Mileage tracking is a crucial part of managing costs and operations for construction companies. With multiple job sites, a mobile workforce, and long distances driven, getting a handle on mileage can be a major challenge. This article will walk you through everything you need to know to simplify mileage tracking at your organization.

We’ll start with the basics – what mileage tracking is, why it matters, and how to do it manually. Then, we’ll look at the downsides of manual tracking and why digital solutions are becoming a must-have for construction firms. Read on to learn tips for accurate tracking, how to choose the right software, and how to get your entire company on board with better mileage management.

Understanding the Basics of Mileage Tracking

Mileage tracking simply refers to recording the total miles driven by employees or vehicles for business purposes. This serves two key functions:

  1. Documenting deductible business expenses for taxes
  2. Having data to analyze costs, jobs, and productivity

For construction companies, some key reasons to learn how to track mileage include:

  • Calculating driving costs for each job site to improve bidding and planning
  • Properly reimbursing employees for the use of personal vehicles
  • Identifying unnecessary costs from inefficient routing
  • Standard mileage deductions for business use of vehicles
  • Managing fleet vehicle use and maintenance

Given these benefits, rigorous mileage tracking should be a priority. However, the nature of construction work makes this difficult without the right systems in place. Drivers are often on the go to multiple sites, taking the most efficient routes they can. Recording every mile for every vehicle takes substantial administrative time and effort.

That’s why many companies still default to manual mileage tracking methods:

  • GPS odometer readings – Employees record odometer numbers at start and end of trips
  • Trip sheets – Drivers fill out forms with mileage info for each trip
  • Vehicle logs – A binder kept in each vehicle for drivers to record mileage
  • Expense reports – Employees enter mileage driven when submitting employee business expenses.

The problem is, these approaches are extremely error-prone. They rely heavily on busy employees meticulously tracking and reporting data. Even honest employees can make mistakes or omit mileage figures.

Why Effective Location Tracking Matters for Construction Companies

Location tracking presents unique challenges in the construction industry. Projects spread across states, regions or even the entire country. Deadlines are tight and workers spend most of their time out in the field or on remote job sites. However, having detailed and accurate location and mileage data is absolutely essential for contractors and crews. Here’s why it should be a top priority:

Verify Time on Location

With multiple concurrent job sites that are often far apart, verifying which employees are present at each location is critical. Location data confirms which workers are at which job site and when. This has implications for:

  • Payroll – Ensuring accurate hourly pay and job cost allocation based on real-time on-site
  • Compliance – Preventing fudging of hours or locations that violate labor regulations
  • Productivity – Pinpointing extended breaks or absences from job locations
  • Operations – Coordinating schedules, staffing needs, and daily progress across sites
  • Incidents – Creating precise audit trails should any accidents or injuries occur

Construction managers simply can’t afford to be in the dark when it comes to where their dispersed workforce is located minute to minute. Lack of verification opens the door to payroll fraud, compliance issues, and inefficient operations that cut into profits.

Map Efficient Routes

Driving routes between offices, equipment yards, and various job sites quickly add up for construction firms. Without tracking and optimizing these routes, unnecessary mileage can easily creep in, costing a fortune annually in fuel, vehicle wear and tear, labor hours, and wasted productivity.

Analyzing location data identifies optimal driving routes between sites given real-world traffic patterns. This fine-tunes routes to reduce miles driven so crews reach job sites faster. Over months and years, the mileage savings compound to deliver a huge upside.

Savvy construction firms also collaborate with crews to map out travel in advance using the latest traffic data. This coordination ensures miles driven and fuel costs remain efficient at all times across all projects.

Manage Fleet Costs

Construction relies heavily on fleets of company trucks and vehicles ranging from compacts to heavy equipment. Understanding usage patterns, mileage metrics, wear and tear, and maintenance needs is imperative to:

  • Optimize replacement cycles and avoid buying new vehicles prematurely
  • Allocate particular vehicle types to projects efficiently
  • Schedule preventative maintenance to avoid costly downtime
  • Right size fleet purchases rather than over invest
  • Identify underutilized vehicles to eliminate and save on insurance, licensing, storage
  • Assign vehicles to locations where they are needed most

Every mile driven has cascading effects on overall fleet costs. Construction firms must leverage location data to maximize lifespan, utilization and economies of scale across all company vehicles.

Streamline Recordkeeping

There are endless reporting requirements tied directly to vehicle usage and mileage – tax filings, expense claims, reimbursements, insurance audits, job costing analysis, emissions reporting, and more. Gathering this mileage data manually demands massive administrative effort.

Automated location tracking seamlessly generates these required mileage reports. This eliminates tedious manual calculations, creates one source of truth for records, and reduces the potential for errors. Staff avoid wasting time manipulating spreadsheets and chasing down mileage information. Instead, location data is automatically tracked and available in custom reports on demand.

Mobile Workforce Management

Employees spread across multiple job sites are difficult to coordinate. With managers blind to the real-time location of crews, it becomes challenging to optimize schedules, monitor productivity, and ensure adequate staffing levels.

