Full Time Advice

@SoCalMama wrote:

I said that on page one and got no response at all. At $50 a day, she would be eligible for food stamps and welfare. That's called EBT/SNAP in CA.

My speculation is that she probably has some sort of supplemental income(s), whether the person has a spouse covering the majority of the income, a pension, trust fund, disability, businesses that provide passive income, etc.

EDIT: Lol never mind. Looks like she answered already.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 28 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/12/2018 05:23PM by Tarantado.

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@Tarantado wrote:

@SoCalMama wrote:

I said that on page one and got no response at all. At $50 a day, she would be eligible for food stamps and welfare. That's called EBT/SNAP in CA.

My speculation is that she probably has some sort of supplemental income(s), whether the person has a spouse covering the majority of the income, a pension, trust fund, disability, businesses that provide passive income, etc.

EDIT: Lol never mind. Looks like she answered already.

Hey there! Your signature says you shop along the front range in Colorado. Is it worth it? Do you shop full time there? I am very seriously considering moving back to Denver.
Kyrat, are you doing age compliance shops? I think the majority of shoppers are out of the demographic for that. You could really do well.
@Kyrat4216 wrote:

Hey there! Your signature says you shop along the front range in Colorado. Is it worth it? Do you shop full time there? I am very seriously considering moving back to Denver.

I like it, but very competitive. I only shop part-time though.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 28 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.
I live on the Western Slope of Colorado, about 5 hours from Denver. I keep up with the shops all over the state. It is reasonable to make 100-200 a day but not as easy as Southern California since Denver has less then 700,000 people and the closest cities are about an hour away if you wanted to travel. The real estate and rent is also going through the roof any where near Denver, although right now still cheaper than San Diego.
@Freemon21 wrote:

I live on the Western Slope of Colorado, about 5 hours from Denver. I keep up with the shops all over the state. It is reasonable to make 100-200 a day but not as easy as Southern California since Denver has less then 700,000 people and the closest cities are about an hour away if you wanted to travel. The real estate and rent is also going through the roof any where near Denver, although right now still cheaper than San Diego.

The city of Denver itself may only have around 700k people, but the surrounding cities, which are directly adjacent and within a 10-15 radius of Denver, add up to nearly 3 million people and are NOT an hour's travel distance away......

Real estate has jumped through the roof though, while our wages haven't adjusted to it. We're still making 2010 wages with inflation, while my home's appraised value jumped nearly 50% since I bought it back in 2013. I'd imagine the rental rates are experience a similar price hike as well.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 28 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.
@BarefootBliss wrote:

I don't think it's been mentioned yet - and I am not sure of your age - but conventional wisdom holds that, in addition to your living expenses, if you plan to do this as a full-time career, add to your earnings goal enough to put some away in a retirement account. The compound effect is most impressive if you start saving while young.

Thank you. That's excellent advice. I'm 21, so I imagine that if I start now, I'll have an impressive savings by retirement age.
@JASFLALMT wrote:

Kyrat, are you doing age compliance shops? I think the majority of shoppers are out of the demographic for that. You could really do well.
I applied for one or two, but I need to get into that more. The ones I saw are with a company I don't work with often.
@Tarantado wrote:

@Freemon21 wrote:

I live on the Western Slope of Colorado, about 5 hours from Denver. I keep up with the shops all over the state. It is reasonable to make 100-200 a day but not as easy as Southern California since Denver has less then 700,000 people and the closest cities are about an hour away if you wanted to travel. The real estate and rent is also going through the roof any where near Denver, although right now still cheaper than San Diego.

The city of Denver itself may only have around 700k people, but the surrounding cities, which are directly adjacent and within a 10-15 radius of Denver, add up to nearly 3 million people and are NOT an hour's travel distance away......

Real estate has jumped through the roof though, while our wages haven't adjusted to it. We're still making 2010 wages with inflation, while my home's appraised value jumped nearly 50% since I bought it back in 2013. I'd imagine the rental rates are experience a similar price hike as well.

I'm from Fort Collins, and lived there for nearly all of my life. I feel like it wouldn't be terribly difficult to make routes alont the front range, so long as the jobs are there.
@Kyrat4216 wrote:

I'm from Fort Collins, and lived there for nearly all of my life. I feel like it wouldn't be terribly difficult to make routes alont the front range, so long as the jobs are there.

