As independent contractors, we are all responsible (or should be responsible) for keeping records and receipts of our personal costs as well as miles driven.  Come tax time it will make things much easier and help keep as much money as we can in our own pockets.  I know there are a few apps out there that help keep all this info in a seamless fashion, but I haven’t tried any, yet.  Maybe people will list some good ones in the comments section.

I keep my records on a spreadsheet that I complete after each shift.  I also save my gas receipts and file them each Tuesday.  It definitely takes some time and effort to do this, but once you are in the habit it’s second nature.  I have attached a copy of the spreadsheet I use at the bottom of this post for anyone to try if they would like.  There are a few numbers that will need adjusting depending on your cost per mile, the tax percentage you would like to withhold and the flat rate for delivery pay in your city.

My cost per mile on the form is .09 cents as noted in the Fuel Cost column.  To get your cost per mile follow these steps:

  • Before your shift, fill up your gas tank at a station as close to the warehouse as possible
  • At the warehouse, set your odometer to zero
  • Deliver as usual
  • When complete, write down your miles driven
  • Lastly, fill up your gas tank, again

You now have the figures you need to get the cost per mile.  All you need to do is divide the cost of the gas on the fill up after the shift by the number of miles driven.  So if your gas cost $11.45 (on the second fill up) and you drove 110 miles, your cost per mile is .104.  (11.45/110=.104)  Since the type of driving for each block is different, I used the average of this number over a five shifts.  (You could just do one shift if you don’t feel the need to be so thorough.)  You should also note that this number will change with gas prices.  Pay attention to larger than average price shifts in either direction and run the test again when needed.

The next figure you will need to adjust is in the Taxes column.  For my own purposes, I use 30%.  This is stated as .30 in the equation.  If you want to do 22% then you would insert .22.  I am not a tax advisor so you will have to come up with your own figure on this one!

Lastly, in the Hourly Wages column I have the amount as $18.00. Some cities are higher, so adjust that number if needed.

Once you have the above items set up for you individually, the spreadsheet is very self explanatory.  The only item you need to keep track of during your shift is the number of miles driven.  Once you are finished delivering just input the date, hours worked and miles driven.  If you are working for PrimeNow you can also input your tips.

Hopefully some will find this spreadsheet useful.  It will definitely give you a good handle on how much money you are actually making out there.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Flex Excel Spreadsheet

*One last tip- It’s good to get in the habit of filling up your tank before each shift.  There is nothing worse than having 8 minutes to make that last delivery and needing to stop for gas!




13 thoughts

  1. Thank you for all of this. Thats very kind and useful. I’m following. I’ve noticed Amazon Flex advertised $18.75 to $25 here in Portland, OR. Then all of the sudden, changed it to $18 – $25. That wasn’t cool. They’re doing it in slight ways here and there in their website. OR Fuel reimbursement from IRS is, .575 per mile. I already built my own spreadsheet darn it. But I’m checking out yours.

  2. My goodness, why would you keep track of actual gas usage, instead of using the standard IRS deduction? If you don’t want to do that because you are determined to use Actual expenses, and are only deducting actual fuel use, you’re going to pay far too much in taxes. In that scenario, you should also be tracking all wear and tear on your vehicle for the entire year, including tires, oil changes, car washes, repairs, other maintenance, allowable depreciation expense, etc.

    Oh… except then you have to track your non-business (personal) driving as well, so you know what ratios to use.

    … which leads us back to the standard mileage deduction. Forget about receipts, just run a standard mileage log with dates and starting/ending odometer, multiply by $0.54 (for 2016), add tolls/parking if applicable, and subtract that from your earnings. That covers fuel, depreciation, repairs, maintenance, and everything. Your accountant will thank you in April.

    1. Thank you, JPM for the comments and tips. Without a doubt, using the standard deduction is the way to go. I log the items on the spreadsheet for my personal knowledge and because I feel like it gives me a clearer picture of my earnings. I like to break it down so I know exactly how long I worked to pay for the bottle of wine I’m buying. I’m weird like that!

  3. I am new to flex. I am waiting for thursday morning @ 3:00 am to hopefully use your brilliant technique to get me my blocks for next week.

    First off I’d like to thank you for a great blog!!

    As a rookie, I was wondering about a few flex questions I have.

    What is Prime Time?
    How does the pay change during that period?
    How do we receive tips?

    Oh, Yeh also is 3:00 am thursday morning the correct time to try to catch the fish so to speak( with your brilliant technique)?

    Thanks for any help.
    Steve Rice

    1. Hello Steve, I’ve outlined the times that I believe are best to use the methods on this blog here. You will be looking for shifts on that day only. You won’t be able to set up your whole week. I haven’t heard anything about shifts being released at 3am on Thursdays. The weekly schedule comes out each Friday, but those are set shifts, not ones you try and pick up. They do release shifts at 10pm for the next day’s schedule, so maybe that is what you are referring to? As far as pay goes, there are certain times of the year and times during the day that may fetch a higher base pay. Sometimes you will get notification in advance when these dates are coming up. The amounts will vary in different cities. For PrimeNow deliveries you will get your tips two days after your shift. So if you deliver on Saturday, your tips will start hitting sometime on Monday afternoon. Hope this helps.

    1. I hope you find it helpful. Definitely note, as pointed out by some on the comments, that the IRS allows a write off amount of much higher than the figure the spreadsheet uses. I have the cost per mile set for my own purposes of tracking my earnings. Definitely tweak it to your needs.

  4. How’s it going out there in Flexland? I’m in Maryland and it’s been really bad here. I did 1 block this week and it was only $54 for 3 hrs with the same amount of packages. I wonder what’s going on.

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