$60/hr: How can it be done?

Here is how I am able to make $60/hr.

1. Video Retail. The typical retail video assignment pays $60 and involves 10-15 minutes onsite with a 20-30 minute report.

2. Video Apartments. The typical video apartment pays $60 and involves 15 minutes onsite and a 20-45 minute report. I don't take these for less than $80 for some MSC's - sometimes I require more.

3. Video New Homes: The typical new home video assignment pays $60 plus a reasonable travel expense (always added in) for 5-120 minutes onsite (45 minutes is typical) and a 5-minutes invoice.

4. Casinos: For 60 minutes onsite, I often get paid $30 and get reimbursed for a meal. Plus, I get to keep my winnings. If you learn how to play Blackjack well, you'll walk out the door with $50-$200 in your pocket almost half the time. Otherwise, you get reimbursed for your losses.

5. Heavy bonuses at the end of a month for driving to those places nobody wants to go. It is not uncommon to have $50-$100 bonuses for 10-minute gas stations, 15-minute bank inquiries, and USPS shops. I have had bonuses of up to $250 for such shops. Of course, you can add shops along the way. Bonused (non-video) apartment shops that pay $70-$110 for 15 minutes onsite and 45 minutes reporting. Apartments often have 18-month rotations, and some need to be shopped two or three times each month. It is not uncommon for the MSC to run out of shoppers, driving bonuses up.

6. Routes: Some shops are super-quick, but don't pay well. If you can get a bunch of them next to one-another, you can make good money. As an example: I did 31 JIB visits plus one box electronics store in a day. My profit for the day was just shy of $400 for about 10 hours on the road. I only spent that long on the road as I had stomach issues (before my first JIB shop) requiring several restroom stops and lost at least two hours when I could not hit all my morning JIB visits (before the 2-4PM no-visit window) on time and had to re-draw my route midday. So.. it was a $40/hr day. On a day when I'm ill and require lots of extra rest breaks, that's pretty good.

7. I almost never take shops at their initial asking price. If work is not available at my price, I take a day/week off.

How I find out about these opportunities:
1. Email and phone calls. Most of my best bonus offers come when I get an email or a phone call from an MSC trying to fill an assignment.
2. Social Media: Sometimes desperate schedulers post offers similar to what they post on this forum.
3. Job Boards: If I see a shop that I know to be difficult-to-fill with a modest bonused attached, I might contact the scheduler and make an offer.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.

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To all of the people that take time to help others (with posts like this) thank you. It's really great to see posters see negativity (in other posts) and go out of their way to create positives contributions instead of just building on the negative.

I would add my own tips, except that I personally do not make $60 an hour. I could make $60 an hour, and have in the past if I wanted to - but instead I focus on lifestyle enhancement.
(1) Bonused end of the month shops available through email

(2) "Name your price" email requests

(3) Bonused shops on job boards

That's how I have gotten my highest paying assignments.
2. Video Apartments. The typical video apartment pays $60 and involves 15 minutes onsite and a 20-45 minute report.

Save to say you're not shopping these in NYC, Chicago, DC or Boston. These luxury apartment buildings take a min of 35-40 mins onsite plus the reports.
High-end apartment buildings do take longer, yes. However, most apartment buildings are not like that. (Average folks have apartments, too.) When I see assignments for some of the luxury apartments in Seattle, I expect higher compensation.

@eyelove2shop wrote:

2. Video Apartments. The typical video apartment pays $60 and involves 15 minutes onsite and a 20-45 minute report.

Save to say you're not shopping these in NYC, Chicago, DC or Boston. These luxury apartment buildings take a min of 35-40 mins onsite plus the reports.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
End of month bonus, Spanish speakers great Ath Power shops, MSC with a bird in its name has high end mall shops (with time schedulers group store & department store shops for same brand)
1) RELATIONSHIPS
2) NEH-GO-SHEE-A-SHUN

It doesn't have to all be video. Video pays beautifully, but I make 80% of my money on highly efficient and highly-negotiated gas routes.

______________________________________________________________________
Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.
Kind of a Bait Click title, I am not judging as the content is very good.

In my mind, $60 an hour equates to $125,000 a year. I can sell items once a month at a flea market and net $60 an hour, be it for only a few hours per month.

For me, my bottom line is what I can earn a month consistently. At the end of a year, I divide my annual gross by 12 months. I look also at my net which is the real impact IMHO.

FREE Job listing sites; [www.msjobboard.com]; [www.mystshopsol.com]; [www.jobslinger.com] - Sassie; [www.volition.com] - Various links; [www.mspa-na.org] -MSPA Members; link at bottom of forum page to their extensive list of companies
Though I agree with this, I would add a few notes...

* It is definitely easier to make $60/hr shopping part time than full time. I average 10 hrs. a week shopping during the school year. More work at this level is available, but I can only shop so much.

* To make that much fill time would require a lot of organization and travel. I have seen (and been offered) routes that I could not accept that would get me at least $60/hr after expenses, but I can't skip a week of work for them.

