Scheduler being honest?

I was advised a shop I had to fight for the $3 increase they approved was the highest the client would OK.
Now the shops are being offered for $3 MORE than what I had to ask/fight for. Scheduler says the client sets the "increase" so when I asked for it the first time the scheduler said this is the highest that can be approved. What gives?

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Who knows? Clients change their minds all the time. Of course, your scheduler might not have told you the truth but I would not assume dishonesty.
I have decided to wait until the deadline is a few days away. That way if a bonus is offered, it will be then. Seems like it's a lose-lose though. The shop remains unclaimed, the scheduler has to keep posting it then offering a bonus and the client can't close out the shop. The sooner the shop is claimed, that is a win-win it seems.
But people so often don't listen to reason.

I tell schedulers all the time I'll work their shops into my routes at $25 each. They always refuse.

Yesterday, I was offered $200 bonus to do a shop I had offered to work into a route at $25.

Pretty stupid, if you ask me. Seems that when a scheduler has been unable to fill a shop before deadline for 9 or 10 months in a row, SOMETHING would sink in.
Speaking as an experienced scheduler, I can tell you that there are so many times where I know I could’ve gotten a shopper to do it for a $10 bonus, but it’s too early in the month and the client doesn’t want to pay that much. Then by the end of the month I wind up having to give at least double to get it done. Unfortunately we are given a pretty strict bonus budget most of the time, and a lot of times we aren’t even allowed to give bonuses before midway in the month. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but that is pretty standard. It’s the same thing with deadlines a lot of the time. Sometimes the client will say it must be done by the 25th of the month, and Then if they aren’t all done by then they will say we will extend it one week but we must have it done. And then another week, and then another week. Obviously the client prefers for us to have it done when they initially say, but especially right now between Covid and weather, some of them tend to be more flexible.

Thank you!

Kate Rattner, Mystery Shop Scheduler

kateschedules@gmail.com



Sign up for my database for several shop opportunities!
[docs.google.com]
@krattner wrote:

Speaking as an experienced scheduler, I can tell you that there are so many times where I know I could’ve gotten a shopper to do it for a $10 bonus, but it’s too early in the month and the client doesn’t want to pay that much. Then by the end of the month I wind up having to give at least double to get it done. Unfortunately we are given a pretty strict bonus budget most of the time, and a lot of times we aren’t even allowed to give bonuses before midway in the month. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but that is pretty standard. It’s the same thing with deadlines a lot of the time. Sometimes the client will say it must be done by the 25th of the month, and Then if they aren’t all done by then they will say we will extend it one week but we must have it done. And then another week, and then another week. Obviously the client prefers for us to have it done when they initially say, but especially right now between Covid and weather, some of them tend to be more flexible.

100% agree!
@krattner wrote:

Speaking as an experienced scheduler, I can tell you that there are so many times where I know I could’ve gotten a shopper to do it for a $10 bonus, but it’s too early in the month and the client doesn’t want to pay that much. Then by the end of the month I wind up having to give at least double to get it done. Unfortunately we are given a pretty strict bonus budget most of the time, and a lot of times we aren’t even allowed to give bonuses before midway in the month. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, but that is pretty standard. It’s the same thing with deadlines a lot of the time. Sometimes the client will say it must be done by the 25th of the month, and Then if they aren’t all done by then they will say we will extend it one week but we must have it done. And then another week, and then another week. Obviously the client prefers for us to have it done when they initially say, but especially right now between Covid and weather, some of them tend to be more flexible.

I do wish schedulers had the leeway to be a bit more honest with their favored and frequent shoppers about this.

If you send out an email and a shopper gets back to you and says, for instance, "I'll do it for a $25 bonus" you can say "Hey look, wait until the 15th and if the shop's still available I can approve it for you then" rather than saying "All I can give you is $3."

Of course, it'd be great if you can knock out all the shops before the 15th with only a $3 bonus or even the base pay, but as a scheduler I'm sure you know which shops will and won't get picked up quickly.
The problem with that is that the client obviously only wants it done for the $3 bonus, and in the end, our job is to please the client. I'd rather just give it to an experienced shopper for more pay because I know you'll get it done correctly, but it's truly not our call most of the time.

