Editor’s Score: 92/100
Why Samsara Is Best for Small Businesses
Samsara is the best option for small businesses because of its scalability and advanced feature set. It is one of the most comprehensive tracking solutions we reviewed, and it offers truly real-time visibility, giving employers and fleet managers the information they need to make critical decisions as soon as possible. It is clear to us that Samsara understands that every small business is unique and that a GPS fleet tracking system should reflect that. Instead of supporting every fleet in a cookie-cutter manner, Samsara offers custom fleet tracking plans based on your needs. Not all competitors offer this.
Did you know? Many companies claim “real-time” visibility, but Samsara is one of the only companies we reviewed that actually offers to-the-second updates and visibility.
Samsara has all the features small businesses need to successfully track their fleets, optimize vehicle performance, and improve driver safety and behavior. You can access dashcams for complete fleet visibility, integrate fuel cards for optimal fuel performance, and view a plethora of alerts and reports for overall fleet management. Samsara can also help you maintain compliance with a variety of important legal regulations, which can be a major benefit to small businesses that don’t have the luxury of a compliance manager on staff.
- You can track your fleet in real time.
- Samsara can serve various industries and help them maintain compliance with ELD, HOS, IFTA, and DVIR regulations.
- Samsara can integrate with a variety of third-party applications, making the platform even more valuable to small businesses.
- Samsara doesn’t list pricing online, so you will need to fill out the online form or contact a representative for a quote.
- Samsara does not offer free trials.
- Samsara has a three-vehicle minimum and three-year contracts.
Although Samsara can service various business types, it best serves industries like transportation and logistics, food and beverage, construction, government, school transportation, passenger transit, field service fleets, utilities, oil and gas, and water and wastewater. We like how Samsara has industry-specific solutions in mind, so it can tailor your system to best match your specific fleet needs, increasing the overall usability for you and your team.
We found its platform intuitive and easy to navigate, regardless of industry. You can build mobile-friendly monitoring dashboards that display the information most pertinent to your business. Because Samsara offers live tracking, you can manage your fleet in real time.
Samsara is a comprehensive fleet management system that offers virtually every feature you may need to track your fleet in real time. Here are some of the services you can receive with Samsara.
|Tracking hardware||You can choose from plug-and-play tracking devices, cameras, asset trackers, and various other accessories.|
|Driver safety and performance||You can manage your drivers’ performance with in-cab dashcams, behavior reports, driver training and rewards programs.|
|Fleet maintenance and optimization||Samsara tracks engine diagnostics, fleet health and maintenance. It also tracks fuel usage and integrates with fuel cards.|
|Alerts and reporting||It offers real-time alerts and reports, as well as a helicopter view of your fleet.|
Samsara offers a wider variety of fleet tracking hardware than its competitors. In addition to standard vehicle tracking hardware like plug-and-play devices, you can set up in-cab cameras to get a direct view of what your driver is seeing. Samsara also offers other trackers and accessories, like environmental monitors, asset trackers for powered and nonpowered equipment, wireless door and cargo monitors, panic and privacy buttons, engine immobilizers, auxiliary input hubs, and ID card readers.
Access to such a wide variety of tracking devices and accessories is ideal for small businesses to create a custom tracking system. It is also great for small businesses that need a basic tracking solution to start but want to eventually expand with other devices and accessories.
Driver Safety and Performance
Samsara’s software provides an overview of driver behavior. You can track speeding, harsh acceleration, hard braking and cornering. While speed, acceleration, and braking are commonly tracked behaviors, not all fleet tracking applications we evaluated provide data on harsh cornering and turning. We found it easy to score drivers and understand which specific areas need improvement. Samsara also lets you use geofencing to track your fleet, which is a standard industry feature.
One advanced feature that Samsara offers is integrated dashcams. With dashcams installed, you can see what’s in front of the vehicle in real time. It also records significant safety-related incidents, so you can review and analyze footage. Drivers can receive in-cab feedback and video coaching to improve their performance.
Did you know? Rewarding your drivers for safe driving practices can improve their performance and increase employee retention.
If improving driver safety is your top concern, you may also want to check out our review of NexTraq, which earned our best pick for safety features.
Fleet Maintenance and Optimization
Samsara offers excellent maintenance reports that give you sharp insights on the condition of your vehicles. You can manage preventative maintenance and analyze vehicles during breakdowns. Samsara also allows you to analyze fuel consumption, idle time, and utilization, so you can better plan routes and coach drivers to adopt more fuel-efficient habits.
Fuel card integration is a great way to cut down on fuel costs and optimize your fleet. Samsara is one of the few companies we looked at that can integrate with FleetCor-issued fuel cards (e.g., Comdata, Fuelman, Universal Premium). Small businesses often need to save money wherever they can, and fuel card integration is a great way to do so.
