While fleet tracking services are useful vehicle trackers for businesses, the monthly fee for both small and large-scale businesses can become fairly expensive. The average costs of tracking systems will vary depending on the brand of the tracking device, the quality, the features you choose, and how many vehicles you have in your fleet.
Vehicle tracking is essential for businesses needing to keep a close eye on fuel consumption, vehicle maintenance, and location tracking because it allows small and large businesses to understand how their vehicles are being used. This can help business owners keep fuel costs at a minimum, track a fleet vehicle’s whereabouts when needed, and more.
So how much does GPS tracking cost? Keep reading below to find out everything you need to know about the cost of GPS tracking devices.
How Much Does a GPS Tracking Device Cost?
GPS tracking devices can cost anywhere from as little as US$10 a month up to US$200 a month and for additional features, the GPS tracker cost can be even more. While it doesn’t sound like much, to begin with, consider how many vehicles you need to track and the additional tracking features you may find useful for your business. The cost of your GPS tracker just got a whole lot pricier.
Who Uses GPS Vehicle Tracking and Fleet Management?
GPS vehicle tracking and fleet management are used by a lot of small and large trade companies, such as electricians, plumbers, etc, so the business owner can always see the vehicle’s location. This helps with the safety of expensive tools and keeping a watchful eye on any staffing issues.
Some of the biggest businesses using fleet management and tracking systems are FedEx Corp, UPS, Coca-Cola, Waste Management Inc, and plenty more. These massive corporate companies have so many vehicles on the road assisting in everyday business and life, that it’s almost imperative that the business be able to manage their huge fleet remotely. Fleet tracking services allow for this.
There are many advantages to be had when you opt into fleet tracking. Check out this article in Forbes to see all the top 10 benefits to be had by utilizing fleet tracking systems in your business. Not only do GPS trackers reduce overall vehicle costs but they improve staff safety and increase vehicle lifespan too.
How Much Does a GPS Fleet Tracking System Cost?
GPS fleet tracking involves a lot more extensive work on your business’s vehicles as well as ongoing maintenance on each tracking device or system, so upfront costs can be expensive. The difference in prices between cheaper and more expensive fleet tracking options can be as much as thousands of dollars per vehicle, per year.
It’s important to keep in mind that the more expensive fleet tracking services aren’t always the best option. They might have a reputable brand name, but you can almost certainly find cheaper options for the same, or better, quality.
A good GPS fleet tracking system with 24/7 real-time data monitoring and analytics will cost you approximately US$45 a month per vehicle tracker, not including the installation and activation fee. That’s roughly US$540 per year, per vehicle, plus any additional features you’ve chosen to upgrade your system.
Here is what’s involved in fleet tracking systems:
Installation and Activation
Unless you know how to install it yourself and set up any software applications, you’ll need each GPS tracking device to be installed, set up, and activated by a professional fleet manager or a GPS tracker company.
Some GPS fleet tracking companies offer a great deal with no setup, free installation, and no activation fees. This could work out in your favor OR it might make the monthly fees more expensive. Check around, do the math and compare GPS tracker devices and companies before selecting your fleet tracking system.
Ascent Fleet Services has a good record for being one of the cheaper systems to install and activate at approximately US$20 per GPS tracking device. The monthly cost starts at US$13.95 per device for basic features.
Hardware and software
The hardware is the tracking device and the software is the fleet tracking system or user interface such as a mobile phone application so you can keep an eye on each tracking device from anywhere.
If you’re having your GPS fleet tracking devices shipped, some companies will charge through the roof for hardware costs. GPS trackers cost enough as it is and with hardware costs such as shipping fees tacked onto the charge, your GPS device is suddenly much more expensive than the original price.
Fleet management software also becomes pricey if you have a lot of vehicles to track. The advanced systems of a fleet tracking system need to be constantly updated and managed to stay on top of competition and technology demands so your fleet management software might be as much as an additional US$80 a month.
The fleet management software isn’t an additional feature so that extra US$80 a month charge is a given for the top GPS trackers. There are, however, other vehicle data features that may interest you such as:
- Security systems
- Alarm system
- Location updates
- Trailer trackers
- Fuel consumption
- Maintenance needs
Any additional features added to the GPS tracking devices will make both the monthly and initial costs of your GPS tracker more expensive. But these prices may be worth it to help you keep track of driver behavior and vehicle maintenance which in turn keep overall vehicle costs down.
Follow up support
While many fleet management GPS systems come with basic systems, some have advanced systems and even a companion app to be able to track the vehicle or vehicles from your mobile phone or desktop device.
This means follow-up support is inevitable, especially if you need the location accuracy on your tracking software updated. Companies that offer follow-up support will come with additional costs but you’ll probably find the support is needed, and worth it.
