There are relatively few merchandisers on this board. I know a number of folks who started shopping a few years back who have migrated to doing more merchandising than shopping. They tend to do it for the relative stability of knowing every Tuesday they will be along this route of places to restock, so they can pick up odd extra merchandising or mystery shops along the way. The pay is similar to shops but there are no reimbursements of course.
On the positive side there is the steady work and steady payments coming in, on the negative side is that it is a structure like any employment that you are making a long term commitment to perform. (If I wanted a steady job I can think of a lot better paying ways to let someone else structure my time.) On the positive side any reporting is a whole lot simpler, on the negative side I don't see myself filling my garage with recalled peanut butter and recalled dog food etc. to be disposed of, nor do I see myself filling my garage with boxes of stuff to be taken to multiple sites to stock/restock or going to a site to stock/restock stuff that was to be sent directly to them only to discover it either has not arrived or is lost in their storage room.
Like with any Independent Contractor work, some companies are better to work with than others and some district managers are better or worse. There used to be a very active merchandising section at MSFreedom.org of shoppers who were merchandising. I have no idea if it is still active.
I started merchandising the same time I started mystery shopping. As I pulled in geographically, many of my mystery shopping jobs went by the wayside. Add rotation, and merchandising built up. Currently, I have several occasional merchandising assignments, a new weekly one, a monthly one, and one that sends me to several places each week with varied assignments. If they all gave me the assignments they promised, I wouldn't have any time to sleep. I don't know what I'm going to do around Christmas. Get a partner, I guess. I also do demos on the weekends. The one on Sunday starts after church. So, right now I have work seven days a week if I want to stretch it out that much. The pay for me is about what you see on all the forums. If any could pay 1-1/2 times more, I wouldn't have to work that many hours. My husband lost his job a few years ago, and still is in an underpaid profession, so we both work hard.
I still have a few regular mystery shopping jobs. I look for more, but they have to be in my geographic area. I have one outside my area next week because a family member needs eyeglasses and we will travel to the site. My most interesting current mystery shopping assignments were of a plumber and of electricity providers. The oil change ones don't come up often enough. I keep registering with more and more MSP's and merchandising companies. Sometimes they are one and the same. I also do a few gas station audits from time to time.
My husband has commented that I like variety. I am not bored with the merchandising. It isn't mindless work. I am always learning something new. A store employee, another merchandiser and I had a discussion the other day of when it is a gondola and when it is not one. I am always learning new ways to put something together, about new products, etc. I would never have thought I would be doing this type of work, but I enjoy it very much. Any pressure I get is dissipated because I have other people to work with in other stores, and other bosses. I don't have to do any of my work on the same day of the week. I do not feel as if I am in a crass, commercialized world, but that I am providing a needed service that helps companies and customers. There is a reason for everything even if it is not immediately clear to me when I am looking at the planogram.
We are required to give the expired food to the store to credit out or to destroy. Sometimes, if another merchandiser has a route for it, they credit it when they see where we've put it. Very rarely do we have real access to it or to anything to take home. I've heard of merchandisers being given things in warehouses, but it hasn't happened to me. The most I get is a box to reuse, and that doesn't happen in the stores that recycle. In some cases, such as old greeting cards, we are supposed to destroy them on the spot, even to the point of pouring bleach or water in the trashcan so no one else can collect them. I usually just tear mine because I don't want to get the bleach on my clothes.
As to pay, merchandising, especially if you are in a store for several hours, will pay better than MSing because there is less travel time. Occasionally, an independent merchandiser will get mileage or travel time paid.
I am home right now because I am waiting for a phone call I have to enter in the computer, so I can't go to work yet!
> Thank you both for your input. I figured the pay
> would be about the same. Flash, your post got me
> thinking about all the expired food for sale on
> EBay - I wonder if those are all merchandisers!
> Indeed, MSing and Merchandising are not going to
> get us rich, but like you, Sandra Sue, I like the
> variety, learning new things and not being in an
> I will definitely do more research on the subject
> before signing up with any Merch companies.
I, also, do both. When it slows down in the shopping world I can usually pick some merchandising assignments. As far as the pay scale, it definitely will vary with experience. I am an employee of a couple of strictly merchandising companies which makes it a little less competitive because you are offered assignments that are in your designated area. The company employs only a handful of people so I can usually get the assignment. I would imagine it depends on where you live too. Right now, though, both worlds seemed to have slowed down quite a bit for me so I'm looking for online shops and surveys for extra money.
I do both also. I posted some info on one of the other threads but I am a merchandiser for American Greetings and have 6 stores I see either weekly, bi-weekly, or semi-weekly. I stay very busy during the "card" holidays so mystery shopping is a perfect complement as I can sign up for more on my light weeks. I am an employee, not a contractor, with the cards, so can always count on a weekly check, but my hours vary greatly...from about 8 up to 37 max. I probably average about 15. It is great since I live in an area that does not seem to have a lot of mystery shops and unfortunately I have to skip some shops I would like if it is a busy card week. I think these two go together perfectly and I also do a few merchandising jobs for the MSCs. Good luck.