As any company that manages multiple vehicles can tell you, fleet management can be both complex and time-consuming. Fortunately, you have several options when it comes to fleet management software (FMS), which can greatly facilitate the task.
Fleet management software is designed to help businesses improve efficiency, reduce costs, manage mobile assets anywhere and at any time, respond quickly to customer demand, and better understand commercial trends. To meet these goals, the best fleet management software performs a variety of functions, including GPS tracking and adding and organizing fleet assets.
The right fleet management software can also significantly improve day-to-day operations and the financial success of your business. In fact, according to a survey by FMS provider Teletrac, 55% of respondents were able to reduce costs and keep assets and drivers safer thanks to driver monitoring (32%), speed prevention, (26%), and fatigue monitoring (30%), all common features of fleet management software.
If you’re looking for the best FMS to manage your mobile assets, our comprehensive guide will help you better understand the core features and find the provider and plan that best meets your needs.
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Fleet management: what you need to know
What is fleet management software?
Fleet management software (FMS) enables businesses to manage, organize, and coordinate vehicles and other mobile assets, like cranes or cargo containers. This is made possible thanks to GPS trackers, which are installed in vehicles and relay location information and other metrics like speed and engine status.
FMS collects and displays this information, giving companies a clearer picture of their operations. Thus, businesses can make informed decisions on how best to dispatch vehicles, organize routes, distribute loads, schedule maintenance, and ensure driver safety.
FMS is used in a wide range of industries. For example, it helps airlines to coordinate flights, taxi companies to dispatch cars, construction companies to keep track of trucks, rigs and cranes, food and beverage companies to safely and quickly move food, governments and schools to manage buses and public transportation. If your business makes use of vehicles or mobile assets, your operations would likely benefit from using the right FMS.
How many vehicles do I need to have before considering FMS?
Businesses with as few as one or two vehicles have found FMS to be useful, but any company with three or more mobile assets is highly likely to see benefits. This is because, as the number of vehicles or assets increases, it becomes exponentially more difficult to coordinate a fleet.
While there is a cost associated with FMS, it also presents an important opportunity for decreasing overheads, increasing efficiency, and providing a better overall service to customers. Most FMS customers find that the savings far outweigh the cost.
FMS can also help you ensure your operations are fully legal and compliant with state and federal regulations for driver safety (see below).
Finally, investing in FMS now will make it easier to scale your operations in the future. If growth is your goal, and you plan on adding more vehicles to your fleet, you’ll benefit from starting early with good FMS. This will enable you to put policies into place early on and begin organizing your operations based on fleet data.
If I get FMS, am I automatically ELD compliant?
Many FMS solutions have built-in electronic logging device (ELD) compliance features, but that doesn’t mean that all your operations automatically meet the demands of the newest 2017 mandate. FMS can help you maintain, organize, and share records of duty status (RODS), but other obligations exist as well. For example, you still need to ensure that policies are informed by ELD information and are being adhered to by both staff and managers.
Which GPS tracker is right for me?
Most FMS providers offer a variety of trackers. Low-cost trackers will transmit less frequently and are well-suited to vehicles that tend to remain on a given site for long periods of time, like construction equipment, although these vehicles may also benefit from more rugged housing and waterproofing.
More advanced models will have integrated geofencing and speed notifications, useful for taxi and delivery companies.
Although battery-powered and wireless trackers tend to be more expensive, they’re a good choice for businesses with multiple types of vehicles as they provide easy interoperability.
What does fleet management software cost?
Typically, you pay for hardware upfront and software on a monthly basis, although there are exceptions. For example, some GPS trackers come free with a year-long subscription.
GPS trackers typically start at around $99 and go up to $399, depending on the provider. Of course, you’re not required to get the same tracker for every vehicle you own, so you can get a range of trackers at different costs to suit your fleet and tracking needs.
In terms of software, because of the complexity of fleet management and the many different elements on offer, it’s not unusual to be required to contact a representative for a quote. This is the case for three of the five providers below, US Fleet Tracking and GPS Trackit being the exceptions.
As a general rule, FMS costs between $20 and $30 per vehicle per month, although there are some outliers, and providers may be open to negotiation.
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How we review fleet management software
A number of key factors entered into our decision on which fleet management providers to feature. First, we looked at pricing, to get an idea of which providers are best for which budgets, based on different features and trackers. This helps us provide you with the best possible fit for your needs, without breaking the bank.
Next, we compared key features like route optimization, driver profiles, and safety features, but also unique and useful extras, like dashcam integration, geofencing, and employee time management for easier payroll processing.
Finally, we looked at what kind of support and customer service is available. This included anonymously contacting user support to get a better idea of the knowledge, speediness, and friendliness of customer support agents.
Fleet management software at a glance
In this table we compare the top fleet management solutions in five key areas.
|Fleet management service||Hardware cost||Software cost||Cloud-based||Tracking speed||Support|
|Samsara||$120+||Contact vendor||Yes||1s||24/7 phone and chat|
|Advanced Tracking Technologies, Inc.||Contact vendor||Contact vendor||No||10s||Phone: Mon-Fri, 8AM–5PM (CST)|
|US Fleet Tracking||$0+||$29.95+ per month||Yes||5s or 10s||Phone & chat: Mon-Fri 7AM–7PM, Sat 9AM–4PM|
|Geotab||Contact vendor||Contact vendor||Yes||30s or 60s||Vendor-based|
|GPS Trackit||Contact vendor||$23.95+ per month||Yes||1s||Phone: 8AM–8PM, 7 days|
Fleet management mini reviews
Samsara — Best for integrations
Cloud-based: Yes | Tracking speed: 1s | Support: 24/7 chat and phone
Founded in 2015, Samsara is a global leader in fleet management, with more than 15,000 customers. A range of high-quality trackers combined with AI-enhanced software affords users real-time vehicle monitoring and advanced analytics to reduce idling time and costs, improve route efficiency, and manage fleet status and operations.
Hardware ranges from $129 to $399, while software, though not disclosed on the website, has been found to vary between $13 to $30 per month, as reported by customers. To better understand how Samsara can reduce your costs, the website offers an ROI analysis.
Drivers benefit from improved route suggestions, while administrators can easily monitor driver behavior to minimize unscheduled stops, curb speeding, coordinate aid in the event of an accident or breakdown, and even monitor fuel waste. This is all made possible thanks to extensive real-time vehicle diagnostics.
One of the Samsara’s greatest advantages is the sheer number of integrations available with hardware, such as dashcams and wireless sensors, and third-party software, including payroll, customer relations management (CRM), transportation management software (TMS), route planning, inventory management software, fuel cards, and more.
Support is available 24/7 by telephone and online chat, and has been highly rated by users. A FAQ and knowledgebase with videos address basic queries to help get you started.
Pros: Comprehensive reporting; Customizable tracker solutions
Cons: Long contract lengths; Can be pricier than competitors
Read our full Samsara review.
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Advanced Tracking Technologies, Inc. — Best for small and growing businesses
Cloud-based: No | Tracking speed: 10s | Support: Mon-Fri 8AM-5PM (CST)
ATTI offers standard GPS fleet tracking, with trackers for both vehicles and unmanned mobile assets like shipping containers. A number of reports can be generated using the intuitive software, helping to reduce fleet costs and fuel consumption, improve productivity and routing, reduce overtime, and manage maintenance schedules.
The Shadow Tracker® Vision III GPS unit is relatively easy to install (although less so than some competitors’ wireless trackers), and includes 10-second updates, internal battery and cellular backups, and built-in power take-off (PTO) monitoring, making it an excellent tracker for mobile assets with hydraulics or other moving parts.
Of particular note is the Geofence feature, which enables users to designate an allowed usage area and receive alerts when vehicles cross the fence. Administrators can give a general radius or specify shapes to encompass highway routes, bridges, and more.
Support is available by phone or email, Monday to Friday from 8AM to 5PM (CST), though no FAQ or knowledge base exists on the website.
Pros: Scalable pricing per vehicle; Dynamic geo-fencing
Cons: Long contracts; Customer service has received some negative reviews
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US Fleet Tracking — Best for diverse fleet assets
Cloud-based: Yes | Tracking speed: 5s or 10s | Support: Mon–Fri 7AM–7PM; Sat 9AM–4PM
US Fleet Tracking operates in more than 150 countries across the globe, making this an ideal solution for businesses with mobile assets in multiple countries. That said, the pricing scheme is straightforward and affordable, so small and even single-vehicle businesses may find the solution they’re looking for.
Plans are contract-free, which is an unusual advantage compared to competitors, while hardware starts at just $99 (although at the time of writing, one device was on sale for $0 with a 12-month service agreement). US Fleet Tracking offers a wide range of GPS trackers for all vehicle types, including rugged and waterproof casing, wired or wireless, and more.
US Fleet Tracking is not FMS per se. To keep its rates low and its product simple and straightforward, it doesn’t provide advanced analytics like those offered by competitors. Nonetheless, there are some practical features: ignition, speed and idle alerts, geofencing, and maintenance notifications.
Support is available Monday through Friday, 7AM to 7PM, and Saturdays from 9AM to 4PM. However, the website has a comprehensive knowledge base, FAQ, and user manuals, so many basic queries can be addressed without having to call or chat online.
Pros: Traffic & weather tracking; Large selection of trackers
Cons: Missing some advanced features
Read our full US Fleet Tracking review.
