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With hundreds of tracking systems on the market, each offering different features, benefits and overall customer experience, it can be a challenge to understand the current vehicle tracking prices and the typical additional fees you can expect from a supplier.
Ten of the most common questions about vehicle tracking prices are compiled below, with valuable insights into the marketplace. You will also find a checklist of questions to ask a vehicle tracking supplier, that will save you wading through their terms and conditions to determine whether there are any hidden costs. Knowing what to expect in terms of common vehicle tracking pricing structures will better equip you in your search, help you understand total costs and help you find the contract that is right for your business.
1. What type of contracts are available for vehicle tracking?
Vehicle tracking companies have a range of contract lengths, a minimum contract of 24-months is common. Some suppliers will only offer a three-year minimum contract, leaving you a long while to wait if the service does not meet expectations. At the other end of the spectrum, there are “pay as you go” options, which don’t require signing any contracts at all, but these often come at a higher price. Where possible, a popular choice is a 12-month vehicle tracking contract. This offers flexibility for businesses, while still providing the stability of a set contract.
Some useful questions to ask a supplier are:
2. What is the range of monthly vehicle tracking subscription prices?
Competitive vehicle tracking prices start at around $14 per month, though you can expect to pay considerably more with certain providers for different tools that may or may not be useful for your company.
Suppliers often have different package options, allowing you to benefit from extra features at an increased monthly cost. These features can include monitoring driving habits, operational dashboards, and temperature monitoring. You will also find suppliers who offer integrations between the tracking system and fuel cards or additional fleet management tools. If you feel these features would bring value to your business, check to see how they would affect the monthly cost. On the flip side, if a supplier’s standard package includes features that you don’t envisage needing, consider whether a more streamlined option would be better for your fleet.
Forward planning is wise, especially if you are considering committing to a long contract. You may not initially require any extra features, but you might like the option to include these further down the line. In this case, a supplier that supports your potential future needs, as well as your current requirements, would be a better choice.
Some suppliers may advertise a low vehicle tracking price, but later surprise you with obligatory additional costs for set-up. It’s always worth checking the total amount you will need to pay in order to get up and running. You can look out for seasonal promotions too, as these offer an opportunity to secure an exclusive vehicle tracking price.
3. Is it common to charge for vehicle tracker set up/installation?
Installation and set-up charges can be one of the biggest hidden costs of vehicle tracking. You could be faced with a $40 charge per vehicle for tracker installation alone. However, some suppliers will include the initial tracker installation free of charge, making the up-front costs far less.
Further questions to ask:
Often, you will have the option of self-install vehicle trackers. These can be connected to the vehicle in several ways and can be easily moved between vehicles. It’s common for suppliers to charge for moving hardwired trackers between vehicles, so if you anticipate needing to switch the trackers around often, ‘self-install’ may be the best choice for your business.
4. Is support and training included in vehicle tracking prices?
Telephone support is not always included in a standard vehicle tracking price and can rack up extra costs. The degree to which a provider prioritizes customer service can vary hugely. Some providers may only offer email support, others will have a dedicated customer service team of people you can speak to directly. In a recent survey conducted by Quartix, aside from ‘low prices’, ‘customer service’ was rated as the top priority for fleets when selecting a tracking provider.
One of the chief reasons that businesses switch from one vehicle tracking company to another is because of the service they received from their previous provider. While bad customer service doesn’t always come with a monetary loss to your business, it certainly can cause unnecessary stress and time wasted. Be sure to read several reviews of a supplier’s service on independent sites such as Trustpilot and Google before locking into a long contract with them.
Training is also a factor worth considering, as some vehicle tracking systems can present a steep learning curve before you are able to benefit from the insights they offer. Many companies provide tools such as guides or video tutorials which allow your staff to learn how to use the system in their own time. Some companies will even offer in-person training.
Some questions to ask include:
5. Is a device warranty included in vehicle tracking subscription fees?
Some companies provide a warranty with their vehicle trackers. However, these warranties are often limited to just the first year after purchase. Purchasing an extended warranty if you are on a 3-year contract can be another hidden cost.
Ensuring that your vehicle tracking device is covered in case of malfunction for the entire length of your contract is extremely important and should be one of the major factors when it comes to choosing a provider. Look for companies that will repair or replace your tracker.
6. Will there be a charge if I need to move a tracker to another vehicle?
This is a question worth asking, as suppliers will vary in their policies for tracker removal and reinstallation within a contract period.
There can be many reasons why you would need to move a tracking device, such as the lease expiring on a hired vehicle or damage to the vehicle from an accident, putting it out of service for an extended period. Although the initial installation is usually free, subsequent removals and reinstallation will almost always incur costs due to the labour involved and arranging for an engineer to move the tracker. The charge to move a hardwired vehicle tracking device is currently around the $100 range for a single device. Check whether your supplier will allow you to arrange this independently.
If you anticipate moving trackers often between your vehicles, a self-install device could be the better option for your fleet, as it would give you the flexibility to move your trackers at will. These devices connect to your vehicle’s battery or to the OBD port and, as such, require little to no auto-electrical experience to install. It is also worth asking the provider if there are any set-up charges with self-install vehicles that aren’t included with hardwired units.
7. Should I expect cancellation fees if I end my vehicle tracking contract?
With most, if not all contracts, there are consequences to cancelling early. Vehicle tracking is no exception. Cancellation policies and fees are something to consider when choosing the length of your contract. If you should want to cancel early, be prepared to continue to pay service charges until the minimum rental period expires, at the very least. Many companies will also require you to pay service charges until the trackers are removed and returned.
Another thing to consider is whether a vehicle tracking company uses a third party to lease their tracking devices. Should something happen to the vehicle tracking supplier, you might not be protected from any losses, despite losing the service.
Some things to ask a provider are:
8. Do vehicle tracking contracts automatically renew?
Contracts that auto-renew often catch customers out, forcing them into extended service that they might not want and preventing them from seeking a new vehicle tracking provider. It’s best to try to avoid this all together and choose a company that does not auto-renew its contracts. Some providers will transfer you to a monthly rolling contract if not directed otherwise, leaving you free to cancel at any time once your initial term has expired.
If your provider does auto-renew contracts as part of its policy, you should note the renewal dates and cancellation periods, to ensure you are not trapped into a new contract accidentally.
You should always ask:
9. What is a standard notice period if I don't wish to renew my vehicle tracking?
Many providers will require 90 days’ notice if you do not wish to renew your vehicle tracking contract and will not always let you know when that date is approaching. Always be sure to check this information from the start, to avoid being locked in for more years than intended.
The notice period allows a provider time to ensure that the returns procedure is fully understood and that the tracking devices can be safely removed from the vehicles. It can take 10 working days for an account to be deactivated, so adequate time usually needs to be given to ensure that you are not charged for another month of service.
If you are looking to switch, some tracking providers do offer a free tracking period to allow you to start a new contract, whilst still paying the end of term for your current provider. Not all providers are able to offer this, but it is worth asking new providers if they can support you in the cross-over period.
Before you sign a new contract, you need to know:
10. Can I do a free trial of the vehicle tracking system?
Some vehicle tracking companies are reluctant to offer free trials, except for businesses with a certain number of vehicles, but the benefits of testing the system with your own data before you sign a contract are immeasurable.
Even if a provider requires a small down payment or other compensation, it could be well worth the expense. Typically, if the company has a self-install option, this would be what is provided during a trial, as it can be installed and removed with ease. During a trial, you should have access to the vehicle tracking company’s entire suite of tools and features, so you can make an informed decision as to whether the system is right for your business and your vehicles.
If you are able to take a free trial, you should consider:
Vehicle tracking prices don’t need to be a mystery. You should always be able to calculate how much your business needs to spend in order to get all the benefits of vehicle tracking, without any hidden costs that can take you by surprise. You can download the information in this article in a PDF guide or use our vehicle tracking buyers checklist.
To learn more about Quartix prices and our terms and conditions, download the Quartix Contracts FAQ or speak to one of our vehicle tracking experts on 1-855-913-6663.