Reimbursement Only Shops

What is everyone's thoughts on shops where the only money is reimbursement for a purchase?

I get asked several times to shops for a local restaurant where it is 2 entrees, 2 coffees and pie and the reimbursement is $35 and a pretty extensive report. I did it once for them.

Today I got an email for a shop at the Disney store and the only pay was reimbursement up to $20. I don't know for some reason I just feel like my time to do the shop, write the report and whatever follow up they want is worth something other than me buying something I probably would not have wanted in the first place.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/07/2018 09:31PM by cindycribbs.

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@cindycribbs wrote:

What is everyone's thoughts on shops where the only money is reimbursement for a purchase?

I get asked several times to shops for a local restaurant where it is 2 entrees, 2 coffees and pie and the reimbursement is $35 and a pretty extensive report. I did it once for them.

Today I got an email for a shop at the Disney store and the only pay was reimbursement up to $20. I don't know for some reason I just fell like my time to do the shop, write the report and whatever follow up they want is worth something other than me buying something I probably would not have wanted in the first place.

Right there. Personally, if the reimbursement is worth it for me, I fit it into my schedule. For me, $20 at Disney works a long ways in stocking up on gifts, or a meal with my sister or other friends for lunch. To others, that's not worth it; for me, money saved since my time is paying for it is income saved and more overall income for me.

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.
Cindy states---.......something I probably would not have wanted in the first place.

Bob's reply---You have answered your own question. I only apply for reimbursement only shops IF the item is one I need/desire AND the work:pay ratio is acceptable; both conditions must be met.
If the item or service is something that you would otherwise be purchasing, a lot of reimbursement-only shops can be worth it. Oil changes come to mind... My wife's car is 4WD and an oil change can cost $50 pretty easily. For a report that takes well under an hour and a needed service, this feels like a great deal.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
I do reimbursement only shops if I like the items on offer — for me the Disney shop is worth it because I can get something for my daughter. My biggest issue with reimbursement only shops is the balance between the item/meal offered and the work required. Lately I’m seeing too many shops — mostly restaurants — where the survey is too long for the value of the meal. If you are offering a $25 lunch you don’t get to ask as many questions/require as many narratives as you do when you are offering a $75 lunch. Lawyers have a term “client control” — I wish more MSC’s would exercise some client control!
@Julia2026 wrote:

I do reimbursement only shops if I like the items on offer — for me the Disney shop is worth it because I can get something for my daughter. My biggest issue with reimbursement only shops is the balance between the item/meal offered and the work required. Lately I’m seeing too many shops — mostly restaurants — where the survey is too long for the value of the meal. If you are offering a $25 lunch you don’t get to ask as many questions/require as many narratives as you do when you are offering a $75 lunch. Lawyers have a term “client control” — I wish more MSC’s would exercise some client control!

Client control = lost client. The MSC’s inadvertently set the standards and expectations with their clients for the shopper report expectations compared to the prices they’re paying for them. These clients will expect the reports paid for at the prices they’re paying. The sad direction I see this going to is more outsourcing to administrators, editors, etc. overseas to continue to mitigate costs instead of passing the work within this country.

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 work for cash, so it's very rare that I do reimbursement only shops. If I do a restaurant, then I am getting loyalty points and a meal for several days. That's worth it to me.

The internet doesn't make you smart. It makes you good at regurgitation.
Not a big fan at all of reimbursement only shops... unless I wanted to go there anyway. smiling smiley

Just out shopping around...
I take the client's margin into consideration when I consider a reimbursement only shop. At the Disney store, I'm receiving a $20 item, if I can find something in that price range. However, I'm actually only receiving $9.13 worth of cost to the client. So, will I do a Disney shop for $9.13? I purposefully try and find primarily reimbursement shops. Especially food and grocery shops, as their costs at quite high.
I take those that are worthwhile to me. Those where I have to spend my own money anyway.

