Update 3/23/18: This post has been updated to include new and updated information.
Offering a free something—anything— can change someone’s behavior.
I’m not the only one who thinks this way. There was an entire episode of Pinky and the Brain in which Brain builds a new earth (dubbed “Chia-Earth”), then uses the promise of free t-shirts to induce a hesitant humanity to migrate to the new world.
Free stuff moves worlds.
The Brain on chia-earth
Fear not, free can help you here. Much like it helped Pinky and the Brain entice humanity to a different planet, the lure here is free fleet management software.
Free is a great motivator, given the costs associated with running a fleet. Take fuel alone. AAA expects gasoline prices to rise in spring 2018, and fleet managers will need to stretch their dollar that much further.
If funds are tight, free fleet management software is a great way to save money overall, especially during the test drive phase where you’re learning what works for your business. Even something as small as a diagnostic code alert can save you up to $800. If your software is free, that’s an amazing ROI.
Five free and open source fleet management software programs
During my research, I identified the following five free fleet management software options. Where possible, I vetted each system using Capterra reviews.
Software is presented alphabetically.
PROS: Fleet VIP’s free version offers features such as GPS tracking and alerts, vehicle mileage, vehicle cost management, and preventative maintenance due dates.
One big pro is the due date prediction technology feature. Company president Steve Farthing explained that this feature helps companies move “the fleet maintenance tracking function into a modern project management paradigm by providing calendar due dates instead of odometer values for maintenance due triggers.”
Due date prediction technology can “project future due dates that reduces or obviates the need for frequent odometer readings or expensive GPS systems to capture odometer readings.”
Tie all of this in with Fleet VIP’s CSV export feature, and you’ve got an app that can help your small business cut unnecessary busy work and keep your fleet sharp.
CONS: The free version is only good for two vehicles. The upside of that downside, however, is that it’ll still work as a trial. You can test this on two vehicles in your fleet, and see what sort of savings you get. Extrapolate from there, and you’ve got an idea of overall savings.
PROS: GPS Wox is free for one asset, offering real-time tracking of your vehicle through native apps available in the Apple, Google Play, and Microsoft stores. Capterra reviews of GPS Wox average five out of stars; customers love how much money they save on—and with—the program.
CONS: The downside of the free version is its limited features; all you’ll get is the mobile app, and real-time vehicle tracking. GPS Wox is a good way to play around with telematics (vehicle location) data, but it’s probably not a long-term solution as your business grows.
PROS: Odoo makes a range of business apps, fleet management being one of them. If you don’t own any of Odoo’s apps yet, you can get the fleet management one for free (so long as it’s cloud hosted), for unlimited users, indefinitely. If you want to add additional cloud-hosted apps from Odoo’s suite, however, it’ll cost you (if you host the software, you can get any number of their apps for free).
Odoo Fleet includes core functionalities such as vehicle fuel usage, costs, and insurance management. Odoo also offers the opportunity to better manage your fleet through customizable report functionality.
CONS: The downside? Customization and support aren’t available in the free version, and there’s no GPS tracking or integration functionality.
PROS: If you want a way to track your vehicles and have some coding capabilities, you should check Open GTS Project out. This isn’t a full fleet service program; it tracks fleet vehicle location but isn’t designed to track things like fuel use, maintenance, costs, or warranty expiration.
That said, you can adapt Open GTS to meet other needs. You can customize reports using XML, integrate the system with various mapping software programs, and use adaptable web page decorations to make your business stand out. Open GTS is compatible with Linux, Mac OS, Windows, and Free BSD and Open BSD. There are client apps that run with it on Google Play and Apple’s App Store, so mobility won’t be a problem.
If you roll up your sleeves and dig into the code, OpenSource GTS offers a lot of customizability.
CONS: While the vast majority of Open GTS’ reviews are positive, some users highlight redundancy and code bloat (unnecessarily long or complex code). Others criticize Open GTS’ use of Java.
Infrequent updates are another reason to be wary; OpenGTS only updated the software twice in 2017.
PROS: Traccar offers a server-based version, as well as a native mobile app. The software works with a dizzying number of tracking devices, and even integrates with Open GTS. The folks at Traccar stay busy, and show no signs of slowing. They’ve released three new versions of Traccar Server in the past six months, and frequently roll out new versions of the mobile app.
Reviews for Traccar are primarily positive, with the program netting an overall 4.6-star rating (out of five). If you need help with the program, questions on the Traccar forums are answered with the precision of a Swiss wristwatch by owner Anton Tananaev.
CONS: Traccar is a free GPS tracking system that will tell you where your vehicles are, but can’t manage other business-side concerns such as using proactive maintenance scheduling to save money. If all you need is the telematics part (vehicle tracking) of fleet management software, Traccar is a great option. If you need a single platform for all business-related aspects, though, it might not be the best fit.
Other free tools?
Be like the Brain. Move the world with free stuff. Just make it software.
The great thing about all of these software options is that you can check them out for yourself, for free.
Go ahead and take them for a spin. Even if you’re only testing it out on one or two vehicles, actually using the software can give you a basic idea of how much you’ll save if you scale the solution to a larger fleet.
Looking for Fleet Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Fleet Management software solutions.