Alerts and Reporting
Samsara’s live alerts mean you can stay truly up to date on your fleet. You can set up alerts for driver behavior, vehicle diagnostics, geofencing and more. Samsara refreshes every second, making it one of the few companies we reviewed that provides real-time tracking. Many GPS fleet tracking services provide breadcrumb-style updates where the software refreshes every 10 to 120 seconds, but Samsara can tell you exactly where your vehicle is at any second of its journey.
It offers an advanced helicopter view of your fleet in its software. This view allows you to zoom in directly over your vehicle, which appears as an arrow on your map, so you can see it driving along its route. The level and accuracy of its tracking set Samsara apart from other companies.
Samsara’s GPS fleet tracking services comprise both one-time hardware and licensing costs and recurring monthly fees. The company doesn’t list its pricing online; instead, you have to call its sales department or fill out its online price configurator for a representative to contact you with a custom quote. Although this adds a little time to the initial implementation process, a truly customized solution is ideal for many small businesses, as opposed to a standard preset tracking plan.
Samsara supports a wide range of fleet sizes, starting with as few as three vehicles, and it can scale to meet your business’s needs as your fleet grows. This means you can partner with Samsara when you’re a budding fleet and stay with it as your small business expands.
You should be aware that Samsara requires 36-month contracts. Although lengthy contracts are common in the fleet management industry, we did find a few GPS fleet tracking companies that offer shorter contracts. For example, as you can see in our review of Force by Mojio, that company doesn’t require contracts at all, and it offers a 60-day free trial.
Key takeaway: Samsara GPS tracking services charge a hardware and licensing fee, plus a monthly subscription fee with a three-year contract.
The initial process of signing up with Samsara may take a little longer than it does with some competitors, because Samsara does not offer pricing on its website. Instead, you must contact a Samsara representative to set up an account that matches your needs and budget. However, once you’re signed up with Samsara, installing and using its hardware is pretty simple. Samsara only offers plug-and-play GPS fleet tracking devices instead of hardwired systems, so any of your drivers or managers can probably install a device within minutes.
Samsara is compatible with third-party integrations and open APIs. So, although connecting it to your other business platforms is possible, it may add a little more time to your overall setup.
Samsara is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating with the agency. We found all of Samsara’s online resources quite valuable. These include blogs, webinars, videos, product tours, calculators, guides and a searchable knowledge base. If you need one-on-one support, you can reach Samsara representatives by phone, email, webchat or help ticket. Customer support is available 24/7, which is a benefit that not every company in this space offers.
Although Samsara is an excellent GPS fleet tracking service for small businesses, we noted a couple of limitations, mostly regarding pricing and contracts. The most significant potential drawback of Samsara for small businesses is that you must have at least three vehicles. If you only need tracking for one or two vehicles, you may want to consult a Samsara representative directly or seek another GPS tracking solution.
The other significant drawback is the length of Samsara’s contract. Its average contract term is 36 months. While this is pretty standard for the industry, a short-term or month-to-month contract is preferable if you think you might only need fleet tracking for a short time. Samsara also does not list pricing online, which can be a deterrent for companies that want to do quick price comparisons without speaking to anyone.
Selecting a GPS fleet tracking system can be tough, so we did some of the heavy lifting for you. We spent countless hours researching and analyzing GPS fleet tracking systems to identify the top solutions on the market. We looked at hardware, features, pricing and contracts, usability, refresh times, and customer support, and we even got hands-on experience with demos and product videos when possible. When searching for the best GPS fleet tracking system for small businesses specifically, we focused on how comprehensive each service’s features are, how easy the product is to set up and use, and whether the product can easily scale.
What Is GPS Fleet Tracking?
Top GPS fleet tracking systems offer a combination of hardware and software that tracks and records various fleet information, such as location, driver safety and performance, vehicle health and maintenance, and fuel usage and optimization. Businesses often use fleet management systems to optimize their overall fleet performance, as well as ensure their drivers, vehicles, and assets are safe. The reports generated from GPS fleet tracking data can help fleet managers make educated business decisions and improve their processes.
How do I log in to Samsara?
Logging in to the Samsara platform is simple, whether you are using the mobile app or a web-enabled device to access it. You will need your driver’s name, password and fleet ID to log in. Simply go to https://cloud.samsara.com/signin_driver and enter your credentials to log in to your Samsara portal.
How does Samsara ELD work?
If your fleet needs to adhere to the ELD mandate, Samsara has the technology for you. You will first need to install the Samsara ELD by connecting it to your vehicle’s OBD port. Once it’s connected, your driver can log in to the Samsara driver portal or app to record when they are on and off duty. The ELD hardware will automatically record essential information like engine diagnostics and safety details, and the driver portal will record driving data. The combination of these two efforts will help you comply with the ELD mandate.
We recommend Samsara for …
- Small businesses that need to track three or more vehicles or assets.
- Businesses that want real-time tracking.
- Fleet managers who want a comprehensive tracking solution that can scale with their business.
We don’t recommend Samsara for …
- Businesses looking for preset tracking system plans with online pricing.
- Fleet managers looking for short-term or month-to-month contracts.