their elogs solutions’ awesome features and the financial benefits they bring to their fleets, you’ll be stuck with a featureless elogs app that never gets updated.
Sounds fun, right?
That’s why it’s worth the time, effort, and cost to find an ELD provider who you can trust.
Do your due research, and you won’t have to worry about these problems at all.
Invest in an ELD provider that has committed to continued updates and releasing new features.
They Aren’t Backed By U.S. Support Teams
Your ELD is malfunctioning, so you call your ELD provider’s customer support hotline.
The person that answers is someone halfway around the world with barely passable English.
The problem you’re experiencing with your ELD is complicated and involves explaining multiple steps to the customer support rep…
Good luck with that.
These shady ELD providers mentioned above are not the only ones guilty of outsourcing their customer support.
Most of the big-name ELD providers you see right now outsource theirs as well.
If and when you run into a problem with your cheap ELD, just know what to expect on the other side of that phone when you come asking for help.
It’s not going to go well when the only way your problem gets solved is by going straight to someone’s supervisor (which is an outsourced rep’s last resort, AKA you’ll have to sit through them attempting to solve your complicated issue).
Make sure the ELD you choose is backed by a U.S.-based customer support team.
The moral of this story is: don’t let yourself be blinded by buzzwords such as “cheap” and “discount” when you’re looking for ELD solutions for your fleet.
Smarten up and don’t let these shady companies pull a fast one on you.
Invest in a solid ELD from a reputable company that’s been in the transportation and service business for at least 5 years.
Share this article with your friends who are considering a cheap ELD from a no-name company, so that you save them the countless troubles that await them down the road.