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Navigating GPS vehicle tracking

February 16, 2021 -  By
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Person using GPS services (Photo: Tzido/ iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty images)

Photo: Tzido/ iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty images

GPS vehicle tracking gives Tim Koehler, maintenance manager for Landscape Design Strategies in central New Jersey, peace of mind. Being able to monitor the crews’ trucks has proven useful both internally with his employees and externally with his customers.

“I like being able to find out where my guys are when they’re working and to keep track of how much time they spend at properties,” Koehler says. “It’s also very useful for when I get questioned by a customer who says to me, ‘I was home all day — no one did an application.’ I can show them a screenshot proving we were there and for how long we were there.”

There are many benefits of GPS vehicle tracking. But, there are also numerous options to choose from. Navigating the options can be difficult.

Sean Maher is sales director for Quartix vehicle tracking, a company founded in 2001 that has installed systems in 600,000 vehicles to date. The company recently surveyed its customers and learned that low prices were the top priority for businesses in search of a GPS vehicle tracking system, followed by customer service at No. 2.

We discussed those two priorities, as well as two other important priorities, with Maher.

Price range

GPS vehicle tracking companies often have different package options, allowing customers to choose from extra features at an increased monthly cost. Maher says competitive vehicle tracking prices start at around $14 per month per vehicle, but that number can go up quickly for different add-ons that may or may not be useful.

“You will find suppliers who offer integrations between the tracking system and fuel cards or additional fleet management tools,” Maher says. “If 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 envision needing, consider whether a more streamlined option would be better for your fleet.”

Customer service

The degree to which a provider prioritizes customer service can vary, Maher says. The spectrum runs from a provider that only offers email support to others that have a dedicated customer service team of people you can speak to directly.

“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,” Maher says. “While bad customer service doesn’t always come with a monetary loss to your business, it certainly can cause unnecessary stress and time wasted.”

Maher advises any landscape or lawn care company to do the appropriate research, read online reviews and ask trusted colleagues for their insights.

Contract options

Most vehicle tracking companies have a range of contract lengths, Maher says, but a minimum 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,” Maher says. “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.”

The warranty

Like with any product, the specifics of the warranty vary from vendor to vendor. The length of the warranty is one thing to look out for. If the warranty is limited to just one year, it may be a wise investment to purchase the extended warranty.

“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,” Maher says. “Look for companies that will repair your tracker, or replace it, if it can’t be fixed.”

Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 19 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

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