Alex Marlantes, co-founder and CEO of Everlance, a San Francisco-based software company that developed an automatic mileage tracking and expense reporting app used by more than 100,000 customers, answers the most common questions he receives about their app. The technology was initially developed for freelancers such as Uber drivers, but has now started to take off within the construction industry as a way to very easily manage mileage and expense tracking.
Q: What does the Everlance app do?
A: Everlance is a 100 percent automatic mileage and expense tracker. The app is a set-it-and forget solution that uses your phone’s accelerometer and GPS to create a business mileage log. You can also snap a photo of receipts or integrate with your business credit card.
Q: So … a better expense tracker?
A: We think so. Essentially we’re using technology to replace the stack of receipts stuck in the glovebox of a truck or paper mileage log lugged around by so many people.
Q: OK got it, what kind of traction have you been getting?
Our iOS app was featured by Apple as one of their “Best New Apps” and a “Top Pick for iPhone 7.” Our Android app was featured in the Google Play Store as one of their “Best New App,s” so we’ve been doing well in the two app stores. Ultimately, of course, it’s about what our users think about the product, so the thing we’re most proud of is having the highest rated solution (4.8 stars, 1k+ reviews) in the market. We also closely follow the likelihood of a user referring the product to a friend or colleague. We’re pretty new to the construction market and already see a ton of potential.
Q: How would a typical construction executive use Everlance?
A: We passed the 100,000 customer milestone recently, and a big segment of those new users are from construction. The app usage is split between people who want a really easy-to-use solution for documenting expenses for taxes (such as an independent contractor or subcontractor) vs. those who want to use the technology to manage employee reimbursements or even generate invoices for clients. I think people get really excited by the fact that they have an actual GPS map and all the work is done for them.
Rather than taking all that time to fill out some spreadsheet, it’s now as simple as swiping a trip to the left for personal or to the right if it’s for work.
Q: What kind of expenses do people record in the app?
A: Mileage is a really big one. The federal standard mileage deduction rate is 53.5 cents per mile this year. One way of thinking of that is that if you drove your personal vehicle 10,000 miles in a year for work, that’s worth up to $5,350 as a deduction. That’s a lot of money for most folks. Many people, especially in construction when you might be going from jobsite to jobsite or running ad hoc errands, forget to record those valuable business miles. The idea of having an app that sits in your pocket and catches all of those miles for you has a lot of appeal.
Q: What sets your product apart from other expense tracking solutions?
A: I think the focus on creating an automatic solution has really resonated with people. If you look at the market, the vast majority of the solutions used are still pen and paper or something hacked together using Excel and a few other solutions. People are starting to think “there’s got to be an app for that,” and I think that trend has been a tailwind for us and other developers. Ultimately all of that data that lives on paper will be digitized to make life easier for everyone involved—it’s just a matter of time.
Q: So how much does it cost?
A: The basic service is 100 percent free. We hope that attracts a lot of people and that a portion of those will then pay us for Everlance Premium which has some additional bells and whistles. These are things like an administrative web dashboard, or the ability to set work hours to classify trips (e.g. 8-9 = commute, 9-5 = work) or the ability to integrate your bank account or credit card. Sometimes people ask us if we’re frustrated by the free users as there are some very real costs associated with geolocation data and storing the user data in a secure and private server, but we’ve always believed that the free users, even if they never convert to the paid tier, are incredibly valuable.
Word of mouth has been our #1 source of growth so we love the idea of creating a small army of salespeople to evangelize the product for us. We’d rather give that value to users than spend it on marketing.
Q: How can someone try Everlance?
A: Just take out your phone and go to the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. It’s a free app and it takes all of 60 seconds to get up and running. We’d love to hear more from the construction market, so if folks out there have any product feedback or suggestions I’d love to hear them; my email is email@example.com. Thank you!