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11 tips for saving money, time and hassle around your next GPS order
Engage with a phone call
After our response to your initial inquiry, agree to a phone meeting. On the phone we can quickly find out what you need and then present you with a potential solution for your project. When we know what will work for you we will have identified the exact battery to use for your GPS unit. Then we will share a computer screen with you remotely and show you how various GPS scheduling options affect overall battery life. This process will give you a very good idea of what you should expect in terms of GPS positions and battery life. After the call we will email you so that you have a record of the conversation along with the details we discussed.
Don’t give up if the first response you get isn’t exactly what you want
We recently had an inquiry for a good sized feral pig collar project. Our initial response to the wildlife biologist didn’t fit his needs, he got back to me to thank me and let me know that he would find a different solution elsewhere. But then he and another person at his agency had a discussion over lunch in which they came up with a question, "Why can't we have X?". "X" was something other than my original offer. I thought about it and in fact was able to give him that solution. Result: he thought of a good alternative solution, asked me for it and got it. It was a good fit for his project and it was within his budget. The original response to his inquiry was our mistake; we overlooked a very good solution.
Take advantage of a free, live support tutorial
We have a team dedicated to customer support, they are more than happy to set up a meeting with you to go over everything you need to know as well as walk you through scheduling your GPS positions with you over the phone. When your order ships an email will be sent out to offer this free service to you. You're not going to be left alone to do all of this by yourself.
Ask for factory programming
This takes the live support tutorial one step further. We have several customers who prefer it if we schedule their GPS positioning for them and some even ask us to seal the USB port for them. If they want to, they can still change the GPS schedule themselves by wireless after they receiver the order.
Watch some of our YouTube videos
Before you deploy your GPS tracking device you will obviously set up a GPS positioning schedule so that your device will come on at the appointed times and attempt a GPS position. But if you study an animal that spends a lot of time resting in a place where a GPS location is unlikely, a fisher inside a tree hollow or a rabbit underground for example, the GPS may turn on when the animal is in one of these resting places. If that happens your GPS device will be wasting battery when it turns on to take a location without being able to acquire GPS signals. For you this is totally wasted battery life, you get nothing for it. But we have a way that you can program that GPS position but the GPS won’t attempt that position if the animal is found in the condition described above. We call this Smart GPS and this is how it works.
Forewarn us of your upcoming, last minute order Building good GPS equipment on short notice is possible, we have systems in place to facilitate that but everything can go very smoothly if you can give us any advanced warning of an upcoming order that you’re going to need right away. Whether you are an existing customer or a new customer we will bend over backwards to get you into the field on time with the proper equipment.
Mention everything you can about the project
We will listen to you, your needs are specific and our GPS products are very flexible. When we all get onto the same page good things happen. Recent examples are
1) a tortoise project that needs 6 months battery life but 4 of those are while the tortoises are underground so the GPS won’t need to be on during that time but the customer wants to know exactly when the tortoises emerge from the burrows. Excellent information. We can solve this in one of two ways so he will get the battery life he needs and the GPS will be on when the tortoises emerge….and we’ll keep the overall package size as small as possible.
2) Again, the need to keep things small is important for a turtle project so we need to use a small battery. But the customer needs to know when the turtles move onto the nest. So we have to have the GPS on a lot to capture that event. We solved this one by using the GPS data output from the previous year’s deployment to have the GPS on at the time in the day when the turtle was most likely to be out of the water... so the GPS would actually acquire a position... we didn’t have to waste time on position attempts that would occur when the turtle was underwater.
3) A biologist had been buying GPS units from us for a python project. The second year that he contacted us to make an order he just happened to mention that he was also implanting expensive activity loggers in the snakes. That's when I told him that for $125 we could activate the activity data logger in the GPS device, no additional device to buy or implant.
Be willing to do some of the labor yourself
Everyone likes to save money. A customer recently suggested that he and his team have experience making their own collars and even have their own housing already built. He was able to purchase 15 Iridium GPS units for only $1500 each. We created a guide for him so that he could finish the collars according to best practices. The electronics were provided to him totally sealed already. Other customers choose to create their own rot away devices in lieu of purchasing expensive drop off mechanisms.
Elect 1 person to interact with the product, don’t work by committee
There is a lot to learn about the GPS equipment we make and all it takes is for 1 piece of critical information to be overlooked and all can be lost. We do our best to convey the needed information in writing but someone still has to learn it. We find it works best if one person is in charge of everything to do with the GPS units.
Don't wait until the last minute to set up the GPS units
We suggest that you get ready at least 1 week in advance. That will give you enough time to carefully and slowly get everything set up and tested prior to deployment. If you program one week before deployment and use the remote download option to confirm that everything is working as it should. You can then just turn the GPS units off until the day you want to use them.
Read the user manual
Everyone finds this distasteful especially since our user manual is rather extensive. But you do need to read and understand the sections that pertain to your product. We will help you by telling you which sections you need to read. We promise that if you take the time to read the manual everything will be easier.