When EOBRs and AOBRDs first appeared on the big road over 20 years ago, it was common for fleets to pay $2,000+ per device. The same does not hold true today. Technological advancements and integration of smartphone technology have allowed for a drastic reduction in price. According to the FMCSA, ELDs will save the trucking industry an average of $3.4 billion annually by reducing transportation related accidents and paperwork. The market for ELDs has expanded and fleets of all sizes are now able to invest in these devices and gain operational efficiencies. Nonetheless, it is important to do an ELD price comparison because many providers have tacked on extra fees for installation, training, and other hidden costs like inactivity fees.
Five price factors to consider when evaluating ELDs:
1. Contract length
Most providers require users to commit to a contract, some for as long as 5 years. Committing to an ELD provider for that long can be disadvantageous and costly because you are stuck even if you discover that you are unsatisfied with the service. Flexibility is important when seeking the best ELD solution.
2. Upfront hardware cost
Some companies charge a baseline fee for the ELD hardware on top of installation, training, and monthly costs. However, many providers offer hardware for free because their systems leverage a driver’s smartphone, which can greatly save your bottom line.
3. Monthly fees
Every ELD provider charges a monthly service fee, which can range anywhere from $20-$100/month. A high monthly fee in addition to hardware and installation costs can make for a pricey investment!
4. Installation fee
Implementation fees often times account for the majority of hidden costs. Some companies charge over $1000 and require professional installation. Not only does this add to the cost of the ELD, but it also means waiting months before you actually get your device installed.
5. Training costs and hidden fees
The best ELD systems require minimal training — they’re intuitive, and drivers quickly learn them. However, legacy providers charge extra for training because older systems tend to have a big learning curve.
Current ELD provider price comparison: