How to keep track of the shops that I've applied for

I've been shopping for maybe a year, and have had to up my game due to a change in life. How in the heck do you keep track of each of the shops via various MSC's that you've applied for and then when accepted, how do you manage the dates and times and routes? For example, I'm signed up with 15 companies, and since many of them do not send out emails about shops that have been approved, I feel like I'm letting them down when I "miss" that approval. Do you have a routine? Log in every day and write down things with pen and paper? Use a calendar? Use an excel ss? I do like what I do and travel 32 miles to the big city. I try to bundle them to make the drive worthwhile. However, I get confused and sometimes miss the shop and have to redrive down the next day. Suggestions anyone? Thank you so much!

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I use an Excel spreadsheet. When I apply for a job, I put it on the my spreadsheet - which includes the MSC and potential shop date - and mark it as "pending." This way I make sure I check MSC website to see if it has been granted to me. If I don't get the job, I can easily change the status.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
I put it in my Google Calendar like this: ???Shop - $ - MSC???. If I get the shop, I remove the ???s and update my Excel workbook. If I don't get it, the line gets deleted.

The reason why I put it into my calendar is so I can save space on that day.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
I do that also. I put "hold for MSC x bank" on the calendar. Then either remove it if not assigned, or lock it into the calendar, adding the fee there. (plus reimbursement, if any). That way I really only need the calendar, not also a worksheet. Those doing a lot of shops on a route or just a lot of low fee shops may need more record keeping. But I try to do a few well paid shops, so this works for me. Whatever floats your boat.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I have one of those 3 year calendars, blocks to write in, using a pencil. When I apply I put in the shop, MSC. location and payment, I add a question mark. If I get the shop I just erase the question mark. Once I get paid I mark the payment, date, MSC in a separate book. If I want to make a route, which I shop 2 to 3 shops in a day, I just look at the location on the calendar and schedule another shop same area. This is next to my computer at all times, I never have to look anything up.
I have a very sophisticated system in which I jot them down on the back of an envelope and cross them off if I don't get them. As long as I can keep track I don't like to go to a lot of trouble for shops I don't have and may never get.

Shops that I actually do go into a variation of the spreadsheet that can be found on this forum.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/09/2019 12:49AM by panama18.
I have a pocket calender I put everthing in. I have it with me all the time so if i get a text while I am out I can check my calender. If i have applied and it is not for sure yet I put a ? Next to it.
I do like MFJohnston. I put the shop in my spreadheet, just as if it had been assigned to me, but I use a color code to show its pending. By putting it in my schedule, I know to keep that date open in case it is assigned, or I know to cancel the application if I plan something else for that day.
I also use a color code for a field sometimes used for the type of shop (teller, CSR, ink). If i don't need to record the type of shop in that cell, I type "Requested" and conditional formatting automatically turns the cell yellow. If I need to enter the type of shop, I manually change the color to yellow. I also use yellow for the reimbursement cell. I enter the maximum reimbursement and change the cell to yellow. After the shop, I enter the actual number and change the color to light green. I learned to enter shops when i apply for the because not every MSC sends an email when they accept the shop. I periodically check on the Requested/yellow shops to see if they have been assigned to me or if they are gone (different MSCs use different ways of showing shops assigned to someone else), in which case i just delete the row.
@mystery2me wrote:

I do like MFJohnston. I put the shop in my spreadheet, just as if it had been assigned to me, but I use a color code to show its pending. By putting it in my schedule, I know to keep that date open in case it is assigned, or I know to cancel the application if I plan something else for that day.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
Daily Google spread sheet like others. Pending shops deleted if not assigned. Completed and submitted move up to chronological and done shops. Can mark fee when paid also.
Out of all the wonderful responses, including mine and wales', I love pegleg2000's "back of an envelope" method!

