I was reading the threads on the net money and was surprised on the gas expense of shoppers. So I'll share how I keep mine down.
I am performing shops for two days on one bus line. I pay $20 for a 7 day pass. Wednesday I was fortunate: I did 5 similar CS shops for auto parts. Interestingly I did two different companies which had stores within a block of one another. Jump off the bus, do two shops in less than 1/2 hour, jump back on the bus. Each required phone calls, which I made earlier from the bus. During travel times, I filled out the reports.
Only hitch was that I did the wrong scenario on the one side of town. I traveled to the other side to finish two shops and a restaurant. Fortunately the one that I screwed up on was a 24 hour store. But I did not return home until after 11 PM.
Today I kind of repeat that route. I am downtown, just finished four shops and at a coffee shop (non-shop). I will travel for a revealed evaluation of a healthcare presentation after which I do three retail shops and a dinner shop. Then off to the other side of town to perform two more auto parts shops and three department store shops (all in the same location).
But the time I get home at 9 PM, all I have to do is data entry, scan or photograph of my POV's and receipts. Total transportation cost? Less than $4.00. Total fees? $160.00 with $50.00 reimbursement. And down time in between to do what I want to do.
Do not read so much, look about you and think of what you see there.
Richard Feynman-- letter to Ashok Arora, 4 January 1967, published in Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track (2005) p. 230
Mileage is my largest deduction every year. Since starting almost seven years ago my gas costs per mile have been as low as eight and as high as 13 cents per mile. Factoring in all costs associated with operating my vehicle the deduction leaves me at least five cents or $1,000 a year ahead.
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> Great idea. I envy those who live in cities with
> good bus transportation.
I use TTC, our Toronto public transportation, when the shop does not specify a car. I don't have to worry about parking especially in some areas where the fees are prohibitive. There were a few times when I could have done more shops if I did not have a car, and at a fraction of a cost. Needless to say, I don't do "drive thrus" as I don't like doing them anyway.
I get a monthly pass which allows me to go anywhere in the amalgamated cities in the GTA. If I need to go to the suburbs, I pay an additional $3.50 for a two hour roundtrip. It needs planning to organize the trips and avoid long waits. I choose the subway train or the bus, or both, whichever would be faster.
One time, a friend insisted on driving when I invited her to join me in one of the upscale dining shops. It took us longer because of the traffic that I had to call the scheduler to reschedule my other shop. I was grateful that I had the other shops completed before we met. I could have done that last shop faster by subway.
I use public transportation here in New York for all of my shops. It costs me about 5 bucks round trip- generally I head downtown, do 2-5 shops, then take the bus back home. Sometimes I'll take a shop with a small reimbursement as long as it's easy just to "recoup" my transit costs. It'd cost maybe $6 in gas for me to drive down and back up into the city (not to mention parking) if I had a car so it's pretty much a wash for me.
I've got a bus pass to get into work anyway so I try to do as many shops as possible via bus transportation. Shops other than hotel and restaurant are typically done around my lunch break and I'll accept shops that are a single bus ride away. I've got DaBus app on my phone to track exactly when the next bus is coming (GPS tracking on most buses here) and waste very little time waiting for a bus.
This year I will actually put more miles on rental cars for mystery shops than I put on my own vehicle for shops, though I am an infrequent shopper.
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I have been using the Phoenix Transit System for more of my shops to flatten my expenses doing this. Phoenix is perhaps not the best place to use the transit system (though the system itself is much better than it was in the past) due to the fact that this city sprawls and sprawls and sprawls almost as bad as Houston does. I have a hard time getting shops in just one particular area to make things time efficient and due to this, I have learned to pick the better paying shops and to limit how far I'll travel on the bus depending on what the shop is paying.....unless there is a good reimbursement for something I want or need or could practically use, then it's worth my while to go a bit out of my way.
Case in point, I recently did a mall review shop which featured a $20 mall giftcard - bought myself a nice quartz crystal with that at a mall rock shop and also bought another quartz crystal with the same giftcard for a friend who is also a rock hound. In this case I was willing to go out of my way and I could see the value in doing so.
So for me there is some practical logic involved mixed with some considerations of fun, use, and value. What can I say, I'm a Scorpio, I'm all over the map.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/02/2014 01:44AM by squireparty.
In Ohio I use ADA Paratransit van, a door to door lift transportation, service. It can get expensive tho at $2.25 per each stop. I organize accordingly. For my trip to the airport on Saturday,I will take the ADA Paratransit van to the airport terminal. I have three bonused shops there. I will use the airport shuttle rapid commuter train back into the City (it's free for ADA travelers). Back in the City I have a couple of shops in the train terminal. The ADA Paratransit van will pick me up from the train station and deliver me back to my home front door, in the evening. Full day but worth it for me.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2014 05:30AM by Pooch5210.
I use the bus or walk when I do shops from work...The shopping center I go to is only a mile or so away and it is so much calmer to let the driver sit in traffic than doing so myself. The lot at the mall is usually full so when I take my car I spend 20 extra minutes circling looking for a spot. Then I swear I will never drive again. But sometimes my purchases are too heavy for bussing it. On nice days I walk one way. I find the bus and walking take around the same time when traffic is slow. Unfortunately the bus routes in my home part of town are awful so I drive or ride my bike if I can. AT times I drive to a bus stop and bus it from there. That is usually when the shop is in a crowded or permit only parking section of town. Most shops do not pay for parking and at $3 for each 15 minutes....nope.
> In Ohio I use ADA Paratransit van, a door to door
> lift transportation, service. It can get expensive
> tho at $2.25 per each stop.
RTA Paratransit vans never run on time. They can be either 30 minutes early or 30 minutes late and you have to be there when they get there. I used to work in a building that had many people that used it and I had to watch for the drivers.
So true yawarakai! I always have to build in time for the lateness. If I have an appointment at 3:00 PM I schedule to be there at 2:30 PM. You wait and wait for this service. And, when they do arrive the driver's are only required to wait for you for five minutes before they leave. The system in Ohio is terribly flawed. It takes lots of planning and patience to use the system. Last week, Thanksgiving eve, I waited three hours for a return pick up after my grocery shop. Riders often have no recourse. Kind people, who watch out for us, as you did provide a valuable service to seniors and disabled riders who have to rely on the system.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2014 10:27PM by Pooch5210.