You’re on assignment in your tow truck. A bank
has assigned you to repossess a vehicle for non-payment. You drive through heavy
traffic and arrive at the address you were given…only to discover it’s an empty
lot. You’ve just wasted 20 minutes of expensive diesel fuel.
This is a common occurrence for family-owned Key Auto Recovery, which has been
operating in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles since 1964.
Besides voluntary and involuntary repossessions, the company also offers field
customer visits and skip locate services. Because Key Auto Recovery is also an
impound specialist with a lot of impound retrieval requests, the company stores
repossessed vehicles in their high-security fenced compound that’s monitored
24/7 by state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, lighting and alarm systems.
Key Auto Recovery’s fleet consists of 9 trucks used for towing as well as
transport and delivery, plus a Prius to locate vehicles. Because the San
Fernando Valley is so large, fuel costs are a major operating expense.
Therefore, one of company president Joe Scharlin’s primary challenges is
determining the most efficient deployment of his diesel-powered trucks.
One obvious solution is a GPS vehicle tracking system.
“I’ll be honest,” Scharlin admits, “we didn’t do a lot of investigating into GPS
solutions. I saw an article mention LiveViewGPS, thought it sounded like
something we could use, called the company and bought two of their Live Trac G-5
vehicle trackers, which are hardwired into our vehicles.
“Later, of course, we were solicited by several other GPS companies. Their
prices were similar but their systems and their services didn’t compare with
LiveViewGPS, so I’m happy we never bothered to investigate the competition.
“In fact, our LiveViewGPS solution has worked so well, we’re looking into
outfitting the rest of the fleet with hardwired GPS.
The Live Trac G-5 GPS Vehicle Tracker solution
LiveViewGPS’ best-selling G-5 and new G-5 Pro Vehicle Trackers operate on the
company’s new Live Trac Platform, a next-generation, real-time vehicle tracking
system offering 1-, 5- and 10-second vehicle tracking capabilities on highly
sensitive receivers. Like other Live Trac units, these vehicle trackers work in
environments where other GPS units fail.
The G-5 Vehicle Tracker is small and compact, with a state-of-the-art GPS
chipset and integrated internal antenna. Its internal battery backup normally
lasts for two days between charges.
The larger G-5 Pro includes a larger battery backup that lasts 10 days. In
addition, the Pro unit includes a panic button and also allows the dispatcher to
remotely disable or lock/unlock the doors.
The Live Trac GPS Platform features reliable 99.9 percent server uptime, and
requires no software to install. System updates are free, and live support is
built into the platform. Users log on via their web-enabled computer or mobile
device and, once connected, can track multiple vehicles in real time on a
high-resolution satellite map, set geofencing (zones), find addresses, see
aerial or road map views and view historical data up to 90 days. A personal
dashboard allows users to set and manage mapping, reporting and alert features
to meet business or personal needs.
Adding to the bottom line
“Like many companies today, fuel is one of our major expenses, especially when
it’s around $4.50 a gallon,” explains Scharlin. “Our Prius gets a combined
average of 50 mpg running on regular gas, and our diesel trucks get maybe 12
“Let’s say an hour ago we got an assignment to pick up a vehicle within our
coverage area. We download the address to a laptop in the Prius, and fifteen
minutes later we get a phone call telling us the location is a UPS mail drop.
This saves us the time and expense of sending one of our trucks on a wild goose
“If the address is good and the vehicle is there, we can look at our Live Trac
map online, pinpoint where our nearest truck is and send it to recover the
vehicle. This allows us to work smarter and use our assets in the most efficient
LiveViewGPS’ Live Trac system produces over a dozen reports such as start/stop
reports, route alerts, ignition alerts, aggressive driving, speeding, excessive
idling and more, so companies get detailed reports of drivers’ behavior.
For example, speeding increases maintenance costs, fleet insurance premiums,
fuel expenses and liability if there is an accident. Speeding, combined with
rapid starts and stops, also burns more fuel and wastes money. Research shows
driving at lower speeds can save up to 14% in gasoline consumption. Knowing
their driving habits are being remotely observed, most drivers drive more
Sometimes, in fact, a GPS device can actually prove when a driver is driving
responsibly, Scharlin notes. When one of his trucks got into an accident, some
witnesses claimed the driver was driving at an excessive speed. But after
reviewing the LiveViewGPS system’s playback, it was determined that the truck
had been parked for an hour when it was supposed to be speeding.
In addition, the cost of three vehicles idling just an hour a day, whether it’s
in traffic or caused by driver behavior, would cost Key Auto Recover $4,320 a
year based on gas costing $4 a gallon. Because the LiveViewGPS system displays
all company vehicles in real time, managers can plot the most effective routes,
avoiding heavy traffic and accidents.
As a result of all the savings, the LiveViewGPS Live Trac system easily pays for
“Installing G-5 GPS Trackers in our vehicles is a win-win-win situation,” says
Scharlin. The drivers make more money, we work more efficiently, and our clients
are better served.”
“For anyone who needs a GPS vehicle solution, LiveViewGPS is a total