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We help people take great photos and build profitable businesses that change lives. We’re high school sweethearts, former elementary school teachers and professional photographers. We're experts at making the complex feel simple and believe education is serious business, but learning should be fun.

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How to Track Mileage for Business Using the Mile IQ App

Let’s talk about how to track business mileage using Mile IQ!

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, portrait session 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 stinks, because then you’re stuck with either a) losing money by not tracking business mileage at all, or b) tracking it wrong and risking a red flag on an audit.

One thing you need to know about us is that we’re big time rule-followers. (Especially Amy. So much so that she actually wore her retainer (almost every day) when she got her braces off in high school. Who does that?)  Neither one of us liked to get into trouble as kids, and not much has changed –– especially when it comes to the IRS! –– which brings us to how to track business mileage… without really having to keep track of anything or being worried about an audit.

Track Mileage for Business

We Used to Track Business Mileage… on PAPER.
We used to track business mileage on paper. On paper, you guys. Partly because we’re frugal and didn’t want to buy a “fancy app,” and partly because we’re stubborn, and once we’re doing something “our way,” we like to do things our way! Can you relate? We had a small binder for it and everything. 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 so much more. She makes good use of that passenger seat!

Remembering to track business mileage on paper wasn’t that big of a deal. Until we were running late. Or Amy was on the phone. Or we were in the middle of a great conversation. Or we forgot. 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, 2017 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 very good at math.

The App We Use to Track Business Mileage

The solution? We switched to Mile IQ! It’s an app for your phone 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 quick comment describing the purpose of the drive, 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 a little bit like the board game Clue. For example, “Amy and Jordan with the candlestick in the library!”

Just kidding.

Real-Life Examples

Here’s a real-life example: bride 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 to minutes. FAST. (Here’s a link to a post that will help you save more time every day!)

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

 

How to Make Money from Your Miles

As of 2018, the IRS says that every mile you drive is worth 53.5 cents reimbursed. So, if you drive one hundred miles for business in a month, the value of those drives would be $53.50. 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 they play during football games and the nightly news, 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.

Deduct or Reimburse?

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 53.5 cents per mile (as of 2018). 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. What’s nice is that the money isn’t included as taxable income since it’s a reimbursement, just like if we bought something for our business on our personal debit card (on accident) 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, it’s this: 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 Today! 

If you want to do a free trial of Mile IQ to track business mileage, click here. When your trial is up, you’ll be able to save 20% on a new one-year subscription using our promo link.

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  1. Christina says:

    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 says:

      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!

  2. 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.

  3. Joshua Brost says:

    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!

  4. Kara Jones says:

    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 says:

      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!

  5. Heidi Bartlett says:

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

  6. Amanda Fothergill says:

    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 says:

      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!

  7. Stephanie Snyder Benouis says:

    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 says:

      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!!!

  8. Shelley says:

    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!

  9. Michael says:

    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!

  10. Vee says:

    It’s great to see lovers doing business together and being great at it! Congrats to both of you!

  11. Dave says:

    Hey guys, I just started using MileIQ also! My free period is up, and I tried the link you listed, but it didn’t offer the 20% discount. Is there a code to use?

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We help people take better photos and build successful photography businesses. We’re high school sweethearts, former elementary school teachers and professional photographers. We're experts at making the complex feel simple and believe education is serious business, but learning should be fun.

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"I always look forward to your emails! I get excited every time I get an email notification that says 'Amy & Jordan!' Even though we've never formally met, you guys have pretty much become the photography mentor I've never had!" 

- priscilla T. 

"I LOVEEE the Monday Minute and I look forward to it every week!"

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