Whether you’re hauling units across the state or waiting on shipments, the new ELD Mandate affects your portable restroom business. On April 1, 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) electronic logging device (ELD) mandate went into full effect. It requires most commercial vehicles to use an ELD to track hours of service. It’s important to understand how this new law affects your business, bottom line, and your customers.
An ELD is a recording device that syncs with the engine of the vehicle. When the engine turns on, it begins recording data. The purpose of the mandate is to make it easier for drivers and employers to accurately track and share records-of-duty status (RODS) data. Electronic logging devices enforce hours-of-service rules. Drivers required to use paper logs in the past must switch to using an electronic logging device now.
Many large trucking corporations switched to electronic logging devices before the law change. Their rate increases stem from driver shortages, weather conditions, and more demand. The price to install and maintain an ELD is relatively small, but companies transferring to ELDs will see a higher initial cost. The annual estimated cost is just under $500 per truck, but there is a learning curve. Companies provide training for office staff, mechanics, and technicians, along with drivers. Companies must consider a driver’s hours and ensure a safe stopping place. The hours-of-duty laws haven’t changed, yet more accurate data may lead to fewer loads per driver per year. In turn, this loss of productivity leads to increased costs of freight and longer delivery times.
The cost of products and rates for shipping are increasing. If you’re trying to grow your rental business by purchasing new units, then plan for higher costs. Shipments may take longer to deliver. This is the result of fewer available carriers. Experts suggest that it will take two to three years for the market to normalize. Until then, expect double-digit increases in your freight costs.
If you deliver units, being in compliance with the ELD mandate is a must. If you’re waiting for shipments, look for ways to lower your costs. Talk to your freight carriers about flexible shipping and receiving times. Reduce driver wait times and allow for convenient parking at pickup and delivery locations. With an already tight trucking market, shipping costs are expected to rise for several years, so decide if a rate increase is necessary. If so, determine how to best explain these changes to your clients.
The ELD mandate is one variable in the market and one potential cause of increasing rates. Businesses are feeling the pinch of higher costs. While some blame the ELD mandate, it’s a law that’s here to stay. Consumers applaud the mandate for enforcing hours-of-service and making roads safer, while long-time truckers worry about new safety issues. As a PRO, it’s important to keep this in mind while explaining your pricing to clients. Turn the new regulation into a positive by understanding how it affects your business and communicating these changes to clients.