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Choosing a GPS Fleet Management System

Updated Feb 29, 2024

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Hundreds of thousands of transport managers nationwide use GPS-based fleet management platforms to track driver locations and behaviors and monitor fuel costs and vehicle maintenance. These platforms share many similarities, but specific features, contract requirements, pricing and integrations may make one better for your business than another. 

We’ll explain more about GPS fleet management systems and share tips and considerations for choosing a fleet and asset-tracking solution that helps you improve safety and efficiency. 

What is GPS fleet management? 

GPS fleet management is the process of using GPS tracking devices to gain greater insights into vehicle locations, driver behaviors, fuel consumption and much more. GPS fleet management systems ensure drivers act safely and responsibly on the road and vehicles operate efficiently.

These systems use hardware and software to meet their goals. Hardware is installed in vehicles to track their location, generate maintenance diagnostic information and monitor driving behaviors. The hardware sends real-time data to the system software via a cell phone network (and occasionally by satellite) to provide the most current information possible.

GPS fleet tracking systems can optimize driver routes, run driver safety scoreboards, track vehicle and asset movement, change driver job specs, schedule vehicle maintenance, and more.

FYIDid you know

Many GPS fleet management providers integrate driver behavior data with education programs, helping businesses invest in employee training.

How to choose a GPS fleet management system

With myriad options to consider, choosing the best GPS fleet management service for your business can be challenging. Follow these steps to get on the right track:

  1. Know and understand your fleet. First, make a list of every vehicle and asset you must monitor. This list will inform your tracking hardware needs. For example, tracking a truck will require different equipment than tracking a container or construction site machinery.
  2. Consider the metrics you want to track. Your fleet makeup will dictate your specific needs, but priorities will vary by business. For example, driver safety and accountability may be your top priority. If so, you’ll want to track driver behavior, ideally with dashcams. In contrast, if you’re concerned about asset management for your construction business, you’ll likely want technology that records and analyzes maintenance metrics and provides utilization alerts.
  3. Select “must-have” features. GPS fleet tracking is a considerable investment. Without clearly prioritizing your business’s must-have features versus nice-to-have features, overspending is easy. List features you consider nonnegotiable, and note others that would be helpful if you can afford them. For example, you may want tracking functionality but feel you can forego dashcams. Or you may feel that AI-powered dashcams are non-negotiable, but you don’t necessarily need extensive third-party integrations.
  4. Establish a budget. With your fleet size and must-have features in mind, set a maximum per-vehicle budget. You may need to up your budget later, but a starting point is necessary.
  5. Consider your ideal commitment level. Consider whether you want an easy-in-easy-out agreement or are willing to commit to up to a three-year contract with a specific provider if the price and service are ideal.
  6. Research the market. There is no shortage of GPS fleet tracking solutions. Thankfully, most providers list available features and services on their website. You can also check out our comprehensive reviews of the best GPS fleet tracking services to compare and contrast features and functionalities. (We’ll also highlight some highly regarded services later.) Compile a shortlist of promising providers with the functionality you need at a price within your target budget.
  7. Check out free trials and demos. Contact the providers on your shortlist to see if they offer a free 30-day trial for testing the system. Providers that don’t offer a free trial will likely provide a free demo. Get a feel for the platforms and ask your sales reps about their scalability, specific features that may be ideal for your business and any planned new features.
  8. Seek opinions and reviews. Check out online reviews to gain an unbiased perspective of any potential platform’s usability and customer service. If you know fleet managers at other companies that use a particular provider, ask them about their experiences.
  9. Get a quote and negotiate with suppliers. Ask your reps for a quote that includes your non-negotiable features and services. Some providers won’t be able to deviate from set price lists, but others may negotiate with you to win your business. They may ask for a longer contract or upfront payment in return for a lower price. 
  10. Sign up with a fleet management service. Your final choice will accommodate your fleet’s needs and priorities at a price you can afford and contract terms you can live with.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right GPS fleet management system for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

10 things to consider when choosing a GPS fleet management system

If you’re new to the world of GPS fleet management, you may feel overwhelmed by the industry’s jargon and vast array of options. Here’s a quick primer on essential considerations when choosing a GPS fleet tracking solution:  

1. Cost and contracts vary widely.

GPS fleet management costs vary widely depending on your fleet’s size and the features you need. Most vendors charge monthly, with per-vehicle costs that range from $20 to $100. Some providers offer free hardware, while others charge per user. 

These vendors have various payment options, including annual subscriptions and pay-as-you-go plans. Some services require an annual or multiyear contract, but many don’t require a long-term commitment. 

2. Notifications are an essential safety feature.

GPS fleet management solutions and other types of telematics software provide real-time fleet-related notifications. For example, you can get notifications when a vehicle leaves your facility and arrives at its destination. 

