It’s after midnight and I finally finished 4 reports

Phew! I’m finally done! I had 4 shops about 50 miles away, and one took waaay longer than I expected. Including commute, I’ve been working over 14 hours (minus making dinner, eating, and letting my beagle out about 10 times to bark at nothing). I need to be more efficient writing the reports. I have a tendency to go over the narratives several times until I deem it almost perfect. This is fine for higher-paying jobs, but I find myself doing it for even the lowest paying jobs, Do any of you have a method for making this efficient? I know in my mind that I shouldn’t put as much effort into $10 shops, but I just can’t help myself. Ugh! Also, how to stop using 2 spaces after punctuation like I was taught? Haha!

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Oh, that two spaces things drives me up the WALL! When you've done something for basically 60 years (or longer....), it's really, REALLY hard to change it!

One solution to putting too much effort into $10 shops is...at the risk of sounding pedantic/overbearing/rude/condescending, etc., to just stop doing $10 shops. Or become dreadfully selective, and only take $10 shops that require zero, none, zip, nada, narrative.

I am, of course, guilty of exactly the same thing you are describing. I know I'll be up for hours working on those stinkin' reports!

smiling smiley
Like most kids in high school during the 80’s, I took typing classes, and they hammered those 2 spaces after punctuation into my core! My first job was technical writing, and the editors also hammered that into my brain. It’s a hard habit to break! I didn’t even realize the rules had changed until my college-aged daughter asked me why I left so much space after a period!

I take the $10 jobs to help justify the miles I’m driving for one job that isn’t quite enough but better than most. I always get myself into a pickle somehow by accepting something too low, and then scrambling to find a few to help make up for it. I did it again this week by accepting a low paying merchandising job just to get my feet wet and because I already had 4 jobs in the 40 mile-away area; and then the box with the tools I needed didn’t arrive before I left in the morning. I told her to reschedule it for next week, but now I’m trying to find jobs in that area to add on because it would be ridiculous to drive 80 miles round trip for $10. I find it so hard to construct routes. sad smiley. Any advice welcomed!
I don't know what part of the country you're in, but I almost always can find fast food, gas stations, and shipping shops to fill in routes.

If you can use apps on your phone, you're way ahead of me -- you can find some where you can use the apps on-site to complete reports. I would think that would make routes much easier, not facing all those reports when we get home. Alas, you were learning typing close to 30 years after I did....and I find learning this new stuff difficult.

Maybe you would find more shops if you were signed up with more MSCs?

I had a shop in a small town 100 miles away, and found 5 gas stations within 40 miles of THAT town; it'll still be a 300 mile round trip now, but at $90, $60, $60, and $60, worth it.
Those 5 gas stations are all with one company; I'm doing a hardware store, a fast food, and a shipping shop on the way there, too. All very quick, all bonused, all no (or very little) narrative.

And I think you're in luck, as this is the time of year that bonuses can get a little wild. So many shoppers take off for the holidays.

Best of luck.
I'm not sure who you shop for or what the form is like, but if it doesn't ask for narrative, I don't provide it. I also make sure not to go over the character minimum for answers.
I’m in Williamsburg, VA. Virginia Beach and Richmond are the biggest cities near me, but are over an hour away. If I can find enough decent-paying jobs to bundle I make the trip. I am very close to shopping in my town, and get a fair amount of shops locally. It just isn’t consistent. I find it tough to build a route with so many different MSCs. I have signed up with all of the “most talked about” on the board, and also every company on Job Slinger, Shopper Hub, Presto, etc. I must have over a hundred by now, and I’m not sure where to find additional ones. Many of the ones I have signed up for never have shops in my area, but I’m not sure how to specifically locate the ones who do have shops in this part of the country. I have noticed many more available jobs from some of the MSCs in the DC area, but my commute there is 2-3 hours one way depending on traffic, and the ride is just brutal.

I’ve done 10 shops this week, thanks to a scheduler calling me for 3 of them (thanks Scott!) It seems like everything on the boards I’ve already done, and have to wait another 90 days plus to get any additional shops. I find the restaurant shops tough because they pay so little, and I have to pay the bill and not get reimbursed for 6 weeks.

I’ve done so many bank shops that I think I’ve exhausted every single one in my area. I’ve also done all the home improvement and exercise facilities. I’m done with the cell phone shops, as I hate the wait time and don’t feel that technically savvy or up-to-date on the technology. I also am starting to hate Best Buy! Haha! I still love Home Depot and Lowe’s, but I’m on the 90 day wait to shop again. The grocery stores pay so little and require a lot, so I only take them if I need more shops on my route. I think I’ve also done all the self storage facilities. I have heard that there are a lot of shoppers in my area because it is a big retirement area, so competition is high.

I started this week with a couple of merchandising jobs and would love to find more. I guess I need to do some more research in order to find the companies offering such work. I am reliable and hardworking, but unsure in how to find companies appreciative of those attributes. I have been shopping for over a year now, but I guess it takes more time to build working relationships. It’s tough to do a lot of jobs with one company when there just isn’t consistent work from most in my area (or they have the same ones and I’m not eligible to shop more often than every 90 days; or I’m too old because they want 35 and under; or I need to bring a child with me).

Suggestions welcomed! smiling smiley
I only do the minimum expected. Sounds harsh but you’ll find out super fast if it isn’t enough. I do the two spaces too and there is only one company that has ever said anything about it and honestly I don’t do that much for them so I just avoid them. I need to make this work for me with what they pay.
I've had many days that have finished after midnight - totally feel your pain!

As far as the $10 shops with reports, the easy answer is to just not take $10 shops that require reports. Personally I rarely take jobs that pay $10 and if I do they better be about 2 minutes in store and a report that only takes a couple of minutes. I'm definitely not writing narrative for $10.

I'm familiar with your neck of the woods and have even done some shopping in Virginia. In some areas it's just difficult to make decent money due to the lack of work. The answer to this is to sign-up for more companies. While it can be difficult to know ahead of time if it is worth the time to sign-up for a new company, companies grow and change clients and one that does not have shops in your area currently may boom in the following year. I've always taken a couple of the slow times throughout the year to sign-up for more companies. I would definitely say it is worth the time if you want to make more money in this business.

Learning how to become a route shopper has been a process for me, but I would say it does get way easier. I almost exclusively route shop and most of that work is bonused. I think a good starting point is to determine what you expect to make hourly. Once you do that it becomes easier to decide if a shop is worth the money. From there I usually choose at least one high paying job. For me it's usually at least three bonused gas stations within a two hour drive. Then I'll look at the route, make a mental note of the cities that I'll pass on the drive and see if there is other bonused work on that route. I may fill-in with a lunch/dinner shop, even if not bonused, but if it's a busy day I'm taking a meal shop that has an easy report.

As an example I have started planning a route for next Sunday. I have picked-up 2 gas audits that are paying a total of $112. They are a total of 25 miles away. Now if I did not pick-up any other shops, these two shops would be a fine amount of money for the time involved. However I do know that there are many storage shops on one board that are already bonused. These shops will have to be completed this month and they will want them done before Christmas. So I will wait until this next Thur/Fri to see what the bonus becomes or possibly contact the scheduler with an offer. I will probably do two for $25-$30 each making my total now about $162. A popular company has gas mystery shops in my area to be shopped from 7-9 pm. They are going to try to get most of these scheduled for this week. By the end of this coming week I will send them offers for maybe 4 of these shops on my route again offering to do them for $25 or more. If they are accepted that's another $100 and these shops only take 10 minutes a piece. So now I'm up to over $260 for a whopping hour drive and approximately two hours of work in store. I also know that the reports for all of these shops are easy and I know what is expected from the MSC so I do not spend more time than is needed on the reports.

Sorry for such a long reply. Please do not count all of the places that I've added two spaces after a period. I don't think I'll ever adjust to this new rule. smiling smiley
@Ercokat wrote:

Also, how to stop using 2 spaces after punctuation like I was taught? Haha!

Type your narrative like you normally do in Word or Google docs. Use 'find and replace' to replace all two spaces with one (type in two spaces in the find box and one space in the replace box). This is what I do when I'm editing shopper reports. winking smiley

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Is it the $10 that bugs you or the report time for the $10 shops? You could consider some merchandising gigs in which you report as you work with an app and the report is [almost always] submitted before you leave each location. This is not an exact formula, but many merches wth an app net a dollar per minute. This is like sixty dollars per hour. And, the narratives are short. Brief. Optional, even!

It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside. - Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib
_____
I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born. - Ronald Reagan
_____
Most shops take me 15 minutes to do a full report. Again I must say, "Answer all of the questions first, SAVE, Write narrative, only answer the questions asked, that's all they want to know. I have been doing this for 13 years and right now have not had one return this past year, with a grade of 10. Always proofread when done, nine times out of ten I made a mistake, either spelling or grammar. I never use WORD, to much time.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/08/2019 04:53PM by shopper8.
@shopper8 wrote:

Most shops take me 15 minutes to do a full report. Again I must say, "Answer all of the questions first, SAVE, Write narrative, only answer the questions asked, that's all they want to know. I have been doing this for 13 years and right now have not had one return this past year, with a grade of 10. Always proofread when done, nine times out of ten I made a mistake, either spelling or grammar. I never use WORD, to much time.

I hope to get to that point sometime in my life! smiling smiley One report was an account opening, which had multiple pages with tons of narrative. It took a long time! I’ve only been doing this for a little over a year, but I’ve done so many shops with multiple companies and it will take me a bit to figure out their expectations. So for now, I just give them my all. I proofread too many times and end up changing wording that was likely okay to begin with. I need to stop that!
There is nothing wrong with doing your best, even on shops that don't pay that great. It's opened some doors for me over the past 18+ years of shoppping.
I agree with Jas. Also, as you get more experience you will get a feel for how to do a great $10 report in less time.
I do my best on all reports. It gets easier with time. As far as routes and bonus shops it is all relative to where you live and how many shoppers in your area.
Kathy, that is just so true. I wish I had four shops within 50 miles! There's a fast food and a hardware store 45 miles away. That's it. Next closest is a gas station 60 miles away. Today, to make a route, we'll drive over 300 miles to complete half a dozen shops. And I dread facing those reports when I get home!
$10 shops with narrative are a donation from the shopper to these multi-million or billion dollar companies, usually from the otherwise shut-in elderly shoppers. Get over having to be so proud of yourself and do $10 work for $10 pay. Doing $100 work for $10 pay doesn't ingratiate you with these companies as some of the so-called shoppers are saying; it just makes you look like a sucker to be taken advantage of.
You’re right. I use them as fill-ins when I travel to a job, but I’m finding the reports require just as much work as a $30 shop. So while they don’t require as much time at the location, the report is still 4 pages long and includes narrative. It’s not worth the reimbursement for a sandwich and $5.
Typical response from an ex forum member who got banned before and has now created a new name so she can post again. Hello spicy1.

@MaritzShopper wrote:

$10 shops with narrative are a donation from the shopper to these multi-million or billion dollar companies, usually from the otherwise shut-in elderly shoppers. Get over having to be so proud of yourself and do $10 work for $10 pay. Doing $100 work for $10 pay doesn't ingratiate you with these companies as some of the so-called shoppers are saying; it just makes you look like a sucker to be taken advantage of.
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