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Geotab — Best for analytics and flexibility
Cloud-based: Yes | Tracking speed: 30s or 60s | Support: Vendor-based
Geotab is one of the largest tracking companies in the world, with well over two million connected assets. It is priced through vendors, so you’ll have to contact an authorized reseller. Fortunately, with four plans available, you’re sure to find one to fit your budget.
The Base plan includes GPS tracking, VIN, Driver ID, and IOX networking. A Regulatory plan adds everything you need to stay compliant with drivers, including hours of service and IFTA data. Meanwhile, the Pro and Pro Plus plans add engine data, plus active tracking (1s), lifetime warranties, and advanced support.
The FMS itself, Mygeotab, is cloud-based and thus accessible from any web browser, regardless of device or operating system. The dashboard combines all available information in one easy-to-use interface: vehicle position, speed, fuel consumption, driver scorecards, productivity, and more. You can arrange elements as you like.
One of Geotab’s most advantageous features is its marketplace, with hundreds of third-party apps and extensions to make the most of your Geotab hardware and FMS. Add extensions from engine and vehicle brands for the most useful integration, take advantage of advanced analytics and driver scorecards, add AI and machine learning to dashcams, and much more.
As Geotab’s products and services are provided through resellers, direct user support is not available. Instead, you’ll be reliant on your vendor, so be sure to check that their customer service suits your needs.
Pros: Hugely flexible with marketplace add-ons; Intuitive dashboard and reporting
Cons: Pricing and customer service depends on vendors
Read our full Geotab review.
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GPS Trackit — Best for first-time FMS users
Cloud-based: Yes | Tracking speed: 1s | Support: 8AM–8PM, 7 days
GPSTrackit is a large and veteran tracking company, having served over 12,000 fleets to date. Despite its low cost and simple payment structure, the company has much to offer in terms of fleet management, including ELD compliance, safety features, and vehicle diagnostics, plus free training and hardware. It’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular FMS products on the market.
A number of great features come with its cloud-based software, including route planning, tracking & optimization, two-way communication, and form creation & data collection to reduce paperwork. Businesses can decrease fuel costs, shorten idling periods, and even increase vehicle lifespan. The tracking speed is noticeably slower than that of competitors, at 30s or 60s, but includes alerts based on speed, harsh braking, geofencing, and unauthorized use.
At $23.95 per month, this is one of the most affordable and straightforward options out there, with no corners cut in terms of analytics and reporting.
Support includes an impressive free, unlimited training service, plus telephone customer care from Monday to Friday, 8AM to 8PM (ET), with technical support available 6AM to 5:30PM, and even on Saturday and Sunday (7AM to 3:30PM).
Pros: Free training & hardware; Low-cost & no contracts
Cons: Additional cost for ELD compliance
Read our full GPS Trackit.
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Fleet management systems: 10 best features and benefits
GPS Vehicle Tracking
An essential feature of any FMS. The best GPS trackers enable users to see where mobile assets are at any time, anywhere in the world. Faster update speeds make for more powerful analytics, while satellite GPS, although slower than cellular, is more reliable in rural areas.
Human resources are often a business’s greatest liability. Keep track of aggressive driving, unnecessary idle time or stops, recurring distractions, and more with driver IDs and tracking. This also helps you ensure all driver licenses are valid, compliant, and correct for the vehicle type.
Alerts for speeding, accidents, engine problems, route divergence, geofencing, and more, can help you run a tighter ship, reduce costs, and improve driver behavior.
One of the best ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs, route optimization reduces travel time, idling, and even overtime by finding the best routes based on multiple vehicle locations.
Communicate instantly and effectively with drivers, sending new job information, scheduling, pickup or drop-off locations, geofencing updates, and more, to serve more customers in less time.
Reporting drives growth and improvements to fleet management. Generate reports of fuel usage per driver, manage risks and assess safety patterns, monitor engine and vehicle performance over time, and more.
Trackers that link with vehicles wirelessly or through an OBDII connection can give you information on tire pressure, engine efficiency, and more, to reduce fuel costs.
Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) Compliance is an enforced standard that makes it easier to track, manage and share drivers’ records of dusty status (RODS), and ultimately create a safer working environment for drivers.
Minimize the risks of having two or more vehicles out for maintenance at the same time, and monitor repeated, unexpected maintenance as assets age to avoid breakdowns or accidents.
Respond quickly and appropriately to breakdowns and accidents, anywhere in the world. Contact emergency crews, send rescue vehicles, and ensure proper incident reporting for insurance claims.
Looking for more information on fleet management software and services? Try these articles:
Everything you need to know about fleet management
How to choose the best fleet management software for your business
What to expect from next generation fleet technology
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