In an effort to answer the question of what the best mileage tracker GPS app is when doing delivery for gig economy apps (Grubhub, Doordash, Postmates, Instacart, Uber Eats, etc) I decided to put several of them to the test. All at the same time.
So what is the best mileage tracker app for delivery contractors? I looked at seven popular options, ranked them on five different categories. Who came out on top? Hurdlr was the best option based on my rankings, and Triplog was a very very close second. Read on to find out why.
How did I evaluate which GPS app was best for tracking mileage as a delivery contractor with Grubhub, Doordash, Uber Eats, Postmates and others?
The main purpose of using a gps mileage tracking app is obviously, to track miles driven for our delivery work. Because we can deduct 57.5 cents (2020) for every mile we drive for our deliveries as independent contractors, a good mileage tracking app can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars off your taxes.
I looked at these apps first and foremost from that perspective. I also took a look at how well they could document where we’ve been. In an age where some folks have figured out they can get free food by lying about not getting their deliveries, being able to document exactly where you have been is incredibly important.
I took a look at the value of the apps. Some of these apps are free, some have free and paid versions. I also looked at the impact that the apps had on battery use, and the extra capabilities that went beyond mileage tracking.
The ranking method.
I looked at five particular categories. Each of the seen apps were ranked from first to last in each category. First place received 7 points, second place got 6, and so on until 1 for last place. The highest possible score was 35, the lowest possible score was 7.
The categories are:
- Accuracy. How well does it actually capture the miles driven? Is it capturing everything? Are there any issues in the totals?
- Usefulness of mileage reports. How well does it document your miles? Can you use it beyond just tax reports? If I needed to use the GPS information to document that I was indeed at a particular restaurant or customer’s location at a certain time, could I do it with this program?
- Extra features. What else does it do besides mileage tracking? How easily can you access information?
- Peformance. We often spend a lot of time out on deliveries, taking our phone in and out with us on every stop. We need the phone for taking orders, for taking pictures of deliveries and navigating to the customers. Some of the apps use a lot of resources. A mileage tracking app needs to have less demand on the battery and be able to work when other apps are using phone resources.
- Value. What does it do for what you pay? Are the free versions functional enough?
And the winner is:
I’ll get it right out there. If you want the best pure GPS Tracking app for your mileage as a delivery contractor, none come close to Triplog. If you’re looking for something with a full featured expense and income tracking capability, Hurdlr is my recommendation.
We looked at seven apps. We also take a look at an eighth app – more on that in a bit. They were all run simultaneously on several occasions, trying to figure out which GPS app is the best at mileage tracking for Grubhub, Doordash, Uber Eats and others.
- Hurdlr: 32 points
- TripLog: 30 points
- Everlance: 19 points
- Stride Tax: 16 points
- Gridwise: 15 points
- MileIQ: 14.5 points
- Quickbooks Self Employed 13.5 points
There’s a lot of opinion that went into this. It was all my perspective on how each app compared on each category. You might come up with completely different rankings. Your rankings would probably be better than mine, especially for you.
So, you could go ahead and run all the apps at once and see what you think. (I’d love to hear about it if you decided to give it a try). Or you can check out my overview for each one. Let’s start low and go up.
Quickbooks Self Employed. 13.5 Points
Quickbooks Self Employed wasn’t designed primarily to be a mileage tracking app. Made by Intuit, Quickbooks is well known for accounting packages. As you can guess, this is meant to be a book keeping app for folks who are self employed. The mileage tracker was added in to support the overall expense tracking feature.
The link above is to the Android version. For IOS/iPhone you can go to the Play Store version.
Accuracy: 1 Point
There are two issues with accuracy where Quickbooks SE’s mileage tracking is concerned.
One is that a lot of automatic tracking apps tend to miss some miles. Quickbooks is one of the worst at this. They try to avoid tracking everything (such as walking) and so they program the app to only start tracking when you reach a certain speed limit. This can mean driving a fair bit at times before the app recognizes that it needs to start tracking. As far as missing miles, QBSE was the next to worst at this
The other issue is that there were a number of times that Quickbooks Self Employed simply didn’t track anything. There were even a couple of times where it posted duplicate trips.
Useable Trip Data: 1.5 Points
Outside of giving you a number, of telling you how many miles you drove, Quickbooks Self Employed was pretty much worthless.
All that Quickbooks SE gives you is a starting point and an end point. There is no record of the route that was taken. Instances like the above trip record are where this can be a problem. In about 2-1/4 hours, I completed seven deliveries, and this is all I have for a record of that time.
