To be a great fleet manager, you need to understand how costs break down
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.
Fill out our short form to receive tailored quotes, or read on to learn more.
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:
|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 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.
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.
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:
Annual Fleet Expenditure Breakdown
Now consider the average savings you’d see by adding a fleet management system to the mix:
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.
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.
Top GPS Fleet Tracking Providers
There are dozens of different fleet management providers. Most of them cater to a broad range of businesses. A few offer specialized products and services for niche industries. They all claim to help you get the most out of your fleet.
But how do you know who’s best?
The best suppliers hit a sweet spot between functionality and affordability.
With that in mind, here are our top picks:
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 'Essential' tier through to the most advanced 'Enterprise' option which includes everything a fleet manager could need.
The exact pricing of Teletrac Navman solutions depends on the number of vehicles and the specific features included.
Qualcomm is the largest provider of fleet management systems in the US and works with many different types of industry. Their fleet trackers utilize web-based software, meaning you can access your data and dashboards from any device with an internet connection. You don’t even need a sophisticated computer system to get it up and running.
Prices for the most basic Qualcomm fleet management systems start from just under $20 per month, but they reach hundreds of dollars per month for the largest most sophisticated systems.
Verizon Connect is used by more than 30,000 companies across the US, many of whom have saved upwards of $10,000 a year in fuel costs.
To help demonstrate the potential savings their system can offer, Verizon offers free trials of its software to prospective customers.
Verizon Connect subscription prices vary according to the size of your fleet.
Chevin Fleet Solution
Chevin offers 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 requires a short discussion to allow them to assess your business needs, but prices can start from as little as $1 per day per vehicle in your fleet.
TomTom provides a fleet management system known as WORKsmart, used by 19,000+ businesses in the US. Research shows that their customers, on average, achieve a return on their investment within six to nine months.
To get a detailed quote from the company use our free quotes comparison tool. Their quotes take a number of factors into account, although the company does tend to work with medium and large fleets, for whom prices start from over $100 a month.
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 identify the features that will really help your fleet. As well as saving money, you’ll get a better feel for the capabilities of different solutions.
Here are some important features to look out for, ranging from entry level to advanced.
Click to expand each section
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 offer 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.
Tier: Entry level and up
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.
Tier: Entry level and up
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.
Tier: Entry level and up
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.
Tier: Entry level and up
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
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:
- Your supplier can upgrade your system as tracking technology improves
- Maintenance is their responsibility - not yours
- 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.