Do MSCs Know that $5, $6, $7, etc. Shops Don't Even Cover Mileage? Do Clients Know Our Pay?

Do most of you guys have phone data plans and do online reports on mobile?

I don't have a data plan. I asked about this a few years ago on the forum - if it'd be worth it to get a data plan to possibly get more shops. Some people told me no, as few shops were available that paid enough to make up the monthly phone data costs.

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@Jill_L wrote:

I do shops that I want to do, usually to offset costs.

I do like using MS-ing to save on gas/mileage. But, even then, I find few shops worthwhile that fit that need/want.

That's just me personally. I feel like it's a colossal loss of time to study for those shops, do, and report them. The studying/prepping is something I find too...I don't know the word.....but, I don't like it.

For repeatable shops, I'm willing to learn the shop. ...not one-off...2-off, etc. .....not so much for me. I'd rather spend time doing something else (possibly allowing me to earn more money). Not worth it for $5.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/2019 02:21AM by shoptastic.
@shoptastic wrote:

I feel like it's a colossal loss of time to study for those shops, do, and report them. The studying/prepping is something I find too...I don't know the word.....but, I don't like it.

Then why do you mystery shop and why are you here?

Edited to add:
I don't mean that as an insult, I'm seriously curious. Why? If I thought something was a waste of time I would stop doing it, so I don't understand why you don't.

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


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/2019 02:47AM by bgriffin.
As far as the data plan goes, I went to unlimited because I do so many app shops and did not want to stress about going over my data plan limit. I also want to check emails and research some things while on the road. Since I have switched to unlimited, I use the data for streaming while on motorhome trips. I know there are ways to fill out a shop on site and wait until I am connected to wifi to upload, but I just did not want the hassle anymore ????
I think this goes back to the "you need to sign up with more companies" message that most of us have been posting forever when shoppers say that they are not earning enough money. If you haven't found the shops you want and need to make this worthwhile you need to keep looking for them, or, as you put it, "spend time doing something else" where you can make more money.

@shoptastic wrote:

I do like using MS-ing to save on gas/mileage. But, even then, I find few shops worthwhile that fit that need/want.

That's just me personally. I feel like it's a colossal loss of time to study for those shops, do, and report them. The studying/prepping is something I find too...I don't know the word.....but, I don't like it.

For repeatable shops, I'm willing to learn the shop. ...not one-off...2-off, etc. .....not so much for me. I'd rather spend time doing something else (possibly allowing me to earn more money). Not worth it for $5.
@shoptastic wrote:

Seriously, some jobs offers on these boards are flat out offensive.

You are correct. I just delete the email or skip right over it, I spend no energy or time getting upset about it. I laugh a lot.

$6 for a cell phone shop with a long report
$8 for a Dinner shop with a reimbursement (risk) up $150
A flat fee shop with a purchase that is over the flat fee. All well and good if you want to use it as coupon.

Its really a joke.

I wouldn't even do a $5.00 shop even if its on my way to a high paying shop, not worth the time it takes to do it.

A Dad shopping the Ark-LA-Tex and beyond.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/2019 04:53AM by ShoppingDad.
@bgriffin wrote:

If you evaluate each individual shop on its own even many high paying shops don't make sense. You need to learn how to evaluate groups of shops.

How does that increase the shop pay?

A Dad shopping the Ark-LA-Tex and beyond.
@ShoppingDad wrote:

@bgriffin wrote:

If you evaluate each individual shop on its own even many high paying shops don't make sense. You need to learn how to evaluate groups of shops.

How does that increase the shop pay?

I am not sure what was meant there, but I do find that the effort that I put into learning one shop makes it easier to do a larger number after. That is, all of the time spent reading and researching is done one time. So if I do a $5 shop at the beginning of a project, it makes it easier for me to pick up the rest when they are bonused to $30 or $50.

