Tracking un-reimbursed business mileage is a must for any salesman. Trying to go back and remember where you were and when is not something the mind is very good at. You need to keep track either analog or digital … your choice. I’ve used both analog and digital and I assure you, digital is better. By keeping it on my Palm, I can export it to a spreadsheet at the end of the year and have all the information I need.
My current company has a mileage reimbursement, but not the full amount the IRS allows, so for tax purposes, the balance is un-reimbursed business expense.
Early in my sales career, I kept a small spiral notebook in the car to write down the mileage every day. From that I would manually calculate my mileage monthly. That took a lot of time.
My first electronic mileage keeper was a Sharp Wizard. I used a memo field to keep the numbers, and again, would manually calculate the mileage monthly. Again, a lot of time spent doing the manual calculations.
I bought my first Palm handheld January 26, 2001 at the Circuit City in Sugar Land, Texas. How do I know that? I recorded it in the Palm and synced it to Outlook where it still shows up every year. I soon discovered the huge collection of software available for the Palm and bought a mileage tracker for 19.95. That was a life changing experience. No more manual calculating at the end of every month. It was all handled automatically and synced to my computer. Unbelievable.
Some years later I found a free application called AutoBase. It had a lot more options and allowed for more details about each vehicle. This application has transitioned from my Palm Vx to my Palm Tungsten T5 and now my Palm Centro.
Last week I saw a reference to TealAuto. It is not a free software program, but I decided to download the trial to check it out. Wow! If you want to slice and dice to see which grade of what brand of gasoline gives you the best mileage … you can. And it tracks an almost unlimited number of options for more vehicles than I have.
Everytime I think I’ve found something it won’t do, I check the manual and discover it will not only do it, but do it several ways. I am throughly impress with TealAuto. It is now added to my salesman toolkit.
How do you keep track of your mileage?