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Industry Insight: Best Apps for Truckers

By David Insley

These days, truckers within the auto transport industry are experiencing a deluge of options when it comes to mobile apps that promise to make their lives easier. With new applications debuting constantly from an expanding roster of companies, determining the best apps for truckers can be tricky business. It’s important to know what’s out there, who’s offering what and which features genuinely contribute to a more productive and seamless car hauling experience. 

This blog post covers the following topics and products:


Between the need to comply with a neverending list of federal regulations and a desire to increase efficiency and obtain a competitive edge, mobile apps on iPhone and Android have become a trucker’s best friend and constant companion (not always in that order). From the moment they’re assigned a load to the time of vehicle pick-up straight through to delivery, a driver’s smartphone is completely engaged in every process that affects the how, the where and the when of the car hauling experience.

Ship.Cars driver with car on trailer

Q: What are the best apps for truckers?

When considering this question, it’s helpful to break these digital assets into two major categories: those that relate to electronic proof of delivery and those that relate to electronic logging of hours. There’s also a third category we'll be covering: everything else, which for our purposes can mean trucker tool apps, banking apps, scanner apps and so on. Taken together, these trucker applications are essential in ensuring that car hauling is completed in a professional, time-sensitive manner and in full compliance with the law. 

ePOD - electronic proof of delivery app

For years and years (well into the digital age, in fact), paper-based bill of lading and inspection documents still held sway for the vast majority of truckers. As has been explained elsewhere, the auto transport industry has a well-deserved reputation for lagging behind similar industries in terms of technology adoption. However, with enough time (and enough proven advancements) the initial hesitancy to embrace technological innovation in the form of mobile apps has begun to fade and smart, savvy trucking and car hauling companies have moved in to fill the emerging need—especially in terms of electronic proof of delivery (ePOD).

Besides the endless quest for quality loads to haul and trying to navigate the nation’s crumbling roads in all sorts of conditions, another frequent and unrelenting pain point for truckers has been the burden of paperwork.

ePOD fixes all that. That's why it's one of the best apps for truckers.

Just like drivers working for FedEx, UPS or DHL, the worlds of freight and logistics—specifically car haulers—have developed their own apps to automate as many tasks as possible and accelerate the inspection and delivery process. While most of these apps have similar objectives, some go the extra mile to provide rapid, best-in-class functionality that can make a real difference to busy drivers and owner operators.

Take Ship.Cars. We’re not the only ones providing electronic proof of delivery for truckers, dispatchers and owner operators within a mobile device, but we’ve made it a priority to deliver the kind of industry-leading solutions that put drivers in the best position to excel. This includes ways to:

  • Automate processes & keep your partners up to date with order status
  • Reduce fraud with geotagged photos and digital BOLs
  • Optimize operations - import & manage all booked orders while tracking payments
  • Get notified about new orders on your routes

 

Ship.Cars Driver ePOD inspection window

It’s worth noting that Ship.Cars electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) app is more than a mobile tool to complete inspection. As outlined above, it’s a digital assistant, a communications device, a trucker trip planning app, a tool to eliminate paperwork and accelerate productivity. It also helps you get paid faster. And with a new responsive design, Driver ePOD is able to be a true locus of business, driving loads into your truck, assisting with billing and invoicing and making it easy to pick up and deliver vehicles at multiple locations.

There are many companies operating in this space and a simple Google search will refund the names of several disruptors offering emerging ePOD solutions to Carriers and Owner Operators including GoPhore, Super Dispatch and VehicHaul, to name just a few.

ELD - Electronic Logging Device

In 2016, the FMCSA determined that all drivers of vehicles will need to maintain an electronic logging device (ELD) to track daily hours of service (HOS). In their words, the law was passed to “help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data.” Of course, not every driver and carrier company were overjoyed about these new regulations, and many owner operators, specifically, have doggedy fought to defeat and then overturn this legislation. However, while new legal battles play out and modifications to current rule emerge, ELDs remain firmly a part of a trucker’s life. Some of the best apps for truckers in terms of ELD are listed here:

KeepTruckin ELD

Keeping clear of potential HOS violations is how drivers can save time and money, while alleviating hassle. With built-in GPS tracking, the KeepTruckin’s app, once paired with a device device that plugs into your vehicle’s diagnostic port, provides electronic logs, performance monitoring and fleet management tools for accelerating and simplifying communication between dispatchers and drivers.

