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Vehicle tracking installation for businesses and fleets

Discover everything you need to know about vehicle tracking installation for businesses and fleets, including where to fit, how to install, and how much it should cost


Vans, lorries, bikes and taxis (even ice cream vans)… there’s no end to the array of vehicles used by startup businesses. But how does the busy business owner keep track of their fleet?

The answer is simple – a GPS vehicle tracking system. Used properly, these systems can transform your business, helping you to plan the quickest routes, optimise fuel use, and promote safer, more efficient driving.

So, whether you have a courier/delivery business transporting packages the length and breadth of the country (in which case check out our van tracking page), or just need to keep track of your field sales team, vehicle tracking should be a key priority.

But to find the right vehicle tracking solution for your small business, you need to consider installation.

Read on to discover where the best place is to install a vehicle tracker, the three main types of vehicle tracking devices, and how much you can expect to pay for professional installation.

This guide will cover the following areas:

Where to install a tracking device

Whether you’re fitting a tracker to a van, or considering installation for your entire business fleet, you’ll need to carefully consider where to install your vehicle tracking system. This section discusses the key considerations and suggests some possible locations.

Discretion

The last thing you want is for an opportunistic thief to steal a tracker you’ve worked hard to buy and install, damaging your vehicle in the process.

So, try to fit the tracker in a place where it can’t be seen from outside the vehicle – or by anyone peering through the window – to reduce this risk.

Size

Your tracker will need to fit somewhere comfortably and discreetly, so the size of the tracker will be a key consideration when choosing a location.

Make sure you don’t try and jam it somewhere it doesn’t properly fit – you’ll only damage both the tracker and your vehicle.

Accessibility

Some trackers need their batteries changed or charged regularly – as often as every couple of days in many cases – so keep this in mind and fit your tracker in a place that you can access fairly easily.

Even if your tracker doesn’t have its own batteries to maintain and is hardwired to the vehicle's battery, it’s still wise to fit it somewhere accessible so it can be easily checked and fixed.

Furthermore, it'll need to be in a place where its wiring can be connected to the vehicle’s wiring – more on that in the next section!

Hardiness

Is your tracker weather-proof, waterproof and all-round tough? If not, have you bought a waterproof, bash-proof case for it?

If you have, you can consider fitting your tracker somewhere external (such as the underside of the vehicle’s body).

But you’ll need to ensure it’s secured properly and out of sight.

Ready to narrow down your options? Here are a few places you might want to fit your tracker:

  • In the boot
  • In the glove compartment
  • Underneath a seat
  • Behind a removable door panel
  • In a secure, safe place under the bonnet
  • On the underside of the vehicle

How to install a tracking device

How you actually install your tracking device in your business vehicle(s) will depend on how it works – does it come with its own batteries, or does it need to be hardwired to your vehicle’s battery?

Both these options have their pros and cons.

If your vehicle tracker runs off its own batteries, it will be easier to install but will need its batteries to be regularly charged or changed.

With a hardwired vehicle tracker, you won’t need to worry about charging or changing batteries, but will have to deal with a much more complicated initial installation.


Have vehicle tracking systems for your business fleet professionally installed

We’ll cover the cost of professional installation in detail later on in this article, but it’s a small price to pay to avoid the stress of having to install trackers yourself or trust your employees to do it.

While hiring an experienced installer may cost extra, the added expense means you can be assured of a professional-standard installation, which will both save you hours of labour and – more importantly – minimise the risk of any costly or dangerous mistakes.

To compare suppliers that save you time by offering professional installation, simply fill in the form at the top of the page and receive bespoke quotes from leading vehicle tracking companies.


Installing a GPS tracking device that runs off its own batteries

With a battery-operated GPS tracker, installation is simply a matter of securing the device in your chosen location.

Zip ties, strong velcro fastenings, or magnetic cases are all good options for keeping your tracker in place – or your vehicle tracking supplier may have provided materials or advised on suitable fastenings.

Alternatively, you might consider hiring an expert installer who can ensure all of your trackers are secured professionally (and save you a lot of time if you've got hordes of vehicles).

Another option is a plug and play tracker that connects to your vehicle’s ODB (On-Board Diagnostics) II port, a 16-pin port usually located under the dashboard on the driver’s side.

The Ctrack Plug & Play system is a good example of a vehicle tracking system that works through an ODB port. A key advantage of these systems is that they can be easily transferred from vehicle to vehicle, and are therefore ideal for companies where drivers share vehicles.

Other UK suppliers that offer simple self-install systems include Verizon Connect, Quartix, and Samsara.

Ready to start your vehicle tracking journey? Fill out the form at the top of the page to receive a range of bespoke quotes from top suppliers.


