Let’s talk about how to track mileage for business using Mile IQ. But first, it’s confession time. You need to know that we’re rule-followers. To. The. Max. So much so that Amy actually wore her retainer (almost every day) when she got her braces off in high school, and Jordan was notorious as a little kid for taking blame when someone else did something wrong. Neither one of us liked to get into trouble as kids, and not much has changed as adults — especially when it comes to the IRS! — which brings us to today’s post: how to track mileage for business… without really having to keep track of anything!

Track Mileage for Business
As creative entrepreneurs, we’re always on the move. Can we get an amen? We go from one place to the next so fast that — by the end of the day — we forget where we’ve even been! Some of it’s personal, like a trip to get groceries. Some of it’s business, like a client meeting or wedding day. But it’s all a lot to keep track of and remember!

With all the combinations of personal and business drives, tracking mileage and keeping it all straight gets to be close to impossible — which is just awful, because then you’re stuck with either a) losing money by not tracking mileage at all, or b) tracking it wrong and risking a red flag on an audit. So, what’s the solution? Is there a solution? Fortunately, there is!

We’re rule-followers. To. The. Max.

Up until a few months ago, we tracked our mileage on paper. On paper, you guys. Partly because we’re frugal and didn’t want to buy a “fancy app,” and party because we’re stubborn. Anyone else have those traits, too?! Nevertheless, every time we drove anywhere for business, we wrote down our starting and ending mileage. It wasn’t a big deal most of the time, because Jordan drives and Amy’s in the passenger seat, so she was the dedicated mileage tracker. She’s also the in-car editor, Instagram poster, email responder, and much more. She makes good use of that passenger seat! And Jordan likes to turn the seat-heater on when she’s not looking just for fun! Like we said, it wasn’t a big deal. Until we were running late. Or Amy was on the phone. Or we were in the middle of a great conversation. That’s when it became a problem. Why? Because the mileage didn’t get written down! So, then, at the end of the month, we had to use Google Maps to put in our starting and ending location for wherever we’d been on November 11, 2014 to get the miles we’d driven. If we’d been multiple places on the  same trip on the same day
and some of it was personal and some of it was business, the math wasn’t fun! Trust us. And we’ve never been good at math. It’s been almost two months since we switched to Mile IQ, an app for your iPhone or Android that runs in the background (so it’s always working and you just don’t realize it) to track every drive you make from point A to point B. How does it do it? We’re not engineers — so we don’t know! — but we can tell you that it works! About fifteen minutes after your drive is done, if you open your Mile IQ app, a map will pop up showing you where you started and where you ended for each individual drive — even if they were in the same errands trip. If it was a personal drive, you just swipe to the left (you just swipe to the left!) and Mile IQ saves all the data for you in the cloud until you need it. If it was a business trip, you just type a comment about what you were doing, because, from what we’ve been told, the IRS requires that you state in writing why your trip was a business trip. You might hear others recommend just marking business drives as “business,” but remember, we’re rule-followers, so we’ll go the extra mile 😉

Track Mileage for Business

Your comment about the trip doesn’t need to be a complete sentence or even have punctuation, so don’t give it much thought, just use our system: what + who + where. It’s al little bit like the board game Clue, right? Amy and Jordan with the candlestick in the library!

Here’s a real-life example: client meeting with amy taylor at starbucks. That’s it! We write it in that order because it takes longer to write names with apostrophes and capitalization on phones like: Amy Taylor’s Client Meeting at Starbucks. That might be a little too Type-A for you, but we’re all about being as fast and efficient as possible with everything we do, because the seconds add up!

Here’s a quick word of caution, though: make sure to swipe your drives every night or whenever you’re just sitting around killing time. If you wait until the end of the month, you WILL forget some of the places you went, and then you’ll be searching through your iCal (like we were!) trying to remember.

At the end of the month, Mile IQ will email you a report in either Excel or PDF with a list of your personal and business drives (we just do business) dated, time-stamped, with all of your comments, the number of miles and — here’s the best part! — the value of the drives all totaled up for the month. Cue confetti! No math involved!

Track Business Mileage

Right now, the IRS says that every mile you drive is worth 57.5 cents. So, if you drove one hundred miles for business in a month, the value of the drive would be $57.50. But what do you do with that number once you have it? Well, there are a few options! And, like Olmec from Legends of the Hidden Temple always says, the choice is yours and yours alone. Also, let us preface this by saying that we’re neither accountants nor tax attorneys (Jordan dropped out of law school after about seven weeks!), so we’re just sharing what we do, so, like those horrible prescription drug commercials at halftime of football games, consult with a professional before use! Especially since everyone’s tax-filing situations are different, our way might not be the best way for you. Taking a deduction at the end of the year, instead, might put more money back in your pocket when your taxes are filed, said, and done.

