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Instacart is one of the most popular gig apps operating in thousands of cities across the United States and Canada. As with many driving apps that pay, Instacart hires shoppers on an independent contractor basis.
If you sign up to shop and deliver with Instacart, you’re an independent contractor responsible for all your expenses. Instacart doesn’t pay for gas, vehicle maintenance, or auto insurance.
But you may still be asking yourself, does Instacart track mileage? Tracking mileage as a shopper is important because it will help you save money when filing your taxes as a self-employed person.
Below, we’ll look at how Instacart works, including whether or not they track mileage and what you should do as a shopper to track the distance you cover when making deliveries.
We’ll also look at how you can track your Instacart miles to accurately record the miles you put on your vehicle for every Instacart run.
Does Instacart Track Mileage?
Currently, the Instacart app does not track the miles for every shopping run you make. Instacart considers the estimated mileage when calculating the payment for each order, but this is not for reimbursement or tax purposes. You can see the miles you’ve covered for all your completed Instacart batches, but tracking mileage accurately is up to you.
It’s also important to note that Instacart will only track the miles covered to the store for shopping and the distance covered to deliver the items to the customer. The mileage covered at the beginning and end as you commute back home is not tracked or deductible.
Since Instacart doesn’t track mileage accurately, it’s up to you to track your miles for tax deduction.
You can track the miles manually by looking at the odometer after every completed order, but installing a mileage tracker for Instacart is more convenient.
Instacart will not track miles for every order you complete, but you can review all the miles you’ve covered in delivery by looking at your completed batches. You can look at your batch history and calculate your mileage from there.
Why You Should Track Instacart Mileage
Since distance is one of the factors that go into your earnings per batch, Instacart pays for mileage, right?
Well, not exactly. Instacart pays you for completing the deliveries, but there’s no direct reimbursement for mileage.
As such, keeping track of your Instacart mileage is essential. Here are the benefits of tracking your mileage.
You can claim the mileage you cover when making deliveries as a work expense come tax season.
The distance you cover picking up and delivering orders and the in-between deliveries can be deducted as part of your work expenses.
The standard IRS mileage deduction stands at $0.655 per mile. This cost covers costs like gas, maintenance, repairs, and even depreciation.
As an independent contractor, you can deduct all business expenses related to your vehicle. Terms and conditions apply, so it may be beneficial to talk to a tax advisor first.
You might be making a decent amount per hour working as an Instacart shopper, but you have to factor in your expenses to determine how much you actually make and if it’s worth it.
One of the factors you should consider when calculating your actual income is vehicle depreciation. Track how much you travel for deliveries using a vehicle depreciation calculator to determine your actual earnings.
Whether you work for Uber Eats or other jobs like Instacart, tracking your mileage is advantageous, as it helps you determine how much you make and can help you get a tax break.
Extra Reading: When Does Instacart Pay Shoppers?
How To Track Instacart Mileage
You can use several methods to track your Instacart mileage. Here are the three best methods you can use to track mileage.
1. Use a Mileage Log Book
One of the popular methods Instacart shoppers use to keep track of their mileage is using a mileage tracking log book.
You keep the logbook in the car and physically take note of the miles you cover in the book.
Log books typically have different sections where you can log in different figures. For instance, you can also include your payments and tips from the trips. It’s a simple and effective way to keep track of how much you drive.
A mileage log book is a good idea because it makes it easy to keep track of your income for every delivery, and you get a tangible copy you can reference when needed.
Moreover, you can easily find cheap log books for less than $10, so you don’t need much to get started.
Note, however, that you’ll need to keep separate records of the miles you cover when driving for Instacart and the miles you cover when you’re not working.
Only the miles you cover when working can be deducted as a work-related expense.
2. Use a Mileage Tracking App
Using a mileage tracking app is one of the easiest and most convenient ways to keep track of your mileage.
These apps have different features, so you can not only log your mileage but also keep track of your income automatically.
With dozens of jobs like DoorDash and Instacart, there are also several mileage-tracking apps. A mileage tracking app is designed to track your mileage automatically, so there’s little work for you.
These apps work pretty similarly, so you just download the app, log in as you deliver orders, and the app automatically tracks the mileage you cover on these runs.
Hurdlr is one of the more popular apps used by many Instacart shoppers. Hurdlr automatically keeps track of your Instacart miles and even helps you record your earnings for the deliveries.
Gridwise is another popular tracker app that many gig workers use. The app helps you find savings like mileage deductions and even monitors your earnings.
Gridwise helps you track the mileage for multiple gig economy apps, so if you’re also driving for DoorDash or Uber Eats, the app can help you determine which is the most profitable.
