Hang on to your notes! A Market Force notice

Ok, I have stated, supported and defended my reasons for working for Market Force. Their new notice has me now questioning myself. I rarely fill out questionnaires by hand, not sure I ever have for MF clients. I do, against advice, audio record everything though. I know I am not going to start printing out my submissions. Most of my guidelines are saved in digital format, I only print forms that need to be signed, handed out, or that are easier to utilize that way. MF is definitely making things difficult if they expect to reduce payouts plus make it more costly for us to run our business.


"Hang on to your Notes!

Clients may have questions concerning some of the information you entered in your reports so we recommend that you maintain your hard copy of the Questionnaire with the filled-in shop data and your receipts for at least 30-60 days because an Inquiry from the Client could come in at any time. If you cannot verify your data, we will have a more difficult time defending your report to the Client. "

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson

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If you record your shops, just keep those. Technically they are your "notes." I virtually never print anything. Receipts are saved digitally and kept forever. Recordings and video are kept three to six months.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
"I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag." -Molly Ivins
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
I print *EVERY* form to a pdf format before submitting, and keep a copy on my hard drive. files are name by MSC.shop.city/location.date. helps at tax time too
When I took my first shop, the MSC said to keep all documentation for 90 days in case the client came back with questions. So I thought that every MSC had the same or similar requirements.

I always print out the paperwork. It gets stored for 3 months, then recycled. Knock wood, I've never had to refer to it. Jinx!
Thanks for the insights. I need to adjust my routine and save the results electronically. I will keep copies on my cloud drive for easy access anywhere. Currently I just do this when I create a chronological narrative. My receipt images are already kept on my google drive as a backup.

My posts are solely based on my opinions and for my entertainment, contact a professional if you need real advice.

When you get in debt you become a slave. - Andrew Jackson
When doing a new-to-me shop (for MF or anyone else) I usually print out the hard copy of the form, if it's not too many pages. And I'll make a few notes on it after leaving the shop and before going home. I never fill it out completely, though. I keep the form for a few months. If there would ever be a question after the fact, I can look at my notes. The information isn't all there, but usually if I physically write a few things down on paper, it's enough to jog my memory. Even though I also use voice notes, for me there's something about the physical act of writing something down on paper that makes things stick with me better.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
Most all of the mf shops I do are entered immediately after the shop into the system while it is fresh in my mind before moving along with my work. Only the more complicated shops require notes. However they are getting to be more and more nit-picky.
I don't think this is a change, and I don't think they are necessarily becoming more picky. I think the reason for the warning to retain your notes is that after a shop is submitted to the client, the client may dispute the results of the shopper's report. When that happens, it is usually not the very next day, and the shop is no longer fresh in the shopper's mind. Without notes, the shopper may not remember the sequence of events clearly enough to respond to a client's challenge.

If the manager of a client location comes back to MF and says "My employee says that didn't happen," and the shopper has no response or details, other than "I don't remember the details anymore but it happened just the way I said, really, it did," what do you think will happen?

I have always maintained notes on shops on index cards which I scan and add to my digital records. The few times I have gotten questions, responding based on my notes has not been a problem. Notes don't have to be detailed, but should give you enough information that you can add more information when questioned about the shop.
isaiah, most of the shops I'm signed up with require shoppers to keep documentation (hard and soft) for 6 months.

Personally, I keep soft copies of notes, guidelines and reports until I get paid for the shop. I only print when required for a shop; ie, Informa and Trend Source. Those items get shredded after I am paid for the shop.

So far, in 7 years, no MSC has requested documentation for follow up (outside of the immediate questions from editors).

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
I don't understand why anyone continues to print hard copies of anything. It's so easy to just "print to file" which saves the file to your hard drive. If you are required to submit a hard copy later, you can then print it when needed. Saves a few trees and your expense for ink and paper. Of course the exception is a document you need to bring to the shop to have the manager sign. Another trick I use is to take pictures of the instructions on my monitor. I can view them later on the shop via my iPhone. Comes in handy when looking for POP etc.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/16/2016 06:54PM by kenasch.
I always make my written notes ASAP after completing the shop. For MF, I have already printed my CPI; when I get home and submit the report, I staple the CPI to the page with my hand-written notes (and any receipts). In 8 years or so of doing this, I only had one request from MF for additional info -- they wanted to know EXACTLY what I was wearing that day. Fortunately, my other notes for that week reminded me that I was doing vendor
set-ups at Walmarts all that week, and those set-ups required a white, button up shirt (or blouse), black pants, and black shoes. Else I wouldn't have had a clue what I had been wearing! That's NEVER been part of my notes!

smiling smiley
I read that too. But I could have sworn they said, "Keep your notes, receipts and paperwork until you get paid."

When they pay me, should I still worry about a client disputing something in the report?
Yes. I have gotten questions from some MSCs as long as 5 months after I submitted a report. I had my notes. That was rare, and the "oldest" inquiry was odd. Inquiries after 3 or 4 weeks? About once every other month or so, and usually on a shop with a detailed narrative where I have very good notes. I take notes on the assignment page and staples receipts, business cards, etc. to the same sheet for my records.
@SunnyDays2 wrote:

When they pay me, should I still worry about a client disputing something in the report?

Shopping Southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware above the canal, and southwestern NJ since 2008
I have notebooks I use to write down the data...and would just refer back to that
I use the notebooks that college students used to use before the digital age. Just date the top of the page and put in all my notes for that shop. When the notebooks are full I just toss them. Looks like I will have to hold onto them a little longer for Marketforce.
@SunnyDays2 wrote:

I read that too. But I could have sworn they said, "Keep your notes, receipts and paperwork until you get paid."

When they pay me, should I still worry about a client disputing something in the report?
I am not worried about a client disputing something in my report. I am more concerned about the IRS audit. I have everything organized and filed for easy retrieval.
@ChrisCooper wrote:

When I took my first shop, the MSC said to keep all documentation for 90 days in case the client came back with questions. So I thought that every MSC had the same or similar requirements.

I always print out the paperwork. It gets stored for 3 months, then recycled. Knock wood, I've never had to refer to it. Jinx!

All that paper is made of wood. Storing your reports on the computer will save enough trees so that you will still be able to knock wood on them in the future. Not to mention you will save $$ on the paper and ink.
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