QBSE tied with MileIQ for last place.
Features. 6 Points
Of the seven apps that were compared, five of them were part of a package that included expense and income tracking capability. The extra tracking features made them the top five in this category, in my opinion.
In my opinion, there’s very little difference between numbers 2, 3, and 4 in this category. I’ve gone back and forth between Quickbooks SE being 4th and finally settling on second.
The reason that I’m tempted to rank them lower is that their income and expense tracking are pretty limited. You cannot customize the categories in the way you can with Everlance and Trip Log. This can be a headache if you need to track something that doesn’t quite fit within their chosen categories or if you wanted to track your income from different apps separately.
The reason I settled on second place is that Quickbooks Self Employed is a true bookkeeping package, where with the other two they’re features that are added on. The reports you can create with Quickbooks Self Employed are limited by Quickbooks standards but more than you can do with any of the other apps except maybe Hurdlr.
The other great strength is that Quickbooks SE has the best tax estimator for self employed individuals of any of the apps. Only Hurdlr comes close.
Power Use. 4 Points
The good news is, Quickbooks Self Employed seems to be fairly efficient. For an app that is monitoring to see if you started driving, QBSE was actually the app that used the least amount of battery in the time that I evaluated all of these.
The reason I didn’t rank it higher is that part of the problem in QBSE not recording every trip is related to power use. There are a couple of apps that insist on having the phone in full power or high performance mode. If you have a battery saver setting at all, it may refuse to track some trips. This may be okay for a lot of situations, but with as many hours as we may be out on deliveries battery drainage can become an issue.
Value: 1 Point.
Quickbooks Self Employed costs $15 per month. That’s three times as much as the paid versions of the other apps on this list. There is no free version of QBSE (some offers may allow a 1 month free trial, others will offer half price for the first three months).
I’m sure Quickbooks is going off their name here. People expect it’s going to be a great program. It’s stable and it works, but overall it’s a much less flexible accounting program than the other apps. The mileage tracker definitely leaves a lot to be desired.
MileIQ: 14.5 Points (6th place)
We go from a program where the specialty is accounting, to an app in MileIQ that is dedicated to being a mileage app. MileIQ doesn’t really offer anything else. There is a free version that will allow you to track up to 40 automatic trips in a month, and a paid version that costs $59.99 annually, or $5.99 for a month to month subscription.
Accuracy – 3 points
I did not find any instances where Mile IQ failed to track any trips. However, the total miles tracked were 88% of the baseline odometer reading. This was by far the worst of all the apps. For a person driving 25,000 miles and in the 12% tax bracket, that’s about $471 in extra taxes that have to be paid.
Useable Trip Data: 1.5 Points
MileIQ tied with Quickbooks for last place in this category. It’s the same issue here as QBSE: The only thing provided is a starting and ending location. There is no trip data or route information provided at all.
Features: 1 Point
This one was pretty easy. There are no features. All MileIQ does is track miles. There is no expense tracking or receipt loading or anything else that I could find. Even for expense tracking, I found MileIQ to be lacking in comparison to other programs that provided extra data based on the miles driven.
Battery Use: 7 Points
This was the best thing that I found about this particular app. It did not seem to bog the phone down or use a high percent of battery power. The app did give me notifications that they did better at knowing when a trip was starting if battery optimization was turned off, however I didn’t notice any times where no trip was recorded.
I wondered if it was possible that part of the reason for the less accurate readings was because of battery optimization settings. However, there was a full day session where I had the phone in full power high performance mode, and the accuracy was just as bad then. While that’s bad news on the accuracy side, it doesn’t seem like the battery issues were a problem.
Value. 2 Points
This is a specialty app. It’s designed to do one thing: Track miles. It costs the same per month as several of the other apps evaluated. It should at least track miles as well as or better than the other apps that have additional features. Instead, MileIQ is among the worst.
Mile IQ’s one saving grace is they do offer a free version. That version is limited to 40 trips per month. Considering that one day of delivery can take up several trips, you’re doing well if you can last a week with that limit.
Gridwise – 15 points (5th place)
Designed to allow gig workers to analyze their performance and earnings, Gridwise is a free program. Users can link Gridwise to their delivery apps and automatically pull down earnings data from those apps.
Mileage tracking is an important part of Gridwise’s information. You can tell the program when to start and stop tracking, and Gridwise will use the miles and the time you are tracking to evaluate your earnings per mile and per hour.
