Eppler Boosts Carrier Rating and Reimagines Fleet Communications with Whip Around

“Since we started the program, we’ve worked with three Customer Success people, and they’ve all been wonderful. It’s not like some other places I’ve worked with, where you have to wait two to three days to hear back. They respond the same day, usually within an hour or two.”

  • Carrier rating has gone up.
  • Defects found during DOT inspections have gone down.
  • Overall condition of fleet has improved significantly.

About Eppler Towing & Recovery

Founded in 1950 by John Eppler in Firebaugh, California, the Eppler brand was born as a local Union 76 service station that expanded into towing services to serve its community. Its fleet grew during the 1970s, expanding to include heavy-duty wreckers in the 1980s. By the mid-1990s, Eppler Towing had grown to offer specialized recovery, transport, road service, truck repair and truck sales. 

Now owned and operated by the third generation of the family, Eppler Towing & Recovery remains a force in the industry, known for its high-quality customer service.  

Today, the fleet comprises 63 tow trucks plus more than additional 110 vehicles that round out its services, including everything from pickups to heavy hauls. 


The Challenge

While Charlie McKeen leads compliance and training, that doesn’t mean he won’t hop in a vehicle from time to time as well. His deep familiarity with the fleet is helpful as he manages Eppler’s roster of drivers, ensuring they’re complying with inspection requirements and up to date on training. 

As the person who oversees drivers’ paperwork and monitors their hours of service, McKeen saw room for improvement with their pen-and-paper processes. But the tools available to him a few years ago just weren’t getting it done. They were using a different app for electronic logbooks that offered a DVIR program, but he found the process disturbingly similar to using paper. 

“If the driver didn’t make a phone call, say if he was at a remote location and found something wrong, then nobody knew that there was an issue,” McKeen said.

Unsatisfied with that platform, they returned to the old-school method of simple pen and paper — relying on drivers to drop off physical reports at the end of their daily shifts. But issues were falling through the cracks, and drivers would complain that the defects they reported weren’t being resolved in a timely fashion, if at all. 

Then, luckily, a partner introduced McKeen to Whip Around.


The Solution 

At first, before using the Whip Around app, some seasoned drivers were reluctant to embrace what seemed like just another admin task. But after McKeen and a couple other drivers piloted the program for a week and subsequently introduced it to the whole company, its obvious value quickly trumped any initial doubts.

Thanks to the simple tutorial videos and easy-to-use interface, every driver was soon on board and using the tool. McKeen noticed the impact immediately. 

“One of our drivers called me one day when we first implemented it and he was upset. He said he couldn’t figure it out and asked why we had to do it,” McKeen said. “And I told him because the owner of the company said we had to do it. He hung up on me.”

Thankfully, that particular driver’s discontent was short-lived.

“He called me like four days later and apologized. He said, you’re right. Once I used it for three or four days, it became really easy.”

Streamlined communications 

After rolling Whip Around out across the business, a few things happened. Defects were being fixed quickly, making drivers happier. People were being held accountable for safety and compliance requirements. 

“Before, nobody knew when there was an issue. But now, as soon as they submit it, if there’s a defect, the shop knows about it right away,” McKeen said. “And I also get an email, so we can start making arrangements to get the issue taken care of immediately. And it’s in real time, which is very handy.”

Both mechanics and fleet managers report improvements in their day-to-day jobs. Now, Eppler’s mechanics just open up the app, navigate to the unit number they’re working on, then complete the paperwork using Whip Around once the work has been completed.

“There’s no more greasy paperwork, wrinkled up paperwork or paperwork that gets turned in late,” McKeen said.

The drivers noticed as well, discovering that with Whip Around, when they found and reported something wrong with their truck, it didn’t take nearly as long to get fixed.

“Because they can take pictures of the defect, even if they’re not sure if it’s critical or not, the drivers know it goes to me and to the shop,” McKeen said. “That way, we can look at it right away and say we need to get that off the road and into the shop right now.” 

A healthy fleet and an improved carrier rating

McKeen and the Eppler team have always taken pride in running a shop that takes care of its trucks, but Whip Around has helped take it to a new level.

Our carrier rating has gone up, and there are fewer things found whenever the drivers get inspected by the DOT,” McKeen said. “I don’t necessarily have a dollar figure, but the overall condition of our fleet has definitely gone up.”

This culture of accountability and fast maintenance has resulted in a happier, more productive team. For an owner who values a well-maintained fleet, Whip Around has proven to be a solid investment. 

McKeen and his crew don’t require a ton of individual support, but when he does reach out to Whip Around’s Customer Success team, he’s always pleased with the results. 

“Since we started the program, we’ve worked with three Customer Success people, and they’ve all been wonderful,” McKeen said. “Not like some other places I’ve worked with, where you have to wait two to three days to hear back. They respond the same day, usually within an hour or two.”


Boost Your Fleet Inspection Process with Whip Around

If paper processes and inefficient communications systems are making fleet compliance more difficult than it needs to be, then it’s time to schedule a Whip Around demo. Contact us today to speak with a product specialist or explore how Whip Around can help you achieve your goals this year.