If I only take the $50 offer, I have to do all that work at the last minute to learn the shop. I might not be as confident. So I prefer to lose money when I have the time and learn how to get it done properly. Because when bonuses are going around, the number of offers can actually be overwhelming. Anything that I can do to prepare in advance will result in higher earnings.
@ShoppingDad wrote:

@bgriffin wrote:

If you evaluate each individual shop on its own even many high paying shops don't make sense. You need to learn how to evaluate groups of shops.

How does that increase the shop pay?

I didn't say it increased pay. I said if you evaluate each individual shop on its own many don't make sense.

Let's take a Sonic. The closest Sonic to me is a 10 minute drive. So that's 20 minutes in driving and 15 minutes on-site and another 5 for the report all for a starting fee of what? $6? So almost an hour for $6 and that's not even counting mileage. It's just not worth it. That's evaluating a shop on its own.

Now, let's say there's a Conoco on one side and a Chevron on the other. Well now I have the same 20 minute drive but now instead of just making $6 I'm gonna make $6 for the Sonic and $11 for the Chevron (I don't consider the inside purchase income because I wouldn't likely make that purchase but if I didn't buy the $5 in gas I would just have to buy it somewhere else so that $5 is just like income) and another $12 for the Conoco (see above) and I've only added about 15 minutes of shop time and 10 in reports. So now instead of less than $6 an hour I'm making $29 in 75 minutes.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
DavePi made his own wine and drank it for breakfast.

@bgriffin wrote:

DavePi used to talk about how high he was. I ASSumed he was talking about pot. Hell he could have been talking about heroin I suppose. I'm fairly certain PCB mentioned it a few times as well but I could obviously be wrong. I lump them together because they were both annoying as hell. Although honestly PCB was pretty cool for a long time then got something stuck up his ass.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
:clap:
clap
clap

I'm proud for him.

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

@shoptastic wrote:

I feel like it's a colossal loss of time to study for those shops, do, and report them. The studying/prepping is something I find too...I don't know the word.....but, I don't like it.
Then why do you mystery shop and why are you here?

Edited to add:
I don't mean that as an insult, I'm seriously curious. Why? If I thought something was a waste of time I would stop doing it, so I don't understand why you don't.

No insult taken.

I do shop a little, but I also like to complain about the inordinate amount of ridiculous shop offers out there. So, yeah, it's not that I don't do any shops. I do. I just also avoid the bad ones and am disappointed there aren't the opportunities I thought there would be.

If I want to see if there are good opportunities, I still have to spend time to check boards. When you see for 2.5 years (roughly my total shop experience time) that things are getting worse, then it's depressing and I question if its worth spending that time anymore.

I personally will see three to five "good" shops sometimes pop up in my area that are new. But, they are taken ASAP. I think I get to grab one or so of those every two months. But, that's literally just ONE new good shop that I might have made $5 net profit on (notwithstanding the food reimbursement). To get that one new good shop (which there is no guarantee I'll get the next month...I usually never do), I have to spend inordinate time browsing through tons of bad shops for a few months.

I guess if your question is WHY do you complain on a board that wastes FURTHER time? ...Probably to vent! grinning smiley Maybe also warn others who are just starting out that they might get sucked into false hopes in the industry. That sort of thing. Never personal!

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/2019 11:44AM by shoptastic.
To continue with the above:

I think it's important to give new shoppers a balanced sense of the reality of the industry. Sometimes you get overly one-sided views:

a.) people who always talk up the industry and how much can be made with big bonuses, etc.
b.) people who only say the pay is awful, the work required ridiculous, and focus on negatives, etc.

I wish there were more balanced views when I first came to the forum. Maybe something like:

"There are some great success stories out there from shoppers who make $30,000 to $60,000 from ms-ing. But, that's rare and more often it does not happen. Jobs fees can be very low and not worthwhile for the work required in a lot of cases. But, if you're willing to spend the time to learn shops well, develop speed, and learn to route effectively, then it's possible sometimes to make these low-paying jobs profitable for you. But, it's a lot of "unpaid" work you may have to do and may not have expected. And just know that sometimes it may never work out. You may live in an area where there are too many other competitor shoppers, which often drives down fees/bonuses. In many cases, the big bonused shops are in isolated areas and they are subsidized through the work of shoppers taking on the low-fee shops. You may need to travel very far to get the big bonused shops.

