COVID-19 hit businesses hard, and there's never been a better time to evaluate your spending. Vehicle tracking is a worthwhile investment – but how much will it cost for your fleet, exactly? Let's break down the figures.
Vehicle tracking is the worst kept secret of the most efficient fleets around. And in the wake of a pandemic, its benefits are ultra-clear: increased productivity, reduced fuel consumption, greater agility.
Not sure how vehicle tracking would benefit you? A study from Verizon Connect found that each fleet vehicle is idling for an average of 86 minutes per day. That translates to almost five litres of petrol being wasted every single day.
Now think in terms of an entire fleet and you’re looking at hundreds of litres of fuel being wasted day in, day out. A vehicle tracking system can help to dramatically reduce this wastage.
What’s more, vehicle trackers are reasonably priced. You can rent a simple system from as little as £7.50 per vehicle, per month, or pay upwards of £50 per vehicle, per month for an advanced version. Fill in this short form to receive vehicle tracker quotes tailored to you, or read on for a more detailed cost breakdown.
How much does a tracker cost in 2021?
Factors that can influence vehicle tracking costs
- Your fleet (size and type of vehicle)
- Your choice of tracker (active or passive?)
- Your tracking system needs (location-based or Telematics?)
- The tracker installation type (wired or plug-in)
- Whether you buy outright or lease
The easiest way to compare tracker costs is to split the market into three tiers: entry-level, advanced, and expert. Each tier is associated with a particular fleet size and has a certain cost range, which you can see in the table below:
|Tier||Fleet Size||Key Features||Cost|
|Entry Level||1 – 20 vehicles||Route mapping,|
|Lease from £7.50pcm|
Buy from £50
|Advanced Level||21 – 50 vehicles||Live route tracking,|
Live vehicle diagnostics,
|Lease from £15pcm|
Buy from £200
|Expert Level||50+ vehicles||Driver management,|
In-depth live tracking,
|Lease from £20pcm|
Buy from £300
Note: Prices are ‘per vehicle’.
Check out the sections below for a more detailed breakdown of each tier.
Vehicle tracking costs by fleet size
Larger fleets generally require more in-depth tracking and telematics data than smaller ones, so will need a more sophisticated system.
As you can see from the table above, fleet size is the main factor in pushing up a fleet tracking system cost. Nearly all contracts are on a per vehicle basis.
We recommend different vehicle tracking solutions for different sized fleets. Larger fleets generally require more in-depth tracking and data than smaller ones, so will need a more sophisticated system. This applies to fleets of all types of vehicles, including lorries, vans, cars and motorbikes.
All tracking systems should include route tracking and route mapping as standard. Let's see how the different levels of vehicle tracking compare after that:
|Vehicle tracking features comparison|
|Traffic Updates||Reporting||Auto Alerts||Geofencing||Maintenance Tracking||Driver Safety Analysis|
Entry-level fleet tracking costs (1-50 vehicles)
Entry level vehicle trackers are often plug-and-go options that you can buy off the shelf from around £50, depending on the manufacturer.
As you’d expect, they are a basic option. They’re usually passive, meaning they collect data but it won’t update automatically or be visible in real time.
If you have a smaller fleet and only need to map and track vehicles, then great – opt for a simple, entry-level tracker. If you’re after more specialised functionality – think traffic updates, fuel tracking and driver alerts – you’ll want something a little more hi-spec. Read on.
Advanced level fleet tracking costs (50-100 vehicles)
You can rent more advanced fleet tracking systems from around £15 per calendar month, or buy for around £200 per device. Depending on your fleet size, this means costs can quickly build up – so make sure you’re getting the best deal you can. If you’re unsure about the best option for you, we can help.
Advanced trackers are typically active – they collect a whole host of data and feed it back in real time. And this works both ways – with an advanced system, drivers can receive alerts from HQ as well as traffic updates.
Of course, this added functionality bumps the price up. But larger fleets in particular find they can recoup this expense quickly as they become more efficient.
Expert level fleet tracking costs (100+)
If you have a fleet of 100 vehicles or more, it’s worthwhile investing in the highest tier of fleet management. These trackers are active, can track individual vehicle and driver performances, and are backed by a range of sophisticated reporting software. They are easily the best option for larger fleets, who face their biggest expenses in terms of fuel, vehicle maintenance and labour costs.
Expert level devices cost upwards of £300. It’s much more common – and cost-effective – to rent one. When leasing, you’ll be looking at a monthly cost of around £20 to £50+ per vehicle, as well as potentially paying for installation too.
This may seem expensive, but the level of sophistication in these devices mean they can provide real, tangible cost-saving benefits to your business, which can more than justify your outlay over the length of the contract.
Fleet tracking: should you buy or rent?
There’s no right or wrong answer. Buying makes sense for some businesses, while others would do better to rent.
