There is a huge amount of choice when it comes to fleet tracking systems. The features you opt for will affect how much your GPS tracking costs.
Basic trackers, those that are cheaper, simply monitor vehicle speed, location and direction.
More sophisticated systems can include driver and vehicle ID, geofencing, real-time route optimization and the ability to monitor driver behavior.
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How Much Does Vehicle Tracking Save?
There are countless quantifiable benefits to investing in a fleet management system. To make sure you get a good deal, it's always a good idea to ask suppliers for examples of their customers’ typical ROI.
The charts below show the costs of running an average fleet, and the average savings gained from using a fleet management system:
Annual Fleet Expenditure Breakdown
NAVTEQ findings show that GPS vehicle tracking devices can reduce a vehicle fleet’s carbon footprint by as much as 21%. According to the study, better route finding helps professional drivers get from A to B efficiently and economically.
The NAVTEQ study also reveals that an average driver using traffic-enabled navigation spends 18% less time driving than other drivers. With GPS tracking, drivers can maximize their efficiency behind the wheel, benefitting the business as a whole.
The relationship between sleep and road safety is, of course, well known. Fleet management cuts the time drivers spend driving and gives them more off-duty rest time. Well-rested employees are at the core of every successful business.
According to findings from the Aberdeen Group, fleet management systems users benefit from vehicle downtime reductions of up to 15%. Drivers can complete journeys faster, giving fleet owners more choice over how and when to deploy vehicles for different assignments. Real-time location tracking puts all the information at a fleet owners’ fingertips, and equips them to run a more efficient business.
Fuel accounts for up to a third of a fleet’s operational costs. The average 13% reduction in fuel costs (Aberdeen Group) represents a significant saving for fleets with GPS tracking installed.
Fatalities in Large Truck Crashes
With road-related occupational fatalities rising year on year, GPS 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.
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.
Check out our ELD Mandate guide to find out what you need to do to make sure your fleet is compliant.
Get started with ELD Mandate-compliant GPS tracking solutions
How Much Does GPS Tracking Cost?
|Tier||Buying Cost||Leasing Cost||Installation Cost|
|Entry Level||Around $100||From $17.95/month||N/A|
|Mid-Level||$300-$600||From $20-$25/month||Around $100|
|Advanced||N/A||From $30-$65/month||Around $100+|
Fleet tracking systems vary a lot in terms of complexity, and therefore in price. Basic car tracking devices are understandably significantly cheaper than systems with more advanced features to offer.
The typical costs of entry-level, mid-range and advanced tracking systems are as follows:
You can purchase a basic vehicle tracking device for around a $100 one-off fee. A device like this will have very few features. It will operate on a passive system, which means data is stored rather than transmitted in real-time, and can only be retrieved once the vehicle has finished its journey.
It is more cost-effective to purchase a basic tracking device than it is to lease one.
An active tracking device (which relays vehicle positioning and performance information in real time) can be purchased outright for between $300 and $600, plus an installation cost of approximately $100.
However, most companies prefer to lease active tracking devices. The benefit of leasing these tracking devices is that software updates and maintenance are often included in the rental price.
Rental prices for active trackers start at around $20 per month.
A company with more than a few vehicles to track should consider a web-based fleet management system.
Different providers price these systems in different ways but typically you can expect to pay a small installation fee and then a monthly subscription fee.
Prices start from around $30 per month, per vehicle and increase as you add more features to a higher end of $65 per month, per vehicle.
Companies with a large number of different vehicles may want to work with a provider to come up with a solution tailored to their specific needs.
It is impossible to put an exact price on this without knowing the specific requirements, but customizing a solution to fit your business will save you big money in the long-run.
Fleet Management Features Breakdown
You’ll find that some features of different fleet management systems are more valuable than others. So, before you start shopping, it pays to hone in on specific features that will really help your fleet. Not only will you save on superfluous spending; you’ll also gain a better understanding of what you really need.
Here are some important features to look out for, ranging from entry level to advanced.
Displays up-to-date information about vehicles in your fleet. Accurately pinpoints vehicle speed, location and drivers’ hours of activity. The update frequency of each system varies between one second and five minutes.
All but the lowest tier fleet management solutions offers real time tracking as standard. You can expect to pay more for a system with a faster update rate.
Fleet management software that functions on desktop, tablet and mobile devices, enabling you to get fleet updates on the go.
Mobile app functionality is native to most mid-range and advanced fleet management software. As a general rule, the more devices you want to use, the higher the monthly subscription cost.
Logs the entirety of each vehicle’s trip, from the moment the ignition turns on to the time the engine goes cold. Useful for planning routes and tracking a vehicle’s last known parked location in the event of theft.
Receive notifications when a vehicle’s speed exceeds a certain amount. Can be configured in bulk or just for individual vehicles.
Set up zones to control where vehicles go during working hours. Confine vehicles to certain areas, or restrict them from leaving the city whilst on call. Get alerted when geofence rules are broken; i.e. when a truck leaves an area, or a van doesn’t return to the depot.
Keep a digital log of spare parts and the order status of replacements and repairs. Receive pre-emptive reminders when parts are due for replacement. Helps reduce vehicle downtime.
Not a “core” fleet management feature; some suppliers offer it as an optional add on.
Monitor tire pressure to minimize wear and tear and ensure maximum fuel efficiency for your fleet. Only the most advanced fleet management solutions offer real time tire analytics.
