What is a reasonable amount to ask for? There are places hundreds of miles away that get desperate at the end of the month to fill. I would love to do some of them but I'm not sure how much to ask for. Some would be about an 8 to 10 hour drive so I would have to stay in a hotel. I don't want it to end up costing me money. Any ideas?? Thanks
You are extremely unlikely to get a bonus on a single shop large enough to cover the expenses you are citing. However, you might be able to put together a very profitable route of shops.
Before making any offer, look at the drive you would need to make for said shop/s. Are there other shops along the way that might also be difficult to fill and have healthy bonuses? Are there also shops that might not have much of a bonus but could still help the bottom line? Gas stations? Quick service restaurants? Grocery stores? Can you shop a hotel in the destination city?
Once you know what else is available, you will be in a better place to determine what you need for each shop in order for the "route" to work out.
Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
"Ask what you need", "a buck a mile", "set up a route" - all good advice. Some shoppers base the bonus on what they have determined to be a reasonable hourly wage. I find the hourly wage to be to convoluted and therefore use an income/expense ratio. The minimum I will shop for is a 2 to 1 ratio, which is basically a buck a mile. My average for bonused routes is closer to 4 to 1. In the example provided by gmason I would estimate a 10 hour trip to be 500 miles. Travel cost based at $.50 mile (to make the math easy) is $250. Add in @ $100 for a motel and you are up to $350 in expense, not counting any tolls. In this example, the income should be $700 to have a 2 to 1 ratio. This is probably impossible if only one shop is involved so a route should be set up.
I have no problem in asking for a bonus for what I need and being rejected. And I don't have buyers remorse if my bid is accepted immediately, thinking I came in too low.
A buck a mile? Seriously? I wish! If I got a buck a mile I would get an extra $50-100 a day just doing shops in town.
My advice is be realistic. Figure out how much it cost you per mile for gas, wear on car, and anything else that you need to be paid for in order to complete the shop. Figure how much your time is worth per mile. Add this all up, and bid the least you will accept to do the job. Then move on to the next job offer. Don't wast your valuable work hours engaging in back-and-forth negotiations.
Set your price fairly and keep it consistent unless something causes your costs to increase, such as higher gas price, need for a motel, etc. Once they know your price and your quality of work, they will only bother you with jobs that are in your price range. Not everyone is able to do a route for the same expenses. A shopper driving a Prius could probably do a route for less than a shopper driving a Hummer.