Is it just me or do pay rates keep going down?

@shoptastic wrote:

@reneel wrote:

It is annoying, but I've seen this whining so many times, it makes me want to scream. People are going to do what they want. If you don't think it pays enough, don't do it!! Some people do it because they just get free food. Others do it to supplement other income. It is not your place, or mine, to judge others.

I think it's partly the degree of wage decline (and/or work increase, reneel).

Recent examples include the $8.00 mattress & self-storage shops. Such fees make zero sense, as a round-trip drive, alone, would likely cost one the entire $8.00 - if not more. Any respectable business ought to know this. Yet, in the MS world and gig economy, this "respect" factor often seems non-existent when it comes to job offers.

My guess is that even if a person just happened to be at that project location (i.e., they were passing by anyways), the $8.00 would still result is less than minimum wage for the work completed. There is a need to study the guidelines and prep for the shop. Then, there is the shop time itself and later the write-up (which, if done well, can often require a good amount of time reflecting on, analyzing, and effectively communicating to the client what happened). Having completed a good number of projects of varying types over the past few years, I personally would feel confident in saying that no one is "profiting" from such a $8.00 shop. The time it takes makes the fee entirely non-sensical. Anyone doing such a shop at such a low fee is almost certainly losing money (and time in his or her life). If one wants to use the low fee shops to build up a work history for a MSC that could lead to better pay later on, then that seems one of the few reasonable reasons for why a person would take such a job.

Otherwise, I see mostly desperate individuals completing these shops at such low fees (possibly losing money on them too). And I see MSCs pricing them at such low wages to be disrespectful of another's time.

*sigh* I sometimes take 30 minutes just to study a shop's guidelines and ensure that I have internalized it enough to carry out all the actions and make the proper observations later on in real-time during the shop. Sometimes, it's one hour of prep. So, when I see $8.00...$6.00.....$5.00, etc. for shops that I almost am certain will require this sort of work, then I, too, get upset. The MSC is practically asking me to lose time and money for their gain.

NO THANKS!

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There are convenience store shops that used to pay $9 + $3 reimbursement. I used to do them because they were easy and there are zillions of them in the area. Now the chain was sold and Intellishop is offering $4 + $2.50 reimbursement. I don’t do phone calls for $4!! As long as people take this kind of abuse, they will keep expecting us to work for nothing.
Well, since I've been shopping since somewhere around 2004, I guess I'm a veteran shopper so I'll offer my perspective on your questions.

I don't think shops have gotten harder, but some have added more work, such as extra steps, for no more money. Photos are required on just about all shops now whereas 15 years ago few required photos unless they were audits and receipts were mailed or faxed in. When I drive by some of the locations I have shopped in my early years, I shake my head and laugh at myself. I tried everything that I found back in the day. Now, I've found a niche and do mostly the same type of shops each month with a few different ones added for variety and money or life-style enhancement. I've found retail, ie mall shops, so not worth my while unless it's a quick visit or audit. Shopping in a store could take an hour plus parking and navigating the large mall to locate the store is too time consuming for the low fees most offer. I bypass most shops that require an interaction with a salesperson whether it's buying cabinets, jewelry and especially clothing. It just eats up too much time. There are exceptions which one must figure out on their own by doing them...I'll do quick cell phone shops when bonused all day. To me, it's all about getting in and out in the least amount of time so I can move on to the next one. The fees add up and although the fees on some may be lower than 10-15 years ago, I manage to make more than I used to by bundling and choosing wisely.

I do not find it harder to get my preferred shops. I'm usually assigned all or most of those I apply for.

@shoptastic wrote:

I often hear from veterans, who have 10+ years experience, that shops have often:

a.) gotten "harder" - as in more work
and/or
b.) cheaper or flat in fees

Would that imply the shopper base has risen dramatically? Or, the MSC is getting cheaper (both?)...Or, the client is getting cheaper? Or, all three?

Have you veteran shoppers noticed it getting harder and harder to get your preferred shops compared to, say, five or six years ago?

*****************************************************************************
A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.

Zen Shin Talks
Shoptastuc inquires--Have you veteran shoppers noticed it getting harder and harder to get your preferred shops compared to, say, five or six years ago?

Bob opines--It is starting to become easier for me, due to current shoppers being more and more geared toward quickie Smartphone work. Today, I raised my rate 10% because I am able to "hold the line" and I desire more money. It is no different than MSC's dropping fees due to an abundance of contractors.
MSCs have been in a fierce battle for customers. In battle one needs to have good strategy, well-trained soldiers, and become superior to the opponent. Instead of developing an army superior to the others, they turn on their own soldiers, remove parts from tanks, and treat their own soldiers and allies worse than those they try to defeat.

But the MSC's have decided to tell customers the value of the work is worth less and cut prices. The only one who can win in a price war, is the one with the deepest pockets--and be able to lose money for the longest. But while cutting costs, they end up shooting their own allies and then working harder looking for bodies, who end up hurting them.

Someone may decide to increase prices and to focus on quality and service. They won't get all the work, but will find themselves profitable and working less hard. Business takes investment. From the archaic processes and buggy, non-intuitive websites, they push away their own shoppers.

Using simple database e-mail programs, they could customize invites to only shoppers that were close to the job and qualified. Today, some will send out multiple emails many times a day asking people to take $5 jobs two states away. The shoppers can't even find the jobs that are a fit.

Frustrated schedulers beg people to take jobs. It must be pretty stressful to be responsible for filling the shops when they pay so little.

Shoppers are the key to this industry. Rather than treat then as valuable partners, and create systems and procedures and questionnaires that respect their time, the prospects insult the worth of ths shopperl . There are some exceptions, of course, and there are some, who by nature of geography, or a special relationship have been able to do well. But when a job takes four hours of the shoppers' time, it makes me wonder who takes it when it offers $8.

Rather than form the circular firing squad which ensures failure, there are things that can be done that lower costs, and improves the results for the client. For example:

Link the job directly to the pre-test instead of having people go through the extra steps. Once the test is passed allow people to sign up for the job instead of waiting.
Redesign the web site. Use clear terms in menus. Design it to make it easy to read and fill out.
Prepopulate as much as possible. Why do shoppers need to type their name and emails and phone numbers>?
Test all forms for clarity.
Test all jobs for the time required and honestly post the time estimates.
Have questionnaire writers do the work so they see how illogical some questions are.
Make sure questions are in the right sequence.
Take a class in form design.
Remove busy work questions.
Integrate proof into the form. Geotag can be built in. The date and time can populate as one enters and leaves and provide proof. Remove unneeded photographs that question the integrity of the shopper.
Only have conditional questions appear when needed.
Grammar/spell-checkers should be integrated, automatically removing all-caps reviews, and making corrections in real time, saving re-work.
If you insist on error checkers at the end, have then identify ALL errors instead of one at a time, requiring using the feature multiple times.
Allow for photos to be taken and uploaded during the shop, reducing transfer times.
Limit applications to important information.
Remove threats from your website. Treat shoppers as adults. Respect is a two-way street,'
Answer your phone and respond to email.
Demand the same quality from yourself and your employees as you do shoppers. Proofread your work.
Remove as many unnecessary restrictions as possible. Allow restaurant shoppers more flexibility with menu choices. Let shoppers avoid traffic by giving more flexibility.
Let shoppers put down two or three dates they can do the job. They can coordinate their lives and fit in other shops.
Remove questions and requirements that are only added because you do not trust your shoppers. They are obvious and create adversaries not partners.
Remember shoppers have lives. Respect their time.
STOP spamming shoppers. Use a database to send out appropriate email--ONE TIME, For jobs that require a teen to join the person, or have age or sex requirements, don't send them out to everyone,. Allow shoppers to add preferences such as distance and pay and don't send then what they don't want.=
Require your own staff to do shops just so they see the time required and so they experience it themselves.] Include "Other:____________" for every yes/no or multiple choice question. Life is not binary.
Remove unneeded essay questions and word limits.
At the end of each questionnaire have the shopper evaluate the quality of instructions, questionnaire, process and your own customer service.

Do some of those, and you will have the best of the best shoppers take each job you list.

Remember, this is an industry designed to improve profitability through customer service. Stop and think about that for a moment. If a client wants to improve customer service, how will they value the information from companies that don't exemplify the same values?

Pay shoppers at least $15/hour of work. That includes prep time and travel time.

How much will you save if the work is done right the FIRST time from quality shoppers?

The irony is that the MSCs need MSCs to evaluate them.
@rickgrossman wrote:

...they turn on their own soldiers, remove parts from tanks, and treat their own soldiers and allies worse than those they try to defeat.
Interesting, that sounds A LOT like the philosophy of a government of a western country I know.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/02/2019 04:08PM by merchmerch.
@Jozieb wrote:

I don’t do phone calls for $4!!

I've found Confero and Person-to-Person Quality to have the "best" phone shops on average. I think the work + pay are okay (maybe slightly underpaid, but better than other companies).

