April 26, 2018
If you're like most business people, you likely hate—or at least strongly dislike—tracking your business mileage. As a corporate employee, I found the process of remembering to write down odometer readings for company vehicles to be mind-numbingly exhausting. Now, as a business owner, I have more appreciation for the results of the task, but still little love for the task itself.
Don't fret—options exist.
In this post, we'll look at two of the most high-tech solutions for tracking business mileage. Both options come from major companies and involve some type of subscription model. You may, however, be pleasantly surprised to learn that some of your existing business subscriptions may get you free access to one– or both– of these solutions.
In 2013, Dan Bomze created MileIQ to be the first passive milage tracker by using the technology within smartphones to track when and where a drive starts and finishes. The idea was well received as an iPhone application, and later extended to Android phones. Two years later, Microsoft bought MileIQ and has since continued it as a stand-alone application with its own subscription model.
For just U.S.$5.00 per month, MileIQ can be viewed as either inexpensive or as yet-another-app-turned-into-a-subscription. There is a free tier available, but it places an artificial limit on the app to track just 40 total drives per month. This leaves the user often turning on-and-off the tracking service to only track key business drives, but this is no better than manually logging.
Given Microsoft's ownership of MileIQ, there is some really good news for small business owners: MileIQ is included for free with a Business Premium subscription (not Enterprise) to Office365. So, if you already pay for Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Exchange, SharePoint or the numerous other software titles and services included in the Office subscription for small-to-midsize businesses, you get access to MileIQ's paid features without any additional cost.
Intuit, the makers of QuickBooks and TurboTax, also have their own entrant into the mileage tracking space. In addition to the ability to manually track miles which has always been present, QuickBooks Self Employed now has the ability to passively track mileage as a background service in their iOS and Android applications.
QuickBooks Self Employed is typically priced around $10 per month and allows for the creation and tracking of invoices and estimates, as well as for collecting payment through PayPal, bank transfer, or common credit card networks (for an industry-standard fee), but the app also includes mileage tracking. It is important to note that you may have free access to QuickBooks Self Employed even if you don't pay for it! This Self Employed version of QuickBooks subscription services is available for free to anyone filing their taxes using the similarly named TurboTax Self Employed. Check and see how you filed your business taxes last year, because it may earn you a free mileage tracker (and invoicing!) tool.
Which of these two tools do you prefer? Microsoft MileIQ or QuickBooks Mileage Tracker? Weigh in with your thoughts below in the comments section.