What are some good ideas for keeping track of assignments?

Hello to all the mystery shoppers of the world!
I'm fairly new to the mystery shopping community and I had a question for some of the more seasoned shopper's... I was wondering if there are any specific planner/scheduling apps or even physical products that work well to keep track of different assignments and due dates and reporting duties for the several different companies that mystery Shoppers are known to work for at any given time! I was just wondering if there was maybe a planner/scheduling app that works well for mystery Shoppers that anyone could recommend to help rookies like myself keep track of assignments with different companies and for remembering what reporting duties need to be done and when they are due... It's a lot to remember and try to figure out off the top of my head! Thank you in advance!

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Welcome to the Forum! I have been MSing since 2005, and since 2013 have been only a part-time shopper. So what works for me may not work for you or anyone else. For me, I do three things: I literally write my jobs down in one of those "college ruled" 80 sheet notebooks, with MSC name, work due, date due, and amount paid. Then I also keep these listed in an Excel spreadsheet on my laptop. And finally, I enter them in my Google calendar on my phone. Hopefully, these all help keep me reminded of what is due when!!!

There are many, many full time shoppers here who, I'm confident, can give you some better tips than these, but this is how I keep track of my own assignments each month. I hope you do well, and don't get discouraged!!
Excel spreadsheet with the following columns

Date accepted
Assignment date
Day of week
Date completed
Store
Time
Location
MSC (each has a different color code)
Paid?
Job #
Flat Rate
Max Reimbursement
Report submitted
Amount spent
Expected amount
Date received
Amount received
Profit
Non-monetary benefit (groceries, clothing, etc.)
Additional notes

It might be overkill, but it's been working well for me for five years.
In addition to putting each job on the calendar and my Excel spreadsheet I utilize an office letter tray (aka inbox) to keep track of both shops and other commitments. I write the due date on each thing and stack it chronologically in the tray. The night before I move things for a given day to a place in my bedroom where I can see them as I'm getting dressed.

Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. Eleanor Roosevelt
I use google sheets and put the MS company, address, shop number, name of the client, date I am doing the shop, Submitted, date paid.
I print the first page of ht instructions and write the day and date at the top and keep them in a chronological folder, I then transfer them to the folder I am going to use on the day of the shop.
@guysmom wrote:

Welcome to the Forum! I have been MSing since 2005, and since 2013 have been only a part-time shopper. So what works for me may not work for you or anyone else. For me, I do three things: I literally write my jobs down in one of those "college ruled" 80 sheet notebooks, with MSC name, work due, date due, and amount paid. Then I also keep these listed in an Excel spreadsheet on my laptop. And finally, I enter them in my Google calendar on my phone. Hopefully, these all help keep me reminded of what is due when!!!

There are many, many full time shoppers here who, I'm confident, can give you some better tips than these, but this is how I keep track of my own assignments each month. I hope you do well, and don't get discouraged!!

Love it! I started shopping in 2003 (when all of the companies' names were different - (remember Shop-n-Chek, SI, G3....?) and also am only *very* part time now. I think I'm even more old school than you are guysmom! I use a planner and write the company, shop, location, and compensation on the calendar as soon as an assignment is confirmed. I keep track of the mileage on a separate page, all of my expenses on pages split out by week, and it works great for me! When I get paid, I highlight the shops I'm paid for - I've got one left in February that has not been paid and it stands out like a sore thumb. I place all of my guidelines and my paper for keeping notes inside a binder the night before I go out to shop. It always seems that when I write things down, I remember them better than if I enter them into my phone. I love Excel and if I was shopping as many locations as I used to, I would definitely be following some of the advice listed above by the other shoppers. These days, I like it simple.
Welcome Sidecashmunkey69! It looks like you have some great advice that is already being given to you. Have fun shopping :-)
I like amyann2 detail. I do something similar, but the job (shop) # is sufficient for me. I don't worry about the date accepted/date received stuff. I do have the expected amount and a column left blank until paid. I also put down my mileage to the location.
I use an Outlook Calendar for my schedule management. I put the details of each shop in its time slot on the calendar. If it goes onto another day, I change the date accordingly. I use an Excel spreadsheet to keep up with the bookkeeping, which others have detailed. For everyday notes, I have a stack of clipboards, and use one clipboard for each in progress shop. As the shop is completed, I put any notes I made into a chronological folder for future reference, and that clipboard is now ready for the next assignment. Regarding folders, I also have an online folder for each MSC and sub-folders within that where I keep any digital files on the various shops. Back to Excel, I also keep a spreadsheet where I list all the companies I shop for, or want to shop for, along with various passwords and notes.
I don't really do a good job of bookkeeping. I put my shops in my calendar on Google. And I keep all of the receipts for 6 months. I only report the income that comes on 1099, If I don't get a 1099 I don't report it. At tax time, I look up on the MSC websites, what I was reimbursed for and what I wasn't.

