When/How Do You Negotiate A Bonus?

I'm curious how does everyone else proceed with asking for higher pay?
How many shops do you do with a MSC before asking for pay?
Is the bonus pay more dependent on quality of reports vs. quantity of reports for a particular MSC?
Is it based on your overall shopper rating in the Sassie platform?

Any advice or suggestions appreciated!

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As I never negotiate bonuses, I can not be of any assistance. I always determine the lowest fee for which I am willing to work and rigidly "hold my line." The MSC either accepts or rejects my offer.
Anymore, I seldom claim a job at base rate. I'm lucky enough to not have a ton of competition in my area and only do this as a part time job for fun money, being retired and all... So, I wait till the shops are updated with bonus pay or wait till I get emails or texts from schedulers who like me.
I had nothing planned for yesterday and a scheduler texted me for a grocery shop that needed doing the same day. Offered me a $40 bonus on a fifty mile trip. I checked the board and found another that wasnt terribly much further and said I could do that one too if there was mileage bonus available. There was. Another $30 for only 20 more miles.
I then checked another MSC and found a fast food shop in that same town that had started out as no fee plus reimbursement and was now up to $12 plus reimbursement. Finally, there was a gas station along the way that had gone from $5+$5 and was now at $22+$5.
The moral of the story. Work nice with your schedulers, even if sometimes you might need to drive a bit out of your way. If you've got a good one, they'll take good care of you and the bonuses will come. Secondly, if you can, be patient. The jobs will increase in value the longer they sit, but like a Dutch Auction, sometimes they'll get snatched up. Watch and learn.
So these bonuses you're getting for long trips, they are on top of the base pay? I'm being offered an extra $5 for 20 miles driving. Is this reasonable? I've asked for $10 bonus and I've been declined.
These are $50 assignments, I've done several, the scheduler is very urgently happy about scheduling me, but won't offer higher than $5. Is there anything I'm doing wrong?
Hey there! Just keep in mind that the IRS reimbursement for driving is something like $ .58 a mile. So the $5 for an extra 20 miles is not reasonable in my opinion. I know it doesn't answer your question, but it's something to keep in mind since a car does cost money!


@sparklesthekitty wrote:

So these bonuses you're getting for long trips, they are on top of the base pay? I'm being offered an extra $5 for 20 miles driving. Is this reasonable? I've asked for $10 bonus and I've been declined.
These are $50 assignments, I've done several, the scheduler is very urgently happy about scheduling me, but won't offer higher than $5. Is there anything I'm doing wrong?
Wow, thanks.
How much is reasonable?
I don't understand why some schedulers are so reluctant for bonuses.
Should I stop working with this scheduler if she doesn't offer bigger bonuses?
Many schedulers do not have a budget for bonuses at all. End of story. Those that do, are not going to pay extra early in the month or in the quarter, since they have time to see if the shop gets taken at base pay. So, you may not be doing anything wrong, just not asking at the best time.

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.
My question is, what if a scheduler says there's a hard deadline of XYZ when XYZ is very early in the month? Are they lying to try and not give a bonus?
Are schedulers losing some sort of commission money if they give out bonuses?
@sparklesthekitty wrote:

So these bonuses you're getting for long trips, they are on top of the base pay? I'm being offered an extra $5 for 20 miles driving. Is this reasonable? I've asked for $10 bonus and I've been declined.
These are $50 assignments, I've done several, the scheduler is very urgently happy about scheduling me, but won't offer higher than $5. Is there anything I'm doing wrong?
Yes, you're working for the wrong company.

"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
Is there any way to contact someone other than that scheduler for that particular MSC do ask for a bonus pay? Or is this solely reliant on schedulers?
It's my understanding that schedulers have a pool from which to draw. If she knows that she's going to have to pay me $200 extra for the BFE shop, she may not have an extra $20 for you. They look at the history of the location and make an educated guess at the amount they're going to need to pay for each shop. This is one reason not to do a job for a scheduler you don't know well enough to trust that she'll recognize you're doing her a favor by taking a shop at low pay -- hold out for what it's worth or don't do it.

I'd just move on. Thank her for the time and let her know that you hope she's able to fill the job with someone who is closer. She might indeed have a shopper in the wings who will do it for the $5 bonus. Be polite. And then look at other companies.

"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
Okay thanks.
This is turning out to be a lot of hard work. I'm lucky if I'm averaging $10/hour with all the lengthy reports and time spent driving to and from.
Is there any way to find out which companies go through the Sassie platform? I've been doing hit and miss.
There is a section of the forum for "New mystery shoppers" that has much good information and may help answer many of your questions. I still go there occasionally to brush up.

sestrahelena
@sparklesthekitty wrote:

I'm curious how does everyone else proceed with asking for higher pay?
How many shops do you do with a MSC before asking for pay?
Is the bonus pay more dependent on quality of reports vs. quantity of reports for a particular MSC?
Is it based on your overall shopper rating in the Sassie platform?