I'll never use it because envelopes get coffee stained or lost around me, but I love it nonetheless.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
When I first started I was really excited and made spreadsheets, charts and lists.
I found out that my spreadsheet was great but I got to where it was too much trouble to open it, put all the info in and change the colors. Copy/paste from the job detail page did make it quicker but it wasn't for me.
I did better printing a blank spreadsheet with only 5 columns for the basic info. I kept it in the first slot of an accordian folder. I use it to organise all my assigned shops, guideline and my shop-only calendar. I take the folder with me and use one slot for each job. When I'm through, my guidelines, business cards and receipts go back in that same slot and it's all there when I am ready to write the report. The following is what I enter into my spreadsheet:
1. Start and end dates and the date you chose to shop. I do this as soon as i apply for a shop. (5 seconds)
Read the guidelines carefully or contact your scheduler to see if they allow you to complete the shop early. Sometimes I find myself in that area before my date. It saves you gas and time by not having to go back just for the shop.
Some shops allow it and some don't. The majority of mine don't care as long as you stay within the date range and submit it within the specified time. Some shops must be submitted by midnight on the day you shopped, some are 12 hours, 24 hours, etc.
2. I write the name of the place I've applied for such as Bank of America or Exxon. (3 seconds)
Instead of writing out the address, I just click MAP. Once the map opens, I label it (Bank of America), click save, and choose the folder I named APPLIED. I also check mark or strike through the job on my chart Before you apply for a job, you have to check the location anyway so why not click SAVE? You can see where all your applied shops are located at a glance (30 seconds).
If you are assigned several in in one area, you may decide to only apply for future shops near there to cut down on gas and driving.
Once I'm assigned, I save it to my other folder ASSIGNED and remove it from my APPLY folder. ((10 seconds) You can go between the maps in two clicks.
As you're assigned, you may see that several are on one side of town. If you see you've been assigned 6 on one side of town, and only 1 on the other side, you can focus now on only applying near the one. Make sure you only choose future shops you can do on that same day or you've accomplished nothing.
3. Write the type of shop but simplify it. You can just put 'Open Checking', 'Phone Shop' 'Oil Change' (3 seconds).
4. MOST IMPORTANTLY, write the mystery company name like Ipsos, Maritscx, etc, so you know exactly where to look for your applied or assigned jobs when you need to look at the specifics (3 seconds).
5. I jot down the fee and reimbursement limits. I just use forward slash like 15/5/2 (fee/gas/store).
I've made it sound more complicated than it is but it works for me.
Good luck shoppers!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/11/2019 02:41PM by ngodwin1.
Clearly I need something. I spent $6.08 today on a JIB shop that is scheduled for tomorrow! auuuughhh
I love your ideas, but I'm confused as to where you are when you click Map and where these folders are located that you're creating.
1. When you first open maps it shows a blank map with your current location. This is where the SEARCH HERE box is top left. Right next to it are three lines. When you click on the three lines, it pulls up a list of options. Click on the first one, YOUR PLACES. I think by default there are FAVORITE PLACES, PLACES I WANT TO GO and STARRED already there. This is where you will create 2 folders. Click the PLUS sign at the bottom and it will ask you what you want to name the folder. I named mine ASSIGNED and APPLIED. II also create the same two folders in my email.
2. When you find a job on a site that you want to apply for and click on the link, a job description or detail page pops up. This is where you will find the name, address, dates and description of job. Some sites have a map button that takes you directly to maps with that location marked. If not, just copy/paste the street address and enter it into the search bar in the maps app. If you like the location and want to apply for it, click the SAVE icon and choose the APPLIED map. As you apply for more jobs just continue to save them to that APPLIED map. This is where you'll start seeing a cluster. When you do, you can start limiting your applications to that area.
3. When you receive an email saying you've been assigned, move that email from the IINBOX to the ASSIGNED folder then you don't have to in your INBOX when you're ready to start working on it.
4. Go to your map and move the job from APPLIED to the ASSIGNED . You have to remember to do that or your map won't be accurate. I always print my ASSIGN map and take it with me the day I shop. It makes it easy to plan your route
But like I said before, you have to pay attention to the shop dates when you apply for new jobs and make sure they have a DATE IN COMMON. Doing several on the same day in the same area is your goal. Also, after you have completed all your shops on your map just remove them and they're ready for to start fresh. After a while, you can remove the ones that you didn't get out of the APPLIED map just to keep it current.
Another tip is to print out your new detail page as soon as you're assigned. You don't have to print out the guidelines, authorization letters, etc right then but you do have to remember what you've been assigned. I keep those detail pages in the front pocket of a small accordion folder. When I print out the whole packet of a job, I put it into it's on pocket. You take your map and your stack of detail pages, decide you're route and then put your packets and the order of your route. First stop and first pocket, second stop and second pocket, etc. As you finish each shop, put the packet, business cards, receipts and whatever else you were required to get and put it all back and that same pocket. It's organized when you get home everything because each pocket holds everything you need to complete each report. If you lose a card or receipt you don't get paid. I don't use a chart at all anymore but just wanted to suggest it.
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