Guide to van tracking for business owners and fleet managers

Thieves are waiting for the opportunity to take ownership of your assets. Your business is probably losing money in ways you didn’t even realise. Business owners worldwide can relate to these innate stresses associated with company assets, especially fleets of vans and cars. The loss or damage of these mobile assets can bring any company to its knees.

Tamara Baranova·16 min read
Guide to van tracking for business owners and fleet managers

According to the Chartered Institute of Building, 92% of UK-based construction companies claim that they are directly affected by petty crimes on their sites. In 2020 alone, this led to a loss of £800 million owing to theft and vandalism to tools, machinery and vehicles.

Here at ABAX we don’t want you to lose.

Identifying the need for solutions that help customers run businesses smarter and more sustainably, ABAX has grown to be one of the largest telematics companies in Europe with solutions for mileage claims, tool tracking, and equipment control with over 500 000 tracked units all over the world.

With eight office locations across Europe, more than 350 employees and over 15 years of industry experience, ABAX have provided customer-centric solutions for countless businesses to improve efficiency, comply with legislation, and increase profitability.

How does GPS tracking work?

Every business wants to grow its assets. Sometimes this means acquiring more vans for your delivery business or even more cars for your rental agency. What no business owner wants more of is the pressures and admin of having to track drivers and customers who might be using your vehicles.

A GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking system is a simplified solution to your complex problems.

GPS tracking devices send special satellite signals that are processed by a receiver. These receivers are designed to track the exact location of the GPS devices as well as calculate their time and travel speed. These trackers are able to send signal signals to smartphone apps or web-based dashboards and are becoming more popular and essential in monitoring business assets.

The majority of people are familiar with the most common uses of GPS technology, such as getting directions to a location and keeping track of their children or pets. With the advancement of technology, there are many other uses which are beneficial to businesses.

Commercial fleets often use GPS tracking to monitor their vehicles. This enables fleet managers to track their drivers' locations and statuses, as well as get important insights about their fleet's efficiency and safety.

What are the benefits of van tracking?

Finding the best van tracker for your business would depend on your objectives. The specialists at ABAX will take the time to understand your business needs and design a customised plan for your van tracking solution.

Explore how to personalise ABAX’s services to best help your business save time, money and resources.

Here are some common benefits of van tracking:


If you’re a fleet manager or a business owner, having visibility over your fleet is crucial at any given time of the day. A van tracking system gives you the peace of mind to see where your vehicle is and what its status is, such as being stationary or mobile, the speed and its location.

This allows you to check in on the vehicle as well as make sure its occupants are safe. From ensuring there is an audit trail of which driver was using which van to accurately assign fines and penalties, to being able to act quickly could a potentially dangerous event occur, visibility over an tire fleet of vans from one-screen ensures your drivers are being protected.

Our case study with The Red Van Plumbers demonstrates how the ABAX system helped direct emergency services straight to a member of the team who was suffering a heart attack.

Monitor Usage

The functionality to monitor usage ensures that your vans are always running smoothly and efficiently. Most devices can offer digital maintenance programs which enable you to create maintenance schedules with alerts and reminders based on mileage or planned services. You’re also able to create schedules for maintenance activities which enables your teams to report faults that can be resolved as soon as possible.

Minimise fuel costs

As one of the largest expenses and with fuel costs always on the rise, every business owner wants to cut down on fuel costs and with GPS tracking, you can.

With van tracking, fleet owners can get insights into exactly how and when their vehicles are used. Poor driving behavior and excessive speeding can increase fuel usage and costs for your business. A van tracking system can monitor behavior like drivers braking too suddenly or idling the car for long periods at a time, so you get valuable insights into fuel spending.

Unplanned and unauthorised use also leads to increased fuel costs. GPS tracking systems can alert management when vehicles are being used without permission by setting times and dates that the vehicle should be in use.

With access to route planning, you can ensure that drivers take the most direct routes to jobs and deliveries, decreasing fuel spending and optimising productivity.

Theft recovery

Don’t let your business fall prey to theft. By installing a van tracking system, you can easily monitor suspicious or unauthorised use of your vehicles. This allows you to get alerts when a vehicle is outside its designated location and if the vehicle is stolen, accurate location tracking can help authorities with the recovery. In the long run, this minimises expensive replacement and insurance costs associated with van theft.

Less admin and paperwork

The paperwork associated with managing a fleet can turn into a total nightmare. A van tracking system can provide you with additional support that you didn’t know you needed. A van tracking system can automate mileage claim for a fleet, alert managers about important dates like - service times, when the MOT will be due, insurance renewals or whether it needs taxing or anything else taking place.

It’s like having a personal assistant specifically for your car.


ABAX has made a pledge to sustainability. You can reduce your company’s footprint using telematic insights. Telematics facilitates the efficient management of your vehicles by providing valuable information to fleet and asset managers. By gaining access to insights about idling fuel consumption, you can see how much you can save for your pocket and the environment by changing these bad habits.

Sustainability has become top of mind for most consumers and when it comes to idling you can show your customers that your company takes action to lower your emissions.

How are GPS trackers installed?

When considering GPS van tracking, you’ll have the choice between plug-in vehicle trackers and hardwired trackers. Whichever option you might require, it’s important to have the installation done by following the professional installation advice like the guides you get from ABAX.

Installing a hardwired van tracking device

A hardwired tracking device is one of the most popular choices for vehicle tracking. ABAX provides devices that are ready to install and will allow you to reap the benefits of GPS tracking within minutes.

The basic steps to installing a hardwired GPS tracking device:

  • Mount the device: Once we identify a location that is easily accessible in the van but still out of view of the driver and potential thieves, the device can be mounted in the vehicle.This is a simple process and can be done using zip ties or VHB tape, which is strong enough to secure the device in the vehicle.

  • Connect to a power source: The device will require a power source in the vehicle to start tracking and function properly. The team at ABAX will guide you through the technical aspects of the installation, ensuring that your device is installed correctly.

  • Confirm installation: Testing and verifying that a device has been installed correctly is very important. Once your device is wired into a power source, test it by starting the vehicle and letting it run for five minutes to ensure that everything is functioning as it should.

Steps to installing plug-in vehicle trackers

This type of installation is quick and straightforward. These trackers are ready to use immediately as all you need to do is plug it in and put it in place without any complicated installation.

  • Install the tracking device and Velcro tie strap: The plug-in van trackers connect directly to a car’s OBD-II connector. Once you’ve located the connector, you’ll secure the tracking device to a Velcro strip and plug the device into the connector. By securing it, you keep your driver safer while travelling, as the device won’t become dislodged and cause a hindrance to the driver.

  • Begin tracking: With your device plugged in and secured to the Velcro, you’ll want to drive your vehicle into an open space where the signal is strong. Start your car and the tracker will begin tracking. Keep in mind, it’ll take five minutes after installation for the device to begin registering data.

Can the GPS Van tracking system be detected by thieves?

With years of expertise and ABAX on your side, you can outsmart thieves. Van owners considering investing in GPS tracking do so to protect their assets from theft.

When installing a GPS tracker, some of the most popular places include the centre console, the glove box or being hardwired to the 12volt system. The position always changes depending on how easily accessible the device will be. So there is no standard place a thief can inspect to see if a device has been installed. The likelihood that they can detect and disable the tracking device is very low.

Can a van tracking system be disabled?

Disabling a tracking device would prove to be difficult as you would first need to locate it on the vehicle. In the rare instance where a thief might have disabled a tracker, you’ll receive an alert from your app. The live tracking system will also enable you to see that the signal has been lost so that you can take immediate action to investigate or recover your vehicle. Speak to the team at ABAX to understand what can be done in each instance to ensure the safety of your vehicle.

Restrict the movement of your vehicles with geofencing

What is Geofencing and why is it important?

Geofencing allows you to define a geographical zone to track if your vans are leaving or entering that zone. Once a vehicle leaves a zone, an invisible tripwire is triggered. With geofencing, the system makes use of GPS signals from the tracking device to pinpoint locations and marks the limits of an area.