Any advice or suggestions appreciated!
It varies.

Typically, I'd want to ask for a bonus only after I've done four or five perfectly rated shops.

However, on an easy food shop (the $7 gas station reimbursement food shop + a $2 fee type), I've asked for a bonus on the second shop with an MSC before and I got it. It was a route, so it sort of made sense. For a more complicated shop type, I'd probably wait until I did a few perfect shops.

Method?:
It always varies too, but I take a lot from Steven K. Scott's advice on communication and negotiation from his book, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived. He is a millionaire, master marketer (with billions in sales) and previously set the industry record in direct marketing for the highest sales rate. He's written and directed well-known product commercials, including: The Total Gym (Chuck Norris) and Lori Davis Hair products (with Cher, I believe). He gives his "secret sauce" for how to persuade someone in his books The Richest Man Who Ever Lived and The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived.

In his industry, he had 90 seconds to get a person's attention (in a commercial of all things!), convince someone to stop what they were doing, jot down a phone number, call it, and buy a product. He held the best sales record for a long time and gives many of his "secrets" (taken from Christian/Biblical principles) on how to communicate, persuade, and negotiate with someone in his books. They are books on life wisdom (from finance to personal relationships, all the way to business/work life), but lots of chapters/sections on communication (what he considered his greatest skill/strength was).

Here are a few (of many) simple things you can do:

a.) Use your audience's frame of reference when speaking to them.
b.) Ask a question.
c.) Ask for a price that is fair to both sides.

When speaking to someone, he says to always know what their frame of reference is. What do they care about? What is their daily life like (for example) and what are their needs? What are they looking to gain? Most people start conversations using their own frame of reference.

Ask a question to get someone's attention. Often, in conversation, another person may be so preoccupied with his or own burdens or thoughts that their attention is hard to get. So, how can you do that? There are many methods he gives, but one that is easiest and that I use is to ask a question. Why? When we ask questions, it forces the other person to stop and think. Whatever they're thinking, they have to stop with those thoughts for a moment and focus on something else. They can't just ignore you or pretend to be listening (while thinking of something else). They have to stop and actively think about something. It's also something they'll remember of the conversation too later on. They may have more easily forgotten what you said for 5-10 minutes, but will likely remember your question.

When negotiating (I've written about this before in other threads), Steven K. Scott says the concept of winning should be for both sides to get what they want (i.e., both sides stand to gain from it). Most people think a good negotiation is getting all that you can from the other side. But, that's not how Scott views it. He defines "winning" as both sides getting what they want.

Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2020 07:45PM by shoptastic.
Just using those three principles above, I've found a good way to ask for shops and/or a bonus that has been successful.

You'll have to think about how you can combine those things on your own, as it took me time to think about it myself and I don't want to give away my "applied method" (wording that is). smiling smiley

ETA: And, honestly, if a person can apply and master Scott's communication/persuasion/negotiation skills, they may be better off going into sales (auto, real estate, business/consumer, or what have you) vs. doing what I often find is predatory/slave wage-like ms work. The Richest Man Who Ever Lived is truly a life-changing book!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2020 06:00AM by shoptastic.
@shoptastic wrote:

When speaking to someone, he says to always know what their frame of reference is. What do they care about? What is their daily life like (for example) and what are their needs? What are they looking to gain? Most people start conversations using their own frame of reference.
Just to expand on this, Scott says when negotiating with someone - specifically pitching something/trying to recruit someone - you want to focus on what the other party wants/cares about.

He's talked about recruiting famous actors/actresses/singers to work for him in his commercials/infomercials and his method of successfully getting them for projects (where many others failed and were turned down). Most people when they ask someone for something, they use their own frame of reference, have in mind what they want to get out of something, and how something would benefit themselves.

He says to instead use the other person's frame of reference. Know what is most important to that person and what motivates them. What does the other person want to gain? Focus on that and try to pitch them in a way that let's them see those needs being met.

If you think about what a scheduler's life is like, what drives them, what they want more than anything, etc. and you offer them something that would meet those needs, there's a much greater chance of success in negotiating than when you pitch from your own needs first (i.e., "I am looking to pick up x-number of shops and make y-number of dollars. Can I take x/y/z shops.....?" ).

Of course, you have your own needs too, but Scott says most people being pitched (often they may get 10's or even 100's of requests, so you have to stand out) something are told about a wonderful opportunity in ways that don't make them feel like they're getting anything out of it. It's like the pitch is done in a way that highlights how the "pitcher" is benefiting. Instead, pitch/ask for something in a way that let's the person being pitched understand how they would benefit.

I'm very careful in my wording in this area. I don't do it in a heavy-handed way, but I do word my requests in a way that does this. smiling smiley

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2020 07:32PM by shoptastic.
Also, many excellent firms are not on the SASSIE system at all.

