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What is GPS fleet tracking? It’s a way to harness modern geopositioning to keep track of your field service vehicles. Learn the benefits of GPS fleet tracking and how it works. You’ll also get expert advice on how to choose the best GPS fleet tracking system for your company.

The Basics of GPS Fleet Tracking

Fleet tracking is an automated method of knowing where your company’s vehicles are at any given time. Fleet tracking using GPS (global positioning system) has become the gold standard. It’s a major component of total fleet management. Fleet management is an element of comprehensive field service management. 

Fleet management is essential for businesses that are primarily mobile. It helps you stay efficient and saves money. 

It also provides improved service for your customers, thereby increasing client satisfaction. When customers are happy, they’re more likely to refer you to others and give you repeat business. 

Many different types of field service businesses benefit from GPS fleet tracking. These include: 

  • Home service providers like house cleaners, pest control experts, and mobile pet groomers 
  • Contractors and construction professionals, including roofing specialists, electricians, plumbers, and HVAC technicians 
  • Utility companies, such as electrical, gas, and telecommunications utilities
  • Landscapers, gardeners, pool cleaners, and lawn maintenance professionals 

You can read below in more detail how GPS fleet tracking functions. And you’ll definitely want to learn the many benefits of using it as a field service business. It’s essential even if you only have a couple of trucks or vans. 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: Fleet Management 101: The Basics for Field Services Companies 

How GPS Fleet Tracking Works

GPS fleet tracking uses geopositioning technology invented and owned by the government. It can always locate your vehicles. Vehicles are outfitted with a tracking device. 

The device communicates with a satellite in space. It constantly updates the vehicle’s locations with latitude and longitude coordinates. These coordinates are then translated into precise places on a map for users to view. The map is part of a web-based software program used for fleet management. 

Have you ever used a Google pin on an internet map to find a store near you? Perhaps you’ve used a map on your mobile phone to avoid getting lost while hiking. This is the same technology used by GPS fleet tracking. 

Fleet tracking using GPS typically offers four general types of data: 

  • Helicopter view — like the 2D map mentioned above 
  • Map overlays — lets you see multiple vehicles on one screen
  • Live location sharing — allows others, like customers, to see a vehicle’s location 
  • Geofencing — alerting you when a driver crosses outside a set boundary 
  • Telematics — information about driving behavior (see below) 

Benefits of GPS Fleet Tracking 

Whether you manage three vehicles or 300, GPS fleet tracking can give you an edge in business. Here’s how: 

Asset protection 

The National Insurance Crime Bureau reported that over a million vehicles were reported stolen in 2022. That’s an increase of 7% since 2021. Also, full-size trucks—used frequently in field service businesses—continue to have the highest rates of theft

As mentioned earlier, GPS fleet tracking gives you the location of all vehicles all the time. If a truck or van were to be stolen, you could give law enforcement its location, even if it’s moving. 

Police could recover the vehicle for you quickly. In some instances, you may be able to lock a vehicle’s ignition remotely once it has been discovered stolen. 

You can also use vehicle location data to determine if some of your vehicles are simply sitting in the lot all the time. If so, you might want to sell them or move them to a different location to make better use of your investment. 

More efficient routing 

Imagine you own a plumbing business. You have your day all planned out, and then a customer calls saying they have a burst pipe. You need to send a technician immediately for an emergency repair. 

Using GPS vehicle tracking, you can determine which of your trucks is closest to the customer’s home. You can dispatch that technician rather than one who’s all the way across town. 

Likewise, you can use a vehicle tracking system to plan out your technicians’ routes for scheduled appointments every day. When you optimize routing, you reduce the amount of time employees spend behind the wheel. 

In turn, you increase their billable work time, which is where your revenue comes from. This generates more cash for your company every day, boosting your bottom line and improving profitability. 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: How GPS Tracking Enhances Your HVAC Dispatch Software’s Success 

Fuel savings 

There’s another benefit to using strategic routing, and that’s savings in fuel consumption. You could have workers crisscrossing town all day and wasting gas. Or you could plan their routes to reduce money at the fuel pump. 

