Owner Operators have some unique challenges when it comes to ELD’s. Depending on their relationship with their customers, they may have to choose and manage their own ELD, or be obligated to use their customer’s system.
The key factor is the contractual arrangement(s) they have. There are two big buckets that most Owner Operators fall into:
- They work for one or more freight brokers. In this case, they will probably have to source and manage their own ELD.
- They work for one private trucking or common carrier company. If the company has an ELD in place, it must be made clear what the expectations are of the Owner Operator. Many ELD systems require extensive installation, including cutting holes in your cab. There will be some hesitation in some companies to have their Owner Ops on other systems. This would make it cumbersome, but not impossible, for dispatchers to track locations and status.
If the Owner Operator has the option to choose and install their own ELD, we highly recommend the systems that are plug-and-play, bring-your-own-device.
Plug and play systems take minutes to install. They simply plug into the diagnostics port (down by your left knee), with a cable going to a data transfer module (about the size of a thick wallet).
BYOD systems are simply that. You can use your own android phone, iphone, or windows tablet, (depending on the system). You load the app onto your device, synch it, via Bluetooth, to the data module, and you’re good to go. You’re not strapped with expensive, proprietary hardware that may become obsolete. You can email your daily logs via your device.
Most systems come with a web-based administration software. You may choose to give access rights to your dispatcher, so they can see your location in real time.
A good plug/play/BYOD ELD costs around $30/month on a one year contract, with the module supplied.
Whatever your situation, we recommend starting the ELD discussion with your customer sooner than later. You want to understand the road ahead.