Negotiating Pay

I need some advice on negotiating pay. I had a scheduler email me today asking if I could do a couple of jobs for him that he is having a hard time finding a shopper for. They are both in the same town and they are both very simple. BUT...they both have low pay and the town is 30 miles away. In the email he said he would adjust the rate of pay. I emailed him back and said that I wouldn't mind doing them both but with them being so far away I definitely couldn't do them for the listing price. One is a simple food shop but there is no reimbursement so I would make like $5. The other one is a clothing shop where I would get reimbursed for what I pick out but it also only pays $5. I would only be going to help him out. I don't generally do food shops unless I am already going to be buying a meal and I definitely don't randomly do one that doesn't reimburse. I also have no real need for clothes. So the reimbursement on that would be great because it is free stuff, but I would be driving an hour to buy stuff I don't really need and to do the work of the 2 shops. He emailed me back and asked what my ideal number would be, and I honestly don't know. I have never negotiated before and I don't know what is fair for both sides. Does anyone have a rule or formula you use for negotiating? What would you do these shops for and why?

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Yes, my general rule is that I don't turn on my computer or car to do a shop for less than $10 per shop minimum.
Questions you need to answer (for yourself, not me):

Do you have the time? Will you turn down better paying work to take these? What (or who) will you miss at home if you do it?
Do you need / want the money?
Is this scheduler one that helps you out when they can, and treats you fairly when allocating or bonusing shops? Or is it more of a one-way street kind of thing?

If I have the time I will do a shop that is uninteresting (financially or otherwise) to me just to build goodwill with a scheduler. If time is tight I follow the dollars and let the effort that flows toward me from the scheduler / MSC arbitrate any conflicts in those factors. Most profitable job takes priority with tiebreakers going to MSC that has been most helpful to me lately. Or at least to the MSC / scheduler that hasn't annoyed me lately. But I don't knowingly do jobs at a loss if I can help it. $5 for 30 miles would meet my definition of "at a loss" pretty easily. It's business, not a charity.

So what's the amount that would make you feel good about how you spent your day?

I try to make sure I am earning a certain rate per hour, and I try to make sure I cover my hard costs too. Hard costs doesn't mean gasoline only. It means the true cost of owning, replacing, and maintaining the vehicle PLUS the cost of filling the tank. A target number for me is somewhere around a dollar per mile but never less than the IRS rate which is currently 58 cents a mile. Plus my minimum hourly rate. Add that up then say the number out loud to your self and see if it puts a smile or a frown on your face. If you're still frowning, add a couple more bucks and try again. If you're still frowning after that, just tell them you're sorry it won't work out this time.

Assuming you've gotten to a smile, now cut that number in half and you're probably still well above the maximum they'd like to give you. So start off by giving them your "smile" number from above, but decide up front how you'll respond when they refuse it or counter.

If you don't ask, you won't get. Don't be shy about asking for the smile number, because sometimes they are OK with that number! You'll never know if you don't ask.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/2019 05:42AM by JustForFun.
@colleeny25 wrote:

I have never negotiated before and I don't know what is fair for both sides.

What is "fair" to them will be well represented on the other side of the table so let them worry about that. Figure out what you need out of it. That other part is their job.
I would ask for $1 per mile. A 60-mile round trip, $60. That number might go up depending on speed limits and traffic.
@colleeny25 wrote:

Does anyone have a rule or formula you use for negotiating? What would you do these shops for and why?

My formula is based in income/expense rather than pay per hour. My expense is $.50 per mile plus tolls. That's the break even point so I need double my cost to get me motivated. In the case of this 60 mile trip that works out to $60, which is the buck a mile that JASFLALMT mentioned. Let me also mention that I normally won't do just 2 shops on a route. I like to do 5 or 6. That brings the cost per shop down and probably more acceptable to the scheduler/supervisor. Also taken into consideration is location. 30 miles West of my home takes me into the city limits and perhaps over toll bridges. If I have to fight city traffic my price goes up, perhaps to a 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 ratio,

Schedulers have called me asking to help them out and as much I may have worked with that scheduler in the past and get along with her, it has no bearing on whether or not I accept a shop or shops. Profitability, and in my formula income/expense, is the only factor.

In answer to your question, no I would not take these 2 shops, even at $60. Unless I could add another couple of shops to the route.
IF you feel the offer isn't off the wall or laughable (aka out of their budget), I go by the amount of time I expect to spend on it based on an hourly rate I can gauge for it.

If you have previous history AND/OR make an offer that's within their budget that'll also be a nice profit for you, shoot for it.

I consider, wear and tear on my vehicle, time I estimate to spend altogether, etc.

@colleeny25 wrote:

they both have low pay and the town is 30 miles away. In the email he said he would adjust the rate of pay. I emailed him back and said that I wouldn't mind doing them both but with them being so far away I definitely couldn't do them for the listing price. One is a simple food shop but there is no reimbursement so I would make like $5. The other one is a clothing shop where I would get reimbursed for what I pick out but it also only pays $5. I would only be going to help him out.

For me, 30 miles each way would require at least $50 for 60 miles round trip, especially if that's the only shop you're doing... Aaaaaand, that's assuming highway driving, no more than 30-45 minutes of actual work (on-site and reporting), etc. For me, there's a couple of shops that regularly get given to me meeting this criteria, so I don't mind hopping in my car for this and of course, the budget fits and works with the MSC.

If the MSC can fit your offer in their budget, they'll give you the shop, but remember, it's not a 1 fits all rule due to many, many factors.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 29 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/2019 03:41PM by Tarantado.
Are you also a merchandiser? Some (but not all! be careful with this) merchandising tasks are quick to complete and easy to report with an app. Adding some of these to your work day might make it easier, more profitable, and/or more efficient. It could free you to some extent from relying on bonuses which might not materialize-- regardless of how logical it would be for you to receive them.

Some of the days in November carry the whole memory of summer as a fire opal carries the color of moon rise. - Gladys Taber
I establish the smallest fee for which I am willing to complete the job and send my quote. Once, Trendsource and I were a single dollar apart, with neither budging. The work was assigned to another shopper; so be it! The problem with giving in, is that it can become habit forming.
Thank you for all of your replies. We aren't in a huge area, I am in a medium size town. These jobs are in a smaller town about 30 miles away. They are all freeway miles with no traffic. It takes me 35 minutes to get there. 1 job is right off the first exit and the second job is right off the second exit. I have other stuff going on that day so I don't really want to do anymore. I was looking for something to at least have 1 job for the day, but I was interested in local. Then I got this email. One of my issues is I am a people pleaser and I just want to help people. So when I get an email that they need help that will include a bonus and I am already in the market for something, then I do want to help. Plus with the jobs being few and far between here, I wouldn't mind if it's worth it and feasible to take some on my day off out of town to save the ones that are in town for the weekdays. But they have to be worth my time and the regular pay was not worth my time. I offered an extra $50 and there was no hesitation. So I'll basically be making $60. I wouldn't mind picking 1 other real quick one up while I'm there if it's in a convenient location.
Well done.

Maybe you can ask the scheduler if it's OK if you return the clothing purchase -- or find something to buy that will make a good Christmas present in a few months....or you can resell on e-bay, or even locally.

smiling smiley
@colleeny25 wrote:

I wouldn't mind picking 1 other real quick ohne up while I'm there if it's in a convenient location.

Don't forget the various gig apps.

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

I establish the smallest fee for which I am willing to complete the job and send my quote. Once, Trendsource and I were a single dollar apart, with neither budging. The work was assigned to another shopper; so be it! The problem with giving in, is that it can become habit forming.
They're so odd with their PAD approvals!! I received an email about 2 shops that they were offering an additional $4 PAD per store. I wrote back and stated that I needed $6 PAD per store. They wrote back saying they couldn't give over $4 PAD per store, but would keep my request on file......Guess what??? Four days later I was assigned the 2 shops with MY EXTRA $6 PAD added to each shop!! So stick to your guns...sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't!!
Yeah, those cell phone shops I refuse to do for $6: I kept asking for $25 for these 2 shops they emailed me about, even though neither of the locations were further than 15 miles from home. They kept saying no, and then at the end of the month, they gave it to me.
For the PAD verification assignments, they are scheduled to a great extent to be when the client is available. When I submit a PAD request, I have to assume that I will be making the trip only to do this assignment. I don;;t know when the PAD will be approved when the client will want me to visit (within two days or a month later) or at what time. When I did a lot of route shopping, I avoided these because it was very hard to fit them in. Now, I often reverse things and do verification and hope to find something else, which is often hard or impossible to do on a day's notice. I base my request upon road miles and time, plus tolls and parking. I know how far I am willing to drive for the base fee (not very far), and subtract.

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
@shopperbob wrote:

I establish the smallest fee for which I am willing to complete the job and send my quote. Once, Trendsource and I were a single dollar apart, with neither budging. The work was assigned to another shopper; so be it! The problem with giving in, is that it can become habit forming.

I consider this the absolute best answer, and this is the way I handle routes. I would rather spend my time shopping and earning money than waste it in negotiating. I set the price fairly using the method shopperbob mentioned. It doesn't take a scheduler long to know that I bid the lowest price I will do the job for. Back and forth negotiating is for other shoppers who have time for it.
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