There are a lot – A LOT – of GPS vehicle and equipment tracking services out there. It’s easy to wonder why you should choose one provider over another.
The attribute most important to you is going to be a matter of personal taste and business needs. So, we wanted to discuss some of the biggest differentiators and examine what you need to be on the lookout for when shopping around.
Everyone loves a Top Ten list, so here’s our Top 10 Items to Review before Choosing a Tracking Provider.
1. Monthly Price
Price isn’t everything, but we can’t possibly discuss anything else first. While the cost of fleet tracking varies greatly, from as low as $13 per month to over $40 per month, what you get for this price also varies greatly. As with any purchase decision, be wary of the lowest price because, as the axiom goes, “you get what you pay for.” Rhino offers one of the most robust fleet tracking systems on the market (which you’ll learn more about as you read this article) at the affordable price of just $16.95, the lowest price available for this caliber of system.
Are you a big fan of contracts? Neither are we. Many GPS fleet tracking companies require long-term contracts (as much as three years or more)! In our modern age, who wants to get locked in with a digital service provider for three months, much less three years? At Rhino, we do not require a contract because we know businesses need flexibility in order to operate. Maybe you need 10 devices now, 15 in two months when you expand, and just five in the offseason. We allow you to easily add or remove devices and offer seasonal plans for businesses that don’t operate all of their vehicles and equipment year-round.
3. Customer Service
Do you enjoy pressing ‘5’ for more options? Neither do we. Getting a hold of a real human to help you with a problem should be require unlimited time and patience. Many fleet tracking providers are all too anxious to speak with you when you’re looking to buy but throw you through a loop when you’re having difficulties with their system or decide to cancel. At Rhino, we answer your call with a real person 24/7, never making you talk to a machine or ‘listen carefully because some of the menu options have changed.’ This is what we like to call Relentless Customer Care.
4. Alerts & Notifications
This high-importance piece of fleet tracking technology is becoming table stakes for such a service; in other words, if the provider doesn’t offer text alerts and/or push notifications, RUN! For many providers, including Rhino, these alerts can be customized to fit your needs. For example, you can receive text alerts when a device enters one of your custom geofenced areas. This could be set up so you know when the vehicle reaches your office, or it could be that you want to be sure your vehicles are never spotted at certain… adult establishments (where’s that church van going?).
5. Data Presentation
The entire purpose of GPS tracking is to collect data – lots and lots of data. But what do you do with that data? How is that data delivered to you? Is it easy to consume and evaluate to identify points of weakness that can be improved upon or strengths that can be focused on? Just receiving spreadsheets or files filled with numbers and coordinates is not going to do you much good. You need reports that deliver meaningful insights on locations and driving events that can help you take action. Most companies provide some such reports, but Rhino Fleet Tracking offers 15 reports standard and a customizable dashboard that allows you to make the most important information for your business visible from the moment you log in.
6. In-House Development
This may not seem necessary on the surface but knowing that the solution you are purchasing is being developed in-house by the company you’re buying from can be very important. There are several things you need to worry about if your provider outsources their development. Here are questions you’ll want to ask yourself (and them!):
- How often does their application get updated? Does it see consistent development, or has it stagnated for a while?
- How quickly can they add new features should the need arise?
- How much does their internal team know about fixing software or database issues should they arise?
- Might they be vulnerable to development lags and price changes if their outsourced development team changes?
- If they are repackaging someone else’s software, do they have any say in the direction of future development?
As you can see, if the provider is outsourcing their software development or repackaging someone else’s, there’s a lot of potential risk to you. At Rhino, we built our software from the ground up and do all of our development in-house allowing us to maintain full control over the product you receive and react quickly when customer needs are ready to be met.
Much like alerts and notifications, mobile access to your tracking has become a minimum expectation of fleet tracking services, but the capabilities of this access vary widely. Some companies offer you only the ability to see your devices’ current locations, others offer limited access to other data and minimal reporting, while still others only offer access through a mobile browser like Safari or Chrome. Finding mobility that’s right for you means evaluating which of these are most important: quantity of information, access to reports, and web access versus native app. Of course if you go with Rhino, you will get a native mobile app for iOS or Android that gives you access to all of your information and reports whenever and wherever.
8. Device Options
Choice of GPS trackers is one of the places you will see the greatest difference between the lowest-priced providers and the higher quality providers. Most of the cheapest companies – particularly those that claim to have “free devices” – are only able to do this by offering just one type of device: a plug-in OBD II device. These devices are great as long as what you’re tracking has an OBD port and you’re not worried about the device being removed. But if you’re trying to track equipment or older vehicles without the port, or you want to ensure that the device is hidden and not easily removed, then this option is lacking. Rhino offers a variety of devices ranging from OBD to wired devices that are installed inside the vehicle dashboard to plug-in or battery-powered trailer and asset trackers and more. Your personal account manager will help you choose the device that’s right for your needs.
9. Data Backup
Do you need your data just for a month or two to catch employees cheating the system, or do you want to be able to look back at historical data to identify trends and glean actionable insights? Some providers only store your data for 30, 60, 90 days, while Rhino stores your data for a full year. This allows you to access historical data if needed for financial reporting purposes, yearly employee evaluations, vehicle maintenance reports, or whatever else you see fit.
10. Location Frequency
Repeat with us: “There’s no such thing as real-time vehicle tracking.” That’s just not how GPS works. You can achieve near-real-time tracking by receiving location pings (or locates as the industry calls them) at very short intervals, but the reality is that you really don’t gain a lot of extra insight by getting locates every 10 seconds versus every 30 seconds or minute or two. If having “real-time” information is of critical importance to you, then you can choose a provider that offers 10-second locates standard, but you will pay for it either in price or by sacrificing other valuable features. Rhino provides 2-minute locates standard with the upgrade to 30-second locates costing just a couple bucks a month.