OP, you should be signed up with the "most discussed" companies on the list here; and you should spend a little time every week signing up with more companies.

A $5 bonus on a $50 shop doesn't sound bad at all; the secret to making money is to find another 2 or 3 shops on the way there -- a mini-route.

I ask for travel/bonus/distance pay probably very, very close to 100% of the time. I call the scheduler when possible, e-mail when no number is available, and just politely ask if travel/distance/bonus funds are available. If I get a "No, not at this time", I write back and tell them to keep me in mind if they can't get the shop filled.

However, I live in a rural area, and the nearest shop to me is 45 miles away. It wouldn't make any sense for me to accept any jobs at base pay, because base pay wouldn't even cover the gas.
This topic has been discussed many times in several different ways on this forum. Most recent discussion was [www.mysteryshopforum.com]
Often, too, the best way to get a bonus is to be an extremely valuable worker. Be honorable. Do a great job.

If a company is smart, they will want to retain your talent and use you. Bonuses may even come naturally at that point or maybe just extra shops/work.
What about schedulers that refuse to reimburse for gas? I got paid $5 for a 20 mile (about 1 hour back and forth) and the shop paid $50. Is this fair?
It depends on what YOU feel is fair. Twenty mile drive would take me 20 minutes, and I would happily complete a $50 assignment.

It is a fact that once you accept a shop at $50, it's like hunting chicken's teeth to get more than that.

Just a matter of semantics, but your "gas money" of $5 really should cover 40 miles of driving. If you only ask for "gas money", that's what you'll get.

There are many shoppers who would be thrilled with finding a $50 shop.

You are self-employed; you have the privilege of deciding for yourself what you will work for, what you feel is fair.

Another angle is that, to the MSC, the $5 represents a 10% increases over the stated price. Ten percent is significant.
But what about the wear and tear on the car? I've read on here it should be around $0.83 per mile.
@sparklesthekitty wrote:

But what about the wear and tear on the car? I've read on here it should be around $0.83 per mile.
IRS figures $0.55 I think this year?
$0.83 for wear and tear if you're driving a luxury sedan. Under $0.55 if you drive an economy car or a junker.
You can't tell them that you're asking for $0.55 a mile. You've got to offer a flat fee. They'll take it, leave it or decline.
Don't be driving 400 miles for a $200 route. That's a sure way to run your car into the ground.
re: "fair price"

I think the way I view this concept is that a great negotiation is when both sides walk away happy. I don't want to ever price gouge someone that would leave them not wanting to work with me in the future. Maybe a scheduler is desperate and I can sense it (sometimes they flat out tell you in so many words of their email). Shoppers may be able to get a lot more than normal in these situations, but I personally wouldn't ask for an exorbitant rate just because I knew someone was desperate.

Prices are largely determined by supply and demand, yes. But, I also think about long-term considerations. Maybe I CAN squeeze a scheduler, who seems desperate, for a huge bonus on some shops (above and beyond what I would have originally even been very pleased with) for this month. But, if he/she is very unhappy about it, then that is not ideal.

A fair price is also relative to the individuals involved, as we all value projects differently. Still, one way you can approach it, if there is some difference in desired compensation, would be:

Shopper Jane: "Barbara [scheduler], I want you to be happy with our discussion of shop fees for this route. I value you very much as my scheduler and appreciate you offering me the opportunities this client has presented, and I am interested in taking on some of the projects. I have in mind a compensation level that I would be glad to accept immediately if offered [you can offer it here if you like or wait], but also want you to be happy with a deal. Is there some amount that you have in mind that you would be happy to immediately approve to set up the projects? I want to see if we can work on something that would leave both sides happy."

This would be a more explicit way of handling it: asking directly for a price that would leave the other party to be happy. You can also use your common sense understanding of what would seem like a reasonable deal that would leave the other side satisfied as well. The main point, though, was that I value seeing all sides happy in a deal. To me, that would be "winning."

I think this also helps build up a better working relationship with someone. And, I really believe, too, that work quality is affected when all sides feel adequately compensated. The client would benefit from what I believe would be better reports that would better improve their businesses as well.
As "Barbara", I deleted your e-mail half way through the first sentence. I get 700 e-mails from shoppers every day, and don't have time for disquisitions.

Why not just say "I need $200 to do this route. Can you get close to that?"
Lately, there is a new scheduler who has taken over for my bread-and-butter shops. It seems she has to get approval for every single bonus. It's a pain. I submitted an amount for a couple of BFE shops, and she responded for me to apply on the board. Um, no. What's on her board is about 20% of what I need to do the shops, and I'm doubtful that I'd get what I proposed if I applied directly. So when she sends out the desperate email in a week because these two are rarely taken except by me, it's going to cost her much more for waiting.

I'm training her :-D.

"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
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