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Choosing a fleet tracking system: A complete guide for buyers

Published on May 28th, 2024

This guide is designed with one purpose:

To help you find the best possible GPS fleet tracking system for your needs.

A quick Google search will turn up dozens of fleet tracking providers all vying for your attention and dollars.

In all the noise, you may have asked yourself:

  • Are all GPS fleet tracking systems the same?
  • What sets one company apart from the next?
  • Should I just buy the cheapest one, or maybe the most expensive?

With this article, we want to empower you to find the best fleet tracking system for you, be it ours or another company’s.

Part 1: What problem(s) do you need to solve with a fleet tracking system?

Each fleet tracking platform offers a different range of solutions.

Before you choose a provider, get clear about why you are investing in fleet tracking software so you can evaluate how their system can help you meet your goals.

“Fleet tracking system” means different things to different people

The “fleet tracking system” is generally the digital point of access to your fleet data (via web or app) as opposed to the devices themselves, but the capabilities of these platforms vary widely from provider to provider.

Some systems will only track and report simple data on each vehicle’s location, and others have more robust data that can help in many aspects of managing your fleet.

You likely will not want to switch providers frequently, so be sure to choose a platform that will not only help you achieve what you want to achieve today but can also support you as you grow into the next phase of your fleet operations.

For example, today your major concerns might be preventing employee misuse and improved dispatching.

But when these issues are solved, maybe a streamlined preventive maintenance program would be your next major goal.

Take some time to think about what you need now, and what you will need six months or a year down the road and do your shopping with that in mind.

At One Step GPS we’ve built a platform that empowers your managers to solve many pressing, day-to-day problems.

For a sample of our most used solutions, explore the slider below:

With all the capabilities available, it’s easy to lose track of what’s important for your particular needs, so make sure you take some time at the beginning of your buying process to get crystal-clear on which problem(s) are most important for you to solve.

Barron V., a fleet manager from Olin says:

"I recently shopped around for a company that could accommodate our fleet of 200 vehicles. OneStepGPS could meet my needs and offered the best pricing I found. The level of features matched or exceeded other companies. OneStepGPS is a great fit for our company."

One Step GPS client logo - Olin

Once you’ve determined which fleet tracking systems can help achieve your goals, it’s time to evaluate their business terms, quality of devices and tracking system, and the service level of your potential fleet tracking partner.

Part 2: Important considerations when choosing a fleet tracking system

Not all GPS tracking systems and companies are created equal.

There are many differences between companies, and most don’t catch the eye of the untrained observer.

Consider these key aspects when choosing a fleet tracking provider:

Upfront cost and monthly fee

This is not always readily available. Most companies don’t put prices on their websites because they don’t want to scare you away with how much it can cost.

We are going to come right out and say it:

As of this writing prices can range from $15 to $60 a month.

Some companies will require you to purchase equipment or pay large deposits to start. These can be daunting when you are implementing a system for the first time.

While GPS tracking will save your company money in the long run, upfront costs will make it take longer to break even on your investment.

Find a good company that offers what you need at an affordable price.

At One Step GPS we charge $13.95/device/month with a one-time activation fee of no more than $20/device.

The actual cost of equipment

  • What is the cost of the fleet tracking devices themselves?
  • Do you have to repurchase when the technology is outdated?
  • What if a device breaks?

It is also important to find out the cost of replacement.

At One Step GPS we cover the cost of all devices, including replacements, as part of your $13.95/mo service.

Is a contract required?

Contracts originally were used to safeguard the fleet tracking company’s resources, but today they should be a thing of the past.

The problem is technology moves fast, and markets and industries change even faster.

In talking with thousands of customers switching from other providers we’ve learned:

If you’re locked into a contract, you will most likely get stuck with old technology.

GPS service contracts also decrease the necessity for a GPS company to provide superlative service.

The thinking apparently goes that when you’re under contract, you’re stuck with them no matter what — so who cares about customer service? You’re not going anywhere.

Some contracts even state the company cannot guarantee that service will be uninterrupted, error-free… or even accurate.

Another caution is companies that have contracts tend to have an automatic renewal 60 to 90 days before expiration.

If you do pick a company that has a contract, at least make sure it does not automatically renew.

Circumstances can be much different by the time your contract is about to expire.

A last caution is that many providers will hide introductory offers in their fine print and your payment could end up increasing steeply after a few months or years.

At One Step GPS we choose to have no contracts to best serve our customer’s needs, force us to stay on top of the latest technology, and incentivize the best customer service in the industry.