Look for a platform with driver reporting functionality so you’ll receive notifications related to a specific route or driver. These features can be essential for fleet and asset safety and security. Gaining more visibility into your fleet can help you build a more efficient business.

3. A customizable dashboard personalizes your system.

The top GPS fleet tracking services allow you to customize your home dashboard. You can select the analytics you want to monitor – including real-time asset tracking, fuel efficiency metrics and driver safety scores – and organize them into one intuitive dashboard. 

4. Ease of use is crucial in GPS fleet tracking systems.

The best GPS fleet management software is straightforward and intuitive. Once it’s implemented, you should routinely be able to track essential metrics seamlessly, gaining insights to help create a more efficient company.

5. Vehicle diagnostics is a vital safety feature.

Top fleet management solutions provide unparalleled insight into driver safety, fuel efficiency and vehicle maintenance. By tracking mileage and general vehicle maintenance, you’ll know when your vehicles must be serviced.

The best fleet management systems will keep all your vehicles’ maintenance histories in one easily accessible place, allowing you to understand the life cycles of individual vehicles in relation to your overall fleet. 

6. Driving behavior tracking is a critical metric.

Driver safety tracking is one of the marquee features of many telematics solutions. When you work with fleet management companies, you’re opening the door to a safer fleet, which can lead to safer roadways.

Telematics services can gauge driver safety, compile data and present it via easy-to-read driver scorecards. Hard braking, rapid acceleration and swerving are examples of activities that telematics solutions track to create driver safety scores. 

Did You Know?Did you know

A DOT background check is required for all commercial drivers before they can work for your logistics company.

7. Signal and uptime are key features.

The best GPS fleet management solutions provide near-real-time data collection and updates. This means you can have 100 percent visibility into your fleet anytime. This technology is unmatched in other industries. 

8. Mobile access lets you manage your fleet from anywhere.

Telematics solutions are cloud-based platforms you can access from any device. Many also have stellar driver and admin mobile apps to streamline operations. If you’re a fleet manager who travels or can’t access your office computer, you’ll still be able to check in on your fleet. 

9. Third-party integrations and automation deliver comprehensive data.

Many telematics solutions offer helpful third-party integrations. By connecting other business solutions to your fleet management software, you can integrate your overall business technology suite. Integrations vary based on the platform, so work closely with your fleet management system rep to ensure you have access to the information you need. 

FYIDid you know

Many modern GPS fleet tracking systems integrate with the top CRM software and some of the best accounting software platforms.

10. Customer support is a part of a successful implementation.

The best fleet management solutions offer 24/7 customer support. These providers can help you immediately remedy problems with your hardware or software. 

Why you should use a GPS fleet management system

If you run a trucking, freight, construction, delivery or any other logistics business, knowing where your vehicles and materials are is crucial. Ensuring safety and compliance is also essential. GPS fleet management systems address these concerns and more. They can help you do the following: 

  • Monitor your fleet’s locations and performance: GPS fleet management systems provide information on location, fuel usage, engine idling time and driver behavior.
  • Decrease insurance costs: Many insurance providers offer discounts and lower commercial auto insurance costs for fleet companies with GPS tracking devices installed on their vehicles.
  • Save on fuel: GPS tracking systems provide better routes and improve driver behavior, with less idling and fewer stops, which can decrease fuel use and help reduce your fleet’s idle time
  • Reduce downtime and maintenance costs: GPS tracking software can send you alerts when routine maintenance is due. Text alerts or emails can inform you when it’s time for oil changes, tire rotations, and more, ensuring well-maintained vehicles and decreasing downtime.
  • Improve customer satisfaction: GPS tracking systems let you identify your drivers’ precise locations so dispatchers can let customers know when their driver will arrive.
  • Locate assets: There is a tremendous risk of theft and misuse involved in transporting goods. GPS tracking systems show you where your equipment, company vehicles and loads are at all times.
  • Maintain compliance: Compliance becomes harder for fleets that travel interstate routes, because rules vary between locations. Many GPS tracking systems solve this problem. For example, Verizon Connect helps drivers comply with state and federal laws no matter where they are in the country. 
Did You Know?Did you know

If you operate a small fleet, you may be required to adhere to regulations regarding electronic logging devices. These devices ensure drivers comply with hours of service (HoS) regulations.

The best fleet management systems to consider

Consider the following excellent fleet management systems, which provide top-notch safety features and much more. 

Samsara

Samsara’s comprehensive GPS fleet management system has a simple and intuitive front end, making the platform very easy to use. The system boasts advanced tools and insights for firms looking to transition to electric vehicles while enhancing overall fleet efficiency and safety.

Key features: 

  • In-depth fleet, driver and vehicle reporting
  • AI-powered dashcam technology
  • View your fleet live with a one-second data refresh rate

Pricing: Fleets of 10 or more receive discounts and the option to pay monthly. Fleets of nine or fewer must pay for the equipment and airtime in advance. You must contact the company for pricing. 

