June 20, 2018
Fleet management is changing. Due to new ELD laws, even the most traditional fleets which have run on pen and paper logs for decades must now track their hours electronically. But fleet management systems, or FMSs, can be more than just compliant with the law. Thanks to 24/7 real-time data monitoring and analytics, an FMS can boost a fleet’s efficiency, service and security.
How much will a fleet management system cost, and will it bring a return on your investment that justifies the price tag? Below, you’ll learn the answer.
This page includes the typical price range for an FMS, the cost-impacting factors to consider when picking one for your operation, and why these tools can, in the long run, save you more than you’ll spend.
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The table below shows typical cost ranges per each vehicle in a fleet:
|Billed Monthly||Billed Yearly||Installation cost (one-time)|
|GPS trackers||$10 – $15||$100 – $150||Free|
|Basic||$3 – $25||$35 – $250||Free, or $50-$100|
|Advanced||$30 – $55||N/A||Free, or $100-$150|
|> Calculate total costs and compare price quotes for your business <|
GPS trackers aren’t technically FMSs, as they don’t record anything beyond a vehicle’s location. They’re useful for anti-theft measures and limited fleet management, but won’t provide most of the benefits explained below.
Basic FMSs focus on only a few features: Logging driving hours and work breaks along with fuel management are features that tend to be covered. Fleet managers opting for a basic FMS should make sure it covers routing and dispatch.
Advanced FMSs include add-ons beyond just the necessities: Parts, tire, and tool management might fall into this group of features, as well as accident and maintenance tracking. These systems offer the biggest return on your investment.
The total price given for an FMS potentially covers four different costs, though this can vary depending how each company structures its quotes:
- Devices — each vehicle must have a hardware device, which can be bought or leased
- Software licenses — a monthly or annual subscription fee covers the licensing of the software used, and varies depending on the services offered by the software
- Installation services — a wired device must be installed, while a plug-and-play device is not. Some FMS companies offer free installation, while others install devices for free only if the fleet signs a two or three-year contract, and some charge regardless.
- Training — some companies might offer training in the form of manuals, webinars, live online support, in-person sessions, or a combination of these
The price will also be affected by:
- Size of your fleet — almost all FMS companies charge per vehicle (or user) per month, so a larger fleet will pay more than a smaller fleet.
- Features required — different FMSs track different types of data, from ELD compliance to fuel tracking to alerts on when best to rotate your tires, and on average, more extensive features will cost more.
- Vendor — no FMS company is the same, and vendors’ prices can fluctuate.
- Type of shipping service — Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping operations should check to ensure an FMS tracks multiple destinations along a single route.
- Additional hardware needed — Some further costs may be necessary, yet not included in FMS pricing. For example drivers might need company tablets or smartphones to access their data on the move, and use the FMS to pass roadside inspections. This would not be included in the FMS package.
We’ll do the math. Get accurate fleet management price quotes for your business today.
Licensed or Owned?
FMS companies might sell the hardware device used to record data from within each vehicle. Alternatively, they might simply license these devices out to a fleet operation, taking the devices back should the operation choose to end its contract in the future. Regardless of which option you pick, the software may also be bought or licensed separately.
Licensing devices is a less expensive option, particularly if you’re licensing the software as well: If you switch to a different FMS, you likely won’t need the incompatible devices. You may choose to buy the devices if you want to avoid a lengthy two or three-year contract and plan to recoup the initial cost by using them for years into the future.
Wired or Plug-and-Play?
Wired FMS devices must be individually installed in each vehicle, connecting directly to the engine to monitor data that might otherwise go unrecorded, particularly on an older model (wired is best for models older than 1996, according to one manufacturer). Plug-and-play devices, however, simply plug into the dashboard.
If you have a light- or medium-duty vehicle, plug-and-play is likely a good option. If you have a heavy-duty vehicle or are opting for a discretely installed tracker for anti-theft protection, you should pick a wired device.
Initial costs for an FMS may seem high but one of the main reasons fleet managers love these tools is for the cost savings they get in return. How?
The data includes how long certain drivers allow their vehicles to idle, and how fast those idling vehicles burn through fuel. Paired with the improvements it offers in routing, a fleet tracking system can save the average operation 13.2% on fuel — which can account for as much as a third of an operation’s budget.
Less Harsh Braking
Sudden stops are also tracked by many FMSs, allowing fleet managers to note which drivers are braking harshly the most often. Cutting down on these incidents keeps a fleet’s brake pads in good condition longer, saving on repair costs.
Since FMSs track each driver’s overtime hours, fleet managers will be able to help drivers avoid overtime when it happens — and not learn about it when balancing the checkbook weeks later.
GPS-powered fleet management systems save transportation operations approximately 54 minutes per day, according to one Motorola study. Those numbers translated to $5,484 per employee.
According to research from Aberdeen Group, fleet operations with an FMS are more than twice as likely to have a centralized repository for data collected on the road, to integrate that data into their back office, and to have data scientists dedicated to analyzing it. Granted, that correlation doesn’t necessarily mean the FMS causes this data-driven approach, but the FMS certainly provides the digital field data that allows it to happen.
With data on everything from vehicles’ downtime to the speed certain routes can be completed in, a fleet operation can optimize its dispatches: FMS information can go straight into a company’s bottom line.
Fast response times can make a difference, and any GPS fleet tracking system can alert a fleet manager within minutes from anywhere on the globe. Pen and paper systems can’t do that.
Plus, since most FMSs collect data on driver’s unsafe habits, from harsh breaking to tight turns to speeding, a manager can address concerns before they turn into traffic collisions. How large an impact does an FMS have on fleet safety? According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration itself, ELDs are estimated to save 26 lives per year.
Since an FMS can track and ultimately cut down on fuel costs, your operation will burn less CO2 to get where it’s going. By one operation’s estimate, saving $250 in annual fuel costs per vehicle will cut carbon emissions by 2,500 pounds per vehicle each year.
Less Travel Time
Fleet management systems are designed to find the shortest and most fuel-effective route, and to avoid empty runs when possible. One side-effect: Drivers will have the downtime they need between routes. Drivers with traffic-sensitive navigation systems, one Nustats study found, can cut 18% on the road on any given trip. For the average driver, that’s a full four days out of the year.
As discussed above, the true cost of a fleet management system really depends on a host of factors.
The only way to get accurate price estimates is to get a tailored quote. The quickest path to an accurate FMS price quote is to fill out a simple contact form that can connect you to a range of industry-leading companies that are right for your business. At Tech.Co, we have just that.
Compare fleet management costs from the suppliers that match your needs.
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