J.J. Keller is a very respected name in trucking compliance. They essentially invented the paper logbook back in the 50s. So it makes sense that they would have an ELD product on the market. Their ELog product is an optional add-on to their larger compliance system, Encompass. Encompass is a full fledged compliance management tool that handles everything from logs, to driver qualification files, to preventative maintenance and much much more. Customers who use their ELog ELD system will automatically become Encompass users as well, with all the great compliance tools that brings along with it.
The Elog device itself is a simple “black box” that plugs into the truck’s diagnostic port, and communicates with a display device via Bluetooth. The display can be any Android or Apple smartphone or tablet. The device can be provided by the trucking company, or the drivers could use their own. Or for fleets that want an all-in-one solution, J.J. Keller can provide you their own tablet to use with the system. With all these options, pricing can get a little confusing, so we’ll dive into that next. One warning, while ELog looks fairly inexpensive initially, there are other charges that can greatly increase the price. So it’s important to really crunch the numbers and get an official quote from J.J. Keller.
The device itself is a pretty simple solution, focused on compliance, without a lot of fancy features. Logs and DVIRs are included. Navigation is an add-on, as is GPS tracking in the back office. There is no messaging feature, or engine diagnostics, or document scanning abilities. Driver’s cannot currently email logs from the device. The Encompass back office system is rich with excellent compliance tools, but it is a somewhat dated feeling system and some users may not find it the most user friendly. The features and capabilities may change as software is updated to comply with the mandate, but right now its a fairly basic no-nonsense device, geared at compliance not fleet management. This is fine if you can stay at the lower end of the price range, but the higher priced scenarios described above seem overly expensive for the features you get.
Quite a number of users have reported experiencing many hardware issues and problems with usability and accuracy of the application. While this experience isn’t universal, it is a comment we’ve heard often enough now to make it worth consideration. It might be wise to speak to a few existing customers, and demo some trial units before deciding if the device will work well for your needs.
All around, Elog with Encompass is a basic ELD from an industry leader. If you want to know you’ve got the top name in regulatory compliance behind you, J.J. Keller is a good place to be. For fleets looking to go beyond logs and improve compliance across the board, Encompass may be especially appealing. But evaluate the pricing carefully, and consider bang-for-buck before diving in.
- The black box that plugs into the truck is $199 (financing options available)
- If you provide your own device or use the driver’s, that will likely be free or very cheap to get the hardware (with 2 year contract).
- But if you want to use J.J. Keller’s official tablet, that is $349.
- There is also a one-time training and implementation fee. This depends on the size of your fleet but will likely be several thousand dollars.
- $25.50/mo per vehicle, if you provide your own display device
- If you provide your own device, expect to pay roughly $15/mo for a cell data plan
- Or, $59/mo per vehicle if you use the official J.J. Keller provided tablet
- So that’s an additional $33.50/mo which includes a Verizon data plan
- Extra drivers are $3.50/mo (if you have more drivers than vehicles)
- If you want to track DVIR records and other compliance info on trailers, it is $3.50/mo for each trailer as well
- If you want ALK Co-Pilot GPS navigation for drivers on the device that is $10/mo
So the cheapest route would be to have drivers use their own smartphones, then you pay only $199 for the Elog box up front and $25.50/mo, giving a total 3-year cost of only $1,117 per device. Or on the more expensive side you could use the official J.J. Keller tablet and add Co-Pilot Navigation, so you pay $548 up front and $59/mo. This gives a quite large 3-year cost of $3,032.
For our pricing above, we took the middle road: trucking company provides a device with data plan. So $199 up front, and $25.50/mo + $15/mo for data plan. Total 3-year cost of $1,657, which is still a pretty affordable solution compared to many.
And remember, that in any of the scenarios above you ALSO need to consider the cost of extra drivers, trailers, and the implementation/training fee. All around, while JJ Keller looks like a budget option on paper, the actual costs can quickly get very high, so crunch your numbers carefully.
Pros & Cons
- J.J. Keller is an industry leader in DOT compliance
- Part of the Encompass back office system for compliance management
- No contract, pay as you go
- Complicated pricing (read below)
- Limited telematics features
- User reports of hardware and usability issues
We’ve been a customer since ELD’s have been mandated. Today alone, we called support 6 times. They had to escalate our ticket, *& had numerous tickets ahead of us. If that alone doesn’t tell you to stay away from this ELD, I dont know what does. We run 20 power units and all problems. There is ZERO customer service or support when the ELD malfunctions. This is a daily occurrence lately.
I would not recommend this service, it is untrustworthy. I logged off for the weekend and submitted my logs, got back in the truck on Monday and it put me on-duty Saturday night, when I wasn’t even by my truck, it has happened a few times, when you stop it takes almost 5min for the dam thing to switch out of drive mode and with the crappie house of service rules time is money. I am in the process of changing services, on a good note though the customer service is very good.
Works fine. Had a couple bugs, but overall works well enough