Installing GPS Tracking Devices
Professional VS. Self-Installation
In any fleet tracking implementation, the most important step is to ensure the GPS tracking devices are installed correctly.
If the devices are installed incorrectly, then the solution will not work and cause unnecessary frustration. The decision that most fleet professionals have to make is whether it is best to have GPS tracking devices professionally installed or if their team can effectively perform self-installations. Like any decision, there are pros and cons to either side.
Professionals are experienced with all installation types, complete the job more efficiently, and they work around your schedule.
It will either cost you more upfront or slightly increase your monthly bill.
No schedule-coordinating with third parties, upfront costs, or increase to your monthly bill. Having your technicians familiar with the device placement will be helpful in troubleshooting with the vendor.
The labor costs could be more expensive than a professional, the work is not warrantied, and it increases the risk of tampering by employees.
PROS: Experience With All Installation Types
Traditionally, professional installations have a much better chance of being done right the first time. It is important to note that not all installations are universal and can vary by vehicle year, make, model, and device type (not to mention if there are any add-ons such as Garmin, PTO, etc.). These variables make it essential that your installer is knowledgeable on your specific installation type and has the correct tools, parts, and expertise needed to complete the job.
PROS: Complete the Job More Efficiently
Professional installations can typically be completed in half the time of self-installations, which will get your fleet back to work much faster. Professionals can complete installations of GPS tracking devices very efficiently because they will be familiar with your installation type, have the right tools and equipment, and will not need to troubleshoot with a telematics provider’s support team.
PROS: They Work With Your Schedule
A professional installation company will work around your schedule. They realize you need to keep your trucks on the road and will schedule a time that works for you. This could mean in the early morning, late afternoon, or even weekends. It’s a significant benefit if you have a limited time window to install the GPS tracking devices.
CONS: Overall Cost
With professional installations, you have the choice of either paying a flat rate upfront for each install or adding a small fee to your monthly cost. If you choose a professional installation, your total cost could increase.
PROS: Controlled Roll-out
An advantage of self-installing GPS tracking devices is that you can control the roll out. If you only need to worry about working with your team’s schedule opposed to a professional installer’s availability, you can install devices when it is most convenient for your team.
PROS: Helpful for Troubleshooting
If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your devices, troubleshooting with your telematics provider’s technical support team is much easier when your employee is familiar with the device, where it is located, and how it was installed initially.
CONS: It Could Cost You More!
Installing GPS tracking devices could end up costing you more after you factor in the cost of labor to complete the job. This is especially true if the job isn’t done right the first time and they have to spend extra time on the phone with the GPS tracking company’s support team to fix their mistakes.
CONS: Self-Installs Are Not Warrantied
Self-installations are not warrantied. If something goes wrong with the install, such as incorrect wiring, you will not be covered if a professional has to come out to correct your technician’s mistake. This will cost you more on the bottom line. Professional installations are warrantied if something like this occurs and a revisit is necessary.
CONS: Increased Risk of Tampering
If someone from your team performs the installation of your devices, then they also know how to disable them. You don’t want drivers tampering with devices. This will cause the devices not to function properly and report accurate data, which makes it more difficult to solve the problem.
Which Method Is Best For Your Fleet?
Ultimately, everyone’s situation is different. To decide which method of installing GPS tracking devices is best for your fleet, you need to assess the expertise of your employees and the quality of installation your business requires. It also depends on the hardware you choose to go with. If you are utilizing a Plug-N-Play device, and plugging it directly into the OBD-II port on a light duty vehicle, then the answer is simple. If your installation requires a hard-wired device, the answer becomes more complicated. Proper installation of GPS tracking devices is critical to the software working the way it’s supposed to, which results in a positive return on investment of the overall vehicle telematics solution.