Your smartphone offers dozens of options.
Travel can be a silent budget killer. Never mind hoarding receipts for meals on the road and hotel stays, the real iron maiden of expense is mileage. If you’re using a personal vehicle to travel near and far for your business, you are no doubt burning an ocean of gasoline, and, even worse, shortening the life expectancy of your ride through wear and tear. If you’re part of a larger corporation or a franchised medium-sized business, this may be reimbursed directly through your employer; however, for most small-business owners, mileage tracking and tax deductions are an absolute must.
Thankfully, your smartphone offers dozens of options to track your mileage. Of course you could take diligent notes in whatever application you prefer to do such things (Google Drive, Notes, Keep, Evernote, etc.). But for peace of mind, and better records for confident tax deductions, there are a few applications you should consider.
First, many applications will automatically track travel for free and allow users to categorize trips after the fact. Of course, regardless of the software platform, free rarely seems to deliver high-quality service. So if you’re expecting value from business software, you should be ready to pay for it.
The four most popular applications for mileage and expense tracking are SherpaShare, MileIQ, Everlance and Hurdlr. These applications all have a great deal of overlap in service, with only minor differences in pricing and features. With prices ranging from free to $9 per month, most users should be able to cover the service costs. Mile IQ is purely a mileage tracker but will cost around $60 a year for flawless service. Hurdlr and Everlance
are “currently free” and track all expenses and integrate them into your tax documents. Finally, SherpaShare offers a free trial and tracks all travel expenses and breaks down data on travel time and where your money is going.
Is one of these four the silver bullet to end your travel tracking woes? Maybe, but with the field still young and many relying on free offerings, there is no guarantee any will be providing the same services a year from now. For best peace of mind, consider using any of these services and exporting all travel data bi-weekly so you are able to move on without losing your travel documentation cache if service or pricing changes. ♦
Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. Follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb.