ELD's 'no monthly fee' promotion highlights relative market void

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Updated Feb 1, 2021

A promotion that was dropped into the Overdrive's Trucking Pro LinkedIn group by a member recently caught my eye. It came from a rep at Geospace Labs, which offers the Geowiz electronic logging device, among other products. The promo promised what was once, and remains for some, a holiest of holy grails in the crowded ELD market – a no-monthly-fee device and software.

No Monthly FEE ELD! Hardware & Software $279 advertisementScreengrab of the post shared in the LinkedIn group ...

We've lost more than one provider offering similar service since the mandate began being enforced in late 2017. Those range from the Zed ELD and the ill-fated and cheekily named F-ELD from the former One20 company to, just this past year, what might once have been the gold standard among such no-monthly-fee devices, with a long history dating back almost a decade in the Continental VDO RoadLog. My back-of-the-envelope accounting left me with the impression that there were exactly three remaining such devices otherwise, those available from the West Virginia-headquartered Blue Ink Technology, the Switchboard company, and GPS giant Garmin.  

Could this be a new one? I wondered. GeoSpace Labs general manager Brandon Smith, in sales for the company, reached out to note that, yes, the no-monthly-fee aspect of this particular device is the reality for a single-user owner-operator set-up. It's been that way for years, in fact. Make that four

Companies adopting such a model are relying on tiered service upgrades or ancillary products to fund ongoing support. Software goes haywire, devices break, and support costs time and money for companies, of course – that's a big part of what you're paying for when you opt into monthly service fees for ELDs, and one reason why the dozens of others out there are mostly structured with monthly fees in that subscriber model from the moment you sign on with them. Maybe there's something to that model that's significant in the ability to maintain adequate service over time. If we're to take Overdrive readers at your word, it's not toward lower cost that the largest share of ELD device switchers moved when surveyed last year about why they changed vendors. 

Pie chart with answers for the question, 'Why did you switch ELD providers?'Device quality/service was named by a full third of poll respondents, while cost was the principal factor for just 7%.At once, some no-monthly-fee vendors have cracked the nut and have managed longevity in the crowded ELD market. And: It's nice to be able to point you to another one. (Readers, and/or vendors, hit me with an email if you know of yet another.) Happy hauling to you, whether you're logging on a screen or the old-fashioned way. Stay safe out there.

ICYMI: Catch my colleague James Jaillet's 2020 feature on the e-log market and expectations of consolidation over time via this link to the first part of the package.  

The cabovers come out at night

The K100 Aerodynes, to be exact. ...

Cabover K100 Aerodynes"Sometimes they only come out at night, but when they do, it's a rare find for sure!" --Owner-operator Dean Carnahan, who caught a quick snap of this one (a Tennessee truck, he said) at a fuel stop in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

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