Sentry -- Stop being so cheap.

First I want to say I know that I don't have to accept any assignment that I feel the pay is not worth the work. I understand that and do a good job of avoiding jobs that don't pay enough for the work required.

Now here is my rant as today I got irritated with a response that normally I would just delete and move on but for whatever reason felt I wanted to say something.

I received an email from sentry about a job a xyz stores. It stated it paid $8.50 plus $4 reimbursement. As we know how ridiculous sentry shops are including report it is not worth it with easy shop and report and really not worth it for sentry type shop and report. As it is close and in an area I frequently have shops I emailed back asking for $20 pay plus reimbursement which was probably still too low but doable due to location. Here is the response I received back:

"Thank you but the price is not negotiable. If you are still interested I can get you scheduled and if not thank you!"

What the beeeeeeeeeeeep. Your job is no where near worth base pay and now your saying that the pay is non-negotiable. Not that I would do it but what this says to me is you won't add any money even $1 ever to get it done. Note it did not say at this time the price is non-negotiable or sorry but at this time we can't go that high.
If I was interested in base pay I would have applied and not asked for a bonus. Now here is why this irritates me so much more than had I gotten this from another msp. Sentry in my experience has never had one shop that did not pay ridiculously low. On top of that the most I have ever seen them bonus was a whooping $5. I did a few shops for them to experience or enjoy a great restaurant and other than that don't shop for them due to this reason. I just needed to vent. ---Rant Over

Shopping Western NY, Northeast and Central PA, and parts of Ohio and West Virginia. Have car will travel anywhere if the monies right.

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BuffaloNY101

The project you are ranting about has a form which consists of 10 questions and does not require an extensive narrative. The assignment currently has an $8.50 fee plus $4 reimbursement. While this may not be the most lucrative assignment in the industry, I believe it is competitive with other retail assignments that require similar content. I believe the fee we offer is greater than the last company who had this program.

Over the last years, we have actually raised fees for some assignments while other msc's have cut their pay. We've have maintained a 24-hour submission window while other companies have instituted 6 and 12-hour deadlines. In no way am I saying we are the perfect company, but we are working on improving.

Thank you for your feedback.

Dave
Where do we begin.
1) Lets start with the 10 questions. The narrative while may not be extensive is still requires a narrative this in itself means the shop should pay more.
2) "May not be the most lucrative in the industry"-- probably competes for least paying in the industry as I have done phone shops that paid $10 or more and required a small narrative.
3) "I believe it is competitive with other retail assignments that require similar content"-- not a chance, with others the cheapest paying I have seen was $10 plus similar reimbursement but all those shops the msc's will bonus $10 or more to get to a fair rate and completed.
4) "I believe the fee we offer is greater than the last company who had this program. "-- The last company that had these, CRI now known as stericycle or expert solutions, started them at a higher rate and bonused them rather quickly as I did them for $25 plus reimbursement many times.

As for your company
1) "Over the last years, we have actually raised fees for some assignments while other msc's have cut their pay."-- Wow you raised your super low fees a few dollars. Other msc's who cut their fees have almost always been willing to bonus it back to the original fee or above.
2) "We've have maintained a 24-hour submission window while other companies have instituted 6 and 12-hour deadlines."-- The other companies who instituted the 6 and 12 hour windows have either since went back to the original time frame or are not rigid and allow some leeway. Also if the shopper requests extra time before taking an assignment I have never not been granted extra time. IMHO a 12 hour window is not unreasonable. Lastly on this point I only know of two other out of hundreds of msc's that penalize dollars for being a hour late. Yours does it for 3 minutes.
3) "In no way am I saying we are the perfect company, but we are working on improving." -- I appreciate your willingness to take suggestions and work on improving your company. However at the current time I think you are miles away from being the perfect company.

A final word
Lets try to have an open discussion here with the shoppers of the forum. I want to hear what others think of sentry on any or all aspects. Let it be civil and lets have a scholarly discussion.

@Sentry Marketing wrote:

BuffaloNY101

The project you are ranting about has a form which consists of 10 questions and does not require an extensive narrative. The assignment currently has an $8.50 fee plus $4 reimbursement. While this may not be the most lucrative assignment in the industry, I believe it is competitive with other retail assignments that require similar content. I believe the fee we offer is greater than the last company who had this program.

Over the last years, we have actually raised fees for some assignments while other msc's have cut their pay. We've have maintained a 24-hour submission window while other companies have instituted 6 and 12-hour deadlines. In no way am I saying we are the perfect company, but we are working on improving.