Even then, they irk. The MSC does not do them for reimbursement only, right? So . . .
Fee based is different from reimbursement from a client's cost perspective. So a reimbursement needs to be more than the $10 I normally see. Retail is a 3x's mark up so a $10 reimbursement is really $3.
A $10 reimbursement is $10 regardless of how much it may have cost the client. Because you would have spent that much anyway to buy the item. It’s $10 back that you would not get otherwise.
One of the tips and tricks from the MSPA to MSC in ways to reduce shopper payment and increase their Client's and the MSC profit margin is to make payment in the form of reimbursement and/or a gift certificate for a future visit. So, yea, I consider everyone's bottom line and my percentage to theirs when considering reimbursement only or reimbursement with a small fee shop.
I couldn't care less about the bottom line for the client. Does it work for me? Is it a shop I would have done anyway and now I can take away a product for the price of my time, doing the report? If so, yes I am in.

Just out shopping around...
@spicy1 wrote:

I take the client's margin into consideration when I consider a reimbursement only shop. At the Disney store, I'm receiving a $20 item, if I can find something in that price range. However, I'm actually only receiving $9.13 worth of cost to the client. So, will I do a Disney shop for $9.13? I purposefully try and find primarily reimbursement shops. Especially food and grocery shops, as their costs at quite high.

I’m curious how you calculated $9.13?

@Lattegal wrote:

Fee based is different from reimbursement from a client's cost perspective. So a reimbursement needs to be more than the $10 I normally see. Retail is a 3x's mark up so a $10 reimbursement is really $3.

$10 reimbursement is still $10. What you’re referring to is invoice pricing, the price the retailer pays the manufacturer. Let’s talk the Disney Store since it’s mentioned in the OP. Disney is a unique retailer where you’ll NEVER see the same product close to invoice pricing unless you purchase used, stolen or as a majorly clearanced item.... So unless you have the inside scoop on purchasing direct from the manufacturer, it’s hard to look at everything as invoice pricing unless you know the actual invoice pricing and compare to the two. So for the $20 reimbursement for the Disney shops, it’s still shouldn’t be seen as worth $6.

@spicy1 wrote:

One of the tips and tricks from the MSPA to MSC in ways to reduce shopper payment and increase their Client's and the MSC profit margin is to make payment in the form of reimbursement and/or a gift certificate for a future visit. So, yea, I consider everyone's bottom line and my percentage to theirs when considering reimbursement only or reimbursement with a small fee shop.

That’s a weird way to think about pay. My company bills our clients $140 an hour for my consulting services, though I only get a fraction of that, while the rest goes to overhead for the company. Talk about getting screwed by being an employee. Then I think about the clients I work for, where they’re paying around $200M total for my company’s consulting work only to make BILLIONS from our products. It’s crazy how the world works.... and depressing at the same time.

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.
Love the Disney shops and wish there were more were near me! they are 2 hours away but great for a route. They have a fantastic clearance department, I've gotten a Spider-Man suitcase for $8 or Tinkerbell dresses for $3.
I also do not care what the retailer might have paid for a reimbursement shop as long as it is something I want. It does not need to be something I was planning to buy. Sometimes it is a treat of something I would not otherwise have purchased. I do not understand looking at the cost to the retailer. I have no idea how that helps the shopper in any way unless they have a way to purchase the items wholesale. If a tomato costs me 69c at the store but cost the grocer 20c so what??? I still need to pay 69c if I want one. But on the other side of things I live in a high tax state and I am in a tax bracket where any shop I do for a fee really only nets me 65% or so of the fee once I pay all the taxes and the other little things we have taken out of our paychecks here. So if I earned $20 for the Disney shop I could only buy an $11.80 item at Disney. With the reimbursement I can purchase an $18 item on that shop. (10%tax on each purchase). The work is the same either way. So as soon as my kids start having kids I will be all over Disney esp the clearance rack.
Disney shops have worked out great for me. Lots of gifts you could stock up for birthdays and Christmas. The last time I did one of those, I got a pair of slippers for my daughter and a fidget spinner that she loves. Earlier, she got a backpack and a doll house which I gifted to my niece. Overall, I see it as a free purchase.
I used to do California Tortilla under the old MSC. There was a fee on top of reimbursement. Under the new MSC, there is no fee and slightly more work involved. I'm doing it this Saturday because the purchase will get me a gift card.

