Reimbursement Only Shops

@AZwolfman wrote:

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.

Why not do both? The $100 fee shops I use to pay bills, while the $100 reimbursement only dinner covered enough meal for 2 for 2-3 meals I didn't have to spend my money for, but rather my time and gas expenses to travel there. In exchange, no meal prep, money saved from ingredients, etc.

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.

Create an Account or Log In

Membership is free. Simply choose your username, type in your email address, and choose a password. You immediately get full access to the forum.

Already a member? Log In.

Texas Roadhouse comes to mind as an easy report and the reimbursement for dinner at the bar saves me from cooking.

Kim
@kimmiemae wrote:

Texas Roadhouse comes to mind as an easy report and the reimbursement for dinner at the bar saves me from cooking.

Texas Roadhouse is one of the few major chains I respect and try to not take their shops for granted. The place is really good, especially for the price.

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.
@AZwolfman wrote:

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.

This is simply not true. I am a full time professional mystery shopper and I often do reimbursement only shops for things I want or need. Mostly things I want. For instance I have done 2 mystery shops recently that had $100 reimbursement with no fee. This was for a product that I would absolutely never spend $100 on but I was very interested in the product. The shops took about 30 minutes each including visit and report. Not only did I get a product I would never consider spending that amount of money on but I also learned some interesting things. This shop shows up quarterly and I love the product so I will absolutely be doing more of them in the future.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
@bgriffin wrote:

This is simply not true. I am a full time professional mystery shopper and I often do reimbursement only shops for things I want or need. Mostly things I want. For instance I have done 2 mystery shops recently that had $100 reimbursement with no fee. This was for a product that I would absolutely never spend $100 on but I was very interested in the product. The shops took about 30 minutes each including visit and report. Not only did I get a product I would never consider spending that amount of money on but I also learned some interesting things. This shop shows up quarterly and I love the product so I will absolutely be doing more of them in the future.

If you want to go into this detail, let's add on situations where you can obtain additional products beyond just the reimbursement... When combo'd with other projects (sometimes it's not needed), you can benefit in ways like:

1. Coupon offers. A good example is AMEX Offers such as when I received $20 for my $100 just for using my AMEX at a specific company.

2. Manufactured spending to meet bonus requirements for credit cards. Yesterday, I signed up for 3 credit cards, where I'll need to somehow spend $4,500 spanning across the 3 cards in 3 months. The reward for my situation? a $500 bonus total plus cash back and other perks. If there are simple and high reimbursement shops out there, whether reimbursement only or not, I'll take it. The food, trying out new or similar things, etc. is just a way to up my lifestyle a little.

3. Rewards programs such as hotels. Self-explanatory.

4. Gift cards that could be purchased at a lower rate. For example, purchasing Chili's $25 gift cards for $20, of a 25% discount. The shops are reimbursement only, but the shops are easy enough that I could be blacked out drunk to complete the shop and turn in the shop within 15-20 minutes.

5. Reimbursements for parking, tolls, lodging, etc. Self-explanatory. And you can double dip if you have other shops that'll reimburse your parking 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.
lol...I'd like to see the pics you take for the shop being blacked out drunk.

@Tarantado wrote:


4. Gift cards that could be purchased at a lower rate. For example, purchasing Chili's $25 gift cards for $20, of a 25% discount. The shops are reimbursement only, but the shops are easy enough that I could be blacked out drunk to complete the shop and turn in the shop within 15-20 minutes.

Kim
There is also another takeaway from "reimbursement only" shops, say the Disney or Lego shop. I have a friend who's funds are tight. She mystery shops in addition to her job. She would never purchase something from either store for her child, because she can not afford it. She does have time in between fee only shops where she will typically pick up a reimbursement on meal or something from Lego (which her child loves!). Last year for Christmas, Lego gifts were the only gifts her child received from her. The child did receive a few other nice gifts, but chose only to play with the Legos. This as they say was "Priceless".

I'd go on a diet, but that would be an insult to the fine people who make Cheesecake!
I certainly wouldn't exclude reimbursement shops, they are money in your pocket for things like food, oil changes,
hair salons and more, we all have to eat, have a drink, and enjoy, why not get reimbursed.....take advantage of all MS'ing has to offer.

Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken.....
Since the reimbursement for Lego dropped significantly without a corresponding fee increase, there are often less expensive ways to buy the sets. However, if I have other shops in the same mall, adding it on is okay. When you get a product you can use, reimbursement *can* be worth it. A meal is different. Unless the report is simple, there needs to be a fee attached.

Cruises, nice hotels with simple reports, 10-minute gas shops, and high value reimbursements are worth it. For most of the rest, show me the money.

Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2018 10:44PM by iShop123.
I agree with most everyone else. If it's something I can use, like an oil change, sure, but when it's a restaurant that is good but not great and I feel like I've either cheated myself by not getting the max reimbursement or overeat trying to make the max reimbursement, I'll pass.
@Tarantado wrote:

@AZwolfman wrote:

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.

Why not do both? The $100 fee shops I use to pay bills, while the $100 reimbursement only dinner covered enough meal for 2 for 2-3 meals I didn't have to spend my money for, but rather my time and gas expenses to travel there. In exchange, no meal prep, money saved from ingredients, etc.

...because while I am writing a lengthy fine dining restaurant report for free, I could be out doing shops that pay me real money since there are, on any given day, many more paying shops than I could ever have time to do.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/19/2018 06:55AM by AZwolfman.
I do them when I can use the stuff! Right now I am signed up for 6 Newbury Comics shops. Some will be Christmas presents, and a couple will be things for a care package for my kids at camp. I typically do the cash ones, but will do the reimbursement ones if it is a gift or item I need to get anyway. Then it's not money out of my pocket!
I do reimbursement only shops for a couple reasons:
1. bar and restaurant shops have lowered my entertainment budget to nearly zero; and
2. I get reimbursed but I accumulate LOADS of rewards points on my credit cards, which enable me to fly free and get hotel nights.
Reimburse-only restaurant and bar shops from last year scored me enough travel reward points to fly myself and my sister to Kauai.
How I calculate the value is: how long would I have to work at my regular job to afford this thing/ meal / hotel? Almost always, the answer is a lot longer than the work involved in the shop.
One scheduler, I don't remember the MSC, used to call me every month to do a reimbursement only restaurant. She was actually offended when I said no. I told her that I don't work for food, only cash.

@AZwolfman wrote:

...because while I am writing a lengthy fine dining restaurant report for free, I could be out doing shops that pay me real money since there are, on any given day, many more paying shops than I could ever have time to do.

The internet doesn't make you smart. It makes you good at regurgitation.
I have a 2 month old baby now, and let me tell ya I took as many of those Red Quanta delivery and takeout shops as I could during the first two weeks home. It was a lifesaver, especially since we'd often have leftovers so it was more than one meal.

Washington DC metro area - Need a dining buddy?
I have only done one reimbursement shop in my life. It was to open the door with a particular MSC. No, I only do highly bonused shops for them. IMO, reimbursement shops are not for professional shoppers.

I would rather spend my cash for products and services I need and not write a fee-fee report than to write a fee-free report and get the purchase reimbursed.
@Rousseau wrote:

IMO, reimbursement shops are not for professional shoppers.

I totally disagree with you there. Many professional shoppers do reimbursement-only or reimbursement-plus-small-fee shops. People's reasons are different, but that doesn't diminish their professionalism or their competence. There are some shoppers on this forum who are consummate professionals (far more experienced than many of us and whose skills are evident) and who do reimbursement shops. (I am not placing myself in that company, but I do consider myself a professional, if not full-time, shopper, and I do restaurant reimbursement shops, but those with an accompanying small fee.) Your opinion seems somewhat condescending.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/05/2018 02:13PM by BirdyC.
@Rousseau wrote:

I have only done one reimbursement shop in my life. It was to open the door with a particular MSC. No, I only do highly bonused shops for them. IMO, reimbursement shops are not for professional shoppers.

I would rather spend my cash for products and services I need and not write a fee-fee report than to write a fee-free report and get the purchase reimbursed.
Lol what? I take on many, many reimbursement only shops and I'd consider myself a bit of a professional in this business.

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'm a full professional shopper and I completely disagree with this take as well. I don't do a ton of reimbursement only shops but certainly do a few. I'm in the middle of a month long route right now. I've booked 5 reimbursement only hotel shops on this route. That's $500 in my pocket. I couldn't add $500 in shops to this route that would take less time than those shops did. Especially considering 3 of them also include meals that I now don't have to purchase. I also do reimbursement shops for items I want but don't need and generally would not spend the money on.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
That's the great thing about mystery shopping. You cannot put it in a box. There is a place for everyone whether it's reimbursement only, fee only, or a little of both. To each it's own. What works for one person does not necessarily work for the next. Take what you need from it and leave the rest for someone else who can use and value it. And that's all I got to say about that.
I've done almost $2000 worth of the food ordering takeout/delivery shops. I don't value them at exact price (maybe $10/assignment), since I'd never order food that often, but I also have only had to cook once in the last three months. I think my grocery bill for the same amount of time has been less than $100. They will have to pry this shop out of my cold, dead hands.
@shopsuey wrote:

I've done almost $2000 worth of the food ordering takeout/delivery shops. I don't value them at exact price (maybe $10/assignment), since I'd never order food that often, but I also have only had to cook once in the last three months. I think my grocery bill for the same amount of time has been less than $100. They will have to pry this shop out of my cold, dead hands.

