Cheap GPS tracker – Top 5 things to look for

January 14, 2021 in Uncategorized

You want to find a cheap GPS tracker that doesn't cost a lot of money but gives you the features you need and is reliable right? It's true GPS trackers can be found under $200 to provide standard features of real-time tracking, speed monitoring, time at a location, trip distance and reporting. Let's look at each part to understand better what each thing means; you may want to trade certain features as they might not be necessary to you as while others are.

1. How much should I expect to pay?

Other companies within Australia are still selling trackers under $200, well that seems a bargain right! Be careful as not all GPS trackers are the same as most of them being sold online are 3G or even in some cases 2G. 

The reason to avoid these GPS trackers is that Telstra has started to shut down the 3G network starting in 2019, and will be finished in the next few years. This means that you will be left with a number of these devices that you have paid money for that will never work as they can't get the tracking data to the fleet management software.  

However, you can get a 4G cheap GPS tracker for under $200 that provides you with all the features and will work on the Telstra 4G network for many years to come. Some companies will charge you between $300 to $500 for the same type of tracker when you're looking to fit out a fleet of vehicles the savings can add up.


2. Should I sign up to a contract?

You might find that companies will offer you discounted prices and in return, lock you into 24 or even 36-month contracts. For some companies this may be appealing but why do they need to lock you in contact, it could be that they are trying to guarantee that you don't move to another GPS tracker fleet management company. It becomes too hard to fight them if you find any problems with their system.  

At Telemax we never lock you into any contracts as we offer a cheap GPS tracker right from the beginning. We believe that it's our job to make sure you're happy with the service we provide you and if you're not satisfied you're not locked in and can leave at any time, it keeps us on our toes to provide the best service possible.


3. What's the difference between Wired and Plug and Play GPS trackers

This is the easy part: a wired GPS tracker needs to be installed by someone who knows how a vehicle or truck's electronics as the tracker is installed by soldering the wires into the vehicle. For some, this is not complicated, and for others, this can become a nightmare; usually, clients will need to hire an auto electrician to install the unit and expect to pay between $150 and $250. Once you add this onto the GPS tracking unit's cost, the bargain doesn't seem so good anymore.  

A plug and play tracker uses the car's diagnostic port called an OBD2 port and connects straight on it. If your vehicle is built after the year 2000, you probably have a good chance you have it. Some clients will use a Y cable splitter which lets them hide the tracker behind the dash and still leaves the OBD2 port free. 

The benefits of this are if a thief were looking for a tracker they would see the OBD2 port is open and the second a mechanic servicing your vehicle can still access straight into your car's computer. The plug and play tracker costs nothing to install and can be installed in under 20 seconds.


4. Do I need to go on a monthly subscription?

There are a few ways to look at this; the first is what does it provide me? Most GPS tracking software companies offer you different options on how you want the tracker to operate within your fleet operations. The main feature is how often you want to see the GPS tracker update, is this something fundamental to you and you need to see it move in real-time or is this something that you only want to know if something goes wrong like if the equipment is stolen. 

Another factor is do you want to receive SMS alerts or emails when something happens; this could be if the vehicle is started or when it arrives at a destination. Some GPS tracking providers offer devices where the SIM card is not provided, while this might seem attractive you may find yourself in the position of receiving a large bill for the use of large amounts of data if you have not set the tracker up correctly.


5. What Features are essential in a GPS tracking system?

The list can go on and on but let's look at the critical features that most standard fleet management companies should offer. The first is how often the tracker will update within the software as this is important in getting a detailed view of what the vehicle is doing and what it has done when you're not watching the screen. The second is the ability to monitor the vehicle's speed, you may drive the car sensibly, but your employees may think of the company car as their race car. They may not be concerned about the damage of wear and tear or even worse your company brand's reputation on full display.

Thirdly look at the type of reports that the software provides, as you want to look at trips that the vehicle has made and where they started the journey, where the trip took them and where they stopped and for how long. Fourthly is alerting; when important information happens, you want to know about it straight away. This can be through SMS, email or on the screen. 

The main thing is whatever it is, it's important to you, and you shouldn't have to be glued to the screen as part of your vehicle management plan you should be looking at ways to save your time and provide excellent customer service.