This has the added bonus of being more eco-friendly. Many home service clients are concerned with sustainability these days. You can use your efforts to reduce fuel usage to show you care. 

Vehicle tracking can also identify when vehicles are idling unnecessarily. You can remind technicians to shut off the engine when they don’t need it running. This reduces fuel use and saves wear and tear on the engine. 

Improved customer satisfaction 

Most field service providers use the dreaded four-hour window when scheduling with customers. You may not know how long an appointment will take. Or your technician could get caught in traffic. Running late happens. 

But it’s nice to be able to keep the waiting customer up-to-date on your ETA. Say you own a garage door company, and you have an appointment to give a prospective client an estimate. 

If you use the conventional long window method of scheduling, your customer has to block off half a day for a 20-minute appointment. They will probably feel like they can’t really do anything during that time, in case you suddenly show up. 

Alternatively, you could use your GPS vehicle tracking system to alert the customer to your technician’s exact arrival time. They can go about their work from home until you text to say someone is on the way. Their dogs can stay in the yard without the worry of a stranger appearing. 

If your tracking system uses live location sharing, you can even send your customer a map of the technician’s location. That way, they can keep an eye out when the employee enters their neighborhood. Grocery shopping and delivery services routinely do this so customers are ready for their orders. 

If your tech is running late, you can also update the client. It’s a courtesy, one that you would no doubt appreciate if the roles were reversed. 

Increased safety 

There are several ways GPS vehicle tracking can improve safety. First, there’s your employee to consider. If their truck breaks down, they won’t be stranded. You can send assistance (and get the employee back to work swiftly). 

Many vehicle tracking systems today also use telematics (sometimes also called telemetrics). This technology sends information about driving habits to your office. 

You can curb employee speeding, for example, which endangers everyone on the road. Speeding is also costly if you pay fines or rising insurance premiums. A fender bender due to speeding can take a truck out of commission for a week at a significant cost to your revenue. 

Longer vehicle lifespans 

Telematics data is also helpful in getting the most out of your vehicles’ lifespans. Your drivers may be doing things like abrupt braking, which puts more wear on brake pads and rotors. 

You can harness that data to explain to the worker that they need to take more care in stopping gradually. Or you might want to offer driving training to address similar behavior that shortens the life of your vans. 

This isn’t a trivial concern. If you are, for instance, a startup pest control business, you likely have a tight budget. Say you purchased two used pickups for your employees. 

You crunch the numbers and learn that you need to squeeze three years out of these vehicles before you can afford new ones. But if your employees drive them too hard, you’ll need new trucks in 18 months—something that’s out of your projected budget. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Why You Need GPS Fleet Tracking Software for Your Business 

Choosing the Right GPS Fleet Tracking System 

Every field service business is unique. Therefore, you need to choose a GPS fleet tracking system that works for your one-of-a-kind needs. 

When selecting a system, consider these items to see if it’s right for you: 

  • Your budget. Some systems are made for enterprise-level companies. Others are designed with small businesses in mind. You need to pick the one with a cost that fits your finances. You can let go of bells and whistles if you’re a startup or provider with just a handful of vehicles. Tiered pricing is ideal if you plan to expand. 
  • Customer service. This varies widely with tracking systems. If you’re a 24/7 business, you may want customer service availability at all hours. Will they train employees? What is the warranty on hardware, like tracking devices? 
  • Integration. As mentioned earlier, vehicle tracking is part of your overall field management. You want a tracking system that integrates easily with software you’re already using.

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: 5 Fleet Management Best Practices to Make the Most of Your Company’s Vehicles 

Improving Your Fleet Management 

To summarize, GPS fleet tracking will revolutionize your fleet management. This will enhance your overall field service management through: 

  • Cost savings 
  • Improved customer service
  • Better safety
  • Asset protection
  • Longer vehicle lifespans 
  • Increased profits 

If you own or manage a fleet of field service vehicles, you’ll want to explore GPS fleet tracking today. Once you realize how much more efficiently your business operates, you’ll never go back. 

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