So, you’ve decided you need a vehicle tracking solution, and you’ve got a rough idea of how much one might cost. Now, to buy or to rent? That’s the question.
Both have their own benefits and drawbacks. Consider these carefully in order to maximise your return on investment:
Buying a vehicle tracking solution
If your business isn’t likely to change a lot in the near future, and you have the budget available, buying a vehicle tracking system often makes the most sense. Even with the additional costs that can occur, it will almost always work out to be the most cost-effective option over time.
- Normally cheaper in the long run
- Technology can become obsolete, meaning replacing your system
- High initial cost
- Less ongoing support
Leasing a vehicle tracking solution
If you decide to rent a vehicle tracking system then you’ll have to pay less initially. However, this comes at the price of ongoing monthly fees, usually for a minimum of 24 months, which can rack up over time.
Renting will make more sense for companies that need the most up-to-date software, or which don’t currently have the budget required to purchase a system outright.
- Cheaper initial cost
- Free ongoing support and maintenance from supplier
- Normally more expensive in the long run
Fleet tracking contracts
To get the best deal for your business, pay close attention to the type of vehicle tracking contract you’re signing. Some companies offer flexible pricing, where you pay slightly more upfront for the devices and subsequently pay a lower monthly fee. Likewise, the opposite is also true, so talk with your provider to find the right deal for your business.
There are two main options available to you: perpetual licenses and subscription-based licenses. Both have pros and cons, which we’ll look at in more depth below:
Perpetual licenses require you to buy the fleet tracking devices and software upfront with no restrictions on use.
- You can use the fleet tracking device and software forever
- Low monthly costs
- Can work out cheaper than a subscription over the course of the contract
- Very high initial costs
- Would still need to pay for support and maintenance
With a subscription-based license, you pay a monthly fee in order to continue using the fleet tracking software and devices. Many fleet tracking providers will charge you a modest upfront fee for the devices and then pay the monthly fee afterwards.
- Significantly lower upfront costs
- Typically free device and software upgrades
- Maintenance and support is often covered in the monthly costs
- Need to budget for monthly charges
- Financial investment can build up significantly over the length of the contract
- May need to return the devices and software at the end of the contract
- Potential device removal / contract termination fees
Additional fleet tracking costs
Regardless of the contract you sign, keep an eye out for these extra costs:
- Setup and installation costs
- Customisation or bespoke design costs
- The cost of integrating the fleet tracking software with existing systems and software
- Outside technical support for software systems
- Incurring charges if your vehicles travel outside of a certain area, e.g. city limits
- Roaming charges for vehicles using GPS signals outside of city limits
- Termination fees – although these vary by supplier
You can easily identify and budget for these extra costs, just be sure to ask the right questions and read your contract thoroughly.
6 tips to save money on your vehicle tracking
1. Compare quotes
Yes, it’s an obvious one – but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t collect a variety of tracker prices before making their choice. It could save you money, and needn’t be a hassle. Fill in this this short form to compare quotes from up to four Expert Market-approved suppliers — hassle-free!
2. Be wary of longer contracts
If you do opt for renting, look at how long you’ll be tied into a contract for. If it’s a number of years, think about looking for a different option, or reconsider buying a system outright. Also be wary of contracts that renew automatically.
3. Check your tracking system is scalable
Your vehicle tracker should help your business grow, not become an obstacle. Check out the prices and protocol for adding more vehicles to your system. If it seems complicated or costly, it might be better to look elsewhere.
4. Double check the equipment
This doesn’t mean manually examine every tracking device you’ll be using, but check whether the SIM cards in the GPS trackers are locked to a single network. Locked SIMs can struggle for signal in remote areas, making your vehicle tracking system redundant. A SIM card that works with multiple networks should have no trouble finding signal whenever, wherever.
5. Check how often the GPS ping updates
An industry standard GPS updates itself with a fresh location ping about every two to five minutes. However, opting for slower pings can result in a cheaper monthly bill, although at the cost of reduced tracking and location accuracy. Higher frequency pings increase accuracy and the amount of data tracked, but will be more expensive in the long run – think about which should be a priority for you.
6. Find out what training is provided
A tracking system that seems cost effective can quickly become less appealing if you can’t get it to work properly! Most suppliers tend to include some complimentary training as standard, but it’s good to be clear on how many employees this extends to, and whether support will be ongoing.
Next steps: how to get your fleet tracker
When it comes to choosing and paying for a vehicle tracker, you’ve got plenty of options. Expert Market is here to help find the right choice for you.
Our team fully researches all articles and has an excellent relationship with some of the best suppliers around. We can help you find the best deal for your fleet.
Start saving money on fuel costs and improve productivity by getting your free vehicle tracking price quotes today. Simply answer a few quick questions about your fleet, and we'll match you up with the vehicle tracking system companies that can best cater to your needs. They'll then be in touch directly with tailored, no-obligation quotes, and answers to your questions. It's a fast and easy way to compare the right systems for you.