Driving a lot for Work

Joined
Dec 26, 2007
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NC
I am considering a new full time job which would require traveling throughout the week. 2-3 days a week I would be covering territory in NC, SC, Northern GA and Eastern TN, and there is a possibility that I would be driving up to 2,000 miles (or more) per month just for work alone.

I am curious to hear opinions from those who have experience with this.

I would be responsible for using my personal vehicle. On top of my base salary, I would be reimbursed as follows for mileage:

1. $0.65/mile per the latest IRS rate.

or

2. If I average over 1,300 miles per month, the employer would give me an extra $700/month (taxable) in my paycheck, and would reimburse me an additional $0.25/mile on top of that; instead of the $0.65/mile IRS rate.

I would be using my 2011 Mazda6 which has 165k miles on it. My plan would be to continue driving my current vehicle to make sure I enjoy the job first. If I find I like it, I would be open to buying a vehicle dedicated for work. I'm assuming based on work plus personal use, I would average 25-30k miles per year.

Does either one of the two options above sound better than the other? What else should I be aware of? I assume the least expensive option is just to drive a higher mileage reliable vehicle, since a new car would just be slammed with miles after a few years anyway? I am assuming a lease isn't an option for a work vehicle if I will be racking up 24k miles/year just for work.

Thanks.
 
Last edited:

GMFan

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Sorry I'm having trouble following, the 0.65/mile is a separate option from the #2 option?

That's correct. Option #1 would be if I drive an average of less than 1,300 miles per month. If I drive more than 1,300 miles average, I would be reimbursed via Option #2 instead.
 
Joined
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That's correct. Option #1 would be if I drive an average of less than 1,300 miles per month. If I drive more than 1,300 miles average, I would be reimbursed via Option #2 instead.
Okay that makes more sense then. You'll have to plot those out to find if there is a break even point, or if one is better than the other as far as your bank account is concerned. At first glance, option 2 looks like the better rate assuming you net over 1,300 miles per month, and I don't want to force you to share your base pay rate online for all to see.

Aside from that, I would look in to picking up a used low mile hybrid to only drive for work and a membership to Costco and/or Sam's Club.

Just having the club memberships and getting gas there will pay you back for the membership and save you money, even if you stick with you Mazda.

Here's a rough guesstimation--
With your Mazda, 24k miles will require ~800 gallons of gas per year.
With a Prius of the same vintage, 24k miles will require ~500 gallons.
Assuming $3/gallon gas, you save $900/year on gas
Extend that out 3 years, your hybrid would have an extra 72k miles on the odometer, but has saved you $2,700 in fuel.
Would the extra mileage wreck your sale value? Probably not.
 
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I worked for an xray company for 32 years and drove an average of 33K /year. I am retired now and don't miss it at all. We only got a company leased vehicle and gas and maintenance. was OK, but you are exposing yourself to a lot of bad drivers. Near the end I was hit head-on. That was my last companyvehicle and I got a job in remote service and a 20K raise. Was OK by me.
 
Joined
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CA
From a corporate risk management perspective, that is a lot of over-the-road exposure in a non-owned vehicle. It would not surprise me if the company moves to a company-leased vehicle at some point, so I would be very careful about buying a vehicle dedicated to this purpose.

Usually 12-15k/yr is the breakeven point for most companies to start considering a fleet vehicle for their employees.
 
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Virginia
The break-even point is 1,750 miles. Anything over that and option 1 pays more, under and option 2 pays more. If you want to maximize your earnings you would have to keep it between 1,300 - 1,750 miles/month.

My wife used to do 30k+ miles a year for her job. All I can say is, save that money. You'll be doing a lot of maintenance and buying a new car every 5 years.
 
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I would be using my 2011 Mazda6 which has 165k miles on it. My plan would be to continue driving my current vehicle to make sure I enjoy the job first. If I find I like it, I would be open to buying a vehicle dedicated for work.
Smart. But once you start the job you might be exhausted, too exhausted to car shop. OTOH taking an evening test drive when you've already been driving all day might show off a comfortable car's attributes.

Your existing car will start feeling very old, very quickly once you start whipping it for work.

The depreciation curve of Prii, at least, does not favor the gently-used. Buy a new car when prices stabilize.
 
Joined
Oct 23, 2005
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7,998
$ is not mine to decide.

I used to drive around 30k miles per year; and as far as vehicle, agree with your choice to drive the Mazda to sample the job. If it's good and once the Mazda starts to become unreliable, then:

1) Comfortable seats - huge difference with that many miles.

2) Port injection and extended OCI - highway miles are easiest on engines, and you'll save a LOT of time (which is at a premium already) and money extending your OCI. (using UOAs of course :D)

3) MPG - maximize what they're paying you.
 
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65 cents per mile seems easier to track, i like simplicity. i have only test driven the mazda6; i would want something comfier for my tush, a little higher- and plusher-riding, and hatchbacky, if i were a road warrior...buick encore?
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2020
Messages
1,106
I am considering a new full time job which would require traveling throughout the week. 2-3 days a week I would be covering territory in NC, SC, Northern GA and Eastern TN, and there is a possibility that I would be driving up to 2,000 miles (or more) per month just for work alone.

