J.J. Keller ELD Review 2019

J.J. Keller logo

By Julia Watts | Content Manager

Commercial fleets need to be ELD compliant by December 16 2019. Should you enlist this industry leader to guide you there?


J.J. Keller logo

Pros:

  • Comprehensive regulatory compliance management
  • Plug-and-play system means a speedy setup with no downtime
  • Excellent customer support team
  • No contract, pay-as-you-go billing

X Cons:

  • Limited telematics features
  • Some customers report connectivity issues
At a glance: J.J. Keller’s outstanding ELD system provides more than just e-logs – it’s a comprehensive compliance management solution. The plug-and-play devices are easy as pie to use, though some customers have reported technical glitches.

When it comes to fleet compliance, J.J. Keller is an industry leader with a stellar reputation. Having made its name as a pioneer of the humble paper logbook back in the 1950s, this company has spent the last few decades at the forefront of compliance innovation.

From eDVIR solutions to construction safety training, J.J. Keller provides plenty of services besides its ELD (electronic logging device) system. But with December 16 2019 – otherwise known as the deadline for full ELD compliance – fast approaching, we thought it prudent to unpick this big name supplier’s ELD solution, and help you decide whether it’s the right one for you.

Let’s get started!



What are J.J. Keller’s Features and Benefits?

So, what does this company have to offer? Well, to achieve full ELD compliance with J.J. Keller, you’ll need:

  • Its patented ELDs
  • The free J.J. Keller Mobile app
  • A subscription to J.J. Keller’s Encompass Fleet Management portal

Let’s take a closer look at these offerings…


Did You Know?

We can help you to get ELD-compliant, fast: by matching you up with fleet management and tracking suppliers that provide excellent ELD systems – including J.J. Keller. Simply tell us what you need, and we’ll find the right options for you. You’ll quickly receive tailored quotes to compare – it’s super easy, and totally free!

✓ ELDs

J.J. Keller’s patented ELDs are certified by the FMCSA, and can be used in vehicles of all classes – cars, trucks, you name it.

The devices are designed to be easy to install, so each ELD comes with a connection cable that you (or your staff) can plug in yourself, along with a quickstart guide for your drivers. Because they’re plug-and-play devices that aren’t hardwired in, they won’t require any down time to get set up – although they may be a little less secure and discreet.

If you do have some technical difficulties, though, J.J. Keller offers some pretty robust customer service – with a tech support line open 24/7.


✓ J.J. Keller Mobile

Designed for commercial drivers, the J.J. Keller Mobile app receives and collates the data collected by your ELDs. Using the app, your drivers can:

  • Update their duty status
  • Check and certify their HOS (hours of service)
  • Perform vehicle inspections
  • Browse vehicle records and engine data
  • View their GPS coordinates

The app is free, and compatible with Apple and Android, meaning all of your drivers should be able to download and use it on their own devices.

Of course, if you’re looking for a solution that won’t aggravate your employees by eating up their personal memory and data, it’s worth acquiring some cheap tablets and a data plan for this purpose.

J.J. Keller itself provides ‘Compliance Tablets’ that come ready-to-go and pre-loaded with J.J. Keller Mobile. These Android devices provide 4G network coverage, and come locked down – meaning your drivers won’t be able to use them to run unauthorized apps. It goes without saying that Compliance Tablets come at an additional cost – but we’ll explore that in more detail in a moment.


✓ Encompass Fleet Management

While your drivers use J.J. Keller Mobile to check in on their HOS and duty status, you’ll use Encompass Fleet Management, J.J. Keller’s back-office management portal, to do so instead.

Now, when it comes to telematics, Encompass isn’t as featureful as other solutions. What is does have, however, is a laser focus on keeping you compliant with FMCSA regulations. We’d say that, rather than a fleet management system, you’re better off thinking of it as a comprehensive compliance management tool.

Using Encompass’ portal, you’ll be able to check in on data including:

  • HOS
  • Driver performance
  • Fuel tax reporting
  • Accident recording
  • Driver qualification
  • Alcohol and drug tests
  • Unit tracking and maintenance

You’ll also be able to set up automatic compliance alerts – handy!

While tech support for drivers and their ELD devices is open 24/7, it’s worth being aware that Encompass technical support is only available Monday through Friday, from 7am until 6pm. So, if something goes wrong at the weekend, you’ll have to wait until Monday for help.


How Much Does J.J. Keller Cost?

First off, you need to be aware that J.J. Keller works on a pay-as-you-go basis and so won’t rope you into a lengthy contract – which, in our eyes, is a huge advantage.

But what exactly will it charge? Well, J.J. Keller itself doesn’t provide transparent pricing information. Rather, it prefers potential customers to get in touch and ask for a custom quote directly.