@Julia2026 wrote:

I do reimbursement only shops if I like the items on offer — for me the Disney shop is worth it because I can get something for my daughter. My biggest issue with reimbursement only shops is the balance between the item/meal offered and the work required. Lately I’m seeing too many shops — mostly restaurants — where the survey is too long for the value of the meal. If you are offering a $25 lunch you don’t get to ask as many questions/require as many narratives as you do when you are offering a $75 lunch. Lawyers have a term “client control” — I wish more MSC’s would exercise some client control!

The internet doesn't make you smart. It makes you good at regurgitation.
I did too many restaurant-reimbursement shops in my younger days. I really do not understand it. You get a lousy meal and feel like you've received no compensation. Or worse, you feel like you've paid for that meal in more ways than one. Yet you are stuck doing the report after a lousy meal. No thanks.

Disney used to have stuff for all ages. The last few times I hit a Disney store it was mostly toys. I might be persuaded to do one as a charitable endeavor to stock up for Toys for Tots.

Evaluating and mailing packages since 1994
Although I rarely do reimbursement-only shops, when I do, it has to be somewhere that I am near already, and not have to go out of my way for, because the reimbursement isn't covering the gas to get there! And it has to be for something I truly need....AND....the report cannot be a novel!! Not for reimbursement-only!!

That being said, one of the BENEFITS of reimbursement-only shops is that NONE of it is considered taxable income, so that is a big plus, if you consider those types of shops.
I'll do ones for nice restaurants as long as the narrative isn't too long. But I really hate the ones that have no prices online, and then you get there only to discover there is no way you can order the required items and stay within the reimbursement limit. I got stuck with that once. The reimbursement was $75, but the required items were $110 minimum. Live and learn.
I was fine doing the papa johns for reimbursement only until this last one had multiple narratives added. Then I get feedback I need to leave longer narratives. The report has about tripled in length the past few months. Yep will not jump on those anymore will have to wait till there is fee added.
I'm curious if there is anyone who would actually do a reimbursement only shop for a product or service they had no use for and/or did not want?
@TroyHawkins wrote:

I'm curious if there is anyone who would actually do a reimbursement only shop for a product or service they had no use for and/or did not want?

Many times. Sometimes it’s a good way to open my mind to trying new things or to help me manufacture spend to meet credit card bonus requirements faster.

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.
@Tarantado So you’re getting something of value out of it? Even if it’s not the actual thing you purchased.
@TroyHawkins wrote:

@Tarantado So you’re getting something of value out of it? Even if it’s not the actual thing you purchased.

Yes. My favorites are reimbursement only shops that are >$100 or even closer to $1,000 in reimbursed purchases. For every $500, I can usually squeeze out $150-200 in credit card bonuses excluding cash back. Some cards I obtain $500-700 for every $3,000-5,000 spent depending on the card I’m working with.

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.
Oh yeah, sometimes I take reimbursement only to double dip (or to simply assist) on parking, tolls or other reimbursements.

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 would do it for something I didn't want if I knew I could sell it quickly. I did a high-end leather goods shop and got reimbursed $225 for a wallet. I knew this company's reports were not all that hard so I took it. I listed it on Ebay as soon as the report was approved.
I work for cash. Reimbursement only shops are for part-timers who do not mystery shop to pay their bills and who have extra time on their hands. Cash pays my bills. The electric company will not accept a junk food burger as payment for my electric bill. If there is a shop, an oil change or grocery store for example, that has products or services I need, I will do them only if I get paid a wage. Otherwise, they would no be worth the time.
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