I've been with the same employer going on 5 years. Almost a year ago, the owner relocated our business to the opposite side of the city so it was more convenient for them (< 5 mins to work). What was once a 20 minute drive for me, now takes 40 mins minimum, and can often take over an hour due to heavy traffic.

Over the past few months my employer has been asking me to stop and pick up product from one of our vendors "on my way to work" so he can save money on shipping. The problem is that "on my way to work" is 7 miles out of my way.

I have a leased vehicle and the company moving is already going to put me over on my mileage.

I'd like to tell him to have the product shipped like he does with all the other vendors, but I'm not sure how he'd react.

I'm sure he see's it as a reasonable minor inconvenience that I should just accept. But he also asks other employees with trucks to get things from the hardware store or help him move personal items without compensating them.

How can I communicate my concerns to the boss effectively with out signifigant risk to my job?

  • 8
    I would put that as work time, at least the trip between work and pick up place. I would also charge for the use of my own car. But that is me with my contract. I obviously don't know your terms. Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 17:56
  • 9
    If its a personal vehicle does your insurance cover commercial use? This could be very costly if you have an accident.
    – Neuro
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 18:08
  • Comments removed: Please remember that comments are used to help a poster clarify his or her post and are not intended for extended discussion. Please take discussions to The Workplace Chat.
    – yoozer8
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 19:19

2 Answers 2


Right now you are incurring an unreimbursed employee business expense. In the United States this creates a potential tax deduction, but in practice most people can't use it because it is in the two percent bucket.

The way most ethical business handle this situation is to allow the employee to file an expense report requesting compensation for using your personal vehicle for company business.

If you company has an official 'be here by' time then obviously there should be no problem with you coming in 'late' by the amount of time the side trip takes.

You have two choices, and I think you already know what they are:

1) Just keep quiet. Eat the extra time and expense, chalk it up the the overhead that goes with having a job in a very tough economy.

2) Tell your boss that when you are asked to make side trips on the way to the office then you need to be compensated for the extra mileage on your car, and that the time the side trip takes is part of your work day.

This risks upsetting the boss and possibly threatening your job or your promotion and future raise prospects.

I've never had a job where this kind of thing didn't come up occasionally. It's a decision every employee has to make for himself or herself.

How far 'above and beyond the call of duty' are you willing to go?


A way that has worked for me in similar situations is not to present a 'demand', it's often better to ask a question.

The next time you are asked to make a side trip you could just ask 'Do you mind if I file an expense report for that?'. That sends the message without a direct confrontation.

  • 3
    At least let him know casually about your car lease. He may not realize that this is costing you more than gas. At least knowing this, he may limit his requests some inteh future and if he doesn't then you know how bad an employer you have. He honestly may not realize how much this is costing you.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 14:57

Talk to him and explain that it is out of your way. If he persists, start demanding to be compensated in the form of expense report for the extra distance traveled to meet his demands (print the maps of your normal commute route and the extended pickup route for comparison). Also make sure you do it on the clock time, i.e. if it takes you an extra 30 min to run the errand, make sure you deduct that from your work day at the office. That is all I can tell you. If you absolutely oppose doing it, I would communicate that to him as being a chore outside your agreed upon job description.

Hopefully, this will get him to realize it is cheaper to have it shipped.

  • 5
    Unfortunately, many employers have taken to adding a sentence like "other duties as required" to people's job descriptions, giving them something to point to if you try to get out of something by saying "that's not in my job description".
    – Adam V
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 19:49
  • sure. in that case, he resorts to everything in the first paragraph minus the last sentence
    – amphibient
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 20:04

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