Thank you for your feedback.

Dave

Shopping Western NY, Northeast and Central PA, and parts of Ohio and West Virginia. Have car will travel anywhere if the monies right.
I am happy to have this discussion.

The project you posted about requires that shoppers answer 10 Yes/No questions and has three Comment boxes. The comments box have no minimum character requirement. No photos are required. The submission deadline is 24 hours. A phone call to the location is NOT required. I'd compare this with a retail shop offered by an msc widely lauded by this community as a fan favorite who has a retail shop that pays $8, requires multiple photos, phone call to the location and has 12-hour submission deadline.

The previous company paid a $4 fee for these shops. For one of the other projects that were previously managed by the company you mentioned, we raised the pay while reducing the scope of the project.

Based on my review of job postings, the average price for a phone shop is $5.00 with some projects as low as $2.

You are entitled to your characterization of our fees as "super low". I disagree. Our fast casual shops pay the same rate others in the market. While some others in the industry offer sit-down restaurant shops for reimbursement only, often with a reimbursement that does not even cover the meal, every one of these projects for Sentry pays a fee of $7.50 to $10. Also, there is no evidence to support your comment that those companies that moved to 6 or 12-hour deadlines have rolled back this change. In fact, there are comments to contrary on this forum.

We do not penalize shoppers for being three minutes late. This is factually incorrect. We have always allowed a one hour buffer before a late fee is assessed. As a company, we try to be as flexible as the situation allows when it comes to granting extensions and accepting reports after the deadline has passed.

I respect your opinion about my company although I disagree with your assertions.
The discussion is pointless really. They will pay what the market will bare. So, you will find hobbyists, retirees and bored housewives willing to do these all day long. Sometimes, they do a great job. If nobody does these, they will have to pay more. Hence, we read about jobs in BFE that have $100 bonuses. If you have 500 locations and 490 get done at the base rate, you have wiggle room for the last 10 to come in at 100% completion. Just wait for the last 10 or move on. I don't think that the scheduler's response was out of line. Hey, at least you got a response.

Every company has their niche. Some do only high end work. Some do massive quanities of jobs with a lower profit margin per job. As much as people love to hate Sentry, they aren't Intelli-shop. Intelli-shop makes everyone else look good. I can't comment on their fast casual jobs. It has been 3 years or more since I did one. I have read that the report is shorter. I don't think that eating there is worth the trade-off of an hour on the treadmill though. smiling smiley People seem to like the food, so for them, it is worth it. The fee on that job is fair if the report is indeed shorter.

I was friends with a scheduler at Bestmark (no longer there) who told me that people will do jobs where they lose money all day long, so that they have something to do. Literally, driving 50 miles round trip for a $9 job.

The cheapest phone job I have ever done paid $7. I have seen the $2-$5 phone jobs. I'll leave those for the people who are homebound. The best ones paid $25. If you need somebody who is well spoken and can make and cancel a hotel reservation at a $500 a night property, I qualify.

Actually, I have posted here about my best job ever. I opened a credit card over the phone and got paid $1000. No typo, that's what I got paid. Direct deposit into checking, no follow up info required.
Is this a restaurant shop? I admit that I've never worked for Sentry, but it seems like you can't buy much for $4.
When a company finds out that they're getting what they pay for, eventually they'll either lose the client or up the pay. Just pass on them for now.

Now scheduling travel shops for the day after Christmas through mid-January.
If it is the one I am thinking of it is very easy..much easier than the 2 other stores owned by the same company...parking lot check, bathroom check, pass by all the associates getting name greeting/activity, time the check out, evaluate the cashier....

The narrative is easy. Just rewrite the yes/no questions in paragraph form and add in limited details as necessary.

The hardest part is they tend to have about 10 people working on the floor..getting all the names and greetings without being obvious. Sometimes they don't turn to face you and I like to at least try to get the name instead of just a description so I browse the area hoping they move the right way. Sometimes there are 3 people working side by side and it can be hard to get all names.

another store with an $8 reimbursement is only allowing you to buy 1 specific item this month to assess if you are offered an add on....so if you don't want or need that item..the shop is not worth it. I hate those scenarios....the item I usually get similar to this months item only costs me $1..so that is the value I put on the reimbursement for this month...maybe if the said up front you could spent $16 and return the required item and still get reimbursed $8 it would be worth it....besides I have never gotten more than 2 of these shops per month..I usually only get 1 of this specific store..so its not like I am losing much income skipping one month

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2016 05:40PM by jmitw.
This is a retail assignment.