There are always exceptions to the rule. I used to schedule a shop in Nantucket and I knew it would only be done if I gave a shopper pay for the ferry so I was able to get that approved earlier. But normally I can't just do it without manager approval, and they usually need client approval.

Thank you!

Kate Rattner, Mystery Shop Scheduler

kateschedules@gmail.com



Sign up for my database for several shop opportunities!
[docs.google.com]
As krattner says, it is very rare that a scheduler has the authority to add to a bonus. Yes, we are very aware that you are likely offering to do it for less than what will eventually have to be paid, and would LOVE to just give you the shop for the date and pay you're asking for (as long as both are reasonable), but it is our job to at least try to recruit shoppers that are in the area and will do it for less than a shopper that has to travel, and sooner.

The scheduler is not really lying when they say they can't give you X amount of dollars for X date. That, at the time, is what the client is telling us is allowed. We don't set the pay or the deadline.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/2021 07:16PM by KSSPete.
Thanks Pete and Kate. Hearing your perspective is really helpful, even when it's not necessarily what we'd like to be hearing.
Always glad to answer questions. If you ever have any others, just reach out. I've been scheduling for 9 years and mystery shopping for 13 so I know something smiling smiley

Thank you!

Kate Rattner, Mystery Shop Scheduler

kateschedules@gmail.com



Sign up for my database for several shop opportunities!
[docs.google.com]
As a scheduler and being on the shopper side as well which I have done for 20 years and scheduling for 12. I honestly do not think that most shoppers really even understand how everything works other than they want more money. I know that might sound rude to many but please keep in mind I did say I have been a shopper for 20 years. Yes I understand that may of us would like more pay and feel that "we" deserve it, but when shops are posted on the first day of the month and as a scheduler I am already getting emails from shoppers stating I want a $15 bonus for that shop or I want a$10 bonus for this shop I can almost guarantee you that you will not get that bonus. The shop has not even been on the board for an hour and shoppers are already wanting bonuses. Kate is right when stating there is a bonus budget and I personally have worked for companies that have made schedulers pay out of their own pockets when they go over that budget so keep that in mind as well. Money for us is not like the government who just keeps printing it. There are limits. Have you ever stopped to think why a company has been bought out or no longer in business? They can only keep up the demands of paying so much until there is nothing left sometimes. Now on the flip side of that do I agree as a shopper with the pay for all shops......NO but then just move on....wait, if it gets a bonus and you are available and feel the pay is fair then pick it up if not again move on, but on that same note if you pick up that shop for the love All Things do the shop and do it right. Read the guidelines, if something happened comment on it in the comment box. And remember not all of us work for the Mystery Shopping Company, we don't make up the rules, we don't set the prices we don't even know who edits the shops, so sending nasty emails to the schedulers will get you no where. Check your spam boxes, check your shop logs to if you see a shop is on your board make sure it is all good. If you don't get paid what makes you think we get paid? We don't! We have to start all over again looking for a shopper when that shop gets declined and that report is not used. Be constructive. If you are having an issue with an editor send an email to your scheduler stating you are sure who to address this too but can they send it to someone else, who maybe can help.
Thank you Kate, Pete, Virginia....It is frustrating as a shopper when we get to sit on our butts for two weeks doing nothing and then work 15 hour days during the last 10 days of the month. But I understand the business, and I understand you have requirements and expectations. I have learned that if you are civil and cooperative with a scheduler earlier in the month, s/he will be more inclined to keep you in mind when the bonuses finally start rolling in. And I have also learned not to panic... a deadline is very rarely ever a true deadline. I have also learned that to make money you have to be willing to travel and work long days during the ends of the month and especially the ends of the quarters. It is a good feeling when you are finally able to build a relationship of trust with a scheduler and know that they are being honest. I have a few now...and I few I am still not so sure about. .
My best advice if you are looking for high-paying shops at the beginning of the month is to check for really hard locations. If I have a gas shop in Minneapolis, MN I probably can't give you a bonus. But if I have the same gas shop in Thief River Falls, MN it's much more possible since it is soo remote.

Another piece of advice...if you get an email from a scheduler on the last day of the month with hugely bonused shops, check the board on the 1st day of the next month to see if it is still available. There are times when I have went to a client and said someone reached out to me and can do this shop today (the 1st) if you still want it done, and they approve it. Not always, but always worth a shot!

Thank you!

Kate Rattner, Mystery Shop Scheduler

kateschedules@gmail.com



Sign up for my database for several shop opportunities!
[docs.google.com]
I do my best, to be honest with schedulers about what my needs and expectations are. I'm a shopper that can be counted on to go to out-of-the-way places and get things done no matter what it takes, assuming the pay is acceptable. For example, I have driven all over Arkansas, Arizona, and California to help clean up Home Improvement store audits for Ipsos, and I did the same for a gas station client at the end of the year. I will say that I was compensated what I thought to be a fair price for the mileage I put of my own car, fuel, flights, hotels, rental car prices, etc. I think it is important that I am honest with a scheduler about what I can do and what I would expect in return. And, I never flake. I have gone to great ends to hold up my end of the agreements that I make. I also try to have a sense of humor about things. That all said, I just had a really sh@tty experience with an Ipsos scheduler. I wasn't even trying to be rude, I was being honest. If honesty is rudeness then I'm not sure what to do. I am going to lay it all out here for everyone. Please let me know if I deserved the email I received in response to my offer.

For some background information, this is about a gas station client for Ipsos that is being scheduled by KSS. I have received between $40 and $125 per location, even when Ipsos has had the account the last few quarters. These locations are extremely remote, and they require a ton of driving just to get to. The rates I received in the past lead me to believe that there are not any local shoppers for any of them. I was attempting to explain that the locations require more than a $5 bonus to make them viable, and if we wait until the last minute, other responsibilities may preclude me from making a route for this project. I am going to lay it all out here. Please let me know if I was being "rude and condescending," and let me know if you feel the response I received was appropriate. This was in response to an email saying that the locations now had a $5 bonus.

This is the email I sent.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi Virginia

I have seen these shops on the board for weeks now. I have been doing XXXXX shops for years, first with MaritzCX, and more recently with Ipsos. In all cases, I received anywhere from $40 to $120 per location depending upon driving distance and the remoteness of the location. I have received similar bonus ranges for XXX, XXX, and XXX gas stations for Ipsos. If you are at a point where you can pay reasonable bonuses, please keep me in mind. I am willing to drive, and I don't mind putting together a long route of hard-to-fill locations if the pay is reasonable.

That said, the idea that anyone is going to get excited about a $5 bonus for an out-of-the-way location is somewhat comical.

Thanks for keeping me in mind. Best wishes in getting your shops filled.

One other thing to keep in mind is that XXXX will be hitting a hard deadline at the end of March. If you want me to do some of these before the end of March, keep in mind that I will be tied up with XXXX most likely, a group of schedulers that have been more reasonable with bonuses. The sooner we can do bonuses the more likely I will be able to help you out.

Respectfully,

XXXXX

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is the email I received.

Eric,

Please do not be condescending or rude in your email, believe it or not, I have had a lot of shoppers pick these up with a $2.50 bonus as I have 2,000 locations just myself to fill not including the other schedulers that work on the XXXX program. Did you ever stop to think that might be why Martiz is no longer in Business? Also, it is not a scheduler who decides a bonus it is the mystery shopping company with which I do not work for. I work for the scheduling company that follows orders from the MSC. If you have complaints about the pay take it up with them, not me.

I really could care less what XXXX is scheduling or doing, I don’t get paid to schedule them. Each program has a different bonus structure depending on the number of locations and other variables. Again, XXXX is different.

Have a nice day.

Virginia Horton
KSS International on Behalf of Ipsos

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I don't think I was being rude or condescending, only honest. There was a significant amount of rudeness and condescension in the communication, but not until I received a reply. I did say in the beginning that honesty is important, and I do appreciate her honesty. That said, how hypocritical to say that there is no need to be rude or condescending and then reply with a significant amount of rudeness and condescension. This reply definitely leads me to believe that there is a level of stress involved in trying to get people to work for less than minimum wage. I can imagine that it eats at one's conscience after a while.