Jim Case of Northwest Mechanical tells us:

"I am very happy with One Step GPS in all ways. I have used 4 other services in the past . Some of my systems from other companies in past have honestly been just a huge waste of money. One Step has top notch customer service and quick to respond to email questions. System is user friendly with all features needed to keep track of my fleet. No contract is added bonus ,though if a system works you don't need to worry about trying to get out of one. Looking forward to a long relationship with One Step GPS."

One Step GPS client logo - Northwest Mechanical Inc.

Installation cost

This can be tricky — the full cost of installation might not be apparent at first.

Some GPS tracking providers include this in their monthly costs if you sign a contract for a certain amount of time, but the tradeoff is that you are now locked in for a specified number of years and you pay for it in higher monthly costs.

On top of that, it can take several months before they complete the installation, and you will still be paying for the service even though you're not using it.

If the devices are cheap (as in, low-quality junk) you might have to spend time or money to replace the device multiple times.

Other fleet tracking companies will only let their own staff touch the GPS devices, which can lead to logistical nightmares and unworkable schedules.

The bottom line: look for a flexible solution that fits your needs. Asking the right questions can help you find what works best for you and will help you save time and money in the long run.

At One Step GPS, we offer unlimited US-based technical support to help you with the installation.

Most of our devices are installed by simply plugging into your vehicle’s OBD port.

For wired devices we will send wiring diagrams and walk you through the entire process.

Or, if you prefer, we can also arrange professional installation through our network of professionals.

An operations manager at Ace commented on One Step GPS’ installation process:

“Very easy to install and setup so easy to track company trucks. Steve explained everything over the phone when I ordered. Instructions came with the device and if any questions I can call or email for answers."

One Step GPS client logo - Northwest Mechanical Inc.

Money back guarantee

This is important because this is how you protect yourself and your investment.

  • What if the solution doesn’t work as advertised?
  • What if you realize there is something that you don’t like, or the company can’t install the devices, or they are not compatible with your vehicle?

No matter how many questions you ask and how prepared you are, something can go wrong.

The best way to protect yourself is to find a company that has a Money Back Guarantee.

This is why One Step GPS offers an industry-leading, 100-day money-back guarantee.

Hardware warranty

  • Is it high-quality hardware?
  • Will it be problem free?

There is one easy way to tell:

Does it have a warranty? And if so, how long is the warranty?

If not, forget it — the company doesn’t stand behind their product. They know they will have warranty claims and lose money.

The longer the warranty, the better, because a company that truly has a great product would warranty it forever.

One Step GPS offers just such a lifetime warranty on all our devices.

Tracking update speed

This is how fast and how frequently new GPS coordinates are transmitted to your account for viewing and alerts.

In an extreme example, imagine if the device only updated once an hour — how would you know what people were doing?

What if it was every 5 minutes? could you accurately see what roads they were taking, or how long they were stopped?

And what about every 3 minutes? Think about how long 3 minutes is while you are driving.

That’s why you want the updates to be as close to real-time as possible.

One Step GPS has 1 to 30-second update times on our fleet tracking devices.

How long is historic data available

Some companies only allow access to 60 or 90 days of data.

That’s not bad, but what if you need to look up something that happened four months ago?

You don’t know exactly when you will need the data, but you will sure wish you had it when something goes wrong.

These companies will charge extra to provide data outside the 90-day window, and what you thought you were spending can suddenly increase.

At One Step GPS we give you unlimited access to all your data for 3 years, all included in one simple price.

Amount of time to get a representative on the phone

Your time is valuable. You shouldn’t have to wait for customer service, period.

This is why we offer unlimited US-based, in-house support Monday–Friday from 8am–8pm EST available by phone, chat, or email.

Cellular data provider

Most fleet tracking companies rely on cellular data to transmit information from the device to your screen, but some companies will only use one network to provide service. This can create problems

because none of the major carriers cover the entire USA. If a company has access to two or three carriers, the odds dramatically increase that you will never see a lapse in coverage.

One Step GPS partners with every major network in the country (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon) to provide you with the most accurate and reliable service available.

Integrations (Pre-built and Open API)

This may not be important to you, but if it is, you will surely want access to it.

Pre-built integrations can save you time by connecting your existing platforms to one another and automatically sharing data and functionality between them.

API access allows companies to pull more sophisticated data and access the GPS information directly through custom-coded programming solutions.

It can allow the program to work with things like fuel cards, maintenance platforms, dispatching, and more.

One Step GPS offers numerous pre-built integrations with some of the most commonly used applications in fleet management. We also provide a simple, open API for custom integrations to meet any need.

Fuel Card Integrations

If you use, or plan to use, a fleet fuel card it is worth investigating potential integrations with your fleet tracking system.