@DareWright wrote:

Is this a restaurant shop? I admit that I've never worked for Sentry, but it seems like you can't buy much for $4.
The thing that is frustrating is that this chain used to be with a different MSC where you could regularly get much more. The other 2 stores would regularly be $15-$25 plus reimbursment and I usually got more locations per month...and the editors were a lot better with the other MSC so it was a lot less stressful. The big box requirements had changed with the previous MSC which neither MSC and the client don't seem to understand that with the much lower fee and restriction on reimbursed items..many shoppers just aren't interested in the big box..even when they sit on the board for long periods.
A few thoughts.
First this is a retail assignment which requires 3 trips around the store an associate interaction and that you get each and every employees name or description in the store and what department they were in. Despite the outright lies the former msc who had the shop did not start them at $4 as Dave claims but more like $12 and bonused them each day little by little from $12 to often $20 or $25 which I took many for. The report may be easy but plan on 45 minutes or more in the store. I do not wish to address the other crap as we all know how other companies are.

Intellishop is worse but Sentry is close.

If you look at my first post the first thing I state is I do pass on these jobs and know I can pass on the jobs.

Shopping Western NY, Northeast and Central PA, and parts of Ohio and West Virginia. Have car will travel anywhere if the monies right.
Ah, I know which retailer we're talking about. I did a few for the old msc. Had to carry a bulky item around the store and no one ever offered me a cart. Had to pretty much report on what every single employee on the sales floor was doing, their name, description, etc. Reimbursing $4 for a purchase is not much. I might be able to buy a candy bar or a kitchen sponge, but not much else.
I totally understand the low paying shops-I shop with many different MSCs. But as far as I know, shop fees are never negotiable. If you don't take that low paying job, someone else will who is more desperate or in need for even $8.50. I'm not working right now due to a medical issue, so I'll take, and do, an $8.50 shop no matter what. I'm grateful for that $8.50, even if it requires time and having to type up narratives. Mystery shopping isn't something that requires a college degree, therefore it doesn't always pay much. Different rant, what I'm seeing a lot of in mystery shopping forums, is shoppers bad mouthing MSCs because they got penalized for an error. If a report is due by 10am, it's due by 10am. Not 10:03. Here in the real world, we do what our employers tell us to do. If I worked for an editing company, and I had to have a report done by 1pm, I would expect some backlash from my boss if it wasn't done by 1pm, but rather 1:03. And, I would probably get in trouble. That's the real world people! When you work for someone, you abide by their rules-it's their company, not yours. It's so annoying when I read about someone talking down about a specific MSC, because the MSC penalized them for missing something on a report. Do it right! The MSCs have to report to their client, and have a contract with specific guidelines. Ok, that's my rant.
silver,
As you will see when you have read further on the forums, shop fees are negotiable. Sometimes the scheduler has to say "no" but many of us successfully negotiate higher fees on a regular basis. When an MSC has a $45 shop that is a 150 mile RT for me, but they are up against a deadline, I have easily gotten $200 and more to do it. $45 shop an hour from me. Turns out that the MSC will always say yes to a serious bonus for a shop that distant from one of their well established shoppers. (Straight from the project manager's mouth.)

Deadlines? Many of us regularly email a scheduler or project manager, explain why the 12 hour deadline will have to be 24 hours and get instant agreement. For shoppers on long routes, there is often even more flexibility. Of course, the shopper must have a proven track record of reliability so that the scheduler knows that the actual client deadline will be met.

I learn something new on these forums all the time, so read, read, read, and you may be surprised what fellow shoppers will share about how to make more money and be more efficient.

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.
The reimbursement in my area for this shop is $15. I got some very nice items! The shop fee was decent also. The report was a no brainer. This was one of my favorites.

@DareWright wrote:

Ah, I know which retailer we're talking about. I did a few for the old msc. Had to carry a bulky item around the store and no one ever offered me a cart. Had to pretty much report on what every single employee on the sales floor was doing, their name, description, etc. Reimbursing $4 for a purchase is not much. I might be able to buy a candy bar or a kitchen sponge, but not much else.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
I posted about this shop the other day; at least I think it was this one. I would have loved to do it, but there's no way in hell I would do it for $8.50. Even if I literally was going to be next door to the store. I don't care how "easy" it's supposed to be. With all the detailed observations it calls for, and even with a 10-question report, I don't see how this could be done in less than a half hour or maybe 45 minutes, if there are a lot of associates in the store and/or a line at the register. My time is worth more than that. I think I'd lose money on it.

