DRIVECAM HAS LOST US: Whether by design or via a business model that wasn’t very well thought out, DriveCam has made it clear they don’t want to do business with our industry.
Recently, I wrote an article for another industry venue about DriveCam and some of its competitors. As a customer of DriveCam, I had first hand knowledge of the product. I promoted them to everyone I knew. They saved me money on my insurance premium, helped improve driver behavior, and provided some peace of mind. Now, it is apparently time to say farewell. In the time of need, they failed me and many other operators in support and more importantly in the repeated failures of their product and their newly imposed minimum order requirement. That’s right, the minimum order quantity is 20 cameras! I recently referred a client to them who was interested in making a purchase and he received the following e-mail to his inquiry:
Thank you for your interest in DriveCam.
You have indicated that your fleet has less than 20 vehicles. While DriveCam recognizes that all fleets can benefit from a Driver Risk Management solution, start-up costs associated with deploying DriveCam can be cost prohibitive when launching fleets of 20 vehicles or less. Accordingly, we have found it prudent to limit orders to a minimum of 20 units.
We apologize for any inconvenience that this policy may cause.
Whoa! Twenty cameras at about $1000 each? I could not help but think about the fact that 80% of the industry is made up of Mom and Pop businesses running three to seven fleet vehicles. This means DriveCam has no interest in doing business with about 80% of us. I couldn’t believe this. What a shortsighted business decision that clearly discounts the potential lucrative market of small operators wanting to emphasize safety.
I gave DriveCam a call. Sure enough, the 20-vehicle minimum is indeed their policy, according to the receptionist. In the same call, I asked for tech support to see if they could walk me through a simple process to change the name of one camera to another name as we relocated it to another vehicle. The receptionist then told me DriveCam quit providing support for my cameras as of Dec. 31, 2009. Needless to say, I was a little miffed.
I called my friend in Austin who also uses DriveCam to see if he had any problems. He let me know he had sent five cameras back for repair under warranty with three of them being returned a total of three times each for repair. He had an accident, and when he went to play back the accident, the viedo was totally garbled and proved useless. DriveCam told him it must have been a bad chip. He threw his cameras in the garbage after that.
I called another operator in North Hollywood. He told me that he had been involved in three crashes and the DriveCam unit was unable to replay any of the three crashes. Must have been a batch of bad chips again. He expressed his complete disgust for DriveCam and said he was looking for a new vendor to provide in-vehicle cameras.
So, after being told that they no longer support my camera and having two other operators tell me how DriveCam failed to capture their incidents, I am saying farewell to DriveCam. I don’t know of any small operator who has $20,000 to invest in cameras at a single time or even a need for so many cameras.
ATTENTION TECH ENTREPRENEURS: The industry needs a new player that cares about little guys and when I find one, you can bet I will tell the world about that new company. If you know of one, e-mail me at Jim@LCTmag.com.
-- Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor
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