I took the opportunity right after signing up with them to go through all nine steps, before I had done my first assignment, so I can't comment on whether they change anything. If you live in an area with a lower amount of shoppers, I'm sure they don't even make a huge difference; all shops are viewable regardless of your level. It's probably best in an area saturated with shoppers where you would get a slight edge over the competition.
Very interesting review, Jaymo! Could I be so bold as to ask you which Step you're on and, then, what differences you noticed as you ascended the Steps?
The company appears to be highly selective. They are in Canada. There is no preview of shops. I do not want to know the clients I would be evaluating if I signed on with this company. I would want to know if there are any opportunities to warrant weeks of my time persuing a company with a rude attitude (according to one poster on face book).
The mention of ambiguous questions and spending weeks to qualify begs the question, "Why should I be interested?"
The "steps or levels" appear to be like a trip up the "yellow brick road". Will the "wizard" be accepting visitors? Are any opportunities available in New Jersey worth the time and effort to spend weeks on the "yellow brick road?.
This was one of the first companies I signed up with. The step training was invaluable to me as a new shopper. At that time I wished all of the companies provided such thorough training. But if you are an experienced shopper then signing up with them and going through all those steps are a pain. Some hotels are reimbursed only half so you basically have to be staying there anyway and view it as a discount.
Only half of the expense for reimbursement are they nuts. It's bad enough loaning money to my relatives no way in heck I will loan money to a company for a job that they want me to do. I don't care if I can get it back it back as a business expense when I do my taxes for that year.
Their hotels look easier than what I've seen with other MSC's. Definitely not a money-maker shop, but I suppose if you're already traveling and want to save $100-$150 off your hotel bill then it's worth spending an hour or two on the report.
Still, I think I'd rather have a 100% free night, with a bit of a fee on top and spend more time with observations and reporting.
I think I got an email once where they had a hotel for $10 a night. I forgot where it was for. Honestly, I really don't look at their emails because nothing is that appealing around me. They don't send out the typical emails announcing a shop and all locations available. I'm sure it would be different for someone in Canada.
If you are into events, watch out for the list regularly. The reports are really involved. Reimbursements include two tickets, parking and some food. They also have airport shops and I did one recently.
I've tried a variety of their shops but have laid low for a while, with only one pending next month. I have to remind myself that I am into mshopping for business and some fun; not first and foremost, for recreation or holiday. I'd like to reasonably be reimbursed for my hotel stays or meals, as well as be paid for the shops. Many of the shops are partly reimbursed without any fee involved. So unless I am going there anyway, I would no longer be interested in them. Their shops that do not involve any expense are far and in between. After a substantial cash outlay, reimbursement or pay is at the end of next month. You have to remember to invoice them before the 5th of that month or you won't get paid on time.