I'm signed up with Sentry and would like to try a shop for them. But I have yet to see one available in my area that pays enough for me to even try it out.

Everyone has to decide for himself or herself if a job's worth it. But this isn't for me! I'd rather buy something there for $12.50 and not bother with doing a shop to "earn" that much.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
There is no associate interaction with the $4 reimbursement shop. The store is mid size...not that big that 3 laps is a major issue. I would make multiple laps anyway even as a regular shopper who enjoys browsing that store. I usually end up interacting with an associate anyway because I have gotten so used to asking where an item is rather than looking myself I find myself doing that when i just run into a store for a quick item as a regular customer.

I don't remember this specific store, but I believe the other stores were starting at $8 with the previous MSC, but the fee quickly went up.

This is not the shop where you carry the bulk item..that one reimburses $8 i believe.

This specific MSC does not generally negotiate fees.

I can get the data for this shop and another one in this chain in less than half an hour.

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2016 05:48PM by jmitw.
It's a good shop for a hobbyist. If you weren't doing anything that day anyway, why not? The trick is to find enough people who really don't care that it's not going to pay their bills. You have to be doing something else.

Trying to get somebody to do them in BFE, not so easy.
I do a shop for Sentry that is in my area that pays a lot more than $8.50 and they do offer bonuses when up against a deadline on my shop. This is even though I rarely see bonuses in Los Angeles.
This particular shop is a p/r which I do not like to do but the regular fee is $18 with a $15 reimbursement for the items you decide to keep. I find this reasonable especially for someone who can use the items they sell and who is ms for needed extra income. I wait for a bonus as my bottom line is higher than that but it certainly meets lots of people's bottom line on a job. I have not had any issues with Sentry. I am just going on record to say do not bash an entire company based on the one job you do for them. If your area does not have jobs you like just wait to see if they get new clients and work for other companies in the meantime.
Complaining about an $8.50 fee with $4.00 reimbursement that has a survey of 10 questions. Really, BuffaloNY101? If you dont like the pay + survey for this shop (as well as any other), don't accept the shop! I'm sure that someone else will, and has.

I'll send you a bill in the mail for the two minutes of mine that you wasted. Damn!
@sandyf wrote:

This particular shop is a p/r which I do not like to do but the regular fee is $18 with a $15 reimbursement for the items you decide to keep. I find this reasonable especially for someone who can use the items they sell and who is ms for needed extra income. I wait for a bonus as my bottom line is higher than that but it certainly meets lots of people's bottom line on a job.

If they had that shop in my area, I'd give it a try. As it is, the highest-paying shop they have in my area is the $13.50 "big box" shop. Again, based on its description and what has been posted about it here, I'm not touching it with the 10-foot pole.

They have a $25 shop in my region, but it's too far for me to travel--unless they were to heavily bonus it for mileage. And I don't think that will happen. smiling smiley

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
DAVE STOP BEING SO CHEAP!!!!

Actually I've only done 1 shop for Sentry. It was an entertainment shop that was super easy and while it didn't have a fee it reimbursed around $100. I can't say anything about any of their other shops but that one I will do again given the chance.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
@BirdyC wrote:


If they had that shop in my area, I'd give it a try. As it is, the highest-paying shop they have in my area is the $13.50 "big box" shop. Again, based on its description and what has been posted about it here, I'm not touching it with the 10-foot pole.

They have a $25 shop in my region, but it's too far for me to travel--unless they were to heavily bonus it for mileage. And I don't think that will happen. smiling smiley

Birdy, you should give the big box shop a try. I've done them twice, and actually had fun. I also picked up some nice items for myself that were fully reimbursed. These were items I actually use regularly. The report was easy.

If my 10-foot pole list was based on all the complaints here, I wouldn't be a shopper.