With that in mind, since our business is an LLC S-Corp, for legal and tax reasons, we’re both employees of Amy and Jordan Photography. For mileage purposes, it means this: every time we drive our personal vehicle somewhere for business, our employer, Amy and Jordan Photography, is legally allowed to reimburse us for up to 57.5 cents per mile. Commutes don’t count, though. It’s just for jobs that require you to drive your personal vehicle above and beyond your daily commute, which for us is currently the kitchen table to the coffee maker most days, at least until the mail comes! (Jordan LOVES getting the mail! Walking to the mailbox is one of the biggest thrills of his work day. Anyone else out there?) What’s nice is that the money isn’t included as taxable income since it’s a reimbursement, just like if we bought something on our personal debit card on accident on Amazon (because we didn’t look at the card number) when it was actually for business. No big deal! We’d just write a check from our business account to us to fill that hole.

Long story short, friends, if you don’t have it yet, get Mile IQ! It’s only $5 per month (or one latte!) and WELL worth it! Because, if there’s one thing we’ve learned about being small business owners, our time is money, and there’s a limited amount of the first, so anything that saves us time AND makes us money is something we’re interested in! Our only regret about this app is that we didn’t get it sooner.

SAVE 20% on Mile IQ: Click here to save 20% on a new one-year membership! 

We’re so proud of our shooting and editing course students all across the world! They’re shooting better, editing faster and serving their clients better than ever before!

Looking for more resources?

Alisa

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19 comments
filed in: Education

    Christina

    What a great read! I've been using Mile IQ for 8 months and LOVE it. Quick question though...do you expense mileage and charge the client? Or just one or the other?

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Christina!

    Great question! It depends, actually! For anything in Phoenix Metro, we don't charge a travel fee. For anything outside Phoenix Metro, we do charge a travel fee, but it's separate from a mileage reimbursement. For travel fees, we're charging our clients for the extra time away from our office. For mileage reimbursements, we're basically charging our company for the gasoline and wear and tear on our car.

    Hope that answers your question!

    So sad it's not in the Canadian app store yet!! I use an app, but its still manual start & end number log. This would be so cool.

    Joshua Brost

    Hi Nicole-
    It's on our priority list! That said, we have a lot of Canadian users who have just downloaded it from the US app store.

    Amy & Jordan

    Canadians are like ice cream. We've never met one we didn't like.

    Joshua Brost

    Hi there-
    Josh from MileIQ here. Thanks so much for the fantastic blog post. Glad you're loving the app. I've sent you a private message, but we'd love to feature you in our blog!

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Josh!

    Awesome, man! Thanks! We sent you an email :)

    Kara Jones

    Do you get reimbursed for driving to shoots? I would think would count as your 'commute' since your occupation is a photographer and weddings arn't at your home?

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Kara!

    Such an awesome question!

    According to our accountant, driving to shoots isn't a commute, since a commute is something you do every single day from the same place to the same place. Also, since our place of work is our home office, anything we do that takes us away from our office for business is reimbursable, which is awesome! It'd be like if a photographer asked one of their associates to drive from the studio where they work every day to an on-location shoot. That photographer should get reimbursed for the mileage since they commute to the studio every single day and this is extra.

    Thanks so much for the question and let us know if we can help with anything else!

    Heidi Bartlett

    Brilliant. Added and purchased. My trips to my vendors add up, yo. Boom. xx

    Amy & Jordan

    Haha! Love you, H ;)

    Amanda Fothergill

    Just went to purchase it and the I don't think the promo code works anymore! Why did I not see this sooner?! lol

    Amy & Jordan

    Hey Amanda! It should be good until the end of summer! If you didn't the first time, try clicking on the link in the blog post and follow the instructions there. If that doesn't work, let us know and we'll get you taken care of! Best!

    Stephanie Snyder Benouis

    Just subscribed to my year of MileIQ after trying it out for a few weeks - really impressed with the amount of features and the developer's' understanding of what we need as business owners! Thanks for the recommendation and promo code! XOXO By the way, I emailed you before, and just want to say that I still tell myself "Don't fight the battle twice" when I start to worry about stuff - and it's still a mantra that works really well for me!!! Totally going to book a shoot with you guys if we ever cross paths. XOXO

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi Stephanie! Awesome! SO glad you love Mile IQ, too! It's been saving our life recently :) And, yes! We TOTALLY remember your email! That quote keeps us going and focused every single day so we're not getting side-tracked with worry. Big hugs, friend!!!

    Shelley

    I am so happy I found you both through the Turn it Up conference. You share a wealth of information and you make me smile! I am just getting started and I am so grateful for your help! Thank you!

    Michael

    Thanks for this insightful article. I am considering getting MileIQ for my wife and I as we are self-employed also and work together. Do you both have MileIQ on your phone paying for 2 accounts? Or how does it work for y'all because I read on the MileIQ website that they don't have functionality for multiple sign ins for one account yet. Thanks for your input!