It can be very time-consuming to learn the ropes. And it may never pay off if you're just in an area that is oversaturated. As long as you know that going in, you will be able to better manage your expectations and also not be thrown off by overly one-sided views."

.....something like that I guess.

One thing to keep in mind is that many people likely "have to" do this work. That's been the nature of much of the gig economy labor, which now represents about 25% of the American labor force. I probably sound like a broken record by now, but per Gilens and Page's seminal Princeton University study (a political science college syllabus reading staple these days), we know that America is an oligarchy now. The rich rule and American voters' desires have near-zero effect on politicians' voting (they show this over decades of voting patterns). People like Bernie Sanders, who organizes through small dollar donations from everyday working people, are trying to combat this. The not-so-free market is creating so many desperate workers.

This has been the result of the corporate onslaught against American labor since 1978's Bellotti Supreme Court decision that gave corporations the right to contribute money to political campaigns (saying it was "free speech"winking smiley. They effectively buy our politicians out legally and deregulate, crush unions/labor, defund social programs (many of which they themselves benefited from to have opportunity in America), and institute welfare for the rich. It's why American drugs, for example, cost 10x more here (even though Americans MADE THEM and big pharmaceutical companies benefit from free research tax grants - paid for by working wage Americans - to create their products) than in Canada. We cannot bargain for pricing here, because Big Pharma donates billions of dollars a year to politicians. It's why once good manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas in NAFTA, so big corporations could benefit from cheaper labor and the lack of environmental protections overseas. ,etc. etc. Big industry after industry is like this and has increasingly gotten worse since the Bellotti case. 2010's Citizen's United Supreme Court case put legal political bribery on steroids! America is reaping the fruit of this. Bigoted demagogues like Trump divide people to maintain the status quo for the wealthy, as he pretends to help the working-class.

MSCs are usually very small players. Not big corporations. Many MSC owners themselves probably struggle to get by (not all - as some are also very wealthy) - I've met one on a somewhat personal level (she was a shopper herself, before becoming an owner). But, they exist within this larger context of an oligarchy and record high inequality that makes so many Americans desperate for enough income to survive or maintain any semblance of a once middle-class life. My experience with gig economy workers is that most are struggling mightily just to get by.

It's a false assumption that many people can just quit this work. That's an important thing to keep in mind!

Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/2019 12:36PM by shoptastic.
But a $5 shop that takes 5 minutes (including report time) can be worth it. Lately one MSC is evaluating gas station kiosks that belong to a regional grocer store in my area. I prepay $5 in gas to see if they ask for my loyalty card, thank me, and invite me to return. No names, no descriptions, all yes and no answers, no narrative, report on phone. Pays $5 and reimburses $5. The grocery store is shopped by a different MSC. Again, no names, no descriptions, no narratives. I do thise in tandem and fill in with other convenience stores and post offices. I can easily make $100 in just 3-4 hours, including drive time, with most reporting done on my phone (maybe 25 minutes to report the grocery shops on my desktop).

@ShoppingDad wrote:

I wouldn't even do a $5.00 shop even if its on my way to a high paying shop, not worth the time it takes to do it.
It's up to the shopper to make the shopping worthwhile. Sometimes I get offered gas stations that are about 40 miles away. I have not ever run the numbers but say for example I get offered three stations 40 miles away for a total of $75 and $12 in gas. I'm not really going to count the gas as income as I had to burn a lot of gas getting there and back. But if I compare it to a minimum wage job, I can either spend about 3 hours driving 40 miles and taking some photos and coming home, or I can spend 8 hours on my feet in one spot being a cashier, and make the same amount of money. No I don't want to go back to school. So $75 may be an acceptable base to start with. Now I am 40 miles away from home with $75 under my belt. There are 3 small towns between me and home. What am I going to do? I am going to work my way home with missions, convenience stores, and little shop between me and home. Why? Because I can. If it takes 10 minutes and nets me $5 or more it's all gravy.
Some of us enjoy shopping and I am one of the people who does.I will have spent a day and typically made between $100-$125 or more.
This is an example of a BASE route. Not one of the great paying ones I sometimes get. Anchor shops somewhere that pay enough to make the route worthwhile and then fill it in with as much as you can do.
The alternative is to stay home and complain.