Sentry is a decent company with fun shops. I can't make a living off of them, but that's why I'm signed up with a bunch of companies.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
Sentry doesn't offer many shops in my area, but I've done 2 of the big box shops and it's a lot of memorization of sales associates names and/or descriptions, plus you must remember in which department you first saw each associate, what they were doing (helping a cust? on the phone? restocking?), and if they greeted you was the greeting verbal or non-verbal. But, the biggest downside for me is that you are required to carry a bulky item around until someone offers you a cart. You must also put in your cart the target item for that month, which always seems to be an item that weighs more than I do--like a full set of pots and pans or a vacuum. The associate will place the item in the cart, but then I've got to return it to the shelf later since I'm not buying it. My arms are killing me by the time I'm done! smiling smiley The reimbursement is $15, which is useful. If the target item were a small-ish appliance I'd be more enthusiastic about the shop.
@silverchic78 wrote:

I totally understand the low paying shops-I shop with many different MSCs. But as far as I know, shop fees are never negotiable. If you don't take that low paying job, someone else will who is more desperate or in need for even $8.50. I'm not working right now due to a medical issue, so I'll take, and do, an $8.50 shop no matter what. I'm grateful for that $8.50, even if it requires time and having to type up narratives. Mystery shopping isn't something that requires a college degree, therefore it doesn't always pay much. Different rant, what I'm seeing a lot of in mystery shopping forums, is shoppers bad mouthing MSCs because they got penalized for an error. If a report is due by 10am, it's due by 10am. Not 10:03. Here in the real world, we do what our employers tell us to do. If I worked for an editing company, and I had to have a report done by 1pm, I would expect some backlash from my boss if it wasn't done by 1pm, but rather 1:03. And, I would probably get in trouble. That's the real world people! When you work for someone, you abide by their rules-it's their company, not yours. It's so annoying when I read about someone talking down about a specific MSC, because the MSC penalized them for missing something on a report. Do it right! The MSCs have to report to their client, and have a contract with specific guidelines. Ok, that's my rant.

Quoted from silverchic78's Introduction post..."Hello! I've been mystery shopping for two weeks, and I am loving it! I've done 6 apartment shops and they are so much fun."

@silverchic78, I understand that you are new to MS'ing and new to this forum. I suggest you take walesmaven's advice and read a lot more on the forum. There is a lot of history between some forum members and this particular MSC. And many other MSCs.

I was surprised to read a "blasting post" to experienced forum members from a newbie with only six apartment shops under their belt. I'm sure there will be a day when you have a negative experience with a MSC or a particular shop or you get dinged on a payment or your report is not accepted altogether. I'm sure you will be back here to vent or rave. The clock starts now...
with the big box..how are you supposed to carry the bulky item and put the item of the month in the cart WHEN YOU ARE NEVER OFFERED A CART? With the old MSC, you only had to carry the bulky item for 10 minutes I believe..and then could put it back and get your own cart. I see no point in carrying the item for an hour, 10 laps around the store, passing an associate 25x...and not being able to put it down because they don't offer a cart...2 laps, 10 associate passes should suffice.
Chris, I always use Google Keep to take notes, not just for shops, but for everything.. Also, my bulky item is a pillow. The box is huge, but I can carry it on one finger.

@ChrisCooper wrote:

Sentry doesn't offer many shops in my area, but I've done 2 of the big box shops and it's a lot of memorization of sales associates names and/or descriptions, plus you must remember in which department you first saw each associate, what they were doing (helping a cust? on the phone? restocking?), and if they greeted you was the greeting verbal or non-verbal. But, the biggest downside for me is that you are required to carry a bulky item around until someone offers you a cart. You must also put in your cart the target item for that month, which always seems to be an item that weighs more than I do--like a full set of pots and pans or a vacuum. The associate will place the item in the cart, but then I've got to return it to the shelf later since I'm not buying it. My arms are killing me by the time I'm done! smiling smiley The reimbursement is $15, which is useful. If the target item were a small-ish appliance I'd be more enthusiastic about the shop.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
There is only one Sentry shop that I do- as they do not have many in my area. I do a late night burger place and it pays a flat fee of $22.00. The report is mostly yes and no answers and not too difficult with a few narrative and no pictures required. I take pictures anyway because -- well just because I want them to see what the dish looked like. I have to order an entee and a drink - which can be had for as little as $4.99 - plus a tea for .99. So have to pay about $7.25 for my (which includes a mandatory tip). So I am happy with the shop. I spend $6, tip about $1.25 and then have still have a payment of $14.75 for a shop that is not too narrative intensive- "worth it" for me anyway. If it had fussy narrative I would not do it. I can only report my experience is that I get paid on time and they are consistent. Some companies will negotiate the fee - some will not. Sentry does not as far as I have seen.
PS: I LIKE the 24 hour allowance Sentry gives to do the shops-- some companies want it within 6 hours- or less! I am doing a evening wing shop next week and they want the report by midnight!! So I definately like Sentry's large wiggle room on the deadline.
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