When is it ok to ask an MSP for a bonus?

I perform grocery shops monthly for Service Check for 5 different locations. The shops are not hard but the narratives take at least 2 hours because they want every single detail. Even through my rating is usually a “10”, there is always some remark on what I forgot to include. They are really picky. The shop pays $40 and I usually wait until there is a $15 bonus attached before I accept. When is it okay to ask the MSP for a bonus? I try to wait until the end of the month when they are desperately trying to fill the shops. Most times, they will start at $5 then $8 then $10 and wait to see if anyone accepts before they offer $15.

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It depends. Some will give your usual/desired bonus at the beginning of the month if it’s always a pain to schedule that location. If you’re taking at least five, you should ask for a bonus just for that.

It’s all about what makes their overall job easier.
@jtrinidad2002 wrote:

I perform grocery shops monthly for Service Check for 5 different locations. The shops are not hard but the narratives take at least 2 hours because they want every single detail. Even through my rating is usually a “10”, there is always some remark on what I forgot to include. They are really picky. The shop pays $40 and I usually wait until there is a $15 bonus attached before I accept. When is it okay to ask the MSP for a bonus? I try to wait until the end of the month when they are desperately trying to fill the shops. Most times, they will start at $5 then $8 then $10 and wait to see if anyone accepts before they offer $15.

Since you have experience completing these jobs and you know how long they take, ask immediately for what you think the job is worth.
That makes a lot of sense. I didn’t want to come off too strong but if it’s a hard-to-fill shop, I can see how the scheduler might want to provide the bonus right away. There are a couple of locations that always have a bonus at the end of the month. Thanks for your help!
My experience with Service Check is that you have to wait for them to try to fill the shops at base rate every single month before you can get a bonus. I have watched this pattern for well over 5 years. Perhaps some shoppers can request a bonus up front, but I doubt it. FWIW, I have shopped for them since 2000 or 2001.
For shops that I do regularly, I ask for the bonus at the beginning of the month when I am scheduling the shops for the month. For the shops that I do periodically, I wait until the end of the month and ask for the max bonus.

"Been stuck in the middle of a vendetta between me and myself" -Citizen Cope
I keep meaning to respond to this one as it is right up my ally, but every time I have a few minutes to do so, it's no longer at the top of the list and I forget to look for it.....

It is never a "wrong" time to ask for a bonus. However, there are times (which differ MSC to MSC) when you will be more likely to be granted a bonus and times when the bonus you can get is higher than others.

Here is what I do:
1. If an MSC calls me, I am going to ask for a bonus if they don't offer one. If they do, I might ask for a higher bonus. How much do I request? I have a certain hourly dollar amount for which I will work/drive. I'll do some quick math to determine what that dollar amount is for the shop in question and add a few more bucks. I always make sure that the caller knows what travel is required for me to be able to do the shop - including tolls, ferry rides, etc.
2. If an MSC sends me an personal email or text, see #1.
3. If an MSC sends me a mass email, I read it and try to determine how "urgent" or "desperate" the scheduler really is. If i believe the scheduler's situation to be dire, see #1. Otherwise, I'll likely not respond, unless I was headed in that direction anyhow. If I am headed in that direction any how, I'll make an offer similar to what I said in #1, without adding transit costs (or maybe adding a nominal $5-$20, depending on my sense of the situation).
4. If I am just looking at a non-bonused job on a job board, I don't bother asking for a bonus.
5. If I am looking at a bonused job on the job board that I know to be hard-to-fill, see #1.
6. If I am looking at a bonused job on the job board that may not be that hard to fill, I might ask for another $5 or $10, but I'll consider myself lucky if I get it.
7. If I am interested in picking up a bunch of shops from the same MSC, I'll often request an extra $5 or $10 per shop for doing the lot of them.
8. If the MSC won't meet my price, I thank them for their time and let them know that if they do get to a point where they can pay me what I ask, I'd like to hear from them.

