ACL: Questions

I could have sworn I saw this topic recently, but can't find it.....

I have just taken a shop with A Closer Look that is completely not part of what I normally do - a grocery shop. However, the scheduler promised that I would see "more shops" than I currently see as soon as I successfully completed one shop for them. She also said that the more I complete, the more shops I will have available to me. She said that I will eventually become eligible to do their hotels shops, which would be useful for my overnight routes. However, I was not able to pin her down for how many shops I would need to successfully complete in order to have their hotel shops open to me. (Is it five? Fifty? A hundred? A thousand?)

Does anybody have insight into this? I don't mind doing a handful of shops that don't fit into my wheelhouse to "move up the ladder" with them. However, I do like to know the rules.

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

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I just looked at my history on the portal. It looks like I did 5 of their pizza shops and then I took on a hotel shop. I do remember one day looking at their job board and thinking to myself "oh, I didn't see all these before". My best-educated guess would be somewhere between 3-5 successful shops and you start moving up that ladder.
Thanks. I can handle that. Another question: I get the sense that they like a TON of detail in their shop narratives - several paragraphs. Does this sound right?

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
I do hotel shops for them regularly and was able to start getting them pretty quickly.. I would say after around 5-7 shops or so.. they do require detailed narratives but they aren’t too bad. I think they would be a little overwhelming for a complete newbie but you’ll be fine as you have been shopping awhile...
They indicate a minimum sentence requirement in each section. They do like detail though, not quite as much as Coyle though. I'm sure you'll be fine, their guidelines are probably one of the clearest and best laid out that I've seen. Just be sure to address every "no" or negative answer in the comments. I've noticed some of their hotel shops and finer dining shops are WAY easier then the "easier" shops lol
Thank you again. I don't mind writing detailed narratives at all. However, I always feel silly when 2-3 sentences are expected and I write 2-3 paragraphs.... smiling smiley

Hotel Shops: The scheduler made it sound like their hotels are something that I can incorporate easily into a route (i.e. I don't have to spend all day at the hotel.) Is this accurate?

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
That is very accurate in my experience with two different brands of hotels I have done for them
@MFJohnston wrote:

Thank you again. I don't mind writing detailed narratives at all. However, I always feel silly when 2-3 sentences are expected and I write 2-3 paragraphs.... smiling smiley

Hotel Shops: The scheduler made it sound like their hotels are something that I can incorporate easily into a route (i.e. I don't have to spend all day at the hotel.) Is this accurate?

These are some of the easiest hotel reports you'll ever do.
@MFJohnston wrote:

I could have sworn I saw this topic recently, but can't find it.....

I have just taken a shop with A Closer Look that is completely not part of what I normally do - a grocery shop. However, the scheduler promised that I would see "more shops" than I currently see as soon as I successfully completed one shop for them. She also said that the more I complete, the more shops I will have available to me. She said that I will eventually become eligible to do their hotels shops, which would be useful for my overnight routes. However, I was not able to pin her down for how many shops I would need to successfully complete in order to have their hotel shops open to me. (Is it five? Fifty? A hundred? A thousand?)

Does anybody have insight into this? I don't mind doing a handful of shops that don't fit into my wheelhouse to "move up the ladder" with them. However, I do like to know the rules.
It's a come on for you to do their less desirable reimbursement only shops with NO fees. ACL seldom pays any fees, and if they do give a whopping $5, they call it BONUS. A whopping $5 Bonus! And you are supposed to jump up and down in 2019 for a $5 bonus, and drive 25 miles for reimbursement only shop.

I have shopped 4 years with them and have yet to see a hotel shop. Am more selective now. My new year's resolution. Everyone's hourly wages or salaries went up but not shoppers' pay
Be sure to join the reward program for each big hotel "family" that you shop, and use the affiliated credit card. Then you can use the accumulated rewards points from doing hotel shops to do routes where you need a hotel stay, but without a report.

Their hotel reports are simple. Very few interactions required, typically. Some places with full kitchens and no evening meal report. Because these are reimbursed expenses, you earn 2x as many rewards points compared to if the hotel reversed the credit card cost for your stay. Do not be afraid of a hotel rewards cc that has a $75 annual fee. That one also gives you one free night per year starting on the 1st anniversary of the card! That night is worth a lot more than $75.

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.
It took me about 10 shops or more before I was able to see hotel shops. I find that puzzling as i've done two promo shops prior to seeing a hotel. I've never done the pizza shops even after several heavy emails asking me to.
Although I am able to see low end hotels, think 3 stars, someone else is always assigned it and it's available for backup, so frustrating.
One of the schedulers told me it was 5 a number of years ago when I first shopped for them. Love them. Great company!
I think eyelove2shop hit on the key point here: Getting to be qualified to do an ACL hotel shop is quite easy. Actually getting assigned one is tougher, especially since their emails are based on your hometown. For those who have gotten the assignments: Did you simply keep refreshing the job board until they popped up, or were you able to get your scheduler to hold one for you?
You have to jump on the job board several times a day for all of the states where you want a shop, starting around the 18th of the month preceding the month of the shop. They are very flexible about the actuall dates for the hotel shops, but some clients want weekends only and others weekdays only.

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.
Do their grocery shops take a very long time to write up - or did I put too much into it?

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
I don't do their pizza shops. Several schedulers have tried the, "Do the pizza shops to be eligible for XYZ shop." I said not interested. I still get the shops I like monthly, with a bonus. I see the hotel shops on the board.

Their narrative expectation is reasonable: 8-10 sentences per section.

"Been stuck in the middle of a vendetta between me and myself" -Citizen Cope
@MFJohnston wrote:

Do their grocery shops take a very long time to write up - or did I put too much into it?

Good Lord.
If it's the same one that I do in So Cal, stick to the format. They want 5-7 sentences in a section, for example. That's all they want. Don't go crazy. I practically write those narratives in bullet-point format.
15 minutes tops. Don't over think them. There's no bonus if you write 12 sentences when they ask for 5.

If Jim is your editor, I think he can edit a good report in 5 minutes or less.
@MFJohnston wrote:

Do their grocery shops take a very long time to write up - or did I put too much into it?

They don’t take me too long but writing 6 to 8 sentences about a section with just two questions can be difficult. Even the the five to seven sentence sections are hard enough. I just try to write really short sentences to describe what occurred but it’s a challenge to not repeat myself. They even tell you to not describe anything that is beyond the scope of the questions in each section.
I have done about 30+ shops. My husband did 2 shops. We see the same shops.

ACL shops are much easier than Coyle shops. I love ACL. It can sometimes be hard to complete a dining report in the 12 hours they give you, when you get home from dinner at 9-10 PM, need to write a report, and have work early the next morning. It takes me 2 hours vs 5 hours for a fine dining shop for ACL conpared to Coyle.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/2019 01:33PM by Niner.
I shop mostly for ACL and used to do a lot of shops for a couple of big hotel chains, but I haven't seen those in my area for more than a year. Don't know if they'll ever come back. Hope so. Anyone know anything about that?
When I first started with ACL, one day after doing quite a few more that 5 shops I got an email from a scheduler that said she had just noticed I had done many shops and done very well so she was going to start sending me all shops. My take from my experience would be to contact your scheduler after you have completed 5-10 shops successfully and ask. I was not part of this forum at the time so I had no idea I was not seeing everything. Also, be sure to look statewide or further. There have not been hotels in my area for a very long time. I do see them in other parts of the state. I used to do the ones with the kitchenettes often. I really wish they were still available. Best part was i could take my dog along. No points though.
I just completed my fifth shop with ACL and love their straight forward platform. I hope to get more options soon!
My issue was giving "full detail" while keeping the narratives under ten sentences...

@kenasch wrote:

@MFJohnston wrote:

Do their grocery shops take a very long time to write up - or did I put too much into it?

They don’t take me too long but writing 6 to 8 sentences about a section with just two questions can be difficult. Even the the five to seven sentence sections are hard enough. I just try to write really short sentences to describe what occurred but it’s a challenge to not repeat myself. They even tell you to not describe anything that is beyond the scope of the questions in each section.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
Ex ACL editor here: give them what they ask for and do it well. Don't go overboard. If they want 5-7 sentences, do just that.
I think I over-thought it a bit... At the same time, when I asked for clarification, I was told "more is better." Part of it is that I consider "full detail" to mean **FULL** detail..... If I do one again, I'll keep the narratives much shorter....

@SoCalMama wrote:

@MFJohnston wrote:

Do their grocery shops take a very long time to write up - or did I put too much into it?

Good Lord.
If it's the same one that I do in So Cal, stick to the format. They want 5-7 sentences in a section, for example. That's all they want. Don't go crazy. I practically write those narratives in bullet-point format.
15 minutes tops. Don't over think them. There's no bonus if you write 12 sentences when they ask for 5.

If Jim is your editor, I think he can edit a good report in 5 minutes or less.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
They aren't going to hate you for giving a lot of detail. If you NEED to give additional clarification and 5-7 sentences isn't enough, that's understandable. If it's fluff, it superfluous.
As a result, though, the report took took long for the compensation.... I may try another and simply "reevaluate" what a "full detail" means.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
I think part of it depends on the editor. I remember once doing a shop and submitting about twice as many photos as needed because I figured they would go through and pick the ones they liked the best...and the editor gently chastised me for it, LOL.
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