View Full Version : GPS trackers

David Gretzmier
11-11-2009, 10:06 PM
I have 2 thoughts on GPS since I mentioned it in another thread. I think I need both the cheap and the expensive next level of GPS instead of my current system of just printing driving directions from the shop. The cheap upgrade is getting 3 portable GPS units from Sam's, they are 139 or so and one of my guys aleady uses his personal one in the work truck. So since m=one of my guys is already more advanced than me, and nearly everyone says theis is too cheap to not do, then I figure this. If the 139 buck GPS keeps 2 of my guys from getting lost once per year and saves them even an hour of drive around lost time, it has paid for itself in extra Christmas revenue.

The expensive level of GPS is getting the tracker that logs where the guys are every 10 seconds and times how long they are idle at each location. Talk about exact drive, speed, route, install and lunch times. You would know the exact time that each truck left each day. how long it stopped to buy ciggarettes and coke in the morning. etc. These cost about 400 bucks to buy and 40-100 bucks to monitor each month and require yearly contracts AND require me to hire someone to look at it and write in the correct info on the customer files and let me know when guys are abusing the freedom of having a work truck.

I'm just not sure that the money spent in my case is worth the correct info. if I could only have one tracker from Sept 15-Oct. 15, then 2, then 3 on Nov 1, etc, and then not pay for the service from Feb 1 to Sept 15, then start back up, I would consider buying the equipment and then hiring someone to check it daily during Christmas season. I know there are passive GPS out there that kind of do the same thing, but again, need someone to check them. I have no time.

what do you guys think?

11-12-2009, 12:40 AM
I dont think I would be watching my guys that close. I have a TOMTOM GPS in my truck so the guys don't get lost, and it works wonders.
I'm not sure I need to know exactly how long they were at a job..etc. What they tell me is close enough.

David Gretzmier
11-12-2009, 10:40 PM
I used to be that way til 2 years ago and last year. I constantly caught my guys taking long lunches, driving around randomly , even doing jobs on my clock for themselves. And the paperwork trail my guys do is, well, subject to interpretation. many times I check thier work order times and I know they are wrong. I prefer a sytem that is no open to what the employee wants me to think the job took.

I found a prepaid cell phone called the motorola i290, and a free web service that works with that phone by running an application in the background to send it's gps location over the cell phone internet at intervals you choose, 5 seconds, 1 minute, every 10 minutes, etc. you can then view these locations, even live on your map on your computer at home. it gives you thier current location, along with up to 100,000 past marker locations for that phone. you can click on the day, that phone, and view the dots in order to determine thier speed, when they arrived at the jobsite, when they left, how long they stayed at lunch, jobsite, whatever. I believe if the cell phone gps location stays the same, it does not transmit the data point to the web.

cost of phone is 40 bucks and unlimited web service on the phone is 10 bucks a month. can cancel anytime. If this works, it is perfect for my business. even if there are 100 data points per day, in a 100 day season, that is only 10,000 data points. I can go back and check days to see exactly how long jobs took. 3 phones, 120 bucks. 30 bucks per month to monitor all trucks for November, december, january, and 10 bucks per month to monitor one truck in September and 20 for 2 in October.

11-13-2009, 09:28 PM
Wow, I have bought 10 of them over the years. Some expensive some not so expensive. It is one of the best things for my business. I live in MI and also in NC. I can handle appnts over the phone and just plug in the diretions on the fly. I will text my guys the addresses. Simple and can be used in spanish as well. I have mine in sweedish just to learn some. ANyway it is a definate buy. Tom tom is not hte way to go. Garmin is. go with the garmin nuvi 200. they are the cheapest and gets the point across. I have bought ones ranging from 500 to 100 and themost importnat thing to have is the turn by turn directions with the street named. The tom toms will say "make hte next left" etc. and they suck.. the layout is crappy also. i have had em all..

11-13-2009, 09:35 PM
tracker- i have thoroughly thought about this tracker for the trucks as well. not so much to keep the payroll down but to analyze the data. I do 1000's of appnts yearly so it would be ideally nice to have when a customer call in know if we could add them into the slot for the day, hour, the next ten minutes, etc..

It is funny that you are talking about this since i deem this a high priority. I have spoken with a customer today who developes software. I told him i would like it to have a hand held time in/ time out device and then a constantly updated schedule.. he told me its doable and very reasonably priced..somehting like 2k or so. This winter i plan to look into this more and I will let you all know.

I also took a look at the new ford f150 software with the on boaard computer. it essentially has this plus some extra goodies..

David Gretzmier
11-14-2009, 12:48 AM
bought the motorola i290 boost prepaid phone today, spent 40 bucks. my wife will be loading the software application and charging the phone tomorrow. I will be rigging up a hardwire connection for the glove box so the phone is always on and charging even when the truck is off. The name of the website to figure this out is called instamapper.com

I will let you guys know how this works out. It looks like unlimited internet is 35 cents per day or 10 bucks per month. The software program you load on the phone essentially sends the gps location of the phone at whatever interval you set. I am going to set it for once per minute while it is changing, or the vehicle is moving, and not to send it unless the vehicle moves again.

what amazes me is you can get unlimited everything on this phone for 50 bucks per month. unlimited minutes, long distance, text, peak and off peak, etc. I am paying 60 per month for the same thing on Cricket. prepaid phones have come a long way.

11-14-2009, 01:02 AM
sweet, i am trying it out on my phone right now. What made you decide to try this instamapper vs anything else?

David Gretzmier
11-14-2009, 08:16 AM
when it comes to tracking trucks, everything else requires yearly contracts, expensive complicated software and equipment, and this seems cheap and simple and temporary. It may not work, but then I am only out 40 bucks or so for a prepaid phone. I actaully need one to carry around anyway when I travel, as Cricket does not work in many areas.

11-17-2009, 09:32 PM
so did the gps tracking work?

11-17-2009, 10:39 PM
he's watching you right now........

so did the gps tracking work?

David Gretzmier
11-17-2009, 11:36 PM
I turned that project over to my wife, and she has not done anything with it yet. I think she activated the phone, but has not loaded the instamapper software onto it.