Your Car Log and Shoeboxed offer two clever solutions to the painful process of keeping a vehicle log book. Both approach the problem differently, so consider which will work best for you.
I wrote a while back about using your smart phone to keep a motor vehicle logbook by taking a photo of the odometer at the start and end of each trip. I still think it’s a great way to do it but here’s two more:
Shoeboxed is a receipt storage solution I’ve written about in the past. Using its phone app you can simply click start and stop at the beginning and end of each trip. Using your phone’s GPS it maps and measures each trip, prompts you for notes and then sends the details to your Shoeboxed account in the cloud for safe keeping.
The key will be remembering to start and stop each trip, if you might miss that, you’d struggle with this. The app, and a basic “DIY” shoeboxed plan to use this logbook feature are free.
Your Car Log is probably safer (easier to enter data later if you forget) but a little more fussy. It uses addresses and meetings in your calendar (Outlook, Google calendar, iCalendar) to calculate travel distances and collates these into easy to use reports.
The main task is to get all your destinations and their addresses in your calendar. You can easily create and use “favourite” addresses (Home, Office, Client’s Office etc) and it can handle beginning and end of day travel to and from home if needed (without needing to put that in your calendar). You periodically upload your calendar to the website and it calculates the distances between each location. You’ll need to review the log, tell it which trips were business and personal, and populate any missing addresses or detours (it makes this fairly quick and easy). Reporting is good and the tools are easy to use. I’d suggest uploading and entering data regularly (at least weekly), and also keeping a different calendar to separate out vehicle meetings from all the other stuff that goes into your calendar/s. This will make sifting and entering data much easier when you upload.
It’s unlikely you’ll use either method to record all your weekend and after hours personal trips. If not, and you’re keeping a logbook for a fixed period of time, make sure you log the odometer reading at the beginning and end of your logbook period. That way, if you have all your business trips measured, you can work out the overall business use percentage at the end.