Ultimately, Gridwise was designed for rideshare and it’s most valuable features are useful for rideshare more than for delivery. They seem to have pivoted to putting more attention on delivery with the pandemic, but if they can find ways to add value for delivery drivers, they could become a more valuable app for delivery contractors.
Accuracy. 5 Points
Gridwise uses manual tracking. In other words, you tell it to start a shift and it tracks everything that happens during that time. This type of tracking tends to be more accurate, as there’s no guessing as to when to start tracking.
Useable Trip Data. 3 points
Gridwise is an improvement over Quickbooks and MileIQ in that you can see the route you took. Unfortunately, after a day of delivery, that route information is a giant blob of lines.
One issue with the Gridwise route map that makes it hard to use the data is, you cannot zoom in on the map to get a better view of which street you were on. About all it does for you is show you were near a certain spot, with no idea what the actual time was.
Features – 2 points
I like having data. I keep spreadsheets so that I can get a look at how I’m doing for the day.
Gridwise is designed to provide data. I like that. It’s a good fit for the geek in me. Unfortunately, the way that they gather the data makes the data not very useful to me. The potential is there tough to provide some great information.
Gridwise links directly to your delivery apps. That means it can pull data and provide analysis based on that data. It just doesn’t take advantage of that data very well. For instance, it provides information on earnings per hour. It calculates the hours based on the time that you had tracking turned on, instead of based on data from the deliveries. Based on this I had a 70 hour delivery session one time (having neglected to turn the tracking off for three days). I think it’s a great concept but isn’t implemented as well as it could be.
Battery Use: 2 Points
I did not experience any issues with Gridwise’s performance during times when the phone was loaded down with other apps or when in power savings mode. Everything seemed to work as well then as any other time. However, battery usage reports on my phone reported that Gridwise was using a higher percent of my battery than most other apps. This is true even in times when I do not have the app active and am not tracking.
Value – 3 points
Free is good. I’ll never complain about free. Unfortunately, there’s not much on the app at this time that really adds value. The mileage tracking is nice but there are others that do it just as well or better.
Stride Tax: 16 points (4th place)
Stride is another free program that provides some basic mileage, income, and expense tracking. It’s designed with the gig worker and driver in mind. Expense categories are very basic but designed to make it easy for contractors to figure out how to classify their various expenses.
Accuracy: 4 Points
Stride is a lot like Gridwise in that it tracks as long as you have tracking turned on. On most trips, Stride was nearly identical in the miles tracked. The only exception was one trip in which I started tracking, but for some reason the tracking never started. A few miles later I checked and found nothing had been tracking.
I’ve used Stride a lot in the past. There have been issues in the past with the app freezing, and a few times where the app duplicated delivery records. However, none of this has happened while doing the testing with other apps.
Useable Trip Data: 4 Points
This is another area where Stride is very similar to how Gridwise works. You get one big map with one big route. The only reason that Stride ranked ahead of Gridwise (instead of a tie) is that with Stride you could at least zoom in and identify which streets you were on.
This kind of route detail is only marginally useful if you want to prove that you were indeed at a customer’s location. You can show that you were in the area at some point of the trip, however there’s no time stamp that indicates even roughly what time of day you were there.
Features: 3 Points
As mentioned with Quickbooks Self Employed, five different apps have expense and income tracking features. Stride ranks last of all those. The income and expense tracking is very basic. If you have an expense that doesn’t fit within the categories that Stride chose to track, you’re out of luck. There is no online access in which you could add or edit data via a browser.
Battery Use: 1 Point
Stride is a battery hog. Whether you’re tracking or not, it’s using very high battery resources. On some days 11% of my phone battery use was by Stride, with a 7.4% average. None of the other apps are even close. The crazy thing is, Stride doesn’t even do automatic tracking, so there shouldn’t be as much need for it to be continually active.
Value: 4 Points
The good news is, Stride is free. The bad news is, you get what you pay for. Stride Tax app is usually pretty good at tracking miles, and the expense tracking is a nice extra. However, both features fall short of the free version offered by other apps. There’s nothing that I see that Stride offers that other free apps don’t do as well if not better.
Everlance: 20 Points (3rd Place)
This is a fairly full featured mileage, expense, and income tracking app. There is a web interface as well as being able to enter information through the app. Everlance has a free app which includes up to 30 automatically recorded trips per month and some basic income and expense recording. For $5 per month, you can upgrade to unlimited automatically tracked trips and advanced reporting.
Accuracy – 2 Points
Everlance was slightly better than Quickbooks and Hurdlr’s auto tracking mode when it did record. Unfortunately, it was like Quickbooks in that there wre times it did not record at all. There were significant lost trips during this test.