Geofencing will give you added peace of mind. You’ll be alerted when an employee suddenly leaves a geo-zone that you have marked. This will be important for the safety of your assets as well as your employees. If you’re alerted that a vehicle has left a specified zone, you can immediately investigate whether your van might have been hijacked and take the necessary steps to ensure your employees are safe. Likewise, if employees are abusing the use of your company vehicles, you’ll gain insights into any nefarious behaviours that might require legal action.

There is no limit to the number of geofencing zones you can set up and below we’ve listed several ways that you can benefit from geo-fencing.

  • If your vehicles need to be onsite overnight for insurance purposes, you’ll set a custom address as your mandatory zone outside of working hours. If a van is moved during these hours, you’ll be alerted immediately and can take immediate action.

  • If your company delivers materials to areas that can get heavily congested during peak times and you want your drivers to avoid travelling during those hours, you can set those zones as prohibited during those hours.

  • If you want to ensure that drivers stay on the job and don’t go home during lunch or run errands at home while using the company van, you can set their home addresses as prohibited zones during work hours.

  • If you want to prevent unauthorised use of your company van over the weekend, you can set the storage garages as the mandatory zone over the weekend.

Van tracking solutions provide immediate visibility

If you’re in an unfortunate situation where you fall victim to van theft, the tracking system provides accurate location information, making it easier to track down your stolen vehicle.

With live vehicle location tracking, you can gain access to reports showing you any vehicle trips on the map history. This gives you valuable information that can be fed to emergency response services, increasing the chances that your vehicle will be recovered. This information can conveniently be accessed using a customised desktop and mobile app. ABAX also provides a free 24/7 support line which gives you access to speak to an actual person if you run into any issues with your van tracking device or app.

Does tracking lower insurance?

We’ve mentioned the more obvious ways that a tracking system can help you save money, but did you know it can also lower your insurance premium? The guarantee that you can always track your vehicle down at any time, could help lower your vehicle insurance. When you position yourself in the shoes of an insurance company, a GPS tracker is a device that helps fight against carjacking and theft, so they encourage businesses to install them.

ABAX has partnered with multiple insurers like Zego to bring you the best benefits and premiums when securing the safety of your assets. Many insurers offer their clients discounts or incentives when they meet specific criteria. With Zego, you can choose between usage-based or flat-rate policies, and by adding ABAX Fleet Management features you can ensure HMRC compliance, get full Grey Fleet visibility and be able to track, monitor and optimise your fleet operations. So it’s a win-win situation.

Before installing your GPS tracker, it is important to check with your manufacturer, make sure that you’re not invalidating any warranties and check with your insurer whether there are any discounts on premiums for installing van tracking devices.

What is the cost & ROI of tracking vans?

The ROI of van tracking far outweigh the cost.

You’ll be able to optimise your business operations by making use of van tracking. GPS tracking systems will you valuable insights into your moving assets at all times. Aside from saving on fuel costs by sending drivers on more economical routes, fleet tracking can also help increase the productivity of your drivers. Drivers adopt safer practices if they know that they are being monitored so they are more likely to perform tasks efficiently, therefore, increasing productivity. This can also decrease the likelihood of accidents, meaning you save on insurance claims and increased premiums.

Knowing how far your drivers have gone with our fleet management software’s integrated mileage tracker will be helpful as it keeps a record of your mileage, compiling it into a report for you to use later when filling out those important claims forms for HMRC. All records are standardised, and your administration time is also reduced by an average of two hours per month.

Everyone has been affected by the fuel increase and while we tightly cling to the hope that the prices will decrease one day, we have to find different ways to optimise costs. A fleet tracking system can help you save money when it comes to fuel, as you can send drivers on more economical routes and encourage them to drive more efficiently. This results in less fuel being required and savings for the business.

The installation of our devices is not complicated. It’s easy to install and is compatible with all vehicle types. Whether you’re managing a fleet of large trucks or a handful of vans, our device sticks to the windscreen or connects to the battery and can be installed yourself.

Cost of van tracking systems

The cost of van tracking systems is a drop in the bucket compared to the benefits and gains. Our average fleet tracking solutions customer saves 18.5% on fuel costs, while achieving a safer, greener fleet that spends £22.30 less per vehicle, per month.

The experts at ABAX will take the time to understand your business needs and objectives to best advise you on the correct van tracking system to maximise your profits.