I enjoy awkward questions and uncomfortable silences. This gas station pavement is $%^@*#& hot.
@CoffeeQueen wrote:

The alternative is to stay home and complain.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
@CoffeeQueen that is very similar to how I construct day routes. And it still leaves plenty of time in the day for merchandising jobs or other gigwork. I won't get rich, but it pays the bills and then some.

Other times I put together LONG routes, anywhere from 3-10 days' worth in one go. Usually these are one type of shop or audit repeated over many locations as my "anchor job". Then I look for a second shop/audit/merch job with locations along that route. I try to pick ones that can be done 100% in-app and don't add more than 15 minutes per location. Usually these are from Observa or FA, as the quick pay makes them ideal for generating on-the-go cash for food/gas/hotel etc., meaning I don't have to worry if I need to be out and extra day or two. It also is less draining on the shop kitty.

After this I look for any hotel shops or highly bonused shops I want to add. I usually only add 1 or 2 per 5 days on the road, as long routes are their own special hell for due dates, especially if you run into any car issues.

ETA: For day routes I expect income similar to what @CoffeeQueen reported. For long routes I expect a minimum of $150 per day over expenses for a working vacation, or $300 if it's a purely working trip.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/2019 04:00PM by stormraven73.
Shoptastic, I just get a mental picture of you flailing about in this industry.

Maybe you're just not suited to it.

By now, you should have learned some type of shop so that you are so familiar with it, it's second nature. You should have found shops you actually like.

I truly believe no one can make money at this by taking ONE shop at a time at BASE PAY off the job boards.

If you get that ONE "plum" job you like, it still doesn't make sense to do it if you're netting $5. Like the poster above described, you can find other shops next to the one you like, or on the way there, or on the way back, and become profitable.

I just get the feeling you're not learning from all the wise advice given in the forum.

And your political rants do not belong here (even if you started the thread); and I say that even though I do agree with your stance that this country is an oligarchy -- but it's been an oligarchy since its inception. When this country had its first election, you had to be male, white, and RICH to vote. That IS an oligarchy. You had to own, I believe, 75 pounds in either cash or property -- at a time when an ordinary worker would not earn 75 pounds in his lifetime.
Shoptastic I am happy you are looking out for the newbies and warning them. In truth though I did not read your very long post at the top of this page...too long even for long winded me.
I think though that the most important caution for newbies is that the experience, the financial opportunities, the routes (if a newbie can even figure out what that might mean) all vary from local area to local area and from full time shopper to part time shopper to very part time shopper. So what works out financially for someone who goes out on the road to do 8 shops or so a day is not a formula that someone who stops at one or two shops on their way home from their other job can use. And the promises of high paying shops due to bonuses at the end of the month will not work out for the most part at least in my city. A seasoned city shopper with a good reputation perhaps can eventually find some of that work but it is not readily available.
It has taken me reading many posts written by very knowledgeable people to figure out most of who does what kinds of jobs and what sort of "routes" they have to do them. It is not that this valuable information is not out there but some only mention the "background" information that is important to assess how it applies to the new shopper and their situation on some of their posts and a newbie may have missed those. Then of course there is taste...my taste does not run to retail...others love retail etc etc. A newbie needs to learn what they like too.
@ceasesmith wrote:

Shoptastic, I just get a mental picture of you flailing about in this industry.

Maybe you're just not suited to it.

Don't say that she will go ballistic that you're attacking her. Although I totally agree with you.

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

By now, you should have learned some type of shop so that you are so familiar with it, it's second nature. You should have found shops you actually like.

I truly believe no one can make money at this by taking ONE shop at a time at BASE PAY off the job boards.