A monthly fleet management system may only cost up to US$65 a month but installation fees of the GPS devices and tracking systems might cost up to US$700.
For the top GPS trackers and a fleet management system you could be looking at an annual fee of approximately US$1500 just for one vehicle tracker.
Buying vs. Renting
As an alternative to purchasing your GPS trackers and GPS fleet tracking system, some companies offer a renting option for your financial convenience. When cash flow is low and vehicle tracking is a necessity, renting a vehicle tracker might be an attractive option.
Here are the pros and cons of buying and renting a GPS tracker for your company vehicles.
Buying GPS Tracking Devices
- Less paperwork and contracts
- You don’t have to give the GPS provider in-depth information about your business financials
- Tax deductible advantages
- Works out cheaper in the long run with one-off GPS tracker installation costs
- Upfront costs of GPS fleet tracking can be pricey
- GPS trackers and fleet tracking systems go out of date
- To upgrade your GPS fleet trackers you would need to purchase a whole new system or GPS tracking service
Leasing a GPS Tracker with a Full Fleet Management System
- Many companies lease GPS tracking devices and systems with no upfront costs and zero activation fees
- Fixed monthly fees
- GPS trackers and fleet tracking is regularly updated
- Short-term rentals let you assess the GPS service, fleet management system, and quality of the GPS vehicle tracking before entering into a longer agreement
- Monthly costs start to add up over time
- If you upgrade your GPS tracking device you may have to extend the lease
- Fleet vehicles need to be taken off the road regularly for upgrades on their GPS tracker
Should You Buy Or Rent Your GPS Tracking System?
Depending on your business cash flow, both buying and renting your GPS tracking service can be a good idea. However, Automotive Resources International (ARI) president Bob White, has mentioned in an article regarding fleet tracking services that the demand for open-end leasing has increased in North America over the last few years.
The pros and cons costs of each service level out over time, including installation, upgrades, maintenance on real-time GPS trackers, and saving overall costs on fleet vehicles. But when you purchase asset-tracking devices outright, you don’t get technology updates and upgrades. You would then have to purchase a newer system, including installation and activation fees, to be able to keep up with technological demand.
GPS tracking is becoming an essential system for many businesses, you just have to work out which option is best for you based on how many vehicles you have in your fleet and how important upgrades are to your business.
How to Save Money on Fleet Tracking Costs
Common advice for businesses to save money on fleet costs includes tracking fuel efficiency and getting better insurance premiums. But one of the best ways to reduce fleet costs is by fleet tracking with GPS trackers.
Although fleet tracking fees aren’t the cheapest, many businesses have basic systems with a lower monthly cost to assist with affordability.
Here are some tips to help you save on your GPS fleet monthly cost and even on installation fees and fleet managers:
Be selective with your GPS fleet provider
Do your research and find the best GPS fleet providers, compare their prices and find one that suits your budget.
Some of the best-rated fleet management providers are:
But, just because they’re the best in the biz, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right for you and how much you can afford.
Avoid hidden costs
Be vigilant when checking out prices for each company. While the costs might not be “hidden”, they’re costs you don’t always think about being an issue at the time of purchase. Some companies have a cancellation fee, others raise the cost of monthly fees when they don’t charge an installation and activation fee… you get the drift.
Just get the necessities
The additional features are enticing, and a good sales rep will know how to talk you into purchasing or renting some of their beneficial features such as route optimization and a dashcam.
Before speaking to a fleet manager, know exactly what you want and what you can afford. If you don’t need the dashcam, don’t get the dashcam!
Ask for a free demo
While most companies will have set prices for purchasing GPS trackers outright and leasing, you might be able to barter for a free demo or free trial.
Companies like Silent Passenger (IntelliShift) and Quartix offer this service so they might be a good place to start. Trial the GPS tracker before you buy/rent it to make sure it’s something worth spending your hard-earned dollars on.
They might also offer you a good deal on additional features if you have a larger fleet size. You’ll never know if you don’t ask right?
While going through the GPS fleet tracking inventory and system management, now is a good time to resize your fleet based on underutilization and highly specialized vehicles your company doesn’t necessarily need.
Not only are you saving money on your fleet management system and GPS tracking devices, but you’re lowering overall vehicle costs including maintenance and fuel. It’s a win-win.
GPS fleet tracking services offer many advantages for your business including improved productivity and cost reductions but it’s important to understand the costs before jumping into buying a GPS tracking system.
Real-time GPS trackers are well worth the system costs because the benefits far outweigh the costs. Find a GPS provider that meets your business needs and start vehicle tracking with a fleet manager today to reap the benefits.