Key feature: According to users, the electronic logs themselves are easy to use and easy to edit. That’s important when you’re on the go and have to adjust logs according to changing conditions and hours of service.

Simple Truck ELD

Simple Truck ELD is a low-cost ELD provider for truck drivers that’s straight forward, easy to install and fully FMCSA compliant—all without ever having to sign a contract or make use of any hardware (the mobile device is simply plugged into the ECM comprt).

Key feature: Simple Truck is a subscription-based service, which you can cancel at anytime It’s also boasts a premium tier that unlocks more functionality such as IFTA mileage reports, geofencing and more.

Switchboard ELD

Another company offering an HOS-compliance app is Switchboard. Known for its outstanding design that delivers an inviting, user-friendly experience, Switchboard ELD is inexpensive, reliable and is sophisticated enough to support HOS in both the U.S. and Canada. 

Key feature: Elegant design and ease of operation. Both drivers and back office can take advantage of this app to avoid violations and enhance fleet/trip management.

Trucker in cabin of truck adjusting app

Everything else: beyond ELD and ePOD

A host of other apps are frequently accessed by truckers in the course of their hauls—and some of them are every bit as vital as the aforementioned ELD and EPOD apps.

Trucker Path Pro 

Ask any driver about Trucker Path Pro and they will have an opinion of it—most of it overwhelmingly positive. With over 950,000 users, this versatile, all-in-one app for truckers provides a range of solutions for general freight and car haulers including weigh station information (which ones are close by and operational), parking status (always an issue with truckers as they search for places to take enforced downtime) and tools to locate nearby restaurants, fueling stations, truck washes and repair shops.

Key feature: All the information provided by Trucker Path Pro is extremely vital in the daily life of a trucker, so it’s hard to pluck just one feature. However, road navigation is pretty useful no matter what you’re hauling. Find the best routes, discover timely information on bridge closings, and discover which overpasses your truck can clear. Quick and simple when you're on the go.

CamScanner

Receipts? Bills of Lading? Printed invoices? While Ship.Cars clearly urges drivers to go digital for innumerable benefits, there’s no denying that scraps of paperwork will occasionally make their way into your cab no matter what you do. Times like that the best option is to scan them into your phone's hard drive via CamScanner so they can be stored, organized and sent to managers, accountants, business partners or just saved for private tax purposes. Of course, using a cutting-edge ePOD is an inarguably more efficient and organized way of managing your workflow and business transactions, but in the meantime, apps like CamScanner serve a vital purpose.

Key feature: The scanner, of course. It uses your smartphone camera to scan documents and receipts and immediately stamps them with time and date so you can drop them into folders and stay organized.

Zelle

Think about it: With the ability to generate electronic BOLs ensuring that all parties are notified of vehicle delivery (thank you ePOD), payment can then be unlocked more quickly than ever before. That means P2P payment apps like Zelle can be used to dispatch funds to drivers without the usual hassle or delays. And that’s huge.

Key feature: The quick transfer of funds (via direct deposit) from shipper to driver that no longer has to be routed through a bank (although Zelle is backed by some of the biggest banks in the industry including BOA, Chase and Wells Fargo). This is professional-level Venmo that puts digital funds in the pockets of truckers fast and seamlessly.

Car Hauler trailer full with cars

The best trucking apps are the ones you use

As mobile technology continues to surprise, delight and accelerate, those in the auto transport industry can expect more and better trucker tools apps to be created and made available to drivers and owner operators. The best mobile apps for truckers will always be the ones that solve real problems that car haulers face every day, while also being powerful and flexible enough to evolve seamlessly. The winning hand will likely go to technology companies that can offer multiple solutions within a single app. Rewarding drivers with ease, automation, helpful hints and workflow management tools will help keep them loyal and happily existing within the confines of an ecosystem that respects the labor of their job. 

Tags: Industry news, Carriers, Owner operators, Technology, Innovation, Truckers, Drivers

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