At One Step GPS we offer integrations with several fuel cards, and we have just announced the unprecedented One Step GPS Fuel Card which makes it possible for the first time to detect and prevent fuel fraud before it occurs at the pump.


It is very easy to determine the quality of service and the type of company you are dealing with just by looking up their reviews on third-party sites like Google, Capterra, or the Better Business Bureau.

Remember, most customers don’t write reviews unless they’ve had an extremely bad or extremely good experience, so make sure to take individual reviews with a grain of salt. It’s best to read a wide range of reviews

One Step GPS is proud to maintain a 4.9 star average rating from over 1,400 independently verified reviews, and a 100% likelihood to recommend score from Capterra.

Google Maps (Street, Satellite, Live Traffic, Weather)

Google Maps has long been established as the industry standard in the mapping space. Not only is it the most widely used, it is also touted as the most accurate and highest-quality mapping system on the market.

Any company using a free mapping system, or their own proprietary system will not be as accurate as Google Maps.

At One Step GPS, we provide the capability for you to see real-time traffic and weather conditions directly on your Google Map view. This enhances your ability to observe and manage road conditions, optimizing routing, dispatching, and overall safety measures.

Tamper/Disconnection Alerts

If your vehicle is being stolen, or someone doesn’t want to be tracked, they will tamper with or disconnect the GPS. Should a device become disconnected, prompt notification is crucial. The quicker you are informed, the better equipped you are to mitigate any potential losses or harm.

Mobile App (iOS and Android)

You will likely want to check in on GPS information when out of the office.

Further, you may want access via phone or tablet for your drivers to fill out inspection reports, your shop to update maintenance items, and more.

Does the fleet tracking service offer mobile apps that are compatible with the phones your company uses?

One Step GPS offers a free mobile app, which is available on iOS and Android and is compatible with your existing phones and tablets.

Unlimited users

  • How many people can view the system at the same time?
  • And do you have to pay extra for this feature?

It is better to know before you buy.

We give you unlimited users on every plan, so there’s no surprises.

Part 3: Does the fleet tracking provider have devices suitable to your needs?

Which type of device you should use will depend on your specific case.

There are several types of GPS devices for vehicles and assets, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks.

At One Step GPS we have a range of industry-leading devices for tracking virtually any vehicle, piece of equipment, or asset.

The Plug-in Device

One Step GPS fleet tracking devices - Plug-in

This device plugs into the On-Board Diagnostics II port, commonly known as the OBD-II.

Installation is easy — just like charging a phone.

The OBD-II plug is located underneath the dash, and all passenger and light commercial vehicles built after 1997 are federally mandated to have them within 3 feet of the steering wheel.

Some plug-in devices are more complex than others, with functionality to read fuel levels, throttle position, check engine lights, odometer, and much more.

Learn more about One Step GPS’ plug-in devices.

Plug-in devices are common because they are easy to install.

If you are concerned about employees removing the device, there are ways to make them less noticeable or more difficult to access. If the device is removed or disabled, be sure it will immediately send an alert.


  • Quick and easy installation
  • No wiring or electrical experience needed
  • Tamper/disconnection alerts
  • Engine diagnostics/check engine warnings


  • Can be easy to remove
  • Can be noticeable
  • Extra cables required to hide the device
  • Small backup batteries

The Hardwired Device

One Step GPS fleet tracking devices - Hardwired

This device is versatile because it can work with any power source — no matter what year it was made — and there are multiple places in the vehicle where it can be installed.

Hardwired fleet trackers are generally used for a more discrete and tamper-proof installation or in vehicles that are not compatible with the OBD-II device.

Additionally, hardwired devices allow for additional accessories that are not compatible with plug-in devices. These include features like driver identification, starter disable, Power Take Off monitoring (a way of monitoring when a component or accessory in a vehicle is activated or in use), and temperature sensors.

Hardwired GPS devices can come with internal or external antennas and a wide array of backup battery options.

Learn more about our hardwired tracking devices.


  • Tamper/Disconnection alerts
  • More discrete, tamper-proof installation
  • Larger backup battery
  • Custom add-ons


  • More complex Installation
  • Electrical experience required
  • No engine diagnostic data
  • Possible external antenna


One Step GPS fleet tracking devices - Plug-in

Dashcams plug in to your vehicles’ OBD-II port just like a plug-in GPS tracker.

A few models of available fleet dashcam, like the ones used at One Step GPS, include GPS tracking and the additional capabilities of a plug-in tracker (tamper alerts, diagnostics readouts, etc.) in a single device.

Dashcams are increasingly popular for their ability to increase driver safety and to exonerate drivers who were not at fault in an accident and reduce driver and company liability.

