First Apartment Shop For EPMS

Hello everybody I just done my first apartment shop for EPMS. I faxed all of the information to them and then called to make sure that they did receive all of my paperwork and to make sure that it was done correctly. The lady told me that I forgot to fax one of the forms and asked me to fax it to them again so I faxed it again. I decided that since my printer was broken anyway and I needed a new printer I decided to purchase another one, so what better time to do it than now. I purchased a printer/scanner and scanned it to my computer and emailed it to her twice, so I know she could not say she did not get it. The shop was accepted the same day all I sent my paperwork. I will let veryone know if I am paid without any problems. I wonder If I had not purchased the printer and sent it so many times if the shop would have been accepted.

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Lisa,
There is another long thread about EPMS. They pay reliably, in my experience.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Ok, thanks. This would be my first mystery shopping job ever. They had other apartmenst in my area, but I decided that it would be best to first do one and see how it worked for me, and if I was happy with the outcome maybe I could do some more.
I've only done a few shops for them, but payment and shop acceptance has not been a problem with them. IMO, though they are very hard to shop for if you do not live in the city or direct area of the shop.
When I first started, I had problems with them receiving my faxes. I did not know how scan. In the future, the video person is the best to deal with.
I was never able to do any of the shops I accepted; could not reach the target I was supposed to shop. This happened on three different shops.
kittybratt, that is a problem I usually have with them too. The first shop I accepted for them, I made a trip to the city with the property mainly for that shop, but could not reach the target. I had to make two more trips for that shop before I could reach her, so I rarely take any with them now.
You are not supposed to go to the location if you cannot reach the target by phoen. Just email your scheduler and ask for an extension to reach the target or cancel the shop because you cannot spend more time due to other obligations. They are very understanding about that.

Never drive a long way hoping to reach your target by phone along the route. That's just asking for disappointment. The whole point of doing the phone call first is to avoid that.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I have never had a problem getting my targeted person and they pay faster than anyone else I shop for. I just hate the long drawn out reports. Very redundant they ask the same questions over and over again.
I check back often to see if there are any other apartments, but all I ever see is the same apartments. Do they mystert shop the same apartments all of the time? Also once you have shopped one apatrtment you cannot shop them again, so what ahappens once I have shopped the apartments that they have listed, are you just out of luck until something new comes up?
Lisa,
Yes there is a problem with shopping the same apartment complex within 18-24 months. That's why you need to sign up with so many MSCs. In the Washington DC metro area, I shop apartements for 4-5 MScs. They all have different clients. so, I can keep busy.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I agree, if you've done an apt., it would be a giveaway re-doing it. I shop the same apt. only once, when they call back, I say I've found something else, and move on to another MSC, or do another location.

Live consciously....
kittybratt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I was never able to do any of the shops I
> accepted; could not reach the target I was
> supposed to shop. This happened on three
> different shops.


I just took my first two assignments with them. The first was non-targeted, so was no problem. On the second, I made 18 calls over the last week, and reached a human being (not the target) three times. The rest of the time I got an answering machine.

I emailed the scheduler that at least they should pay something for my time making the calls. Do they do that?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/28/2011 12:00PM by tgb.
I don't know I have never had that problem. I was even told once if for some reason you cannot reach the target go ahead and shop someone else. So I don't know.
If you don't reach the target after about 6 calls, get in touch with your scheduler and ask for help/guidance. Don't waste your time with further calls hoping (in vain, I predict!) to be compensated, without CLEAR guidance from your scheduler. In many cases the scheduler will then discover that the target no longer works there, or give you permission to ask for the target. I have never, ever, been told to "shop anyone" if you cannot reach the target. Typically the protocol is that, once you have an agreement from the target to meet with you, if you arrive and the target is not available, then (and only then) may you shop anyone avalable. If a scheduler ever told me otherwise, I would insist that the instruction be put in writing!

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Someone from this board gave me an idea. I usually call the main number and not the 800 recording number and see who answers the phone or see if the target is working. I then assign so I won't get the run around. Also it is great if you can get an anyone shop and a target in the same area. That way once you get the target you can shop the random once and kill 2 birds with one stone.
walesmaven Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you don't reach the target after about 6 calls,
> get in touch with your scheduler and ask for
> help/guidance. Don't waste your time with further
> calls hoping (in vain, I predict!) to be
> compensated, without CLEAR guidance from your
> scheduler. In many cases the scheduler will then
> discover that the target no longer works there, or
> give you permission to ask for the target. I have
> never, ever, been told to "shop anyone" if you
> cannot reach the target. Typically the protocol
> is that, once you have an agreement from the
> target to meet with you, if you arrive and the
> target is not available, then (and only then) may
> you shop anyone avalable. If a scheduler ever told
> me otherwise, I would insist that the instruction
> be put in writing!


To be clear:

The shop I did for "anyone" was labeled as such, and was also in the instructions as such - just shop whoever answers the phone.

On the one with the problem, after trying for two days I contacted the scheduler, who suggested I keep trying and ask for the target, which I did for a second two days, and just got a machine. I then contacted the scheduler a SECOND time on Friday, who suggested I try over the weekend - which I did, and again just got the answering machine.