That's an understatement. In my household, my sister and her family live in my house, while I'm just a single guy. Those guys eat a ton and I eat even more. So while I'm continuing to save on my food bill as I've always done through mystery shops (I'd average $10-15 a day when preparing my own food, or $305-455 per month for just me alone). For my sister's family of four, you can multiply that $305-455 per month amount accordingly. So yes, this is an incredible amount of savings thanks to that project.

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.
My aim is to never pay full price for any meal at a chain restaurant, and this year, I've been successful. I don't think I've eaten at any of those places this year and not been on a shop. Five steakhouse-type dinners, Arooga's (dine in and take out), pizza buffet, Five Guys, etc.

We could never have as many "dine-in" dinners as we do now without mystery shopping. Even when all four of us go, it rarely costs more than $20 or $30 out of pocket. Cheap eats for a family of four. We did a pizza buffet and got our "loyalty" discount plus the reimbursement. I think it cost around $10 for four by the time we were done. Plus, this frees up our budget so we can dine at locally owned restaurants, including some upscale ones.

I see no downside to this type of reimbursement shop. I'd do merchandise reimbursement shops if there were some close by that had merchandise I want or need. But most of those are around 25 or 30 miles from here in the outlet malls.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
Although I do take reimbursement only dining shops as it keeps my restaurant budget low, I've also taken them while traveling for work and on a per diem. I picked up an Arby's shop on Sunday with a reimbursement of $4. Normally I would never bother, but I was driving home from a client site, on per diem, needed to stop for something to eat anyway and it was an easy drive thru shop right at an exit.
Jb, also, what works for you this year, may not work for you in the future. When I first started, I didn't do food shops. A few years later, I didn't do shops that required me to spend money. Now, I almost solely do food shops. Life is never static.

@Junebaby wrote:

That's the great thing about mystery shopping. You cannot put it in a box. There is a place for everyone whether it's reimbursement only, fee only, or a little of both. To each it's own. What works for one person does not necessarily work for the next. Take what you need from it and leave the rest for someone else who can use and value it. And that's all I got to say about that.

The internet doesn't make you smart. It makes you good at regurgitation.
@tlin wrote:

Although I do take reimbursement only dining shops as it keeps my restaurant budget low, I've also taken them while traveling for work and on a per diem. I picked up an Arby's shop on Sunday with a reimbursement of $4. Normally I would never bother, but I was driving home from a client site, on per diem, needed to stop for something to eat anyway and it was an easy drive thru shop right at an exit.

Is it unethical to dip into per diem on another client's budget while grabbing it as reimbursement for a mystery shop? Or do you treat that similar to double dipping on parking and toll reimbursements, or reimbursements on the same purchases for 2 separate mystery shopping projects?

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 do not consider it unethical at all and don't understand why someone would.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
@bgriffin wrote:

I do not consider it unethical at all and don't understand why someone would.

Do you report your the double-dipped reimbursements as taxable income?

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.
@sarahshopper wrote:

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.

BINGO! I once did a Reimbursement only shop. The item cost $140 but I could so with it what I wanted. And I did - sold it on eBay and made about $90. Tax Free. No complaints there. That Disney shop SUCKS! Reimburse $20 but you gotta spend more than that. Then they ask all sorts of stupid questions with long details like "How did you feel heading into the shop?" and stuff like that. As for Papa John's - if I can't get paid to do it - no real interest in doing it. Only exception is if I can do an Online shop on a Tuesday. This way I can do a BOGO and get 2 pizzas for the office and look good doing so. I let the office know any costs over $25 they pay for. Cost is usually about $30 after all is done so each person chips in $1. They never complain because I am giving them lunch for $1.I will also sometimes do it if they have specials where I can get 25 Rewards points or something like that and then I will because that allows me to get 2 FREE Medium pizzas later on.

MY GRIPE comes from: Reimbursement shops only and where that won't cover it all. There is one MSC that pays $25 for some place for a nice Sunday breakfast. But you need to bring a guest and by the time all is said and done the meal costs closer to $40 than $25. They ask me to do those shops and I flat out tell them I won't do it without a $20 bonus. A few times I have gotten that and thus I did the shop. But mostly no bonus so no chance I go. BEFORE taking ANY shop I always check to see if the Reimburse limit covers what I am asked to get. If not - NOPE! My thought process is: If you are asking me to visit a place you need to cover the cost of my purchase or I have no desire to do it.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login