Usable Trip Data – 5 Points
Everlance is similar to Stride and Gridwise in that you get a map for each trip showing the route you took. The main difference however is that because Everlance can detect when you start and stop your trips, it will stop and start trips more frequently. Instead of one large trip for 22 deliveries, Everlance might break that down into ten to twelve trips. That gives you start and finish data that you can trace closer to the times you may have been at a restaurant or a customer’s place.
Features – 5 Points
Everlance is like four other apps in that it is a combination of mileage, expense, and income tracking. Essentially, I found it better at doing all that than Quickbooks Self Employed and Stride, but it didn’t quite catch up to the other two.
I think the user interface is a bit nicer than Triplog’s and it’s a little easier to use, however it doesn’t contain as much data and information. That said, Everlance is not far off from the others when it comes to the accounting side of things.
Battery Use – 3 Points
Everlance itself wasn’t as much a drain on the battery. In fact, it’s one of the best. The problem here with Everlance comes with its need to have the phone in full power or high performance mode. Part of the problem with accuracy is that it often would not require if the phone was set to optimize battery use. The issue isn’t the power drain, it’s that it requires the phone to be in a mode that can allow it to run the battery down faster.
Value – 5 Points
Everlance is a solid product. I think they’re not far behind Triplog and Hurdlr. Their paid version is also at that $5 per month level, which is very competitive for what it does.
One thing that could move them ahead of the others is, you can get automatic tracking with the free version. However, you only get 30 automatic trips per month. The problem is where you can get several automatic trips in a day. If you drive much at all you can use up those 30 trips in a week or less.
Triplog – 31 Points (2nd Place)
Triplog has a pretty robust mileage tracking system to go along with a full featured bookkeeping platform for tracking expenses and income. They have a free version that allows up to 30 automatically recorded trips per month, and a paid version that costs $5 per month (which seems to be pretty standard).
Triplog’s greatest strength is in their mileage tracking. It’s designed to work well for employees and for the independent contractor. The expense tracking feature is powerful and flexible and puts them above some of the competition.
Accuracy – 7 Points
Triplog has an innovative approach to the auto verses manual tracking question. They can monitor if you have any of the gig apps on, and if you do they’ll kick in the automatic tracking. When the tracking begins, they seem to capture every mile that is driven rather than missing some of the starting miles like the auto tracking apps do.
This allows Triplog to have the best of both worlds. In other words, you have the more accurate tracking that goes when the app is always tracking. At the same time, it’s less likely to miss any of the tracking due to forgetting to turn the app on.
Useable Trip Data – 7 Points
Triplog also reports their trip data in a way that goes well beyond any of the other apps.
The auto tracking portion of their mileage tracking sets them ahead of Stride and Gridwise. The app can sense when you’ve stopped for significant periods of time, and it will then create a new trip. That means there are several time/data points
The part that really makes it a no contest thing, in my opinion, is the map data. As you look at information for a trip, you can see the route that was taken. More than that though, there are points along the map where you can click or tap on it and see the details for that portion of the trip. This helps you narrow down the time you were at a location far better than any of the other apps.
Features – 5 Points
Triplog doesn’t quite have some of the bookkeeping and tax estimating features that Quickbooks SE and Hurdlr have. The expense and income tracking are powerful but not quite as full featured as the other two apps.
Triplog does have some additional features on the mileage tracking end. There’s an odometer feature that you can adjust to match your car, which is good for tracking total miles, commuting and other types of driving. It’s more flexible in the mileage tracking categories. There are additional reports specific to where you’ve been. They even have a last known parking feature, where you can have GPS guide you to where you last parked.
These extra features make it tempting to move it to number 1. I do think that the tax estimation capability is important for a lot of contractors, so that leaves this at an extremely, extremely close number 3.
Battery Use – 5 Points
Triplog did not seem bothered at all by battery optimization. The results were consistent whether in optimized or full power mode. It ranked slightly behind Hurdlr and MileIQ when it came to actual battery useage.
Value – 6 Points
This is an extremely powerful mileage tracker and a pretty decent expense and income tracker. For $5 per month, that’s a reasonable investment. I think the accuracy of this tracker and the lower likelihood of missing miles will actually more than pay for that $5 per month.
This does have a free version. You can do basic income and expense tracking as well as manual mileage tracking, making this a more powerful free program than the Stride app.
Hurdlr: 32 Points (First Place)
A few weeks ago, I’d never heard of Hurdlr. I actually stumbled across it when looking into accounting programs that would compare with Quickbooks Self Employed.