At this point I've been trying for a week, at their insistance, with no luck. I feel I should be paid something.
tgb Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> To be clear:
>
> The shop I did for "anyone" was labeled as such,
> and was also in the instructions as such - just
> shop whoever answers the phone.
>
> On the one with the problem, after trying for two
> days I contacted the scheduler, who suggested I
> keep trying and ask for the target, which I did
> for a second two days, and just got a machine. I
> then contacted the scheduler a SECOND time on
> Friday, who suggested I try over the weekend -
> which I did, and again just got the answering
> machine.
>
> At this point I've been trying for a week, at
> their insistance, with no luck. I feel I should
> be paid something.

This is a tale I have heard from waaaaay too many shoppers to ever be interested in working with this company. I would gather that the schedulers working with the video shoppers are a different group with different criteria. But too many shoppers over the years finally 'caught' the target in the office by phone, made an appointment after many many calls, went to the site and the target was not there because they know they are shopped and play 'dodge ball'. Shopper is left holding the bag for all the time and miles involved. I don't work for free and I only gamble when I feel the odds are in my favor. Thus I will not work for EPMS.
Their target shops have this instruction ~ "Note: You will NOT BE PAID if you do not make contact with your target agent by telephone, if you do not ask for your target agent when you arrive on property, or if you go to the property when you know the target agent is not going to be there. Call EPMS if you are having trouble reaching your target; do not just call and ask for them! Do NOT Take small children or pets on this shop with you!"

I have completed shop anyone, target and target who dodged. The scheduler has assisted me with dodgers. Different advice may be given on what to do onsite if the target isn't there. With scheduler assistance, I've never had a problem. But, I really, really do not like their reporting platform.
walesmaven Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you don't reach the target after about 6 calls,
> get in touch with your scheduler and ask for
> help/guidance.

Once, I was trying to complete a shop that they had been trying to schedule for months. I finally took it, but could not reach the contact. The scheduler finally said just go ahead and ask whoever answers if the contact is there. But I think they reserve that until it is absolutely the last minute.
In a few months, I'll begin my 6th yr. with EPMS, having completed in excess of 150 assignments. I well realize my experiences may be unusual and certainly there have been bumps in the road; this IS business. Below, I'll address a few of the above comments:

FLASH--But too many shoppers over the years finally 'caught' the target in the office by phone, made an appointment after many many calls, went to the site and the target was not there because they know they are shopped and play 'dodge ball'.

BOB--Most of the shops I've completed instructed me NOT to set an appointment. That point aside, I've been instructed that IF the target happened to be out, I was to shop anyone. I've never been confronted with a closed office, but if I were, THAT'S BUSINESS.

WALES--If a scheduler ever told
> me otherwise, I would insist that the instruction
> be put in writing!

BOB--I couldn't agree more with that statement. Once a scheduler with another company
answered such a request by asking why I didn't trust her; my response was THIS IS BUSINESS.

SHUTTEN--Very redundant they ask the same questions over and over again.

BOB--Amen!

KITTY-could not reach the target I was supposed to shop.

BOB--I've never failed to reach a target, but it's true that some are more difficult to contact and I suspect dodge calls.

TGB--I feel I should be paid something.

BOB--Then your feelings will be disappointed.

To summarize, Walesmaven has given you folks excellent advice; she and I are on the same wavelength. Each of us have our areas of comfortability; if either apt. shops in general or EPMS aren't your cup of tea, that's certainly understandable. As for me, I've found the ladies at Ellis to be overall "top shelf." There are only 3 schedulers in this business for whom I'd accept a job I found disagreeable and Ellis has one in Vanessa Dickerson; this woman will move a mountain for a dependable shopper.
I agree I hate the reports but have never had any trouble shopping them and like Bob says the girls are great and they pay fast!!!!
I will only do the audio and video shops, where the scheduler support is great! I leave the "written only" shops (and their staff) to whoever is willing to do them. Not me!

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I cannot say whether they train you or not,as I had been doing video shops long before I started doing theirs. Just seach on their site by specifying audio or video shops in your area.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Usually they will send an email offering a shop in Timbuktoo if they can't get it assigned. If you go to the available shop tab and click the section that says, "Shopping report Type". You scroll down to video and the available shops will pop up. They pay $50. You must apply as they do not self assign them. When they need you, they will contact you and ask if you would like it. EPMS will send you the equipment which is very expensive, and so there may be a long wait that a shop is sitting on your page. This is a great way to see if you like video shopping.

I just got certified 2 weeks ago. I bought my own equipment and have 8 shops assigned for this week. I also went to San Antonio and did some work with some of the companies just to show them I was serious.

shuttenmaier Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> How do you apply for the video or do they train
> you?
Most companies pay more if you have your own video equipemnt, including EPMS.
And, your own equipment is more likely to be reliable as it has never been drop-kicked over the fence by the UPs folks, lol. (True story!)

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Not only will you get a bonus for having your own equipment for video and audio, but also you will get priority in getting assignments.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
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