PTO refers to using a vehicle’s engine to power another machine, such as a forklift arm or cement mixer. PTO monitoring gives fleet managers information about how this equipment is being used, even in stationary vehicles. It also allows you to distinguish between operational and non-operational idling (see ‘Idle Reporting’ below).
Get insights about non-operational idling - when a vehicle engine is turned on and there is no PTO usage. Some systems have configurable alerts when vehicles idle for longer than ‘X’ minutes.
Identifies a fleet’s fuel consumption down to each individual unit and driver. Pinpoint poor fuel efficiency and ways to improve it. A standard feature of most vehicle tracking solutions.
Maintain digital records for employees associated with your fleet. Can include data on their hours of service (HOS), repair history, driver’s license and more. Not offered as standard (but may be an add on) with many vehicle tracking solutions.
Helps document routine maintenance to satisfy vehicle warranty requirements, and manage warranty recalls.
Set up reminders for permit and licence expiry dates and schedule renewals for each driver/vehicle in your fleet.
Store and export details of each trip your fleet has undertaken within a given time range.
Fleet management solutions bearing this mark are compliant with the ELD Mandate. This law requires all commercial fleet vehicles to have installed recognized electronic logging devices (ELDs).
Buying Vs Renting Vehicle Tracking Systems
It is possible to purchase a fleet management system, but they are more often supplied on a lease.
The main reasons companies prefer to lease their trackers include:
- Allowing for upgrades as tracking technology improves
- Keeping maintenance the responsibility of the leasing company
- It can be a more tax efficient way of organizing assets
Even if a firm opts to purchase their trackers, there will still be a monthly cost attached to using the software, so for the majority of businesses, a lease will be more cost effective.
Leases can vary in length, with typical contracts lasting one to three years and the latter having lower monthly costs. Other factors affecting the cost include the number of vehicles in the fleet and the level of support you require.
GPS Tracking Installation Advice
Most suppliers will be happy to take care of installation for you. In fact, the package your supplier offers will often be more cost effective than going down the third party or DIY installation route. That’s because well-established suppliers like Fleetmatics, ARI and Omnitracs partner with licensed third party installers to offer their customers better-than-market rates.
You’d normally pay for installation on a per vehicle basis. However, for large-sized fleets especially, it can be worth asking for a discount that takes into account the number of vehicles that you want kitted out.
Installation costs also depend on whether the tracking solution is portable or hardwired. Portable systems can be moved around easily, and are ideal for small scale assignments involving one or two cars. However, hardwired solutions are hidden from view under the dashboard, and are the most theft-proof option on the market. Hardwired GPS trackers are also more powerful than their portable peers, making them the best investment for enterprises with round-the-clock tracking needs.
For more advice about how to equip your fleet, get tailored installation quotes from each leading supplier.
Which Fleet Tracking System is Right for You?
There are many different companies offering vehicle tracking solutions in the United States. Each of these companies has a wide range of products and services to choose from. Fleet managers often find the amount of choice overwhelming and struggle to know which solution is best for their business.
It is important to shop around when looking for fleet management software. Compare multiple companies, get bespoke quotes and take advantage of free trial periods offered by some suppliers.
Expert Market can help you narrow the choice by connecting you with up to four providers that match your needs when you fill out the form at the top of the page. Below you can find some of our top picks for fleet tracking services.
Top Fleet Tracking Providers
Find our picks of the best providers and price plans below:
Teletrac Navman offer a tiered pricing and features structure meaning you can find a suitable option whatever size fleet and budget you have. Their flagship solution DIRECTOR ranges from the simplest tier 'Essential' through to the most advanced option 'Enterprise' which includes everything a fleet mannager could need.
The exact pricing of a Teletrac Navman solution will depend on the amount of vehicles included and the specific features needed.
Qualcomm has been identified by Berg Insight as the largest provider of fleet management systems in the US and works with many different types of industry. Their trackers interact with a web based software system, meaning you can access the fleet management system from any computer with internet connection and you do not need a sophisticated IT system to get it up and running.
Qualcomm has been operating in the fleet management industry for 25 years and has experience of working with firms of all different sizes.
The prices for the most basic Qualcomm fleet management systems start from just under $20 per month, but can reach hundreds of dollars per month for the largest most sophisticated systems.
The Fleetmatics fleet management system is used by over 30,000 companies across the USA, many of whom have achieved savings in fuel costs of over $10,000 a year by installing this technology. Read the full review for case studies from customers who have saved thousands of dollars with Fleetmatics.
To help customers decide if Fleetmatics is right for their business, the company offers new customers the opportunity of a free demonstration which will highlight the potential savings their system can offer your firm.
Prices for the Fleetmatics system vary depending on the size of your fleet.
Chevin Fleet Solution
Chevin offer two fleet management systems; the web based FleetWave and the Windows based RoadBASE. Their products are used by organizations such as AMTRAK, the Smithsonian Institute and the New York State Police.
To get an exact quote for your firm, Chevin require a short discussion to allow them to assess your business needs, but prices can start from under a $1 per day for each vehicle in the fleet.
TomTom provide a fleet management system known as WORKsmart which has been taken up by 19,000 businesses in the US. Research by TomTom shows that their customers, on average, achieve a return on their investment within 6-9 months.
To get a detailed quote from the company you need to complete the form above. There are a large number of variables which will impact on the price, though the company do tend to work with medium to large fleets for which prices will start from over $100 a month.