That being said, a few online sources have gone ahead and crunched the numbers. They cite the below figures as a guideline:

ComponentCost
ELD$199 upfront
Compliance Tablet$349 upfront
Subscription fee$25.50 per vehicle, per month
Subscription fee + Compliance Tablet data plan$59 per vehicle, per month

As you can see, the big decision here is whether or not to opt for the company’s Compliance Tablets.

It’s a balance. On the one hand, they will save you the time and effort of sourcing your own tablets, paying for a data plan separately, and getting all the right apps downloaded and logged into. On the flipside, however, you may well be able to find a cheaper tablet and data plan bundle elsewhere.

Whatever you decide, it’s a good idea to compare all the cost options available to you before picking your winning ELD supplier. We can help you there. Answer a few questions about what your business needs – be sure to tick ‘ELDs’! -, and we’ll match you with fleet management and tracking suppliers that can get you compliant.

They’ll then be in touch with bespoke quotes and info just for you! Don’t forget, the deadline for full compliance is December 16 2019. Try our effortless service to get on top of it today!


Is J.J. Keller Right for my Business?

“I want to be safe in the knowledge that I’m ELD, DOT and FMSCA compliant.”

You won’t go far wrong with J.J. Keller. It’s one of the big names in compliance, and is trusted by over 420,000 customers – that speaks for itself!

The team at J.J. Keller are very much compliance experts, and so we’re confident that they’ll be able to talk through your concerns and make good recommendations. And you can rest assured that the ELD system will provide you with everything you need to pass that 16 December deadline with no stress.

“I want a full suite of fleet management and telematics features.”

If you’re keen to reap the benefits of a sophisticated fleet management and GPS tracking system, J.J. Keller may not be the supplier for you. We’d advise looking into fleet management specialists that can also help you with ELD compliance – Samsara is a good example.

Alternatively, you could use J.J. Keller’s compliance system while also using a full fleet management system from another supplier – but you’ll need to work out whether that’s a cost-effective strategy.


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What do J.J. Keller’s Customer Reviews Say?

Overall, J.J. Keller’s customers speak very highly of its ELD system. We scoured pages of J.J. Keller ELD reviews across the company’s website and customer review site ELD Ratings, and found many of them to be glowing.

In particular, customers praise the solution’s ease of use, along with the company’s knowledgeable customer service team:

“We had been using J.J. Keller OBRD, and then transitioned to the ELD systems. This system has been great for our fleet. It has made it so much easier to track drivers hours, locations and habits, along with reporting fuel taxes. Great product.”

– Bobby, J.J. Keller customer

“After talking to J.J. Keller’s customer service rep, who understood my questions and could quickly give me answers, I decided to give the J.J. Keller ELD a try. I ordered one and have been thrilled with how it has performed compared to another company’s ELD that I had been using.

“Installation was a breeze, operation is quick and easy, and the Encompass management software has been very user friendly. I personally would rather not run an ELD, but if you have to run one, I would very much recommend the J.J. Keller ELD and Encompass system.”

– Shiny Pete, J.J. Keller customer

That being said, a couple of glitches have been pointed out, too:

“The system works well with the app. The only downfalls I see are the permanent mounting behind the dash to connect the wiring, and the fact that the countdown clocks are too small on the app to read at a glance.

“Customer service is very good compared to the service I previously used. Overall, a good buy for an owner-operator, or company that runs a few trucks.”

– TruckerJ, J.J. Keller customer

Meanwhile, a handful of customers have experienced more serious connection issues with J.J. Keller’s ELD:

“Bought the system in 2017 and never had an issue until the 2019 AORBD upgrade to ELD. Now we call daily, trying to figure out why the truck must drive four to six miles before it will discover and connect! Sometimes info must be entered several times before it will take.”

– Claude Jones, J.J. Keller customer


Expert Verdict

If you’re looking for a solution that you know will get your business fully ELD compliant, we think J.J. Keller’s ELD system is well worth investigating.

It’s intuitive and easy to use (for both you and your drivers), it’s super speedy to set up, and it’s got the power of an experienced, industry leading brand behind it. Plus, rather than roping you into a long contract, it’ll allow you to pay as you go. Oh, and its customer support service is responsive, friendly, and very knowledgeable.

On the other hand, several users have reported connectivity issues, which can cause problems when it comes to something as crucial as duty status and HOS reporting. And if you’re looking for sophisticated telematics, J.J. Keller isn’t the supplier to get it from.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what fits your business best. But whatever you choose, you should definitely compare as many options as possible first. We’re here to make this process effortless. Based on what your business needs, we can match you up with the fleet management and tracking suppliers that can help you reach ELD compliance before the deadline.

All you need to do is tell us what you’re looking for – make sure you tick ‘ELDs’! – and the best suppliers for you will be in touch with tailored prices and info.


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Julia Watts Content Manager
Specializing in business energy, fleet management and fuel cards, Julia’s here to help your company power up and get on the move. Having spent years working in the dynamic world of startup entrepreneurship, she loves creating content that might help exciting ventures, big or small, to flourish.
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