Do you have to let employees know that the vehicles are tracked?

When installing tracking devices, it is important to note location data of an employee qualifies as personal data under the GDPR any time it relates to an identifiable individual. When using van tracking devices, an employee is not only collecting information about the vehicle but also about the employee like their driving behavior and location data.

For this reason, for in-vehicle tracking to be lawful under GDPR, strict requirements must be met by the employer. Van tracking should not be used for the general monitoring of drivers.

When installing in-vehicle tracking, an employer must first be able to demonstrate a legal basis for implementing the device. Any processing of personal data is only lawful where it is grounded on a legal basis, such as consent; legal obligation; vital interests; public task; or legitimate interests. More information about the legalities of in-vehicle tracking can be found here.

Many employees ask the question “is it against the law for my employer to track me”? The answer is complex and should be understood in context.

It is legal for an employer to track their fleet vehicles, assuming those using the vehicles are aware of and have consented to the use of a GPS tracking device. However, employers also have the responsibility to not abuse the data that has been collected. It does not automatically follow that the data collected can be used to check up on those employees.

The data collected using GPS tracking technology should only be used for the purpose which it was collected for. In some cases, using a vehicle tracker to monitor employee behaviour, even during working hours, can be classed as a misuse of personal information and a breach of employee privacy.

Have a clear vehicle tracking policy

To avoid any misunderstanding and abuse of information, it is important to implement a written policy on the use of vehicle tracking data so that you can inform employees that trackers will be used, provide an explanation as to why trackers are needed and set out the procedure for using this data in a disciplinary context if the need should arise.

An effective and comprehensive vehicle tracker policy should contain the following:

  • A detailed explanation of what a van tracking system is and how it works

  • The reasons as to why the company has chosen to use GPS tracking

  • The benefits of vehicle trackers to both the company and its staff

  • The precise nature of the data that you will collect

  • The purposes for which collected data will be used

  • Details as to how that data is protected and who has access to it

  • The nature and extent of vehicle monitoring during working hours

  • What private use can be made of a company vehicle and any conditions attached to this use

The impact of covid on driver safety and how van tracking helps

As well as being able to monitor utilisation and control (and reduce) speeding incidents when dealing with multiple vans and drivers, there are other pandemic side-effects at play when it comes to safety on the roads.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every businesses operation, the transport and logistics sector not being excluded. The nationwide shutdown meant that fewer people were allowed to travel and while you might expect that this would translate to safer driving conditions, data suggests the opposite.

A van tracking system can help counter any bad driver behaviours that might have started since the pandemic. With driver monitoring functionality, you’re able to analyse any risky behaviours on the roads that might pose a risk to innocent citizens and your company assets. Identify risky trends and behaviours so that you can offer your drivers any additional support to ensure that they are safe on the roads.

Don’t miss out on the benefits of van tracking

A comprehensive van tracking system can have countless benefits for your business. When the right device is installed, with the right intentions, ABAX fleet management devices can help you optimise your business operations and increase your bottom line.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can van tracking help my business combat rising costs in fuel?

Route planning and mapping can help you choose the most efficient routes for your fleets and also encourage your employees to drive more efficiently.

  • Do you do Geofences?

Yes. You can set up specific geo-fence zones, giving you peace of mind that your vehicles are not being misused by employees.

  • Can I install it myself?

Yes. Our devices can be self-installed by you but we recommend having a professional install it.

  • How frequently does it update?

The GPS van tracking device makes use of live location tracking. This means that it updates in real-time and provides the most accurate location information possible.

  • With the high cost of living, is this a luxury?

No. With the increase in theft and loss of businesses due to crime, a GPS tracking system is not a luxury but becoming essential to protect your business. For a small monthly premium, you can ensure that your vehicles have added security. Plus the increased efficiency in your business improves profitability which helps offset other rising costs.

  • I trust my staff, so why do I need to track them?

If you’re not installing it to track your staff, you should be installing it to track your van. There are also many more added benefits to the system that can help you maximise your profits and not only track your vehicles as a way to recover them should a theft occur.

Want to know how we can help your business reduce risks, costs and admin time?

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