I used to be an accounting clerk before I found another career in automotive repair, and for the life of me no matter how hard I try I can't seem to maintain a set of books for my mystery shopping.
Typically, I use an Excell spreadsheet for everything. I could not survive without it. It also provides me with the history. My setup is as follows: I have it set up with multiple columns that include the following information: (1) date, (2) Name (3) address (4) payment (5) expenses (6) column once paid and a notes column. I also color code everything one color shows what I have completed, another shows what I have for the upcoming day. Included are also the pay, and any expenses that I will be reimbursed. My calculations at the bottom show my compensation for the month. Once I have been paid, the amount goes to the paid column so the only items reflected are outstanding until nothing is due. Since I use formulas the amounts are calculated. I primarily Shop on 1-2 on weekends preferably taking Sunday off unless I have specific goals. Occasionally, I will shop on a weekday if something is close to me. I am a part time shopper doing approximately 44 a month. If I take a day or two off of my full time job, I do approximately 70+ Monthly. I have Shopped full time for a year and a half. Now I only do about 400-500 Shops a year. I have had as many as 800+ in a year.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/01/2022 04:37PM by succeedin2.
I shop only part-time. Here is an image of my Open Office spreadsheet: [ibb.co]

I have set up the $ columns to subtotal as I go with the total at the bottom.
Oh, I also put paper note reminders to myself the night before a shop on my phone, which I use as an alarm clock, and on the bathroom mirror.
I created a Google spreadsheet that lists the Date paid, Due Date, Company I'm shopping, MS Company, website link, shop fee, person/in-person, day/time, Completed (I type completed in those boxes once done), Notes(usually list reimbursement), and Direct Deposit(bank or PP) then I color code them different colors based upon the ones that need to be done today, ones I'm currently working on, ones that are completed and a color for the ones that may be on hold until I hear back from the scheduler. It has worked very well for me.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/03/2022 05:28PM by blackgold78.
Oh my goodness, I remember some of those older companies. And the world of shopping before cell phones existed....
@AngStahl wrote:

Oh my goodness, I remember some of those older companies. And the world of shopping before cell phones existed....

Shopping was soooo different before cell phones! now its so easy to use your phone to fake text, take pics, etc.
Back in the day, I used to just print out a calendar and write down on each square what I had scheduled. I don't shop as much as I used to so I just remember them.
I have an excel sheet that I have been logging everything I have done since Jan 1 2022. I used to always start the year by tracking but then slowly fizzle out. This year I am going to stay on top of it so I can accurately determine the mileage and track payments. Since I've started the spreadsheet, I did find one company error where they underpaid me $5, so I am motivated to keep up with tracking this year.
@Sharonsalinas67 wrote:

I just hope I’m
Getting paid. I don’t even check that!

^^Please make sure you are getting paid! Even if you are not tech savvy get a notebook and write it down. You would be surprised how many errors or missed payments happen. Don't cheat yourself out of your payments!
Email folders with shops for each day so 4-1-22 shops 4-2-22 shops etc or you could do mon shops tues shops etc. Then like others Excel I use
Date of shop
MSC
Fee amount
Bonus Amount
Reimbursement Amount
Total amount
Expected Pay date
Date Paid
Paid on Time (Y or N)
notes

Then I have a notebook which I put my shops for each day in order of my planned route with notes for each shop and things I need to remember leaving space as needed.

Another Excel spreadsheet to track work Mileage as simple as
Date
Starting odometer
Ending Odometer

Learn to Love Excel

Shopping Western NY, Northeast and Central PA, and parts of Ohio and West Virginia. Have car will travel anywhere if the monies right.
I use a simple notepad on my tablet. I title each with the date I plan to do them or the location(s), just so everything is organized. Once I click the title, all my shops are listed in the travel order

Name of biz..................................pay/bouns/reimbursement..........................Directions
Address........................................MSC name/ log in email
Day and times I can shop............Due date
phone number

All info needed to complete the shop, I also put notes here
-/-/-/-/-/-/-//-/-/-/-/-
For phone and online shops, its titled just that and I just put the date I need to call and the MSC(s)

MonthyTotal:
2/2/22 (10) Honey mystery & Barbie ent

Everything gets a checkmark once completed.

Being organized is fairly simple, you just have to find out what works for you

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/12/2022 11:12PM by SunshineQT.
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