Distance based bonuses for gas

Good morning all!

I am seeing some shops that are urgent from an MSC where they are asking for us to make an offer for gas reimbursement since the shop is a couple hours away. My plan is to ask for $2/mile between my house and the shop. This breaks down to $1.15/mile for gas (IRS mileage deduction is $0.575/mile * 2 to count the return trip as well) and $0.85/mile for my time. This means that the shop 88 miles away will be a really high offer.

I am wondering, what general rules of thumb do you all use to bid on those far away shops?

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Ask for whatever amount will make you feel "happy" to do the shop. That number is different for all of us.

Personally, where I live, I don't look at distance as much as the time it takes to drive.... 88 miles could take better than two hours each way... I then offer about $50/hour - so $200 might do it. Of course, if I can pick up other lucrative shops along the route or near where the shop in question is, I'll lower my request.

To be clear: I don't get most of the bonuses I request: There is almost always somebody closer to the location or willing to work for a lot less. However, I do get some of them.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
@bbates728 wrote:

Good morning all!

I am seeing some shops that are urgent from an MSC where they are asking for us to make an offer for gas reimbursement since the shop is a couple hours away. My plan is to ask for $2/mile between my house and the shop. This breaks down to $1.15/mile for gas (IRS mileage deduction is $0.575/mile * 2 to count the return trip as well) and $0.85/mile for my time. This means that the shop 88 miles away will be a really high offer.

I am wondering, what general rules of thumb do you all use to bid on those far away shops?
Your question has been asked as many different times and ways, and the answers are always different for different shoppers. Your $2/mile is the most I've heard any mystery shopper charge. Here is my method. I submit a fair price and do not negotiate.

Take a few minutes and figure how much it costs you per mile to operate your car (gas, insurance, tires, oil, maintenance). Add a reasonable amount for non-vehicle expenses such as time, motel, snow, mountains, etc., but no charge for meals since you would have to eat even if you stayed home. For example, if you pay $100 monthly for car insurance and you drive 1000 miles monthly, then you are paying $0.10/mile for insurance. Total these expenses and submit your offer.

It's trial and error after that, until you have done enough routes to have a feel for it. Raise or lower your subsequent offers according to the ratio of accepted offers you receive, which should be close to the minimum amount you would do the route for. As with any deal, it should be a fair price for both you and the company, and you should be willing to walk away if the deal is not right for you.

Remember that you are taking a day away from other jobs to shop a route. If you average daily wage is $100, then the job fees need to pay a minimum total of $100. If the total fee for all shop on the route is only $60, and it takes 8 hours to drive, shop, and return home, then you need to add $40 to the travel offer or find $40 more shops on the route.
I created a calculation in Excel that I use as a guide when asking for a bonus. I plug in the number of miles round trip and the price per gallon of gas for my area to determine both the cost of gas for the trip and the IRS mileage deduction for that trip. I then add those two numbers together and double it, and that becomes the range I use. So for an 88 mile trip, my current bonus range is between $55.31 to $110.62. How much I ask for exactly depends on things like how busy I am at the moment, how much the shop normally pays, the type of shop it is, my relationship with the scheduler or MSC, etc.

I've always suspected that I ask for lower bonus amounts than other shoppers, but it works for me. Part of this is because I actually enjoy driving, especially to areas and cities I don't normally visit. It ends up being a relaxing day trip for me.
Alan-Texas, you and I came up with about the same amount for the 88-mile route. Assuming no abnormal aspects, I came up with $53, which I would probably round up to $55, and the total shop fees for the route would need to be at least $50 since it would be half a day's work. Most of my submissions are accepted; I do not fret about the few that are not. I have built up a reputation as a shopper who charges a fair price and completes routes as agreed.
@bbates728 wrote:

Good morning all!

I am seeing some shops that are urgent from an MSC where they are asking for us to make an offer for gas reimbursement since the shop is a couple hours away. My plan is to ask for $2/mile between my house and the shop. This breaks down to $1.15/mile for gas (IRS mileage deduction is $0.575/mile * 2 to count the return trip as well) and $0.85/mile for my time. This means that the shop 88 miles away will be a really high offer.

I am wondering, what general rules of thumb do you all use to bid on those far away shops?

Well considering that most MSC's won't even pay the $0.55/mile charge, I am doubtful that you're going to have any luck trying to charge $2/mile.
Depends on how desperate the MSC is. I have received the $325 bonus I asked for; the shop was 135 miles from home. The MSC was VERY desperate.

Also, when I e-mail my offer in, I usually add a line about being willing to negotiate, and ask how close they can come to my bid.

