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Guide to finding fleet trucking software that pays for itself

Efficient small-business and enterprise fleet management optimization is vital for controlling costs in the transportation industry. However, administrative work like routing, maintenance tracking, and regulatory compliance can be extremely labor intensive without the right technology. 

The right software for vehicle fleet management can automate these processes to save time and money. And with solutions ranging from thousands to millions of dollars, determining the true return on investment is essential.

This article will serve as a guide for fleet owners to select and implement cost-effective fleet trucking software that pays for itself with reduced mileage, lower overheads, and decreased risk of regulatory fines. And when you’re finished reading, check out the other articles in our ‘Trucking fleet management tools’ series.

What is fleet management?

Fleet management refers to the oversight, organization and implementation of procedures necessary to operate and maintain a group of commercial vehicles.

This includes logistics activities like routing, dispatching, and tracking, as well as administrative tasks around licensing, safety compliance, maintenance schedules, and inventory supply chains.

The overarching goal of a fleet management program is to maximize productivity and efficiency to minimize costs and risks over the lifetime of deployed vehicle assets.

How fleet software can lead to cost savings

Fleet managers can use integrated reporting tools to compare pre and post-deployment metrics around reduced mileage, fuel usage savings from route optimization, decreased administrative overheads, and fewer compliance violations. Most fleet management software platforms highlight key cost and productivity indicators to showcase return-on-investment (ROI) over 12-24 months.

Initial savings may accrue after three to six months as drivers adopt new mobile apps, onboarding completes across terminals, and real time data streams from trailer cameras and sensors stabilize. However, scaling a complete fleet optimization model across an enterprise can take 6-12 months.

Ongoing KPI tracking allows managers to identify and address lingering inefficiencies through expanded software capabilities, additional sensors, or more driver training. 

The vehicle asset management and compliance benefits alone make the effort worthwhile for those managing trucking fleets and heavy equipment inventories. By taking a data-driven approach, managers can ensure their management system investment pays dividends.

6 tips for finding fleet trucking software that helps pay for itself

Here are some tips for finding fleet management tools that can help pay for themselves:

1. Look for tools that offer route optimization: By planning the most efficient routes and reducing miles driven, you can lower fuel and maintenance costs significantly. Over time, the savings may outweigh the cost of the software.

2. Consider tools with driver performance monitoring: By tracking speeding, idling, harsh braking etc., you can coach drivers on better habits that reduce wear-and-tear and accidents. This can pay off in lower insurance premiums.

3. Seek out scheduling and asset tracking features: By ensuring vehicles are allocated efficiently and downtime is minimized, you make sure your fleet capacity is optimized. This helps you avoid overspending on your fleet of trucks. GPS tracking can also aid in the recovery of lost or stolen assets, including fleet trucks.

4. Check if there is vehicle telematics support: By monitoring commercial vehicle health alerts and diagnostic codes, you can prevent breakdowns. Repairing fleet vehicles before major issues emerge lowers operational costs and reduces downtime.

5. Look for customizable reports on costs: Detailed data on expenditure per vehicle or driver helps you pinpoint and address waste. Data transparency leads to better cost control.

6. Consider ease of use: Complicated tools with poor adoption by staff drain time and money. 

Using these tips in your fleet management technology search will help maximize ROI through operational efficiencies and cost reductions. Over time these savings will pay for the fleet software expense.

Evaluating software implementation costs

As you narrow down your fleet trucking software options, here are some of the main considerations to keep in mind.

Cloud based or on-premise fleet management technologies

When evaluating truck fleet management companies, fleet managers should consider both cloud based solutions and on-premise solutions. 

Cloud based fleet management software is typically sold as software-as-a-service (SaaS) which allows for fast deployment with no need for companies to invest in their own server hardware. Larger fleets with 500+ trucks or specialized equipment may benefit from customized on-premise systems that connect directly to a company’s existing data infrastructure.

Training and onboarding timelines

Understanding timelines for training and onboarding is also key. Many leading trucking fleet management software providers offer support resources for managers and drivers, accelerating user adoption. 

Typical training ranges from two to four weeks but variables like company size, management hierarchy and software complexity can impact outcomes. Strong change management is critical when rolling out an integrated fleet optimization system across a dispersed trucking fleet and branch terminals.


In terms of system integrations, most modern fleet tracking and telematics software can sync with common accounting, payroll, compliance and shop maintenance platforms. However, custom middleware and API development may be required for specialized logistics systems or warehouse management programs. These integration costs should be accounted for, along with projected fees for software customization later on as fleet requirements evolve over months and years. 

Additional ongoing costs

Ongoing costs may also include 24/7 helpdesk assistance for drivers on the road, and regular mobile app updates in response to changing regulations. You may also need to expand your subscription level as the trucking fleet grows.

Paid versus free fleet management software

Free fleet trucking software provides a budget-friendly way for small fleets to tackle basic tracking and maintenance needs. Though it seems convincingly easier, fleet management tools free of charge severely limit the number of vehicle assets. They also lack the advanced optimizations, analytics, and compliance tools needed for full enterprise deployments.

Most auto-assign simple data like basic GPS locations,  but cannot support complex dispatch workflows or route planning. Similarly, they track basic repair records but don’t facilitate predictive maintenance. 

While testing feasibility for a couple of trucks can work, expanding beyond entry-level functionality requires paid upgrades or migrating to premium software with more robust capabilities from the start. 

Generally the total cost of ownership is lower with paid fleet management services that provide greater return on investment through enhanced asset utilization, lower overheads, and risk mitigation over the long haul.

Make a smart investment in your fleet trucking operations

Evaluating fleet management systems is no small task given the array of solutions now available.

The fleet management technologies with highest ROI have essential attributes in common — configurable routing and real-time asset visibility that translates into cost and risk reductions across the business. And though fleet management software cost seems daunting initially, the rewards over time through increased safety, reliability, compliance and profitability are well worth the effort.


How much is fleet management software?

Fleet management software costs typically range from $5 to $150 per vehicle per month depending on included functionality. Routing, tracking, maintenance and analytics, for example, are key pricing factors. Cloud-based SaaS models with monthly subscriptions are more affordable than solutions requiring large upfront license purchases.

What is the best software to run a trucking company?

The best trucking software maximizes driver productivity and minimizes compliance risks. They typically include features like electronic logging, dispatch automation, document scanning, freight matching, fuel tax reporting, and accounting integrations.

How do I choose a fleet management company?

Key considerations include a company’s ability to address your pain points via data transparency, and flexible integrations with existing technologies. Also look for compliance and data security features, customer support availability, scalability, and long term cost of use.

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