A Complete GPS Fleet Tracking Purchasing Guide (2023)

If you want to keep track of your fleet, improve asset utilization, and grow your home service business, investing in a GPS fleet tracking solution is a step in the right direction.

The question is, what’s the best GPS fleet tracker for your company’s unique needs?

In this GPS fleet tracking purchasing guide, we provide actionable tips for finding the ideal fleet tracker for your business, from types of fleet tracking systems to costing.

The benefits of GPS fleet tracking

Equipping your fleet with a high-quality GPS tracking device can help you tap into the following benefits.

Increased safety

As a business owner, your reputation is everything. 

GPS tracking technology helps you preserve the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build by increasing fleet and driver safety. You can optimize safety by monitoring driver behavior and proactively addressing concerning trends before they lead to an accident.

Using a GPS tracking tool to increase safety can also help you achieve considerable cost savings. Fewer accidents and better driver behavior equal major insurance cost reductions. In fact, many insurance companies offer significant discounts of up to 30% simply for installing GPS trackers on vehicles. You can put that extra cash back into your growing business and use it to purchase more vehicles or hire additional staff.

Improved maintenance management

The best GPS trackers feature maintenance-management tools and can send real-time alerts if one of your vehicles encounters a mechanical issue. They do this by connecting with your vehicle’s onboard computer via the OBD-II port

Once connected, the tracking device will continuously monitor vehicle health and performance. If something goes wrong or your vehicle is simply due for an oil change, you’ll be the first to know about it.

Access to real-time location tracking

You’ve spent thousands of dollars purchasing vehicles for your business fleet. Now, you need to protect your investment from theft, vandalism, and other hazards. A real-time GPS fleet tracking solution will help you do just that.

When you equip your vehicles with a reliable tracker, you can access up-to-the-minute location updates and keep an eye on them at all times, whether they’re down the road or across the country. The best GPS tracking  options also give you the ability to establish geofences and will send you alerts if any of your vehicles leave their designated area of operations.

Reporting and analytics tools

With so much on your plate, it can be tough to look at your fleet performance holistically — at least, it used to be.

With the right GPS tracking tools at your disposal, you can generate detailed performance reports, track fuel consumption, monitor vehicle health, and much more.

By adding reporting and analytics software to your fleet-management toolbox, you can simplify the process of monitoring your vehicles and identify ways to save money. Sounds like a win-win.

The cost of GPS fleet tracking

As a savvy business owner, you know that new equipment comes at a cost. GPS fleet tracking technology is no exception.

With that in mind, it’s important to know what sort of costs you may encounter when buying GPS fleet tracking technology. While costs will vary based on the specific device you purchase and who you partner with, you’ll likely incur the following expenses.

Monthly subscription fees

Most GPS tracking solutions providers follow the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. With this arrangement, you pay a monthly or annual fee in exchange for access to the provider’s software.

Typically, vendors charge a per vehicle, per month price. For example, if your fleet includes 10 vehicles and they charge $50 each, you’d pay a total of $500 per month.

Rarely will you find a GPS tracking solution that offers no contracts, but Force Fleet Tracking is one of them, choosing to focus on customer satisfaction over locked contracts.


Hardware costs are where you’ll start to see some division among GPS fleet tracking vendors. Most vendors require you to pay for hardware up front or charge you a monthly fee (in addition to the subscription cost) to cover your equipment. This tactic benefits them, of course, but it can make setting up your tracking solution dauntingly expensive.

Fortunately, not all vendors take this approach. Some, like Force Fleet Tracking, charge a low monthly subscription fee and give you your device for free. If you cancel, all you have to do is send back your trackers. It’s really that simple.

Installation costs

Some GPS tracking solutions are complicated to install, as they must be wired directly into a vehicle’s ignition and electrical systems. This means you’ll face some hefty mechanics fees to get your devices up and running. Not only that, you’d need to coordinate the vehicle’s downtime with current jobs, and may lose revenue during that time.

The good news is that many devices feature plug-and-play functionality, like Force Fleet Tracking. All you have to do is insert them into your vehicle’s OBD-II port and you’re ready to roll—no downtime or professional installation required.

Hidden fees

Many GPS tracking solution vendors don’t offer upfront pricing information. Instead, they make you fill out a contact form, wait for a call back, and receive a “custom” quote based on the number of vehicles you have.