I do want to be paid for every hour I'm on the road, and I aim for $25 an hour overall. So if I'm gone 8 hours, it better be $200 or close to it.

But that's just MY goal; others have different goals/needs.

I have been known to make $1 a mile (an 800 mile route that grossed $1100), but those days seem far away and long ago.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/25/2020 10:44PM by ceasesmith.
I don't calculate at all. I just need more money for more distance and drive time. I assess what I normally would make on a comparable route, whether there are other jobs along the way and what the base pay was for the assignment being offered.

Sometimes when I am going to the boonies I will pick up shipping or simple c-stores at base rate because I know those locations are hard to fill and the MSCs/schedulers have always been fair with bonuses for me when they were not along a route but needed to be done.

sestrahelena
The MSC let me know that they won't even match the IRS signage much less my amount. I am honestly pretty surprised they won't even go to that amount. I guess I won't be going on the long distance stuff unless it will help inflate lifestyle. Oh well! smiling smiley

It is interesting that people are going down to $0.30ish/mile! I am surprised that it ends up being profitable when considering vehicle depreciation, insurance, gas, etc. PLUS the time for the shop itself.

Thanks for chiming in, it is fun to learn more from the veterans around here!
When I last worked for a company that paid me mileage they paid at $0.30 a mile and $11 an hour drive time. From the second stop until the last. If it was more than 40 miles to the last stop or more than an hour they paid you the same and the first stop had to be more than an hours drive and 40 miles away. That is until Obama started his health cre act and screwed over everyone with his full employement if you work 28 hours a week.
I just did a shop 100 miles away for $70.

Of course, I picked up a fast food for $32 plus reimbursement, a second fast food at $40 plus reimbursement, and a gas station for $45 on the way there.

To ME (just my personal opinion), the $70 shop was just an anchor for a mini-route that turned out to be quite lucrative. Left home at ll:30 AM, back before 5 PM -- well over my $25 an hour goal.

smiling smiley
The negotiations are such a hassle! The outcomes are often wildly disparate. My solution was to do something else most of the time.

Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.- Al Bernstein
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I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born. - Ronald Reagan
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Unless you have a compelling reason, walk away if they won't come close to the IRS mileage. Compelling is different for everyone, of course. Sometimes I'll take less so I can spend time with family or friends in that city.
If I can get them to state that it is for mileage and it beats the IRS mileage then it is free money because mileage reimbursement is not taxed. But you do miss out on the mileage deduction. Takes a bit of juggling to get it right. And they still hound you six years later because they do not like your abbreviations. What else would WMT mean but Walmart?
I am straight with schedulers. If I can make a route I can spread the cost/time over several shops. If it is for one and one only and will take me two hours to get there and back, $2/mile is not unreasonable. If I can, while I am talking to the scheduler, I will try to open up boards of other companies known to have shops in that area.
In this game you find out pretty quick who will bonus (pay), how much they will bonus (pay), when they will bonus (pay) as in how far into the month or quarter, and in turn when it makes sense to make an offer and when to not even waste your time. I have learned to calculate pretty quick what it will take. So many factors come into play that you can really waste time finding that perfect number so the road warrior needs a quick estimate tool they use. Ex $x per hour plus driving mileage expenses. I total how many hours it will take total for drive time plus shop on site and report. I multiply the time by either $10, $15, or $20 an hour and then add mileage expenses. The multiplier is based on relationship and work I get with the MSC as well as difficulty of work.

Shopping Western NY, Northeast and Central PA, and parts of Ohio and West Virginia. Have car will travel anywhere if the monies right.
I need to up my expense game. If this is an hour shop, I would normally look for about $100 bonus ($25/hr). If it is something I could route with others and an MSC that gives me good business, I would cut that to about $70.
Everyone's calculations are going to be different. As a *general* rule, I charge $1/mile, unless I have to go into the city and then the $2/mile is not so outrageous. There are a couple of schedulers that have been good to me, and I'll ask THEM what they're able to offer. I know those two will give it to me straight and be fair. I try to do theirs even if they're lower than what I normally would accept -- because I know that when a highly bonused one shows up, I'll be their first call. Buffalo is right -- you'll find out quickly which schedulers will screw you over or forget you, and which ones treat you well.

"Let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then tell me how much of what I earn belongs to you - and why?” ~Walter Williams
@Shop-et-al wrote:

The negotiations are such a hassle! The outcomes are often wildly disparate. My solution was to do something else most of the time.

I submit a fair price for the lowest I will do the route for. Therefore there are NO negotiations. Of course I don't get every single shop, but I get enough.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/08/2020 06:18PM by AZwolfman.
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