* For me, this level of shopping is not conducive to a good marriage or relation with kids/grand kids - there is simply too much travel required.

Very few folks shop full time, so the idea of making $60/hr. is attainable for many shoppers.


@isaiah58 wrote:

Kind of a Bait Click title, I am not judging as the content is very good.

In my mind, $60 an hour equates to $125,000 a year. I can sell items once a month at a flea market and net $60 an hour, be it for only a few hours per month.

For me, my bottom line is what I can earn a month consistently. At the end of a year, I divide my annual gross by 12 months. I look also at my net which is the real impact IMHO.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
Well, I am disabled. Yesterday I did 6 revealed audits. I was on my feet from half an hour to 50 minutes at each one. I am physically paying the price today -- I hurt so bad I can barely function at all. Including drive time and report time (still working on them, LOL!!!), I will have worked about 18 hours. While the $450 I made is not $60 an hour, I'm happy with it.

I'm just so tech-phobic, I'm scared stiff to even TRY video.

And I'm not convinced that there's much call for it around here.

And one was at Wall Drug in South Dakota -- a place I've always wanted to see, and now I have! As well as my first glimpse at the Badlands of SD -- also well worth seeing.
This thread provides good information for all kinds of shoppers!

I don't know about video shopping and a consistent $60 per hour in my small town. There are two grocery stores and one Wal-Mart. There is one hospital parking garage. There are about thirty gas stations, convenience stores, and fast food restaurants. There are three or four very nice unique restaurants along with one Applebees and one Chili's. There are a few dealership shops that are subject to rotations. There are few apartments to be shopped and there are about the same number of new home situations to be shopped. Oh, yes, A few times per year, there are small audits and merch tasks.

Hmm.

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks. - John Muir
I really think this discussion is playing to the hand of the current fuzzy bridge dweller we currently have stalking the board, but at the same time I find it to be an interesting discussion. I think too often mystery shoppers, especially casual ones, spend too much time worrying about the shopping part and not enough time worrying about the business part. This is a business, even if you only do it for beer money.

Also, we need to define "$60 an hour." For me that's how much I generate in fees per hour. That's shop, travel, and reporting time. That is before expenses are taken out. $60 actually is a bit higher than my goal, although I do break $60 quite often. I only travel and rarely take shops at home. A huge portion of my work is video and for all practical purposes the only non-video work I do is filler work. My goal is to work a 10 hour day and net $500+ in fees. 10 Hours means from the time I leave in the morning until I am done with reports that night and ideally I would either work less than 10 or make more than $500. That's just my standard. At the same time that is "gross." I actually refer to it as my minimum billing rate. Much like you pay your lawyer $200 an hour. He "makes" $200 an hour but that's really a billing rate, not a net income.

Edited because in my haste I typed net instead of gross.

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


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/25/2019 11:22PM by bgriffin.
My understanding is the PV500 is the gold standard for mystery shopping.

As is MFJohnston.

I almost just typed "MF", but someone could mistake that for "MarketForce", or make a much
"slangier" interpretation, LOL!!!
Am I the only one who noticed that the original post specified, "I had stomach issues (before my first JIB shop)?" You knew we would think JIB was the cause! But 31??? I feel nauseous and I can't even smell it from here!

sestrahelena
MF you are a Rockstar! Your posts are really helpful and precise. But, my question is what did you do with those 31 JIB's. I really want to know.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/26/2019 01:12PM by Mum.
I agree with the idea that $60/hr should mean that you're making six figures annually. I guess that figures out differently if you're part time but only if your full time job pays as much or more. That's just how I try to think about my own earnings goals and how I interpret someone else's account of what they make. You can put it however you want but I will take it differently.

Still, I think that talking about idealized hourly rates is valuable. There is a huge benefit to knowing what is possible but I still have to go out and get it.

This whole conversation makes me think about friends who are lawyers. They are employed to different degrees, so their hourly rate does not tell exactly how much they earn. It's a valuation on their time. I think that's what $60/hour represents for anyone trying to make this their sole income. If you earn $60/hour doing shops, then research, reporting, and all the rest (including forum posts) will average decently. And that is possible to do throughout the month by stacking up easy $10 shops then cashing in on bonuses for more involved work.

I think this is the art of accounting. Your calculations have to be tailored to your own needs.
1cent: Forum posts are leisure time for me. I come here for social interaction with my peers, mostly, though I do glean tidbits of useful information and am willing to offer advice at times. I do NOT factor forum posts into my hourly payments, that would seem strange to me, like counting happy hour with coworkers after work would not seem fitting to factor into an hourly wage. I DO factor in time spent reporting shops into my hourly wage, though not researching, as most of the work put in signing up with MSCs and building a relationship with schedulers and other MSC reps has been a gradual build for almost 2 decades. It is not my sole income, I do audits, product retrievals, and merchandising, and some of my shopping is lifestyle enhancement while other shopping is solely to make money. The various types of work I do all fits together well, like a self-built jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes the pieces just fall into place naturally.
I've heard that they make really good hockey pucks.