One of the best features of Gridwise is its tax reports section, where you can see how much you’ll save with mileage reimbursement when you file your taxes.
Instacart tracker apps trump logbooks, especially because the tracking apps do the job automatically. Just remember that you’ll need enough data for the apps to run, and have your charger on hand as they tend to drain your battery.
3. Manual Recording from Previous Batches
There’s one last way to keep track of your mileage: looking through your completed batches and manually recording the miles you’ve driven.
But does Instacart track mileage? Not for every delivery, but you can see the total distance you’ve covered for all your batches.
Also, remember that Instacart shows you how far you have to drive to make a delivery, so you can use this to keep track of your mileage. You can take weekly or monthly time to review your batches and note how much you drove.
However, this is not the best idea, especially because you might forget. Using a log book or mileage-tracking app is far easier to track the distance as you cover it. This way, you won’t forget, and there’s less work for you to do later.
Extra Reading: Instacart Shopper Tips To Make More Money
How Other Instacart Shoppers Track Mileage
Instacart shoppers use different methods to track their mileage. Here’s how other Instacart shoppers on Reddit track Instacart mileage.
- Jonathan Maloy says he uses Gridwise and is quite pleased with the app. According to him, the app also has reminders for starting and ending your shift in case you drive and forget to switch the app on.
- Surfaholic recommends the Stride app. According to them, the app is free, easy to set up, and has several useful features that can help you track other deductions.
- Natiawhitehead uses Self-employed by Quickbook and is quite pleased with the service. With an auto track on, it tracks everything, and you can review the details at the end of the day or your shift.
From the comments, using a mileage tracker is the most popular method, and it’s not hard to see why. A tracking app takes the work off your shoulders, so you can focus solely on making your deliveries.
Take time to do a little research into your options so you can choose the most suitable app for you. Each app has different features, so your needs should determine your choice.
Extra Reading: Stuck on the Instacart Waitlist? Here’s How To Get Off
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does the Miles Mean on Instacart?
Miles on Instacart refers to the distance covered to get to the store for shopping and the distance from the store to the customer.
Instacart uses several factors to calculate your pay, the distance being one of them. The amount you earn per batch is affected by how far you have to drive to make the delivery.
Does Instacart Track Mileage for Taxes?
Instacart doesn’t track your mileage for taxes. As an Instacart shopper, you work as an independent contractor, so the responsibility of tracking your expenses, including your mileage, and filing your taxes, lies with you.
There are several freelance bookkeeping software that you can use to make your job easier. The software helps you track your income and expenses, so you’ll be ready come tax season.
Some mileage tracking apps also have a feature to help you identify potential tax deductions to save money. Taxes can be pretty complicated, so you may have to talk to a professional.
What If I Forgot to Track My Mileage?
If you forgot to track your Instacart mileage, review your completed batches in the Instacart shopper app to see how much distance you covered. Based on the deliveries you’ve made, you can come up with a rough estimate of the total mileage.
One way you can avoid forgetting is by using a mileage tracker app. Apps like Gridwise will send you reminders if you forget to log in.
Keeping an accurate record of your income and expenses will be useful when it’s time to file your taxes and claim potential deductions.
What Is the Average Mileage for Instacart?
It’s hard to determine the average miles driven on Instacart, given that the job is flexible and drivers work however much they want.
Some shoppers work full-time while others work part-time. So basically, it depends on your personal activity on Instacart.
That said, a rough estimate, based on feedback from Instacart drivers, is about 60 to 250 miles a day.
What’s the Best App to Track Mileage for Instacart?
Hurdlr is one of the most popular mileage-tracking apps for Instacart shoppers and other freelance workers. It has both a free and paid version, so it depends on the features you’re looking for.
Gridwise is another popular tracker app for delivery drivers. One of the app’s benefits is that it also helps you track your earnings and has a tax reports section that shows how much you’ll save from your mileage reimbursement.
The app also lets you track your mileage for different apps simultaneously, so it’s great for people who work multiple delivery jobs.
The best mileage tracking app depends on your needs. Each app has different features, so your needs should inform your decision.
Does Instacart track mileage for tax or other purposes? No. Instacart calculates the distance you cover to deliver batches to determine your payment, but no direct reimbursement for mileage is covered.
Instacart shoppers are independent contractors, so you won’t get much help from Instacart with regard to filing your taxes or keeping track of your expenses.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to track your mileage using mileage-tracking apps. Depending on the app you use, you can get additional features like income tracking. This will make your work easier when it’s time to file taxes.
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