I will definitely keep this in mind when the locations that I am describing are not filled at the end of the quarter and bonus negotiations begin. I will not be doing the XXXX team any favors any time soon.
Honestly, I do think your response was inappropriate and condescending. Here are a few points to validate this:

"If you are at a point where you can pay reasonable bonuses, please keep me in mind" What might be reasonable to another shopper might be too low for you, but no one is twisting your arm to take the shops at the advertised rate.

"That said, the idea that anyone is going to get excited about a $5 bonus for an out-of-the-way location is somewhat comical." Did she say to you that a $5 bonus should be exciting? What is out of the way for you might be on the way for someone else. To you $20 might seem like nothing, but to someone else it might help them put food on the table.


"One other thing to keep in mind is that XXXX will be hitting a hard deadline at the end of March. If you want me to do some of these before the end of March, keep in mind that I will be tied up with XXXX most likely, a group of schedulers that have been more reasonable with bonuses." This one is probably the most insulting of all. So she should pay $120 for the shop right now because you might choose to work with other schedulers later? Even though that clearly would not make her boss or the client happy? Mind you we haven't even finished February yet so why would she pay that much now for shops that aren't due for another month plus?

What she says is true...I also schedule a large gas station client and I have had about 1/3 of my shops already picked up at a $10 pay rate. Even remote shops are picked up on plenty of occasions by shoppers who might live there. For example I scheduled shipping shops in Montana for years and I had a local shopper who was willing to do a shop in Lewistown for a $5 bonus. The town is in the middle of nowhere and only has about 5,000 people total, but one of them was a shopper.

While certainly not in a harassing way, you basically threatened her and said, give me the shops with the bonus I want now, or you will miss your deadline because I'd rather deal with other schedulers.

Thank you!

Kate Rattner, Mystery Shop Scheduler

kateschedules@gmail.com



Sign up for my database for several shop opportunities!
[docs.google.com]
If honesty is considered rudeness, if honesty is considered "threatening," and if the desire to make more than minimum wage is threatening and rude, then I guess I am in the wrong line of work. I understand that occasionally shops will be picked up at a lower rate. However, past experiences lead me to believe that the locations I am discussing rarely get picked up for peanuts. I was simply being honest about that, and I was being honest about the fact that several projects will have a hard deadline at the end of March, and there is only so much of me to go around. If my attempt to be honest is considered rude and condescending, then so be it. It was nothing like the reply I received. Civility is a two-way street. I will not be helping with that project. Have fun trying to find someone to drive to Chiloco and Woodward!

That said, I really appreciate your honest reply, kate. You have always been civil with me even if what I have requested was beyond your means.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2021 08:44PM by thunderdeacon.
Eric,

I departed my last job in Oct. of 1963 and have remained self-employed since the following month. I mention this only to illustrate that 57 years of working as a non-employee has been instrumental in my understanding of phrasing in business. The below are examples of the old adage that it is not necessarily what one says, rather how it is said.

Bob states--On three occasions you used the word "reasonable." To whom? You or the scheduler?

Eric opines--That said, the idea that anyone is going to get excited about a $5 bonus for an out-of-the-way location is somewhat comical.

Bob replies--The above paragraph expressing your opinion of the bonus being comical was completely personal and devoid of the slightest business positivity.

Eric continues--Thanks for keeping me in mind. Best wishes in getting your shops filled.

Bob's thought--Your intent may not have been to be sarcastic, but why take the chance of misinterpretation?

Eric concludes--One other thing to keep in mind is that XXXX will be hitting a hard deadline at the end of March. If you want me to do some of these before the end of March, keep in mind that I will be tied up with XXXX most likely, a group of schedulers that have been more reasonable with bonuses. The sooner we can do bonuses the more likely I will be able to help you out.