Intellishop was bottom of my barrel for phone shops.
MySurvey is anvandroid app that has quick assignments just about everywhere. If your the only one in your area doing them you might do well but they ask alot for very little pay. Good luck hope this helped you smiling smiley
i dunno. Recently, one shop paid so highly with bonus (which reflected the appropriate amount for travel to/fro) that I wanted to accept the assignment. I was booked, alas. High payments are available at certain times for anyone who is available at essentially the last minute.

*eta*

The same job was just offered at an even higher fee/bonus. Again, I was not available for the job. Oh, well,

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas. - Peg Bracken


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/20/2019 06:30AM by Shop-et-al.
@shopperbob wrote:

That is a sum I consider to be minuscule, considering I currently stand at 3.445 completions.
How in the world do you know the exact number of shops you have done? I've been shopping for about two years and have no idea how many shops I have done! My OSI count is over 200 and I didn't want to do my background for a while, then I do way more Krogers and gas stations than OSI's.
Yes, shop fees do go down and they do ask for more for the same amount of money. As you become more experienced you should be limiting or stopping entry-level work. I started burning out and had to stop "over-scheduling" myself. I limit myself only to the shops with bonuses except for a few local gas stations and grocery stores. I don't normally do bank shops unless for example I see a bonus in a town maybe an hour away and I have other assignments to do in that area. Sometimes I do shops in the same town, sometimes on the way there or the way back. I think my time is worth minimum wage which includes my driving time. That means for a shop that's one hour away, it's two hours incentive or PAD added to the cost. (At least 14). The only time to make an exception to this is if they ask you to discount a second or third shop en route. I rarely go out of the area for just one shop. (maybe if I've been super busy and I'm too tired). Therefore if I go I'm most likely doing a minimum of three assignments, each with incentives or PAD, even if it takes me just 3 hours [two driving + one working]. Translation 3 hours normally equals $75(minimum) and usually, it's over $100. Don't sell yourself short, don't wear yourself thin trying to make a $100 with $7 shops. Adding a few here and there as fillers or to get the emails for bonuses is ENOUGH. They will come with more money and if they don't, don't worry about it. It keeps the newbies busy or "cheapie's" busy. Make sure you leave them the undesirable shops too! As for me, I stopped doing Phillips 66 full audits and only do the mystery shops. I make the same amount of money and the report is a lot easier. I can't remember when the last time was I did an apartment shop. I made $50 today, on an "off" day for two hours worth of not that hard work.
As for rejected shops. It should not be that hard to have a low rejection rate. In over two years I've only lost one shop from Maritz, a couple from MF, {the last was over a year ago}, one movie [Service Check], and one from Ipsos. None of them were "stolen" by the MSP, I messed up one way or another and learned from my mistake. I don't think Maritz or Service Check "used" my shop anyway, MF I'm sure they did. But there was nothing I could do since I didn't know I had to leave the gap between them (timewise). I did have an incidence with Maritz where they tried to tell me they were not going to pay me for a BP that was too late. I called and was sort of upset because they did not give me a chance to replace the pictures. Come to find out the shop was sent to the client so they paid me anyway. The one from Ipsos was my fault for going so late in the day. I had to wait for one pump and that picture came out too dark. They did let me re-shop it myself. I have new ways of handling that situation now, could be rescheduling or lightening the picture if it's not that bad.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/11/2019 04:38AM by F and L TeleComm.
I just read through guidelines for a shop that was full of errors and misspellings. Requiring shops to be submitted immediately or the same day leaves little time to properly edit a document.
F and L TeleComm inquires of Shopper Bob--How in the world do you know the exact number of shops you have done?

Bob replies--In the corner of the current page in my log, is a running total of the past 16 1/2+ yrs.
shoptastic states--Intellishop was bottom of my barrel for phone shops.

Bob comments--Trendsource hit the literal bottom a few years back with phone work paying 50 cents. I occasionally complete phone shops for Person To Person at $20.
@shopperbob wrote:

shoptastic states--Intellishop was bottom of my barrel for phone shops.

Bob comments--Trendsource hit the literal bottom a few years back with phone work paying 50 cents. I occasionally complete phone shops for Person To Person at $20.

GOOD LORD!
This afternoon, 11/19, I received a solicitation for the lowest fee I have ever seen for a targeted and recorded call apt. shop--$15. Looking back through my log, I was paid $25 in 2003 for a non-targeted and non-recorded call shop. In 2006, it was $40 for targeted and non-recorded apt. work.
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