How to Choose Fleet Tracking Software

Picture of different size delivery trucks

If you have a fleet of business vehicles, you know how expensive it can be to operate and maintain these assets. With a fleet management system for your business, you can optimize your operational processes and costs so you can increase customer satisfaction and scale your business. 

In this article, you’ll learn the benefits of incorporating a GPS fleet tracking system for your small business, share how to choose the right fleet management software, and get our suggestion for the best fleet management software for your small business.

What is fleet management software?

Fleet management software streamlines your business operations and risk. The system usually includes a tracker (a GPS device or internet-enabled phone or computing device) linked to a software program that can display tracking and vehicle information. 

GPS tracking systems help fleet managers monitor nearly every aspect of day-to-day fleet operations, including real-time location tracking, vehicle speed, and driver safety. Some fleet management software can also help you monitor and organize vehicle maintenance needs. 

Benefits of fleet trackers for fleet managers

There are many reasons a fleet management system can benefit your business, including:

  1. Tracking vehicle location: With GPS tracking software in your vehicle, youwill always know where your vehicles and drivers are to ensure your business services are being performed as expected and keep an eye on your staff’s hours and productivity. 
  2. Avoiding breakdowns and unexpected repairs: Most fleet management systems plug into your vehicle’s OBD-II port. This helps you get vehicle diagnostic data to determine if your vehicle needs repairs,what those repairs are, and reminders to perform routine maintenance checks. Your system is likely equipped with a text or in-app alert system. You get immediate notification of any mechanical or electrical problems with your business vehicles, and do not have to rely on drivers to relay this information or manually track maintenance schedules.  
  3. Improve your customer experience: GPS fleet tracking systems help you provide a better user experience because you can dispatch more accurately, provide customers with more accurate arrival times, allow customers to track the driver en route, and improve your overall route planning and fleet efficiency. 
  4. Increase road and vehicle safety: Some fleet management software will provide you with data regarding vehicle speed, crash detection, stolen vehicle alerts, and disturbance alerts. These features can help you minimize the risk of personal or property damage and potentially lower your vehicle insurance costs. 
  5. Reducing business operating costs: Your GPS fleet tracking system can track many aspects of your vehicle and its operations. You can use this data to predict vehicle maintenance needs, maximize fuel efficiency and reduce fuel consumption, save on insurance, and increase your team’s productivity.

Is fleet tracking legal?

Personal privacy is a big concern for many these days, and you may wonder if this level of tracking is legal. When it’s done for a business, the answer is yes, as long as you do it ethically and let your drivers know what activity you monitor. 

For example, if your employees use a company vehicle with a GPS tracking system installed, you may track them—with transparency disclosure—during work hours, but you can not use them outside of their working hours. If your employees use personal vehicles for your business activities, you must obtain their permission to track them. 

What fleet management software features do I need?

Not all fleet management software and GPS tracking systems are equal. The features you get can vary depending on which you choose. Here are some available features you may want to consider:

GPS vehicle tracking features

  • Live GPS fleet tracking: This allows you to see where all your vehicles and drivers are in real-time. With this information, you can ensure jobs are being completed on schedule and reassign available drivers to emergency jobs by searching for the closest vehicle to your customer. 
  • Location sharing: Do your customers want the ability to track their delivery in real-time? If so, you can text them a link when the driver is near their home so they can track it in real-time. This eliminates the need for customers to call you if a driver is late. 
  • Trip history: With trip history records, you can see when your staff take a two-hour lunch break, making them late for their next appointment. Trip history includes routes, distance, duration, gas mileage, and often driver behavior. 
  • Location alerts: Do you want to be notified when your driver has arrived at a destination? Many GPS trackers can be programmed with geo-fences and alert systems that trigger when a tracked vehicle enters or exits a specific area. 
  • Geofences: Geofences allow you to create a virtual boundary around a predefined geographical area (such as a work site or neighborhood) to hold drivers accountable and reduce unauthorized vehicle usage.

Vehicle health and maintenance

  • Vehicle health monitoring: It’s not efficient for business owners or fleet managers to manually inspect every vehicle at the end of every shift. With vehicle health monitoring, all DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Codes) are sent to them as they happen. With this vehicle diagnostics data, you can more closely manage your vehicle’s health and maintenance to avoid costly breakdowns and repair work. 
  • Vehicle maintenance records: Do you have many files and documents to manage in your business? Some GPS tracking software allows you to manage your vehicle records within the application. This includes a list of recommended service dates and records of completed maintenance checks. 
  • Predictive maintenance alerts: Imagine how much money you could save knowing there was a potential problem with your vehicle before it happened. With predictive maintenance alerts built into your fleet management system, you’ll know before the battery on your cleaning truck dies, or get a heads up before the air filter needs replacing.  

Driver and vehicle safety

  • Driver safety scores and reports: When you hire your drivers, they may have a clean driving record, but how do you ensure driver accountability and safe driving habits when they work for you? Some fleet tracking software will track activities like harsh braking and speeding. This helps improve driver safety and can provide driver scorecards to help you identify dangerous behavior. 
  • Disturbance alerts: Have you ever gone to pick up a vehicle and found it was broken into overnight? Some fleet management software includes sensors to monitor vehicle movement. If it’s bumped or towed, you get an instant alert on your phone or through the desktop app. And, if someone steals your vehicle, the GPS device will send an alert to the fleet manager so they can provide the police with the recovery location. 
  • Crash detection: Despite our best efforts, occasionally one of your fleet vehicles will get in a motor vehicle accident. If this happens to one of your vehicles with an installed GPS fleet tracking device that includes this feature, you’ll get an instant alert and can take immediate action to ensure the driver and vehicle safety. You can then assign another available driver to take over the damaged vehicle’s current route, so it doesn’t delay customer deliveries longer than necessary. 

What are average fleet tracker costs?

Installing GPS fleet tracking systems in your company vehicles can quickly pay for themselves in no time. The cost varies significantly depending on many factors, including:

  • If GPS trackers are included, sold separately, or not required because the tracking is through a mobile phone.
  • How many vehicles you need to track
  • What tracking and maintenance features are included in your package
  • The refresh rate of GPS tracking data
  • The accuracy of GPS tracking data
  • How long location and GPS data is stored on the device or in the cloud.

Most GPS fleet tracking systems are priced per unit (or trackable vehicle) per month. Many will include a free GPS tracking device as part of a regular paid subscription to the software. Others ask you to pay an upfront device cost to purchase the tracker, then charge you a monthly fee to access the device data using their app or interface. Some offer cost savings for annual or longer subscription terms. 

When you must purchase the fleet tracking device separate from a paid plan, you can expect to pay anywhere from $40-$100+ per GPS device. Subscription fees start at $8-$50+ per month, per device. The costs can vary significantly, even for the same included services, depending on the GPS fleet tracking provider. 

What’s the best fleet management software to choose?

The best, all-inclusive GPS management software and fleet management solution is Force Fleet Tracking. For just $20 per vehicle per month, you get all the features you need to track your vehicle locations, monitor vehicle health, and keep your vehicles and drivers safe. 

Force gives you peace of mind knowing where your fleet is at all times—whether your fleet includes two vehicles or 10. It makes managing your business and your assets easier and more cost-efficient. 

Try it free for 14 days and get real-time information on vehicle health, driver behavior, vehicle tracking, and more.

Published February 10, 2022
Joni Taisey
Joni Taisey
Director of Growth Marketing
Force Fleet Tracking