Chances are that vendors like this will also tack on all manner of hidden fees. Some even charge extra for support.

Force Fleet Tracking does things differently. We offer transparent, upfront pricing with no contracts and no hidden fees. The GPS device is included at our low monthly price of just $20 per vehicle per month. 

You can also sign up for a free trial online instantly without waiting for a quote, and get up and running within 2 days. 

Curious about the cost of implementing a GPS fleet tracking solution? Explore our pricing and feature-rich plans to find the perfect fit for your business needs. 

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Types of GPS fleet tracking systems

Here are some of the GPS fleet tracking systems you’ll encounter while searching for the ideal solution.

Professionally installed (hard-wired) trackers

Professionally installed (or “hard-wired”) trackers are connected directly to a vehicle’s electrical system. They typically include satellite-based tracking components and do not require an app to operate. 

These trackers are costly to purchase and install due to the amount of labor involved. If you encounter an issue with your tracker and need to repair, return, or replace it, you will incur additional labor costs. Additionally, if the installer makes a mistake, it may inadvertently damage the vehicle’s electrical system, place added strain on the battery, and cost you hundreds of dollars in related repairs down the road. 

Self-installed (plug-and-play) trackers

Self-installed trackers plug into your vehicle’s existing OBD-II port (or other port) and immediately relay vital location data. There are several sub-types of plug-and-play trackers, including:

App-based trackers

An app-based tracker is a tracking solution that communicates via a mobile app. This app allows the tracker to send and receive data with cloud-based servers. The best app-based trackers connect to the vehicle’s OBD-II port, but some less robust options either connect to a USB port or use a replaceable battery.

Satellite-based GPS trackers

Satellite-based GPS trackers communicate with a network of GPS satellites to relay positional data to a server. Satellite-only GPS trackers can’t provide diagnostics and performance data. 

Asset trackers

Asset trackers can use GPS technology or alternatives like RFID tags to monitor the location of an asset. Typically, these solutions are used to track machinery and equipment, not vehicles. However, you could implement asset-tracking tools in conjunction with other monitoring solutions to improve fleet visibility. 

Mobile application trackers

As alluded to, a mobile app tracker is a standalone application that provides location, direction of travel, and speed data. Alternatively, it may pair with an OBD-II tracking device to obtain additional vehicle data.

Cell-based GPS vehicle trackers

A cell-based GPS vehicle-tracking solution communicates with nearby cell towers to relay vehicle performance and location data to a server. Leading solutions use a combination of cell- and satellite-based tracking. 

Personal trackers

Personal trackers are sometimes used to monitor vehicle location, although they aren’t designed for this purpose. Using a personnel-tracking device to monitor your fleet assets won’t help you improve safety or fuel efficiency — these devices tell you nothing but the location and direction of travel.

Choosing and installing the right GPS fleet tracking system

When looking for the right GPS solution and fleet management software for your fleet, make it a point to check the following tasks off your to-do list:

Consider your business needs

First, make a list of must-have features you want in your GPS tracking tool. While you’re at it, clearly identify any fleet-management issues you’re currently facing.

By listing your wants and needs, you can easily compare different solutions and find options that align with your goals.

Review Compliance Requirements

Depending on your industry, you may be subject to hours-of-service restrictions and other state or federal regulations. With that in mind, make sure the GPS solution you choose will support your compliance efforts and help you avoid fines or other regulatory penalties.

Create a list of potential vendors

Next, create a list of potential vendors that appear to offer what you’re looking for. Do a little research on each vendor, determine whether they offer transparent pricing, and see if they offer a demo. If they hide their pricing, don’t offer demos, or require a long-term contract, cross them off your list.

Seek out products that offer seamless implementation 

Ideally, you want a plug-and-play solution so you can avoid any unnecessary installation costs and start using your GPS right away. Specifically, find a GPS tracker that plugs into your OBD-II ports, as these devices will be able to provide both location and diagnostics data.

Connect with Force Fleet Tracking

If you follow the steps laid out in our GPS fleet tracking purchasing guide, your search will undoubtedly lead you to Force Fleet Tracking, the best GPS tracking solution for small to mid-size business fleets. We offer competitive pricing, free plug-and-play GPS devices, and a feature-laden platform that takes the hassle out of fleet management.

Ready to experience the benefits of GPS fleet tracking for your business? Start your free trial with Force Fleet Tracking today and see the difference it can make.

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Published August 10, 2023