A Guide to GPS Fleet Tracking Costs

Article at a Glance:

  • GPS tracking system leases begin from under $20 per month per vehicle
  • Basic fleet GPS trackers simply monitor vehicle speed and location
  • More sophisticated solutions help you allocate resources optimally across your business

When it comes to managing a fleet, we know just how hard it can be to stay on budget. Fleet costs are simple to calculate but difficult to control.

Top GPS fleet tracking systems save time, money, and even lives. Dozens of suppliers offer their own solutions, ranging from entry level vehicle tracking devices to advanced fleet management software suites.

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How Much Does GPS Tracking Cost?

GPS fleet tracking costs start at roughly $18 per month, increasing to about $65 per month for the most sophisticated systems. Here’s how the average costs break down for entry-level, mid-level and advanced GPS fleet tracking systems:

TierBuying CostLeasing CostInstallation Cost
Entry LevelAround $100From $14/monthN/A
Mid-Level$300-$600From $20-$25/monthAround $100
AdvancedN/AFrom $30-$65/monthAround $100+
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Fleet tracking systems vary a lot in terms of complexity and price. Basic car tracking devices are understandably cheaper than systems with more advanced features.

The typical costs of entry-level, mid-range and advanced tracking systems are as follows:

Entry Level Solutions

You can purchase a basic vehicle tracking device for a one-off fee of around $100. Devices in this tier focus on a few features like trip logging and starts and stops reporting. They also tend to be passive, which means they record data but don’t beam it back to your fleet HQ in real-time. This isn’t necessarily a problem – you might not have the time or resources to monitor your fleet in real time anyway. If you’re only interested in the data for weekly reports, entry level passive trackers could be a good place to start.

It’s often more cost-effective to purchase a basic tracking device than to lease one. Garmin and TomTom both offer great, low cost options.

Mid-Level Solutions

You can purchase a mid-level tracking device for between $300 and $600. However, most suppliers prefer to lease their active trackers. The upside to leasing is that suppliers often include software updates and maintenance within their rental fees, which start at around $20 per month. Tack on roughly $100 for installation, and you’re all set.

At this price point, your eyes should be set firmly on active tracking technology, which relays vehicle performance and positioning data in real time. Update frequency – the frequency of updates you receive about your vehicles’ locations – should be a key consideration too. You should be looking for devices with an update rate of between two and five minutes.

High End Solutions

If you have more than a few vehicles to track, you should consider a web-based fleet management system. These advanced systems send updates as frequently as every 30 seconds, which is great if you need extremely accurate vehicle location data.

Prices vary, but you can typically expect to pay a monthly subscription fee in addition to a small installation fee.

Subscriptions start at $30 per vehicle, per month, going up to $65 per month for the most advanced solutions.

Custom Solutions

If you have multiple fleets operating in different states, it may make sense to find a fleet management provider that’s willing to shape a solution to your needs. The initial outlay might be larger, but you can cut down on superfluous features and save money in the long-run.


How Much Can You Save With Vehicle Tracking?

There are tons of quantifiable benefits to investing in a GPS fleet tracking system.

Take a look at the average costs of running a typical fleet:

Now consider the average savings you’d see by adding a fleet management system to the mix:

how-much-does-gps-vehicle-tracking-save

Let’s take a closer look at these benefits:

Cut CO2 Emissions

NAVTEQ research shows that GPS vehicle tracking devices can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 21%.

Reduce Travel Time

A fleet management system can help you reduce journey times to give your drivers essential rest in between trips. According to NAVTEQ, an average driver using traffic-enabled navigation spends 18% less time on the road than other drivers.

Slash Vehicle Downtime

A study by the Aberdeen Group found that users of fleet management systems benefit from up to 15% less vehicle downtime. That’s because drivers can complete trips faster, giving you more choice over how and when to deploy vehicles for different assignments.

Save on Fuel

Fuel accounts for up to a third of a fleet’s operational costs. The average 13% reduction in fuel costs represents a significant saving for fleets with GPS tracking installed.

Fewer Fatalities

With road-related occupational fatalities rising year on year, GPS fleet tracking ensures safer working conditions for drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) will save 26 lives each year.

Expert Tip

The ELD Mandate, which took effect in December 2017, requires all commercial fleets to install ELDs recognized by the FMCSA. Many fleet management systems meet the FMCSA’s criteria, though it’s essential to check before you buy. You can learn about making your fleet compliant in our guide to vehicle tracking laws in Canada.


Buying Vs Renting Vehicle Tracking Systems

As mentioned, it’s perfectly possible to buy a fleet management system. That said, the more common route is to secure one on a lease.

The main reasons you might consider leasing a fleet tracking system are:

  1. Your supplier can upgrade your system as tracking technology improves
  2. Maintenance is their responsibility – not yours
  3. It can be a more tax efficient way of organizing your assets

Even if you opt to purchase a system, you’ll still pay every month to use the software. Most businesses find leasing results in lower GPS fleet tracking costs.

Leases vary in length, with typical contracts lasting between one and three years. Naturally, monthly costs are lower for longer contract terms. Other factors affecting the cost include the number of vehicles in the fleet and the level of support you require.

Julia Watts Content Manager

Specialising in the complex realms of telephone systems, business energy, vehicle tracking, asset tracking, and fuel cards, Julia writes content that cuts through the noise to help you find the right solutions and technologies for your business. Having spent five years working across the dynamic world of entrepreneurship, she loves helping exciting ventures – big or small – to flourish.