@Mum wrote:

MF you are a Rockstar! Your posts are really helpful and precise. But, my question is what did you do with those 31 JIB's. I really want to know.
It's almost impossible to see MF Johnston without interpreting a "slangier" (profane, LOL) meaning for the MF part. Huh, bgriff? I do refer to him as MFJ pretty frequently, though, as some people call me JAS, which is fine. It's just easier.

@ceasesmith wrote:

My understanding is the PV500 is the gold standard for mystery shopping.

As is MFJohnston.

I almost just typed "MF", but someone could mistake that for "MarketForce", or make a much
"slangier" interpretation, LOL!!!
Thanks for the kudos, folks. To answer questions...
* Yes, I got ill before my first JIB visit. I questioned whether or not I should do my shops that day - but who wants to cancel/reschedule 32 shops?
* What did I do with all that grease? 1) I ate one burger - that was plenty. 2) I gave as much as I could way to homeless folks I passed. 3) I made several dumpster stops.
* "MF" Alas... I have been accused on this forum of being a MarketForce representative because of that. They are just my initials, which I have had since, according to my students, the Stone Age. I became a member here (and chose my username) before I heard of MarketForce.
* I am relatively certain that my mother did not have @bgriffin's interpretation in mind when she named me. Relatively certain...
* If I were really a Rockstar, I would not likely be mystery shopping... I'd have identity issues.

-- MFJ

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/26/2019 02:07PM by MFJohnston.
When I count my hours...
I include:
Travel
Onsite time
Report time
Preparation time (reading guidelines, memorizing phone numbers, mapping.)

I do not include:
Reading the forum (I do this to help others, just as more experienced shoppers helped me. It is, in many ways, "professional development."
Signing up for new companies
Searching job boards

I should be clear: I do not make $60/hr every shopping day. Some days slip below $40/hr. Some are over $80/hr. $60/hr. is an average over the course of a month.

NOTE: If a shopper lives in the middle of nowhere (one of those places where I get $200 bonuses for gas stations and where there are NO cell signals), it will be difficult to make much money shopping. There are not many opportunities where there are not any businesses. Those who do make it work are going to have long drives and really focus on building routes.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/26/2019 02:28PM by MFJohnston.
@1cent wrote:

I agree with the idea that $60/hr should mean that you're making six figures annually. I guess that figures out differently if you're part time but only if your full time job pays as much or more.

I'm going to guess, and I certainly could be wrong, that you have a "regular" full time job and MS is a side income. Most members of my family are or were people who are self employed and bill by the hour. People who are familiar with that business model understand that $60 an hour doesn't mean if you work 2000 hours a year you'll pay taxes on $120,000. That's an employee mindset where they get a dollar amount per hour and that's the end of it. It's a difference in mindset and one of the things I was talking about in my earlier post in this thread. To be really successful in this business you have to switch your entire viewpoint from employee to self employed.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
I can tell you that digestion is slow.... You'll have a lump in your stomach for hours... Is that what eating a hockey puck is like?

@JASFLALMT wrote:

I've heard that they make really good hockey pucks.

@Mum wrote:

MF you are a Rockstar! Your posts are really helpful and precise. But, my question is what did you do with those 31 JIB's. I really want to know.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
It took days to fumigate my car...

@sestrahelena wrote:

Am I the only one who noticed that the original post specified, "I had stomach issues (before my first JIB shop)?" You knew we would think JIB was the cause! But 31??? I feel nauseous and I can't even smell it from here!

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
Agreed with BG's statements above; you have to have a business mindset if you want the best chance of success in your business.

I certainly don't average $60 hourly for MSIng, but I do overall when I look at my annuals that include MSing, and my main thought on being able to make that goal is:

Be exceptional at what you do! If you do great work and are resourceful, you will most likely find yourself having opportunities for the best paying assignments. No matter what your profession is.
@MFJohnston wrote:

It took days to fumigate my car...
@ wrote:


Perfect example of professionalism....handled like a pro smiling smiley
So it is a new day, and I have new mercy, and I have a new approach. In order for me to accomplish just one hour for which I am paid-- according to some accounting method or other-- $60 I would have to: start early on a Monday because this is the only day that I have an almost guaranteed early start time. Then, I would have to gather up phone, camera, package, cash, stuff to donate, and leave at exactly 7:54 AM. Starting with a regular post office box shop (because this hour is too @#($# early for anything fussy, I scurry along to a convenience store. I park on a side street and complete two little reports just in time for a 9 AM store opening. Highly caffeinated, I zoom through all parts of that shop, use another nearby side street for reporting on this race, and return home at exactly 8:42 AM. The remaining twelve minutes of the cumulative minutes were spent for shop prep activities. Would I want to rush about like this many times in the month in order to "earn" at least $60 per hour? No. Would I ask for bonuses for shops which do not require more than three miles of driving? Maybe, and only if anyone is desperate to get their shops done, like, now if not sooner.

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks. - John Muir
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