Location tracking gives instant visibility into the field workforce. Dispatch is streamlined, knowing which crews are nearest to high-priority jobs. Scheduling keeps projects flowing efficiently, even with limited resources. Unnecessary overtime is averted by moving workers to cover understaffed sites.

Overall, it leads to smarter management and deployment of personnel. Combined with better routing, companies do more with less while keeping customers satisfied.

Safety and Compliance

Many construction vehicles require CDL-certified drivers and must follow strict DOT safety regulations. The lack of detailed mileage logs makes proving compliance almost impossible. This opens companies up to hefty fines, suspensions, or revoked licenses if audited or involved in accidents.

However, automated location tracking provides air-tight evidence of safety practices being followed. Managers have data to confirm designated CDL drivers operating appropriate vehicles, compliance with hours of service rules, and proper time off between shifts. Mileage reports also aid accident and incident investigations.

There simply is no room for error when it comes to fleet safety and compliance. Real-time location data is the foundation for construction firms to protect their business.

Consequences of Inaccurate Mileage Tracking

Construction companies simply can’t afford to be without detailed mileage reports. Here are some major consequences of poor mileage tracking:

  • Overpayment of reimbursements – Without accurate numbers, employees can inflate miles driven resulting in overpayment. Even 5 extra miles a day per employee can add up.
  • Improper tax deductions – Incorrect mileage logs lead to errors calculating tax write-offs for business use of personal or company vehicles. Audits become more likely.
  • Inefficient routing – No baseline for miles driven makes it impossible to identify and address routes that waste time and gas between sites.
  • Poor job costing – To accurately bid and track project profitability, having precise mileage figures is a must. Too many assumptions leaves money on the table.
  • Compliance risks – Not tracking mileage could violate labor laws or CDL requirements, leading to fines or legal trouble. Electronically verified data protects against this.
  • Lack of accountability – Without mileage data tied directly to employees, it becomes difficult to identify and address productivity or efficiency issues.

The risks and costs of poor mileage tracking quickly add up. It not only hurts the bottom line but also exposes companies to compliance violations.

Why Digital Tracking is More Effective Than Manual Methods

To cure the headaches of manual mileage tracking, leading construction firms are adopting digital solutions. Technology removes error-prone human data entry and provides complete and accurate logs.

Here are 5 key benefits of digital mileage tracking for construction:

  1. Automatic data collection – Advanced systems track mileage in the background without relying on driver input. This results in complete and consistent data.
  2. Custom reporting – Digital logs can be filtered, sorted, and formatted to deliver reports with exactly the info you need in seconds.
  3. Route optimization – Detailed data helps quickly identify unnecessary mileage so routes can be streamlined.
  4. Real-time analysis – Online dashboards give instant insight into mileage metrics for smarter decision-making.
  5. Enhanced compliance – Electronic audit trails meet stricter compliance and regulations.

Paper logs, spreadsheets, and manual calculations simply can’t compete with the accuracy, efficiency, and insight of digital mileage tracking designed specifically for the construction industry.

Tips for Effective Mileage Tracking

Looking to ramp up your mileage tracking? Here are 7 tips to make implementation smooth and successful:

  1. Choose user-friendly technology – The system should work seamlessly on devices already in use, like smartphones or tablets. Intuitive and familiar interfaces drive adoption.
  2. Train your team – Explain the benefits of tracking mileage and usage guidelines for the technology. Periodic training encourages engagement.
  3. Automate everything possible – The less manual entry required, the better. Automatic data collection through GPS and geofencing ensures accuracy.
  4. Access permissions – Give managers access to reports while restricting employees’ ability to edit logs after the fact. This prevents manipulation.
  5. Set expectations – Communicate that proper usage of tracking tools is required and tied to performance metrics. Enforcement is key.
  6. Regular access to data – Check reports frequently and take action on any issues observed. Employees will see you are monitoring.
  7. Continuous improvement – Leverage insights gleaned to further optimize mileage costs and enforce policies to boost ROI.

The right tracking implemented in your specific work environment takes mileage management to the next level.

Choose Exaktime

For construction companies managing fleets and a mobile workforce across large regions, getting a handle on mileage is no small task. However, accurate tracking and analysis of this data is hugely impactful for the bottom line and compliant operations.

Manual approaches like paper logs or relying on employee expense reports only lead to errors, inefficiency, and blind spots. Modern construction firms are adopting automated digital solutions to unlock the benefits of complete, reliable mileage data.

With customized reporting and usage policies, companies gain visibility into vehicle costs, optimize routes for efficiency, and ensure OSHA and DOT compliance. Advanced systems like ExakTime finally provide the answer to the headaches of mileage tracking. Their construction-specific tools with geofencing and GPS tracking offer an end-to-end solution tailored for heavy mobile usage.

Accurately capturing and harnessing mileage data doesn’t need to be the thorn in your side that it once was. Follow the tips and best practices outlined above, and you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time. Your crews stay compliant and focused on the job while you utilize data to control costs and run a tighter ship.