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As a small business owner you need every advantage you can get as it doesn’t take much for the expenses to start piling up. This is especially true if you’re working as an independent driving contractor or delivery person. With the advent of apps such as Uber and Lyft a whole new generation of people have decided to try their hand at driving independently as a contractor – they’re attracted to the lure of easy money, but it’s usually not quite that simple. You have to consider the amount of time that you’ll spend sitting, the wear-and-tear on your car, and of course the cost of gasoline. All of these things add up and if you don’t consider them carefully you can quickly eat up all of your profits.The best budgeting apps for iPhone and iPad
Fortunately, for the independent contractors out there trying to make a living this way new apps have sprung up to assist them in tracking their mileage and expenses so that they can claim every available penny on their tax returns and leave as much money in their pockets as possible. One of the best examples of this type of app is Sherpashare – this is an app designed to “help drivers earn the most from their trips.” Sherpashare is a free app and it’s compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Sherpashare began as a web-based service back in 2014 and has since developed into one of the most robust apps of its kind in the App Store. It’s the brainchild of two entrepreneurs that met at a conference in 2014. This is kind of interesting as generally when you come across a startup company like this it’s the product of people that have known each other for a while – not ones that have just met. It seems that they clicked pretty well though as this app has become one of the most successful in the mileage tracking category within the App Store.The best iPhone apps for road trips
The two cofounders are Ryder Pearce and Jianming Zhou who both have different but complementary backgrounds that made their partnership work. Pearce had a background as an urban planner which certainly gave him a unique insight into how people get around a city. Zhou on the other hand came to the company as a software engineer, but he had significant experience with involvement in startups – one of them being a travel planning site. With their unique backgrounds they formed the solid nucleus that led to the creation of the Sherpashare app.
In just a couple short years, this app has grown in leaps and bounds to the point where they now claim more than 10,000 active users from various different ridesharing and delivery companies. Many of whom work for more than one company so they need an app like Sherpashare to keep everything straight. The idea is that the app gives those drivers the support they need to keep their financial house in order.
There are quite a number of other expense and mileage tracking apps in the App Store, but they all have some limitations. One we’ve reviewed in the past is Everlance – which is a great app, but it does require you to jump around a bit when entering information. The great thing about Sherpashare is that using it couldn’t be much simpler – in fact, it’s almost effortless. It’s also much better at allowing you to track your expenses with different companies – a key component for contract drivers.The best iPhone apps for doing your own taxes
The great thing about this app is that it’s well laid out and easy to use. You can navigate to any page you want with a simple tap on the menu bar at the bottom of the app and if you’re not sure how to use anything you can tap on the settings tab and use the FAQ page to find the answer to all of your questions. There are no ads, or in-app purchases and the app works seamlessly. This app will require 19.3 MB of available space on your iOS device.
When you run Sherpashare for the first time you’ll have to sign up by providing some basic information such as your name and email address. Once you’re all set up the app will give you a couple of tips to get started and then you can jump right into the process. As we’ve already mentioned above, navigation of the app is very simple with a basic menu bar at the bottom of the app.
The main sections of the app include: mileage, expenses, heatmap, chat, and settings. You don’t have to do anything to track your mileage other than allowing the app access to the GPS function in your phone. Once you’ve done this every time you head out the door in the morning the app will begin to calculate your mileage. Once you’ve completed a trip you can then categorize it as either personal or work-related – this allows you to track work-related mileage for tax purposes. The app recognizes a trip as being completed when you come to a stop. It’s all done automatically in the background and really makes the driver’s life a lot easier.
In the expenses section you’ll see a simple add button in the top left corner which you can tap on to add an expense. There are several different categories to choose from such as: gas, meals, phone, parking, training, and even carwash. If you like you can even use your camera to take a picture of a receipt and then add it right inside the app to keep track of it.
The heatmap function is quite a unique and helpful function as well. This actually shows you a map of your driving area indicating the busiest areas of driver use in the past 24 hours based on how they’ve logged into Sherpashare. It allows you to see at a glance where the areas with the most demand are and where it’s best to set up shop for the day.
As an added bonus there’s a built-in chat function that allows you to talk to other contract drivers to exchange advice and tips. It’s a great idea which I’ve never really seen in other similar types of apps. When you spend a lot of time on the road you don’t have a lot of time to interact with your peers, but when you use this function you can keep in touch with them daily.
In the settings section you’ll find some standard information and links to feedback and support. There’s also a great FAQ page which will answer most of your questions. You can also change the settings for your mileage tracking from within the settings function as well.
Before I had the chance to review Sherpashare, I honestly felt that Everlance was the best expense and mileage tracker available in the App Store. After having a chance to try out this app, there is no doubt in my mind that I was wrong. Like Everlance, this is a free app, but it also includes some features that you won’t find in Everlance. In particular, I like the fact that it automatically starts and stops your trips based on your movement, it includes a heatmap to determine high-traffic areas, and it has a great chat function. All of these things together create a winning combination that makes Sherpashare a must have app for contract drivers.
Allan is a freelance writer who loves scouring the App Store for exciting, intriguing and unique apps.