If you get that ONE "plum" job you like, it still doesn't make sense to do it if you're netting $5. Like the poster above described, you can find other shops next to the one you like, or on the way there, or on the way back, and become profitable.
Yikes!

You've definitely misread me there, cs. Don't have a lot of time right now, so maybe I'll reword if need be later. But just to quickly respond. I DID NOT SAY I DO SHOPS FOR $5 NET PROFIT. I would never take a shop like that.

I was SPECIFICALLY responding to BGRIFFIN's comment about why I gripe about low-ball shops that I don't even do. I was trying to say that I DO STILL SHOP and WANT TO SHOP (although, I don't have to). And the reason I gripe is that to find potentially good shops near me, I still have to surf the boards. YET, in doing so, that only gets me about 4 or 5 good shops every few months. Of those 4 or 5, I'm only able to pick up ONE. And that ONE shop only nets me about $5. I NEVER SAID I DIDN'T ROUTE THAT ONE SHOP! I DO! grinning smiley I do grocery shops for five different MSCs and route multiple ones a day + fast food fillers. If I were to take on one of those "new" good shops I luckily find, it's almost always added onto my existing routes.

THAT IS MY BASELINE SHOPPING. ...Well, that and phone shops. smiling smiley

I don't do very many shops outside of that baseline strategy. But, yeah, I was trying to explain SPECIFICALLY to BG why I still find it annoying...because I still do surf the boards hoping we get some new good shops in my area. Yet, that doesn't happen much for me and I find WAY MORE lowball bad ones. So that's a waste of my time I'm starting to feel.

Sorry if that was unclear to people. smiling smiley
edit above^^^^

I still don't know if that makes sense how I worded it.

Basically, I DO ROUTE shops. Always have since I learned a few years ago from poeople on this forum. I was saying that in order to find NEW good shops to expand my shopping opportuntiies that I have to surf the boards. AND OF THOSE NEW OPPORTUNITIES, I'll often only get ONE that is a low-paying one ($5 net or so usually) for LOTS OF SURFING TIME across a few months. Even then, there's no guarantee I'll get it the next month.

So, that's what makes it not worthwhile to me a lot. k. hope that makes more sense.
This industry is for everyone which is why it is so special...the few that do it full time and make a living, the retired that do it part-time for purpose. good meals, hotels and a better lifestyle, and those at home Moms who need to make a bit for the house, like buying milk for their babies...why care if they choose to take the 5.00 jobs if it helps out. I think your being quite snobby saying no one should take 5.00 jobs...no, it's not for me, but it is for someone or they wouldn't be on the boards. I wouldn't leave the house for less than 20.00 in my town and I choose to work for a bit less if it means I stay in my town, don't drive the freeways and get stressed, easier for me to do three 9.00 jobs without stress. We all have to make up our own minds on what works for us, this is the beauty of this business.....if you don't want to do them, please stop tearing it down for all.

Live consciously....
Yes, that does make more sense.

I think maybe learning to search effectively would be a tactic for you to master.

For example, say I'm headed to Jackson Hole, WY. First I check Presto; are there any shops there with MSCs I'm not already familiar with, and do they look interesting? THEN I'll check my job boards for my favorite companies -- companies I KNOW have gas stations, hotels, post office, or bank shops. All of a sudden, I have 7 shops lined up for Jackson Hole, with a total of about $400 for a day's work. I have spent 15 minutes.

I know within 300 miles of me who has shops. I do not know who has shops in Jackson Hole, WY.

I do not know if you are urban or rural. But I could not function without a list of which companies offer shops I do/like/want/need.

I want to go to Jackson Hole. I know who does hotels, so I check that particular company to see if they have anything. I know who has gas stations, c-stores, post offices, retail, and banks -- so I'll check those websites.

I don't SURF. I search with specificity.
Jackson Hole is a cluster during the summer.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
Jackson Hole is a cluster during the summer.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
Jackson Hole is a cluster during the summer.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
Jackson Hole is a cluster during the summer.

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

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