ELD Suppliers Offer Various Pricing Models, Levels of Service

How much does an electronic logging device cost? That’s not an easy question to answer, partly because vendors use different pricing models.

Some ELD suppliers simply charge a sum for the hardware and that’s it. Others supply the hardware for free and require a contract for the services they offer. The monthly fees from some of the more well-­established vendors range from $20 to $70. Customers typically must sign up for one or more years of service. Frequently a three-year contract is required.

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There are also vendors that charge both for the hardware and a monthly service subscription. The cost of the hardware can vary significantly and some vendors charge installation fees as well.

ELDs also can vary a great deal in terms of the added functionality beyond the basic software for tracking a driver’s hours of service. The price goes up as features increase.

At the lower end of the spectrum are ELDs designed to meet the requirements of the mandate, but offer little else. Owner-­operators or small fleets that are not looking for telematics connectivity may opt for the most basic ELDs. With many of these systems, the hardware connects to the engine control module and is easy to install, but also requires that users provide their own mobile device to use as the ELD’s display. Users will need to download a mobile app to access the software, but compliance is simple, quick and inexpensive.

ELD vendors that charge a monthly fee typically offer tiers of service, including wireless connectivity so the home office can gather data from the trucks. The base package may be bare bones or come with a few standard features, such as driver vehicle inspection reports and IFTA tax reporting. On top of that, customers can add vehicle tracking, driver behavior monitoring, vehicle fault codes, idle time tracking, geofencing, two-way messaging and more.

One of the benefits of having ELD connectivity between the truck and the home office is that dispatchers have access to data on drivers’ available hours of service. Having this information is critical for managing drivers efficiently. Before assigning loads, dispatchers can see if drivers have the hours needed to deliver the freight on time.

Many fleets have found substantial business benefits from the additional telematics functionality, but owner-operators may not want any of that. Fortunately, there are ELDs available now to meet every need and price range.