With GPS and RFID technologies becoming more mainstream, it’s now possible to get relatively cheap vehicle trackers. Of course, the price of the tracking device will heavily depend on the number of advanced features selected, and whether an active or passive system is preferred - these aspects are further detailed in another article in this guide. If cheap vehicle trackers can be obtained both through purchase or leasing from a variety of providers and manufacturers, it’s important to evaluate the full cost of a tracking system.
Evaluating the full cost of a vehicle tracker
The price of the device itself is not the only cost when installing a vehicle tracking system: hidden costs have to be calculated... but also the return on investment.
Buying the tracking device which will be installed in the tracked vehicle is not all it takes to install a full tracking system. Each type of system has its hidden costs:
- With all system types, collected data will need to be retrieved using specific software, and matching it with other company data may require ad hoc development,
- Also, installing the devices may require hiring professional experts,
- In the case of an active tracking system, wireless communications will need to be paid for, as well as the installation of a server - if there is no could computing solution,
- In the case of a RFID system, RFID scanners will be used.
Return on investment
That being said, the return on investment related to the use of a tracking system has to be calculated too, and measured up against the costs to evaluate the actual net cost of a tracker.
- Advanced features such as geofencing, driver behaviour monitoring, fuel consumption tracking, dispatch management or efficient routing will inevitably drive the price of the system up - but they will also drive savings, and ultimately Return on Investment higher. It’s up to you, as you know your business needs, to evaluate whether all these added benefits make up, or supersede the price difference.
Manufacturers - and lease providers - of cheap vehicle trackers
All manufacturers now provide cheap vehicle trackers within their product ranges - so cheap in fact, that business owners might need to think twice about leasing the equipment instead of purchasing it outright.
Manufacturers and devices
Several manufacturers have introduced cheap vehicle trackers:
- Telogis provides the Standard Edition System - price depends on the selected options, especially related to traffic data,
- Fleetmatics has the Reveal system,
- TomTom’s cheap vehicle tracker is the Link 200, which comes with the Webfleet Lite software,
- AMS offers the FleetManager OBDII package at very affordable prices.
Leasing: the best option to get a cheap vehicle tracker?
As model prices are coming down, it’s not exactly clear whether leasing the device will be the cheaper option:
- Full packages can be leased for under £1 a day, or even under £15 a month;
- Full systems can be bought for as low as £150.
Taking the benefits and ROI into account, it might therefore be a safer option to choose leasing over purchasing only when high-end, expensive systems are sought, with advanced features.