I am curious to hear opinions from those who have experience with this.

I would be responsible for using my personal vehicle. On top of my base salary, I would be reimbursed as follows for mileage:

1. $0.65/mile per the latest IRS rate.

or

2. If I average over 1,300 miles per month, the employer would give me an extra $700/month (taxable) in my paycheck, and would reimburse me an additional $0.25/mile on top of that; instead of the $0.65/mile IRS rate.

I would be using my 2011 Mazda6 which has 165k miles on it. My plan would be to continue driving my current vehicle to make sure I enjoy the job first. If I find I like it, I would be open to buying a vehicle dedicated for work. I'm assuming based on work plus personal use, I would average 25-30k miles per year.

Does either one of the two options above sound better than the other? What else should I be aware of? I assume the least expensive option is just to drive a higher mileage reliable vehicle, since a new car would just be slammed with miles after a few years anyway? I am assuming a lease isn't an option for a work vehicle if I will be racking up 24k miles/year just for work.

Thanks.
I get $0.55/km but my boss also pays my gas (2005 Silverado 4x4 which gets a lot of idle time and short trips for the work I do, land surveying/construction layout). I do about 2k miles a month also but that includes my commute which changes depending on where my jobs start and end for the day.
It's a pretty good gig. Was a huge raise getting the mileage check, I put a lot of it back into maintenance but mostly because I'm afraid of having to replace it with the prices of trucks. If you know vehicles and how to maintain them, you can do very well if the vehicle is already paid for and you can put 300-500k miles on it. If I bought a new truck all the mileage would go to just being able to own the truck.
 
Joined
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Cincinnati, OH, USA
The taxable part of option #2 sounds like a potential PITA-you will have to document ALL of your business miles. And, factor in the additional cost of commercial, I.e. NON-personal auto insurance-by the time you tack on gas, maintenance, tires, and wear & tear on your (already high mileage car) it’s not going to seem like that good of a deal. I’ve done it occasionally when our unreliable Ford vans have had issues, but I would NEVER do it with a new vehicle!
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2002
Messages
734
Location
New York, NY
I am considering a new full time job which would require traveling throughout the week. 2-3 days a week I would be covering territory in NC, SC, Northern GA and Eastern TN, and there is a possibility that I would be driving up to 2,000 miles (or more) per month just for work alone.

I am curious to hear opinions from those who have experience with this.

I would be responsible for using my personal vehicle. On top of my base salary, I would be reimbursed as follows for mileage:

1. $0.65/mile per the latest IRS rate.

or

2. If I average over 1,300 miles per month, the employer would give me an extra $700/month (taxable) in my paycheck, and would reimburse me an additional $0.25/mile on top of that; instead of the $0.65/mile IRS rate.

I would be using my 2011 Mazda6 which has 165k miles on it. My plan would be to continue driving my current vehicle to make sure I enjoy the job first. If I find I like it, I would be open to buying a vehicle dedicated for work. I'm assuming based on work plus personal use, I would average 25-30k miles per year.

Does either one of the two options above sound better than the other? What else should I be aware of? I assume the least expensive option is just to drive a higher mileage reliable vehicle, since a new car would just be slammed with miles after a few years anyway? I am assuming a lease isn't an option for a work vehicle if I will be racking up 24k miles/year just for work.

Thanks.
Sounds like a lot of fun.
Once u get a high mpg car you can really pocket the $$ :D
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2010
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3,636
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pa
in the end of my "career" carpenter construction i on average drove a thousand weekly in my 2001 jetta 1.8T modified + average 30 mpgs + with 4 snow tires it went well in Pa rough winters. for big highway miles diesels rock as a fellow worker commented ONLY getting 45 mpg in very cold weather in his vw jetta diesel wagon!! + the front heavy diesel adds traction + 2 to 3 hundred thou is often common engine life
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2012
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13,243
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MA
Wouldn't maintenance cost be a factor? Mercedes still offers an unlimited mileage warranty with their CPO cars so if you get one that has one year left on a 4/50k car, you can get 3 years of unlimited mileage CPO coverage so you can drive for 4 years and still be under warranty.

I would also think at 165k, what do you do if the car breaks down and you need it for work? I guess you're stuck getting a rental at that point?
 
Joined
May 7, 2020
Messages
402
Location
Ames, IA
I'd second the exposure to the public while using your personal car. I'd probably rotate through the best quality car with 100k miles on it when an replacement was needed, saving for it from the mileage you are getting paid. That will help keep depreciation from killing you.

My past jobs involved 30-50k miles per year, and there was always odd stuff going on. The worst was when a tire blew apart on a semi in front of me and slapped the front fender of my fairly new F150. It buffed out, but could have been worse.

Windshields....road travel eats them up. Hotels are ripe with thieves and door dingers.

That being said, I did just take a company trip that was 300 miles from home and used my own car because it was convenient and a pool vehicle was not available. Since my Camry has 232k miles on it, I didn't fear depreciation, and I hate the tires, so wear on them was no bother either. I looked at it as getting paid to take my car on a beneficial long drive.. My boss told me not to do that again and rent instead.
 
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