Bob opines--The phrasing of the final paragraph could easily be misunderstood as a veiled threat, What does that accomplish?
I can now see that my message could have been misconstrued as more malevolent than my true feelings. I should be more careful. Thank you for taking the time to "opine"!
I should have phrased it differently. But the fact remains. These locations are not going to be taken for a $5 bonus. They are very, very remote and require a high-bonus route to make them economically viable. This requires planning and foresight. If they wait until the last 5 days of the quarter to offer any significant bonuses, likely, they won't be done before the deadline.

One thing I have noticed since the change from Maritz to Ipsos, though is the idea of a deadline. Maritz was very good about having a deadline and getting locations done by then. Ipsos doesn't really seem to see a deadline as a true deadline. I am still doing shops that are labeled "4th quarter 2020" in their description. So I guess this more cavalier attitude towards client deadlines makes it a little less necessary to bonus early in a quarter. Marketforce and Intellishop always seem to make a big push to get shops done by the end of the month/quarter. This floating deadline system has been a big adjustment for me in my attempts to plan and negotiate routes. I have really gone out of my way to try to get as many scheduled by the end of the month/quarter, just to see them extend the due date and make all that extra effort really unnecessary.

I guess the moral of the story for me is that I have met some really nice schedulers and some really generous management teams both within Ipsos and for other companies that have helped me pay the bills in exchange for some serious driving, long days, and short nights. I will stick with that and let someone else drive to Chiloco, OK for $20.
I’m glad you are able to see what you posted from a different point of view. I don’t think you actually meant to be hurtful, but I might have taken it that way depending on my mood.

Regarding the ipsos deadlines, this is true of all companies. I work with another company, not ipsos, that will tell us “the 25th is the ABSOLUTE last day a shop can be done,” when I have an experienced shopper who will be in that area on the 26th. Then they can come back on the 28th and say the client is going to give us a few more days to complete the shop and give us additional money. So now instead of having an experienced shopper complete the shop for a smaller bonus on the 26th, I have to find a shopper who may not be experienced and probably give a larger bonus.

I did once work for a client who gave me a monthly bonus budget and I was allowed to use it as I saw fit. But that isn’t the norm, at least not anymore.

Thank you!

Kate Rattner, Mystery Shop Scheduler

kateschedules@gmail.com



Sign up for my database for several shop opportunities!
[docs.google.com]
Great exchange.

I can add a few things...
* There are some companies that almost never add bonuses, but have a well above-average work-to-compensation ratio for their initial job offers. Finding these MSC's can bring good money at the beginning of a month.
* As alluded above, it is not uncommon to have overdue shops available at the beginning of a month - which can carry very happy bonuses.
* If you are looking to negotiate payment for a shop, you often can have better luck asking for larger bonuses on shops that already have one attached than requesting bonuses for shops that have not yet been bonused.
* Watch the job boards for shops in Timbuktu that never get assigned. At some point, those locations need to be shopped - whether it be monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually.
* Be the shopper the schedulers want to contact (Be friendly, pleasant, professional and uber-reliable.)
* The best offers (and opportunities for negotiating bonuses) often come when the scheduler initiates. Watch email. Answer you phone.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
Eric,

Your post of 02/19 @ 23:15 was both succinct and candid. Your position should be clearly defined to any scheduler thinking of contracting with you. When I am directly contacted by a scheduler concerning fees, I explain I have not the slightest need for either money or activity. Therefore, I am definitely not interested in traveling for a few gas dollars or helping out anyone but Bob. This is BUSINESS and I have, for the past 18 years, always treated it as such.
@Informascheduler wrote:

As a scheduler and being on the shopper side as well which I have done for 20 years and scheduling for 12. I honestly do not think that most shoppers really even understand how everything works other than they want more money. I know that might sound rude to many but please keep in mind I did say I have been a shopper for 20 years. Yes I understand that may of us would like more pay and feel that "we" deserve it, but when shops are posted on the first day of the month and as a scheduler I am already getting emails from shoppers stating I want a $15 bonus for that shop or I want a$10 bonus for this shop I can almost guarantee you that you will not get that bonus. The shop has not even been on the board for an hour and shoppers are already wanting bonuses. Kate is right when stating there is a bonus budget and I personally have worked for companies that have made schedulers pay out of their own pockets when they go over that budget so keep that in mind as well. Money for us is not like the government who just keeps printing it. There are limits. Have you ever stopped to think why a company has been bought out or no longer in business? They can only keep up the demands of paying so much until there is nothing left sometimes. Now on the flip side of that do I agree as a shopper with the pay for all shops......NO but then just move on....wait, if it gets a bonus and you are available and feel the pay is fair then pick it up if not again move on, but on that same note if you pick up that shop for the love All Things do the shop and do it right. Read the guidelines, if something happened comment on it in the comment box. And remember not all of us work for the Mystery Shopping Company, we don't make up the rules, we don't set the prices we don't even know who edits the shops, so sending nasty emails to the schedulers will get you no where. Check your spam boxes, check your shop logs to if you see a shop is on your board make sure it is all good. If you don't get paid what makes you think we get paid? We don't! We have to start all over again looking for a shopper when that shop gets declined and that report is not used. Be constructive. If you are having an issue with an editor send an email to your scheduler stating you are sure who to address this too but can they send it to someone else, who maybe can help.

it’s not for us to understand how things are on your end, it’s our job to take care of ourselves, and provide the MSC with correct data the client will pay them for. yes, we know that you guys want to generally pay as little as possible, as proven by the incredulously low base fees most offer, but fortunately as IC’s we have the ability to negotiate at anytime, and from my experience, that is the only way to make money doing this, without working myself to death. we’re the ones going out there and doing all the work, so why should we be paid gumball machine money while the MSC gets all the profit? my guess is an MSC will get $100 per gas station at least... yea that’s a guess, but a reasonable one, i believe. why should we get 10% of that when we’re the ones doing the job? for everything a gas station inspection entails, to pay $10, or $15 isn’t going to cut it for most of us. after paying for gas, spending time at the site, doing the report at home, we’re getting next to nothing out of the deal. it’s 2021, the price of everything has gone up, while MSC fees have at best stayed the same, but in most cases have dropped. now more than ever your base fees just aren’t worth it, so naturally you should expect to have people emailing you the day you put the shops up telling you what they would do it for. of course, wording is everything. i would never say, “i want a $25 bonus for that shop.” that’s being demanding, and rude. most of the time, i wouldn’t use the word “bonus” at all, simply because i don’t see it as a bonus(unless we’re talking $100-$200 locations), i don’t view it as a favor, it’s just the price it would take for me to get the job done. my email would read something like “hi informa scheduler, i would do the x shop for x amount. please let me know if you’re interested. thanks.” no mention of bonuses or base fees. if you don’t want to pay the amount i ask for , that’s totally fine, maybe you can find someone to do it for less, but to not do it out of spite would be ignorant(unless the approach was rude).

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/2021 02:27PM by jay225.
my guess is that MSC’s get a lot of phony, mailed in, fake reports when shops are done at “base” rate. that’s because the shopper is begrudgingly taking the shop out of necessity, even though they’re not satisfied at all with the fee. their mind state is feeling ripped off going into it. i wouldn’t leave my house unless i’m satisfied with what i’ll be getting in return. at that point i’m in a peaceful state of mind, and will want to care of the MSC.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/2021 02:38PM by jay225.
A wise boss of mine once said, "You pay peanuts, you get monkeys" and went to bat for me to get more money when I was hired on. I stayed there longer than almost any other job (working for others) that I've had. They paid me well; I gave them good work. That's how things usually work.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
@BirdyC wrote:

A wise boss of mine once said, "You pay peanuts, you get monkeys" and went to bat for me to get more money when I was hired on. I stayed there longer than almost any other job (working for others) that I've had. They paid me well; I gave them good work. That's how things usually work.

lol i love that saying. in this industry it’s often literally true, albeit we’re getting enough to afford a large container of peanuts.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/2021 04:59PM by jay225.
The saying is not "Literally true" in this industry. Monkeys cannot read the shop instructions and are rarely allowed to patronize businesses. It is, however, figuratively true.

sestrahelena
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