Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Tracking mileage, part of Starting Your Career in the On-Demand Economy.
- If you're working with a service in which you either drive your own car such as with Uber or Lyft or Sidecar or if you rent your car to others such as with Relay Rides, or getaround.com, you'll want to make sure to keep close track of your mileage. As of 2015, the IRS allows you to deduct 57 and a half cents per mile when you operate your vehicle for business. Depending on how many miles you're putting in, this could end up being a significant deduction. If you're not tracking your miles, you're leaving money on the table.
One of the simplest things you can do is to use the trip odometer on your car and reset it each time you start driving for work. At the end of your shift, note the mileage. Again, I suggest using something like a Google Doc or spreadsheet on your phone so that you can enter the data right away. And you'll automatically be able to access your data from your computer or other device later when you need it. You can of course also find specialized apps for tracking mileage. For example, doing a search for mileage tracker on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store will return lots of apps designed to help you keep track of how far you're driving your car for work.
Some apps, like this one called Mile Tracker for example, will even use your phone's built in GPS to automatically track your miles so you don't have to check your odometer and manually write down your miles. Many of these also let you track other data like your expenses and you can also scan receipts so everything related to your work is in one location and in one app. One app in particular I think is worth mentioning here is SherpaShare. This app was designed specifically with on demand drivers in mind and can help you see exactly what you're earning after figuring in expenses like gas, insurance, taxes, and depreciation of your vehicle.
SherpaShare becomes especially useful if you drive for multiple companies. They currently can integrate data from Uber, Lyft, Postmates, and Sidecar to give you the big picture on what you're really earning. It has built in automatic GPS mileage tracking so you can keep track of your miles whether you're driving around between fares or on an active job. And you can specify which miles get assigned to which job at your leisure later. SherpaShare is currently free to use so it's worth signing up if you're starting to put in a lot of hours or miles driving.
But the bottom line is you must keep track of your mileage on the job. Not doing so prevents you from understanding how much you're really making. And it makes doing your taxes at the end of the year hugely difficult.
Garrick Chow explains the basic structures of the on-demand economy and the skills and characteristics of successful on-demanders, so you can determine if on-demand work is the right fit for you. Then learn about the time commitment and expectations around pay, what the employer provides, and what one can expect from clients. Garrick then discusses tools to keep you organized, including how to best track income and expenses.
Finally, the course offers tips and tricks and a case study based on the author's firsthand experience as an Uber driver.
- Preparing to work on demand
- Managing expectations from on-demand clients
- Tracking expenses and mileage
- Optimizing your income
- Getting support online
- Case study: Becoming an Uber driver
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 05/26/2017. What changed?
A: A new video was added that explains how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for on-demand work.