As our phones get progressively smarter, the range of applications available to make our lives easier (or just more entertaining) is exploding. With over 225,000 apps for the iPhone alone, there’s bound to be more than a few out there to help our friendly uShip service providers. We did some poking around and came up with a list of smartphone apps and tools that might interest transporters.
Gas Cubby: Gas Stats and More
If you’re running your own transport operation, you know how important it is to maximize fuel efficiency and understand how your machine is running. Gas Cubby is a great iPhone app for both truckers and four-wheelers. It tracks fuel mileage, cost per gallon, and vehicle-related expenses and maintenance, offering instant access to relevant stats about your rig.
Gas Cubby even builds custom charts and graphs with all your data, so you can look at your mileage over a long period of time. The app also allows you to export records to Excel spreadsheets. If you’re a trucker owner-operator or a self-employed traveler of any kind, this is a fantastic way to keep records for your income taxes.
Square: Credit Cards on the Move
Without a reliable solution for payment cards, many owner-operators and transporters can end up working on a cash-only basis. Thankfully, the connectivity of smart phones has enabled one enterprising company to create Square, an app that allows you to take credit and debit card payments on your iPhone or Android device. Using a free (yep, FREE) card reader that plugs into your phone’s headphone jack, Square lets your customers swipe their card and then sign or key their pin to make a payment instantly.
Gas Buddy: Find the Cheapest Diesel
When you’re filling up hundreds of gallons every week, even the smallest savings on diesel prices can really add up. Gas Buddy is a popular website that collects pricing data on thousands of gas stations. They’ve recently launched an iPhone app that no driver should be without. Using user inputs, it has the most up-to-date data on gas and diesel prices from anywhere in the US and Canada.
According to GasBuddy.com:
These are actual figures from 2/8/2010: A car that has an 18 gallon tank that gets 18 MPG in the city and drives 15,000 miles per year in Dallas, TX will save up to $6.48/tank and $358.33/year by using GasBuddy.
We did some research on GasBuddy’s site. The app works especially well for in-city driving, helping you save around $0.35 per gallon. In Oklahoma City, for example, driving a few extra miles on I-40 can mean the difference between paying $2.59 and $2.95 per gallon for diesel.
Google Maps: Directions, Traffic, and More
Many phones have the Google Maps app installed by default, and with good reason. It’s the most comprehensive app that we could find for traffic, directions, and searching for nearby businesses and addresses. The traffic updates work on the cloud system: Google maps “pings” everyone using the app to see where, and how fast traffic is moving, providing its users with up to the second updates on traffic. Its newest feature, navigation, gives you turn-by-turn GPS navigation with voice updates. Best of all, it’s free, making it the clear favorite among navigation and traffic information apps.
Besides the pre-installed Google Maps applications for iPhone and Android, you can download versions for Blackberry, Nokia and Windows-based phones. Some functions are even available by text message.
Yelp: 21st Century Yellow Pages (With Reviews)
While we all have our favorite dines and dives, sometimes when you’re looking for something new, it doesn’t hurt to get the word from around town. Yelp is a site that takes reviews from users from all over the country for food, fun and shopping, and lets you search for restaurants from cheap eats to five star feasts. Think of it as the yellow pages with feedback.
Yelp offers a mobile-friendly site and has custom apps for iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Palm.