Six months to go for the new ELD (Electronic Logging Device) rule to take effect. Some of you may be able to wait until 2019 to get a fully compliant device, because you’ve already been using some sort of device.

What can I say that has not already been said? BEWARE! Today, there are the old stalwarts of the industry, the companies that have been pursuing this space for the last few years, and the new startups that see great potential. The latter group may entice you with extremely low costs for standalone devices. BEWARE!

I tell people that FREE is a 4-letter acronym meaning Find Revenue Everywhere Else. No company can survive without a steady stream of incoming revenue. In just a couple of years, the market for new hardware will dry up fast. When that happens, companies will need some sort of subscription revenue to stay in business. If you purchase a standalone product today, you may never be able to get it replaced in the future if it fails. In just a few years, I predict there will be a number of ELD companies that go out of business, and others that get sold to the more established businesses. Some will sell at ridiculously high valuations, while others will be bought at fire-sale prices.

Whether you are an owner-operator with 1-5 tractors, or a Top-100 Truckload Carrier, think through your decision today. Don’t just focus on the here-and-now, selecting the cheapest solution. What do you want to be doing with your ELD in 2020? Consider the impending telematics takedown that will occur as the market for ELDs matures quickly.