Lol times are changing.... Grew up in Colorado Springs and lived in Colorado all my life. Traffic during certain times of the day make is nearly unbearable to travel across the city due to traffic. Otherwise, there are characteristics of a large city here in Denver such as many, many locations and opportunities, but add to the fact that the population growth here is also increasing.... Like I said, it's nearly 3 million people now here in the Denver and surrounding cities.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 28 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.
You are obviously bright and resourceful - in addition to being eloquent - all attributes that go a long way in this line of work, wishing you all the best. Personally, I don't think you should feel obligated to reveal any personal details unless somehow directly related to your original post....people like to jump to conclusions!
You should consider looking at Market Research companies. Focus Group participation can get you 100s of Dollars. Watch a new TV show video or discuss a product, service or political party and get paid by the hour. Work as a research associate to shopping malls, phone polls or even door to door (Never sales). Ask people questions, report complete answers and get opinions, get pay by the hour!
Who did those tests, which one do more people prefer, Pepsi or Coke? Market Research companies with an army of individuals paid for their time and expenses!

Stuck at home? Do QA by testing apps and services on line! Who tests those popular Facebook games before they appear online for the masses? Get paid reporting the bugs before they are embarrassing to a developer or worse.
All you need is a computer, maybe a mobile device and a good working knowledge of your country language! You need to be able to communicate in any of this type of work.

Yes, I did the Pepsi vs Coke one and many Mystery Shopping gigs in my day, since high school. Got lots of free stuff like gasoline, pants, Chinese food buffets, hotel stays, etc. I even participated in a test to see what can openers were preferred: Push button, tape tab or the style we have today! i check computer stores for correct advertising placement while shopping for supplies.
Mystery Shopping is fun, but I never profited from it. You get expenses reimbursed but that's usually about it. I do it when the shop is convenient or I would be doing the area or product anyway in my usual day's activity. I'm partially blind. I work as an independent contractor at utest.com full time and Mystery Shop when it is convenient.
Computerdoctor, some of us make a good amount of profit from shopping. I am glad you enjoy it in your spare time.
Sales jobs are so annoying.

They can kick dirt in your face, dress you down and tell you that your place is in the middle, when they hate the way you shine.
I have a spreadsheet that I put all of my shops in and color code it by day. That way, I can look at it and know that everything in orange I will do today. I also hand write shops on a month-at-a-glance calendar - it's less of a disruption to jot them down as they are assigned and then I go back and add them to my spreadsheet. You have to be very organized or you will be labeled a flake by the MSPs and that is not a good label.
Just remember at the end of the year, the IRS returns to you a set fee for mileage. So, really do not deduct your mileage from your shop fee. It returns back to you-use mapquest route planner, set you shops in a route form and it will show you the shortest route or the best route time wise. It also totals your miles and you the amount you will get back from the IRS. Print the page, keep it with paperwork on the shops you have completed, to use to prepare your taxes. Mileage is a business expense that you get back.
Huh?

They can kick dirt in your face, dress you down and tell you that your place is in the middle, when they hate the way you shine.
I'm in Colorado, as well.

I've been shopping since about 2005. My friend got me into it. She was shopping in college...back in the days when a shopper had to get a form from the MSC and hand write the results and mail it back (!!)

I am an intermittent shopper, though. I do it a while and then stop (for a few years, even).

Even when I do shop, I feel like I exhaust all the shops that are in my area, and I'm leery about driving because I want to make a decent amount to spend a day driving somewhere to do shops, and I'm not really sure how to get a "route" going.

There have been 4-5 times over the years when I drove into Denver and did 6-8 apartment shops, and that was good. Once or twice, I've driven to FOCO and done 6-10 shops, and that was good. But idk how to keep that up, really.

Mostly, whenever I'm going somewhere, I try to pick up a shop or two. When I visit my parents in the mountains, I will pick up quite a few bonused shops, and that's always nice.

BTW: also lived my whole life in Colorado smiling smiley
There are some CO shoppers who could chime in, but in my experience where I live, I sometimes like to do a mix of different types of shops in a day, such as a few basic almost no narrative shops mixed in with couple of heavy ones. Just me.
I shop on a part-time basis and have enjoyed the experience. Great suggestions have been shared and I agree with them all. I do use the spreadsheet for booked and pending shops and have registered with 20 companies so far. I do find you need to leave time for searching for shops to apply for and definitely time for report writing. I try to make notes in the car right after a shop so I don't miss important points and also do repeat shops as I am very comfortable with the guidelines and what to look for. Want to check into video shopping and the various ideas for market research/focus groups/QA to supplement MS.

I also agree that other shoppers should not be pressing for personal details and these are yours to share or not. If we keep this forum supportive vs judgmental it will be of much more value to all.

