Whether you are working in food delivery driver, rideshare or you are another kind of 1099 worker/independent contractor, one of the things you need to do is track how many miles you are driving.
Now you can do that manually and spend a ridiculous amount of time completing, or you can use a mileage tracking app, which in my opinion is the best option and saves you the most amount of time.
However if you just type into the app store on your phone, you might notice how there are quite a number of them and some even have a monthly fee. Depending on what kind of gig work you are doing, you may not even need the extra features.
Now before you spend money every month to track your miles, you should know which ones are actually effective, how much they cost and who this app would be best for.
But before any of that, My name is Joseph Mandracchia, I have been working full-time with the gig economy since 2018 and have completed over 8300 orders and deliveries across several different platforms and pay models, as well as other forms of income.
It is my hope to impart some of my knowledge and experience unto you to help you make the most money in your side hustle and help you on your journey to achieve financial independence so you can choose to live your life in anyway you would find valuable to you.
Disclaimer: I am not a financial, tax or legal advisor of any kind. I am not giving you financial, tax or legal advice. I am simply expressing what I have done to overcome in this area and hoping you can find a take away for yourself within this article.
Why Do I Need to Track my Miles with an App?
Most drivers for the gig economy are driving a lot for work and need to track their miles for tax deduction reasons. Most of my write-offs are from my miles I drive for all of the gig apps I drive for.
With that said, there are two approaches you can take, the time consuming bookkeeping method where your car almost becomes a filing cabinet over time, or with an mobile app that does most of the hard work for you.
Now some of these apps are free or have free versions and some have monthly payments that can also be deducted from your taxes, which is really just an investment towards your business.
Some people are old school and prefer to keep their own records physically and I understand that there are those who want their own copy in their own possession, however you should use a free tracker to have as a back up to ensure accuracy.
You might also want to keep physical records if you aren't necessarily driving to make money as opposed to involving driving in your tax write-off. Let's say you are a realtor, not a delivery or rideshare driver.
With that said, let's go over each of these apps, what kind of driver they would be best for, and everything that needs to be said about each of them.
These are in no particular order, and I think all of them have their uses for specific reasons, so pick the one that best suits your needs and circumstances.
Everlance is the most promoted out of all the apps I have seen for delivery drivers and rideshare drivers to date, and it makes sense since they have probably the most features out of any one of these "make money driving" apps.
Everlance has an automatic tracking system, as well as tracking your mileage manually so you get the best of both worlds, in the event in which you need to add them. Everlance is also among the more accurate tracking apps among the list.
Not only does Everlance track your miles driven, it tracks your expenses so that way you know exactly what you are able to write off. It even has a feature where it can link to your card and it can find expenses you may have missed or not known about.
Everlance is also continuously looking to improve as an app and should be kept an eye on in the future for updates.
Now I will say there are a couple of downsides that need to be mentioned here, which some are important to know about if you are going to track your mileage with them. It all comes down to how sensitive this app is.
This app tracks your movement so accurately that you can be moving around in your home and it is tracking that for your app, which is only adding clutter to your potential write-offs.
Not to mention since it's sensitivity requires data and battery life, you are going to be drained of battery-life and data from my phone, so if you are going to use this app make sure you have an unlimited data plan from your phone provider.
Overall it is a great option though, there is a free version that tracks the first 30 drives of the month and for premium it is a simple $8 a month, or $60 annually.
MileIQ is the most passive option as an app because you don't have to access it for it to activate. This one is probably best for Realtors rather than gig drivers, but it is the most simple of them all.
Using a swipe system, similar to Tinder or Bumble where you swipe right of left to classify a drive for personal or business and you can name a location to keep things simple.
You also have a pretty awesome feature where it recognizes your driving patterns and auto classifies for you after a period of time, as well as linking drives together for ease of use. So if you drive in the same area over and over again, you can use that to your advantage.
This is great for repeat customers and saving you some time and energy!
Now the downside is that it is one of the more battery and data draining options on this list, so that should be taken into account before signing up for this one.
It also has a tendency to miss drives during times and locations where service is less than average, so make sure your phone sensitivity is high and you keep it plugged into your car, and if possible use Wi-fi in your vehicle.
Now with this app you can get up to 40 drives per month free, if you are not a gig worker and only need to track a handful of miles, this should be fine. For premium, it will cost $5.99 a month, or $59.99 a year.
Sherpashare is a mileage tracking app that was built specifically for Rideshare drivers, so if you are an Uber or Lyft driver looking for an awesome mileage tracking app, let me tell you about this one.
So this one has a lot of cool features like chats with other rideshare drivers, heat maps across other platforms, mileage tracking and more!
There is one downside though, this mileage tracker is for rideshare drivers... that's it.
Not food delivery, not grocery delivery, not any other type of driving purpose, just rideshare. Now I am sure in the future, they can develop something where you can add multiple types of platforms as well, but for now this is for the rideshare drivers.
Another major challenge I have with this one is that it is a iOS exclusive app, which takes out 50% of users from the equation. So if you are an iPhone user, you can potentially use this, and if you are an Android user, move onto another option.
As for pricing, you have a 14-day free trial to see how you like their extra features and low price of $5.99 a month fee after that.
TripLog is one of the more cost efficient options of the driver world and some of the upgrades are kind of high-tech and goes really well with certain vehicles. Now the basic features are free, but the really cool options are part of the premium package.
TripLog has a BlueTooth "autostart" and automatic cloud back-up, which is cool in case something happens to your phone or car. It can also calculate gas mileage and find you the best gas prices in your area.
It has a few AutoStart functions in the background, and can even be used with the Bluetooth in your vehicle to track your vehicle movement over 5 MPH, and with the plug and go feature it can start the moment you plug your phone into your car charger.
Now if you are anything like me, you don't like to buy new cars so if your phone doesn't have Bluetooth, it may not make sense to go with this option,
If you do use it, make sure to turn it off after you are done, there have been reports saying you can loan your car to a family member, and it can track the miles of your car and you aren't even driving!
Overall though, good option with some unique features, and is a great option for those who want a little more control on when you start and stop tracking.
The basic plan is free, and for professional upgrades, you can get the professional plan for $4.99 a month, the professional plus plan for $5.99 a month per user, and the enterprise plan which you would need to contact the association in order to strike a deal with them.
Next on our list is Hurdlr, which is another swipe to categorize app and has been known for being great for freelancers and allows you to track your mileage, income and estimate your taxes.
The premium app even allows you to set up rules and auto-classify expenses with each of your businesses, assuming you are categorizing more than one. You can even name the businesses so you can tell the difference between them.
Now with Hurdlr, I want to be clear the mileage tracking is free and honestly, if you want to stick with that you can, and I would totally understand if you did.
This app is definitely best for the entrepreneur who doesn't want to spend the time to really think about this stuff and wants things done automatically and save the time it would take to bookkeep everything, which I totally understand.
However, most cases I feel like the majority of people who are driving for the gig economy can simply just stick with the mileage tracker and be totally okay.
One of the apps that is promoted by gig apps is this one, Stride. A totally free mileage tracking and expense tracking app that works with health insurance and provides tax prep assistance.
It is a great simple app to use and regardless of if you use it for tracking, I use it to keep track of my expenses by linking with Plaid which helps securely identify expenses in my business.
It is even growing and evolving frequently, so you are notified of potential deals, and will be continuing to add more and more features.
That being said there is one downside that makes me not want this as a driving app, and that would be the mileage tracker itself. You have to manually go in for each trip, and log each moment you make a move, which is tedious and I would rather just spring for the automatic.
However, it is hard to argue with free apps like this, especially when they have given a lot of value already.
Okay so when you think of Quickbooks Self-Employed, you are probably thinking book-keeping and truth be told, you would be right. However, what it does come with is an automatic mileage tracker, and a great one at that!
It takes the least amount of data and is the most accurate of the options, while still using the least amount of battery. It will take more battery if you decide to increase it's accuracy in the settings tab, but nevertheless still a great tool.
It will even automatically compare your business miles with all your actual expenses and recommend to you which would be a greater deduction between standard or actual expense deductions at the end of the tax year.
This is a nice perk for those who have a nicer car with greater maintenance costs and doesn't really have the time to put in the additional effort.
It's a comprehensive option, does a great job syncing with your bank, monitoring your expenses, and automating your bookkeeping as a driver, so you end up saving a HUGE amount of time on one of the most tedious tasks as a business owner of any kind.
Also, if you go through Rakuten to sign up for it, you can essentially make money on a tool you need for your business, and who doesn't like making more money? Especially when normally, it is already at a low $7.50/month.
I would especially go with this one if you are planning on going into more than one business model as well, so you can properly keep track of expenses on each business.
This is an app that was specifically made for those who are driving for any gig platform. Made with it's style and wide range of services for Uber/Lyft drivers, as well as other types of drivers, comes Gridwise.
It's a very easy to use and install app, and offers all the standard services that any of the other apps would provide except for one, you can't manually put in a trip. So if you plan on doing any other service that includes driving, this one is a no-go.
However, what I really like about it is that it adds the information straight from the gig service you are working with. So if you are only looking to be a gig worker for a season and don't want to bother with any other side hustle, go with this one!
One other perk I noticed, is that it will give you weather updates and schedules for events in your area so you always are in the know for what is available in your area, as well as where you can be to potentially earn more money by being in that location.
You can also track your earnings, compare your earnings to those in your area, analyze your passenger volume, set alerts on your phone and more!
Now some of those features are for the Gridwise Plus program, which is $9.99 a month, or $95.99 a year, however for the basics and some of the perks, totally free! Definitely a must download, for the events and weather updates as well!
The Good ol'Fashioned Written Log
Now some people are a little concerned with using an app to track their miles, because of security issues, trust challenges, or whatever reason they have, and I get that to a point. If you identify yourself as one of those people, use mileage notebook to track your miles.
It doesn't have to be crazy, just a simple log with the dates, starting mileage, ending mileage, total miles, and a proper description of why you did it should be plenty.
The purpose of having a mileage tracker is so you feel prepared during tax season and the IRS has all the information they need to verify your mileage write-offs and tax information.
Any one of these options are viable and have their own specialties, so choose the option that best describes your situation and needs and you will have everything you need to track your mileage and file them for tax season.
Again, this isn't meant to be tax advice, financial advice or legal advice, and always discuss with a tax professional before blindly taking anyone's advice.
With that said, thank you so much for taking the time to read this article! I hope you found some value in what you read here and will apply this information in your life and success in your side hustle!