Installing a hardwired GPS tracking device

Installing a hardwired tracker is a much more technical process – for most users, paying for professional installation will be a much better idea than installing the tracker yourself.

This is particularly true for business users who need fleet vehicle tracking, as professional installation will remove the time and stress associated with fitting trackers to several vehicles.

Some vehicle tracking providers also mandate professional installation, so make sure to ask about this when comparing quotes.

However, if your provider allows you to and you’d like to hardwire your trackers yourself (please only attempt to do so if you have experience and a good understanding of your vehicles' mechanics), here are the general steps:


How to install a hardwired GPS tracking device

You will need:

  • A sharp object (like a needle, pin or the point of some sharp scissors)
  • A sharp knife OR a wire stripper
  • Electrical tape

Before you begin, make sure you thoroughly read any instructions provided by your vehicle tracking supplier.

If they differ from our instructions, opt to follow them instead as they’ll be specific to your device.

Essentially, installing a hardwired vehicle tracking device involves connecting three wires with your vehicle to three separate wires within the tracker.

Connect this wire in your vehicle:With this wire in your device:
The 12V or 24V DC power sourceThe red wire
The ignition wireThe white wire
The ground wireThe ground wire

How to connect these wires

The steps below assume you need to strip the wires in order to connect them, but whether you need to do this depends on the vehicle tracker in question.

  1. Find the correct wire in your vehicle (for example, a 12V DC power source).
  2. Remove about an inch of rubber insulation from a point in the wire that your tracker's wiring can reach easily. To do this:
  • Use your sharp knife to score two cuts width-wise around the surface of the rubber, about an inch apart. Be very careful not to damage the wiring beneath.
  • Score another line lengthwise from one of these cuts to the other.
  • Gently pull this lengthwise cut open, then pull the insulation from the wire.
  • Alternatively, you can use a wire stripper to remove the rubber from the wire.
  1. Remove about an inch of rubber insulation from the end of the corresponding wire in your tracking device (for example, the red wire). To do this:
  • Score a cut around the surface of the rubber using your sharp knife, about an inch from the wire’s end. Again, don’t damage the wiring beneath.
  • Gently bend the wire this way and that, opening up the cut. Gently twist and pull the insulation off.
  • Or, you can use a wire stripper to remove the inch of rubber from the end.
  1. Connect the tracker's wire to the vehicle's wire using the ‘poke and wrap’ technique. To do this:
  • Use your sharp object to poke a gap between the newly exposed wiring of the vehicle wire.
  • Twist the exposed wiring at the end of your tracker wire together to create a neat point, then poke this through the gap you’ve just made in the vehicle wiring.
  • Squeeze the gap shut.
  • Wrap the exposed tracker wiring tightly around the exposed vehicle wiring, connecting them.
  1. Cover this connection with electrical tape so that the wiring is no longer exposed. This will prevent the power from grounding out.
  2. Repeat this process for all three necessary connections.

If you’re looking for a more detailed insight into the world of vehicle tracking devices, head to our dedicated page on the seven best business vehicle trackers.

Or, if you want to receive bespoke quotes from a selection of top vehicle tracking companies, simply fill in the form at the top of the page.


How much does it cost to get a vehicle tracker fitted professionally


The first thing to note here is that some providers offer free installation, so make sure to check and factor this in when comparing vehicle tracking suppliers for your business.

If you do need to pay, the cost is typically between £50 – £100 per vehicle.

The precise cost depends on factors including vehicle type, the power source used, and the place on the vehicle where the tracker is installed.

If you’re worried about the costs of installation, it’s a great idea to fill in the form at the top of the page to compare quotes from top suppliers.

These suppliers will not only give you bespoke quotes tailored to the particular needs of your business, but are also the perfect people to answer all your questions about the cost of installation and the specific details of vehicle tracking systems.


Final thoughts

Considering where and how your vehicle tracker will be installed is a key part of choosing the right vehicle tracking system for your business.

However, make sure to consider these costs and considerations in relation to the overall cost of the system.

Our in-depth guide to vehicle tracking costs gives a great breakdown of prices for different suppliers, as well as a detailed explanation of the pros and cons of buying and leasing a vehicle tracking system, and the hidden costs you should look out for when comparing quotes.

Once you’ve swotted up, simply fill in the form at the top of this page to compare bespoke quotes from top vehicle tracking suppliers, and take the first step to transforming your business.

Alec Hawley
Alec Hawley

Alec is Startups’ resident expert on mobiles, investment, and politics. Before joining, he worked in the media for over a decade, conducting media analysis at Kantar Media and YouGov, writing for computer games sites like Gaming Respawn and Gamespew, and taking on a wide variety of freelance roles. 

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