Good luck.
Thanks to everyone's advice, I've created a master spreadsheet which I used to plan my first route today! 3 jobs close to each other, and they're all easy valet shops. (Evaluate the valet, hang out and eat at the restaurant with small reimbursement), leave and check out the next one! $56 day (not great but it's a start), $30 snack reimbursements, and easy jobs. Thanks for all the help! Approximately how much should I be putting away for taxes? I need to get a filing system togetber for all of my receipts, and hopefully this spreadsheet will help come tax time as well.
As someone who does this full time I can give some basic advice for the OP:

1. Your budget is low. By that I don't mean that you can't live on $50 a day (or $1500 a month). I mean you can't live and run a business on $50 a day. If you want to "bring home" $50 a day you probably need to make $80-100 a day. For starters, not only are taxes not withheld any longer, but you will be responsible for 6.5% more than you have to pay when you are an employee. If your profit is $50 a day you will have to pay about $6.50 in FICA (the part that pays for Medicare and Social Security) and another $5 in Income Tax. So your $50 profit is now only $38.50. On top of that most people severely underestimate the cost of driving their car. You think oh I only put $10 of gas in my car for that $50 day. Well first of all that means your profit went from $38.50 to $28.50. More importantly you are not counting for the cost of your car. Yes, you already bought the car. But you will wear that car out and you will have to buy another car and if you have not accounted for that in your budgeting then you are screwed because your car died and you have no way of making money anymore. If you think you can get by with a $10,000 used car and you think it will last 100,000 more miles then at a minimum you need to account for $.10 per mile for car cost not even including gas or maintenance. And you absolutely need to keep that car maintained. Oil changes when recommended, good tires and brakes, etc. So let's say you drove 50 miles for that $50 day that you spent $10 in gas for you're now down to $23.50 in profit and you still haven't accounted for maintenance, parking, tolls, etc.

2. 20 MSCs is not enough. It's not even close to enough. If you want to do this full time you need to spend all of your free time for the first few months doing a few things. You need to sign up with every single MSC you come across. You need to constantly check MSC job boards. You need to keep good notes of when MSCs release shops. You need to keep good notes of what shops MSCs have. You need to spend some time checking the whole country to see what type of shops MSCs have.

3. You need to have a good record keeping system for shops you perform. It needs to keep up with the following information for each shop: fees, reimbursement, amount spent, total pay expected, date pay expected, and some way of identifying the shop (MSC, client, address, city, ect). You also need to keep up with the following information for your business: miles driven, tolls, parking, supplies and equipment purchased, hotel if spending the night away from home, meal allowances for taxes on overnight trips, bank fees, etc. This can be in any format you like. What works for me might not work for you. What works for both of us might not work for Shopper Z. Mine has evolved tremendously over the last 5 or 6 years.

4. You need to have a good record keeping system for shops assigned. I prefer to keep this separate from above. Many people don't. Find what works for you. What worked for me when I was only shopping locally was to have a spreadsheet with several tabs. Say Tab 1 was Escondido, and Tab 2 was El Cajon, and Tab 3 was Downtown. As I found shops I wanted to do or were profitable I would put them on the right tab. Ok there's a Bank A shop in El Cajon that pays $20 and a Fast Food that pays $10 and 3 gas stations that pays $10 and 2 retail shops at $15. I would put them all on that tab along with the fee and know that boom on Monday I can do these shops and make $90. That's an ok day, I'll go ahead and self assign. Then as I'm looking for other shops if I see something that fits on that day I can add it in. Or if I see something that can only be done on Tuesday I can go back and look to see if those can be moved to Tuesday. Keeping it separate made it less confusing and easier to look at for me. It might not for you. I also liked this format because then I could look and say hrm I only have half a day for La Mesa but I also have half a day for El Cajon and I can do those the same day.

They can kick dirt in your face, dress you down and tell you that your place is in the middle, when they hate the way you shine.
No benefits. Plus alot of shops you cant go back for a period of time my longest is 999 days. Plus there is wear and tear on your vehicle. I considered it also but so many of the big dollar shops you can only do once. Like opening a checking and savings account.
I don't do that much shopping, but if I did, I would use Google Calendar. Maybe two different colors for applied vs accepted, and I would put in the travel time too so that I could visually see if there were more I could fit in.
I really admire your discipline and determination! If you like SD, don't give up on it. I know alot of people who had lost their jobs and kept looking for work for over a year before they got back on their feet (and would do it again). Good Luck!
I don't do this full time, but I use the calendar that comes with my yahoo email to keep track of all of my jobs, both mystery shopping and none mystery shopping.

"Evolve thyself and lose all hate...." Orphaned Land
That has not been my experience. Merchandising seems to pay $10-12 an hour. I make significantly more than that.

They can kick dirt in your face, dress you down and tell you that your place is in the middle, when they hate the way you shine.
I too make more money mystery shopping, but I fill in the gaps with merchandising and it works really well for me.
@Tsandrews wrote:

I don't do that much shopping, but if I did, I would use Google Calendar. Maybe two different colors for applied vs accepted, and I would put in the travel time too so that I could visually see if there were more I could fit in.

I do this, plus more colors to mark the date pay is expected, the day it becomes overdue, and a final color for once it is actually paid.
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