Hurdlr isn’t quite as strong on the mileage tracking side as Triplog. However, as a complete package, I think they stand out pretty well above the others. I think it’s competitive with if not better than Quickbooks Self Employed on the accounting side and does better than most the other apps on the mileage side.
Accuracy – 6 Points
Hurdlr has been substantially more accurate than the other automatic trackers (other than Triplog), capturing 98% of miles compared to the baseline odometer readings. At the same time, it showed no issues at all in being able to kick in while the phone was in power saving mode.
I’ve been playing with this app for a few weeks now and I haven’t seen it glitch at all so far. The auto tracking does cost a few miles (about $80 in extra taxes for a 25,000 mile year) – however it’s not as likely to miss longer drives as if you forget to start the app in the first place.
Usable Trip Data – 6 Points
Hurdlr does not have the mid-trip data points that Triplog has. It works a lot like how Everlance does, in that you have the route for the trip segments. The thing that sets Hurdlr well ahead of Everlance is that it’s more sensitive to stopping and starting.
On a 22 delivery day, Everlance recorded ten trips. Hurdlr recorded 45. That means you have a map with start and stop data (including time) for just about every restaurant AND customer location along the way.
Features – 7 Points
As I mentioned, I think Hurdlr and Triplog are very close to each other. I’m giving preference to the accounting and tax features that favor Hurdlr, over the extra trip detail that favors Triplog.
I think Hurdlr also beats Quickbooks Self Employed at its own game. Hurdlr isn’t limited in tracking apps individuall in the way QBSE is. At the same time, they are competitive with the kinds of reports available. In fact, Hurdlr has the option to upgrade to a true double entry accounting package which even Quickbooks Self Employed lacks (there is no migration path from QBSE to other Quickbooks versions).
Battery Useage – 6 Points.
Hurdlr was slightly better than Triplog in battery use, and slightly behind MileIQ. It did not have any of the issues with operating in powersaving mode that some of the other apps experienced.
Value – 7 Points
I created a separate account in Hurdlr to experience the free version. There are no limits on the number of trips that you can record or any of the expenses or income you report. Of the free options it seems to be the most powerful and unlimited option. The mileage tracking under the free app would be similar to Stride’s, with the exception that you can use a widget to start recording trips immediately from your home screen (as opposed to opening the app and starting a recording).
You can utilize the paid version for a much more full featured record keeping system than even Quickbooks Self Employed. There’s a lot of flexibility in how you record expenses and income. For an overall package that includes expenses, income and mileage, I don’t think anyone else comes close.
I keep mentioning I ran eight at a time, but only listed seven. Google Maps is number 8.
Maybe we could say Google Maps is the one sitting on the bench ready to pinch hit.
Google maps is not designed or intended to be a mileage tracking app. However, the timeline feature is one of those rarely known gems that was an incredible design. I used to run Stride as a backup to my mileage log (giving me visual data to support the odometer readings), until I discovered that Google was already giving me a backup.
Without even realizing it, you may have been tracking your miles for years. Some folks need to go in and enable it, others find it’s always been enabled. Go enable it.
Timeline isn’t as accurate as any of the other apps. It’s not meant to be. However, it does provide a reasonable history that is a legitimate form of documentation if you forgot to track any miles. You do have to do some extra work, since you’ll have to do some math adding each segment up.
Should you get one of these apps?
The answer to that question depends completely on how you prefer to track everything.
If you’re looking primarily for a mileage app, I think the Triplog is by far your best option. When it comes to actual mileage tracking, in my opinion it is by far the best app for delivery contractors with Grubhub, Doordash, Uber Eats, Postmates and others.
If you want a full featured app that is the best total package for mileage income and expenses for Doordash, Grubhub, Uber Eats delivery contractors, I don’t think anyone comes close to Hurdlr. It’s better than anyone at the expense and income side and beats all but one on the mileage side.
Or maybe you want to do what I did. Load them all up and give them a try. You can do it without paying through the nose. I was able to do it with first month trials on a lot of these. You might get different results. If you try it, can you let me know what you came up with? I’d love to hear how other people see these apps.
Okay, so having written all of this, which ones do I use? None. I keep a written log with odometer readings. I find it far more accurate than the mileage apps because either I might not record a trip right away, or the auto tracking apps seem to miss miles. It’s possible to do this because I know I’ve got the trip data in Google Maps timeline to support the miles if I ever need documentation.
Having said that, Triplog has been a revelation. I haven’t seen any others that solve the auto tracking problem like it does. I might have to think about that one…