There are many different dashcams on the market today. Some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a dashcam are:

  • Does the camera include GPS tracking, or will you need a dedicated GPS unit as well?
  • What is the video quality? HD video can make it easier to discern details like license plate numbers when these are needed.
  • Is the camera front-facing or front- and cabin-facing?

The One Step GPS dash camera includes GPS tracking, HD-quality video, and optional dual-facing footage. It also has AI-powered cellphone-use detection that will alert you when drivers are on their cellphones while operating a company vehicle.

Rugged Hardwired Trackers

One Step GPS fleet tracking devices - Plug-in

At One Step GPS we offer rugged fleet trackers ideal for use with powered equipment such as skid steers and bob cats.

Our rugged hardwired trackers provide all the same benefits as a traditional hardwired tracker, but they’re built to handle the tough demands of construction and agricultural heavy tools.

Battery Powered GPS Trackers

One Step GPS fleet tracking devices - Plug-in

These trackers are built for non-powered assets like trailers and construction equipment. They can help your managers keep track of every asset, maximize utilization, and drastically improve the chances of recovering stolen assets.

They are mounted on the exterior, using a variety of different methods.

Unlike hardwired and plug-in trackers, these GPS units usually report location once per hour to once per day to ensure a long battery life. They do not provide information on speed, maintenance reminders, or diagnostics data.

Some fleets use a plug-in tracker as well as a hidden battery-powered tracker for double security.

Learn more about our battery-powered asset trackers.

Here are the important points to consider when choosing a battery-powered GPS unit:

  • Is it rugged? (weather-proof, dust-proof, etc.)
  • Since these are mounted on the exterior they should be heat, cold, wind, rain, and debris resistant with rugged casings.

  • How often does it report location?
  • One Step GPS battery trackers can be configured to report location at an interval of your choice, from every 1–24 hours.

  • How long does the battery last?
  • Units configured to report location more often can have a drastically shorter battery life. Be sure to ask not only the maximum battery life, but the life when configured to report at whichever interval you need.

Solar Powered Trackers

One Step GPS fleet tracking devices - Plug-in

Like battery-powered trackers, solar trackers offer solutions for keeping track of assets, maximizing utilization and combating theft.

Many of the same considerations apply when shopping for a solar-powered tracker.

Because they must have exposure to the sun to continue operating, they are not as easily hidden as battery trackers, however, their long life makes them ideal for remote deployments or time spent at client facilities.

One Step GPS solar trackers can be hardwired into a trailer, and report location every 30 seconds when connected to a power source. When the trailer is disconnected, the device will switch to battery-powered operation and enable asset-tracking mode.

Our solar trackers can be configured to report data from add-ons like temperature and door sensors for a complete reporting solution.

Important data about GPS Devices

Not all devices are created equal. The cheap ones wear out and break down, cause more problems than they solve and cost you money. The only guarantee of accurate reliability is quality.

Using a cheap device will lead to some, if not all, of the following:

  • Disconnecting frequently
  • Draining batteries
  • Sending false alerts
  • Appearing to be “offline” when the vehicle is moving
  • Inaccurately reporting driving behavior
  • Interfering with the vehicle computer system
  • Breaking down quickly
  • Simply not working at all

Our experience has shown that manufacturers with offices and headquarters in the United States tend to be more dependable.

If your device fails or malfunctions, it’s much easier to hold them accountable — so they want to make sure their product is solid. Make sure to find out if the manufacturer stands behind their product:

Do they offer exchanges and returns?
Do they have a warranty on the device?

We stand behind a lifetime warranty on every device at One Step GPS, and we encourage you to keep these points in mind when you are shopping for the best fleet tracking solution.

Important data about fleet tracking systems

Choosing the right fleet tracking system is just as important as installing the right device. The platforms may appear to be similar, but using these systems reveals some significant differences.

Like different types of phones or computers, GPS platforms share a lot of features:

Most customers need toolbars and maps, and every GPS system has these components.

But what makes one better than another are benefits like update speed, ease of access, the accuracy of data displayed, and the ability to configure and generate reports to get the information you need to run your business.

Learn more about the One Step GPS fleet tracking system.

Part 4: Making the decision

When you’ve evaluated potential fleet tracking systems in terms of:

  • Do the platform capabilities meet your needs?
  • Is the company and service reliable, reputable, and guaranteed?
  • Do they have the necessary devices to meet your needs?

You will find that you have narrowed the field down to just a few choices that can meet your fleet’s individual needs.

To help simplify the process we’ve created a free comparison sheet you can use to evaluate your options. It gives you a quick snapshot of the most important features of each fleet tracking system you’re considering.

Download your copy here. No email address necessary.

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