The hardware cost for a telemetry system will run you anywhere from $400 to $1,000 per unit with a monthly messaging charge between $5 to $30 per unit.

Here are some important factors to consider:

  • Unit quality and reliability—The unit must hold up in the construction environment so a rugged design is required, and thus a metal enclosure. Be wary of plastic units as they tend to wear down over time and are not resistant to pressure washing, excessive heat or vibration. Also, inquire about the warranty and replacement policy.
  • Anti-tamper features—Crucial for a theft protection system. Ask, “What happens if a thief finds the units and smashes or removes it?” Some units disable the machine from running, and some do nothing at all once they are compromised. Also, confirm that the antenna is installed out of sight because that is the first thing a smart thief will look for.
  • Multiple levels of theft protection—Does the unit just provide GPS tracking or does it offer a curfew with cell phone notifications? Does it include machine disable capabilities, homing beacon, etc.? Find the system that matches up with your desired level of security. The greater number of levels increases your theft protection.
  • Hidden costs and add ons—Check to see if you will have an activation fee, support charge, maintenance fee, training fee, software costs, etc. Be sure you thoroughly understand the pricing structure, as $5 a month can quickly become $20 or more if you don’t have it explained properly.
  • Long-term contract—Some vendors require a multi-year airtime contract; others give you a month-to-month option. Check for early termination penalties as well.
  • Company background—Now more than ever, make sure your provider has been in this business for years and has the capacity to support you through the product’s life. Is the vendor the original manufacturer or a reseller of the system? How is support handled? Where is the product made and where does the warranty come from?