More information: Read our comprehensive Samsara review.

Azuga

The highly adaptable Azuga GPS platform’s fleet management features are superb. Its driver safety and vehicle efficiency functionality are also top-notch. We were also impressed by the vendor’s partnership with Firestone Complete Auto Care, which is great for ensuring vehicles stay on the road.

Key features: 

  • Potential safety events tagged by AI and flagged in fleet managers’ dashboards
  • Gamification option to encourage and reward safer driver behavior
  • Driver app has a built-in time card and “Where Did I Park?” feature

Pricing: You must contact the company for pricing. However, Azuga told us it charges $25 per month per GPS unit, $50 per month for the GPS unit with a basic safety cam, and $60 per month for a GPS unit with an AI-powered safety cam.

More information: Read our detailed Azuga review.

Motive

Motive is an all-around leading GPS fleet tracking platform with a tight focus on driver accountability and safety. We like its reporting and analytics functions, AI dashcams and advanced driver scoring systems. Motive’s fleet management and intelligent routing are also standout features.

Key features: 

  • Proprietary driver scoring system that takes driving conditions into account 
  • In-house reviewers provide extra context on safety-related dashcam footage
  • Refresh rate of one to three seconds ensures real-time data 

Pricing: Devices cost $150 and tracking costs start at $25 per month. 

More information: Read our updated Motive review.

Verizon Connect

Verizon Connect’s scalable and well-executed GPS fleet management package is great for all fleets but really shines for midsize fleets. It boasts a wide range of customizable reporting features and offers impressive integrations with other essential business apps.

Key features: 

  • Optimizes routes based on vehicle type and load, traffic, and local regulations
  • AI-powered dashcams monitor the road and driver behavior
  • Excellent geofencing features linked to notifications to fleet managers and clients

Pricing: Pricing starts at around $20 per month for basic fleet tracking.

More information: Read our in-depth Verizon Connect review.

ClearPathGPS

ClearPathGPS offers an affordable and flexible GPS fleet management solution with no long-term contract. It’s suitable for companies of all sizes and is a popular choice for small to midsize businesses looking for greater driver and fleet safety and efficiency.

Key features: 

  • Wide range of driver safety and vehicle optimization tools
  • Superb at improving fuel performance and linked to the popular WEX Fuel Card
  • Choice of plug-and-play and hardwired hardware solutions for vehicles 

Pricing: Pricing starts at $20 per vehicle per month. 

More information: Read our comprehensive review of ClearPathGPS.

Force

Force is a scalable and highly customizable GPS fleet management solution with a focus on improving driver safety and performance. It’s particularly useful for companies providing local services or deliveries. 

Key features: 

  • Seamless integration with the popular Housecall Pro app
  • Share driver location with customers via SMS link
  • Excellent for job scheduling and live vehicle tracking

Pricing: Pricing starts at $20 per vehicle per month.

More information: Read our detailed review of Force.

GPS TrackIt

GPS Trackit is a leader in fleet management software thanks to its advanced video telematics and comprehensive GPS tracking capabilities. It’s also one of the few platforms offering contracts as short as 30 days.

Key features: 

  • High-quality dashcam hardware with AI and eye-tracking technology
  • Excellent for analyzing and reporting on vehicle health, driver safety and fuel efficiency
  • Video telematics architecture supports live streaming from multiple cameras on the same vehicle 

Pricing: Pricing starts at $12.99 per unit per month for asset tracking and up to $54.99 for an ELD and an AI dashcam on a 36-month contract. Monthly costs increase for month-to-month, 12-month and 24-month contracts. 

More information: Read our current review of GPS TrackIt.

FleetUp

FleetUp is a highly intuitive and data-rich GPS fleet and asset-tracking platform that helps companies improve productivity and reduce operational costs through advanced telematics and customizable reporting and analytics.

Key features: 

  • Easy-to-use desktop and app dashboards make the platform straightforward for managers and drivers
  • Set up over 30 customizable alerts and decide who receives them
  • Advanced e-maintenance functionality for managing vehicle health and scheduling maintenance

Pricing: Although there’s no pricing on the vendor’s website, the company told us clients can expect to pay between $20 and $40 per month per vehicle on its standard four tiers.

More information: Read our detailed review of FleetUp.

Matt D’Angelo contributed to this article.

Mark Fairlie
Mark Fairlie
Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
Mark Fairlie has written extensively on business finance, business development, M&A, accounting, tax, cybersecurity, sales and marketing, SEO, investments, and more for clients across the world for the past five years. Prior to that, Mark owned one of the largest independent managed B2B email and telephone outsourcing companies in the UK prior to selling up in 2015.
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