Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mileage Logger Earning Money Already!

In an earlier post I mentioned a cool device from the folks at Vulocity called the Mileage Logger that automatically logs all miles driven that can be deducted for business, and charity purposes. For 2008, the IRS allowable mileage deduction for business is 50.5 cents per mile. With gas prices fast approaching the $4+ mark in my area every penny we can recover is money back in our pockets!

It’s interesting to note that we put 38 legitimate business related miles on the vehicle yesterday. With gas prices in our area at approx. $3.50 gal, on a vehicle that gets 18MPG CITY, those 38 miles equated to 2.1 gallons of regular unleaded gasoline or roughly $7.38 in out of pocket expense for the fuel costs. Because the IRS allowable mileage deduction for 2008 reimbursable at 50.5 cents per mile, we’ll be seeing a tax deductible business expense of (38 x .505) $19.19 for those same miles! It's easy to see how quickly the Mileage Logger will pay for itself in a short period of time. If you drive in the course of daily business for meetings, sales calls, client visits, etc., how can you afford not to get one?

Utilzing a built in GPS receiver and a cellular connection, the device starts logging your miles driven as soon as the GPS detects movement of the vehicle. Once the vehicle has been stopped for more than five minutes, it logs the trip and sends the data via the GSM cellular network to company servers. I ordered a device and it was delivered to me within a couple of days.

The device is about the size of a pager or small cell phone and comes with a 6 foot long OBD II connector (On Board Diagnostic Terminal) to mini-USB power cord. A company rep explained to me that because many cigarette lighters are not powered when the vehicle ignition is off, the OBD II connection not only frees up the lighter socket for cell phones or radar detectors, it provides continuous power to the GPS device. While the device CAN be operated without being plugged in for up to 10 hours, it is recommended that it be left plugged into the vehicle at all times to ensure the strongest GPS and Cellular network signals. In addition to automatic mileage logging, you also have the option of purchasing emergency notification and on demand vehicle tracking features as well. And, depending on your insurance company, you may be able to get a reduced premium for having a GPS tracking device installed. (more money back in your pocket!)

Installation was simple and straightforward. I simply plugged the power cord into the OBD II connector under the driver's side dashboard near the steering wheel and plugged the mini-USB connector into the Mileage Logger. LED's indicate power and GPS signal reception. The instructions suggest simply placing the device in the front center console storage area, so I neatly wrapped up the extra cord, and tucked it under the device and stuck it in the cubby under the ashtray area. This also kept it neatly out of sight from would be thieves.

Once installed you simply drive. When vehicle movement is detected and logging commences, the device will give short series of beeps letting you know it's working. There are manual stop and start buttons on the device should you need to manually record a trip or go into an area where GPS reception may not work such as a tunnel or parking garage. I tested the device multiple times and so far it has performed flawlessly. After returning home, I logged into the company website and signed in with my secure account and generated a trip report. The servers automatically converted the GPS data into physical addresses for the starting and end points of each trip, along with the miles driven and other data. There you can mark the type of trip whether it was for personal, business, charity or other purposes along with a comment of your choosing.

The device is about the same price as a good radar detector, but is likely an allowable business deduction. And there is a small monthly cost associated for the cellular data service that makes this device work so well, which is also likely tax deductible. (consult your tax professional!) I'm very impressed with how well the Mileage Logger works and would recommend it to anyone who does a lot of driving in their job duties.

Save $15 on Mileage Logger - a business owner's most indispensable tool. Use code COUPON052008 at checkout. Offer ends 5/31/08

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