You are, overall, far more likely to get your requests offered at the end of a month or quarter as that is when MSC's have deadlines approaching and when they are ready to really pay to get those difficult-to-fill jobs done. Bonuses at these times can be extreme. However, there are sometimes locations that an MSC knows to be near-impossible to fill and that the MSC has not been able to get filled for a very long time. (I can think of a few towns in Washington where this is the case. Think: Gas stations and Post offices in towns of under 1,000 folks that are a good three or four hours from metropolitan areas. There is one town in Washington that can only be reach by crossing a piece of Canada, so it requires two international border crossings each way!). If you are looking at this type of location, don't hesitate to make an offer at any time of the year for whatever you think it's worth - and don't cheat yourself.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
Never a wrong time. Maritz called me about some gas shops a couple weeks ago. I put in my offer with a bonus that I was comfortable with. They made a counteroffer which I declined. A week later, having still not filled the shops, they called me back and accepted my original offer. Other times they never call me back, which is fine too. I offer what I think is reasonable for my time, and if they don't offer that, it's not worth it to me.
LOL -- I love Maritz. I'll call 'em and ask for "incentive" and they'll say they aren't offering them.

Then a couple weeks later, they'll call me and I'll get double what I asked for the first time.

smiling smiley
And they are the only on that requires single spaces between sentences. That is part of why I don’t do them lol (Service Check)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/17/2019 06:34PM by kessdarln.
"When is it okay to ask the MSP for a bonus?"

Early and often … winking smiley

I'm only partially kidding. Ask for a bonus. The worst thing they can say is 'no'. After a while, you'll begin to learn which shops you have 'pricing power' and which shops you don't.
FWIW, I would never do a $40 shop that took 2 hours to complete. Oh my goodness. My goal is to make $60 an hour mystery shopping. I won't do business in which I make less than $30 an hour. My time is more valuable than that. When I calculate how "long" it took I factor everything into the equation ~ requesting the shop, reading the instructions, driving to/from the location, doing the report, making sure I get paid.

I would start asking for a larger than $15 bonus on your grocery shop. That sounds like a tedious shop imo.

Good luck!
With this company I perform shops at least 2x a month. They're weekly and bonused by Friday. I've asked in advance, but was told to wait until after a certain time when the highest bonus is offered.

Do not read so much, look about you and think of what you see there.
Richard Feynman-- letter to Ashok Arora, 4 January 1967, published in Perfectly Reasonable Deviations from the Beaten Track (2005) p. 230
I agree! I only work for my hourly rate (which includes drive time!) and if I can't get my hourly rate, I don't accept. I set my hourly rate at half my age... so at 47, my hourly rate is currently $23.50... but I'll be giving myself a 50 cent raise come my birthday in May!
I'm trying to contact Customer Impact to see if I can get a bonus for a shop that is out of the way. I can't find any way to contact them. I have the same problem with other companies. What do I do?
I take a lot of shops the first time I ever do them at the basic rate, just to get an idea of how intensive the work is. It's the best way to figure out how much your service is actually worth for that work.
If you've done the shop and don't think $40 or $65 is enough, ask for more. If they say no, you usually still have the option to keep doing it for the current rate...it's up to you to decide if you want to. If you say no, and they later get desperate, they may raise the offer, but not always, so you have also ask yourself, is it worth missing out on $65 for the possibility of more, knowing I may not get the shop at all? Again, only you can decide that.
And I'd stick pretty much to the formula MFJohnston has.
When an MSC contact me directly, I take that as a sign they need a job done, so you better believe they are going to pay a bonus rate to me. If I ask and they say no, good day.
Name of the mystery shopping company. It's listed at the bottom with all the other companies.
You all sound delusional. With thousands of shoppers competing for the same jobs, no company has to cater to your inflated opinion of your worth. There is always another shopper out there they can go to. Also you can take jobs in your area where expenses won’t be incurred. I wouldn’t even want a job that took 2 hours report time. You aren’t worth to a company what you think you are worth to yourself...something to remember.
Well. I can't remember the biggest but I'm currently scheduled for one right now that has a $75 bonus. On a 75 shop, so it's $150 total
Thank you so much for your thorough explanation of tips and tricks! I will definitely try this. There are a couple of harder to fill locations that are still available but they won’t meet my bonus requirement until the end of the month. I will wait. I’m sure it will be there next week.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/17/2019 08:18PM by jtrinidad2002.
@LindaK wrote:

You all sound delusional. With thousands of shoppers competing for the same jobs, no company has to cater to your inflated opinion of your worth. There is always another shopper out there they can go to. Also you can take jobs in your area where expenses won’t be incurred. I wouldn’t even want a job that took 2 hours report time. You aren’t worth to a company what you think you are worth to yourself...something to remember.

If you think there are "thousands of shoppers" competing for the same job, you are the delusional one.
Yes there are many jobs that go quickly, and maybe you are just in a heavily shopper saturated area, but the reality is shops sometimes go unshopped, but the reality is there are hundreds of jobs that stay on the job board all month long, some of which end up going unshopped.
And no, no company has to cater to what we believe we are worth, but I don't think that's what most of us are saying. Only each individual can decide what a fair offer is to them. I used to have no problem taking a $4 fast food shop. I know there's a lot better, higher paying opportunities out there now. (I may still take that shop if I'm on a route and know I can crank it out quickly, but otherwise, I'll let the less experienced shoppers crank those out).
My day job is editing technical publications. We have to have 1 space. I can't tell you how much time I've spent fixing documents with two spaces. smiling smiley
@gsonnen wrote:

FWIW, I would never do a $40 shop that took 2 hours to complete. Oh my goodness. My goal is to make $60 an hour mystery shopping. I won't do business in which I make less than $30 an hour. My time is more valuable than that. When I calculate how "long" it took I factor everything into the equation ~ requesting the shop, reading the instructions, driving to/from the location, doing the report, making sure I get paid.
Good luck!

I wish I knew that you could make this kind of money when I started mystery shopping.
When they post the shops early in the month, I'll write the scheduler and say, "If you can't get anybody to do that one, call me. I'll do it for a $XX bonus. I expect to be available from X to X. Let me know." These are schedulers I work with frequently, so they know me. I don't usually get it right away, but when they're getting down to the wire they'll call and say, "Can you go? We'll give you the bonus you asked," and I take it. There's one shop that requires a ton of narrative that I won't do for less than $50 total (bonus plus fee). It doesn't take a lot of time, but there's a lot of detail and a lot of narrative and that's what it's worth to me.

There are a couple of fast food shops that I won't take for less than $25 and I get at least one of them every month. There is not a lot of work, but it's 70 miles round trip. That means an hour and a half of driving to get there and back. It's worth it to me, and I guess to them, as they keep accepting my offer.
Yeah, the 2-border crossing town--not much over there besides the banks and the gas stations--but I've gotten some great bonuses when I've asked. Still, I only do them when I can just "make a day of it" and use as an excuse to go do something else like take the dogs to the beach or go shop in Canada when the exchange is good. The other good bonuses are the ones for the small towns you have to take the ferries to. If they are willing to pay a really good bonus, cover my ferry and parking as a walk-on, I'll bite. But let's face it, it is an all-day project especially with a winter ferry schedule, so an "hourly" breakdown isn't something I figure on these. It's more an excuse to get the hell out of Dodge, have a nice day on one of the islands, and have it paid for. I'm rather new at this, but I have learned to ask and explain why the amount is justified. "Distance" is a little different when you're talking islands, ferries, 2-lane roads up into the mountains in the winter, border crossings and waits, and places where the traffic is horrible. (Certain areas along I-5 on the weekends during Tulip-festival time comes to mind).
I would love to make that kind of money! Would you elaborate a little on the type of shops you do, where you are located, etc. Thank you!
I've been doing grocery shops exclusively since 2010 (except a few casinos now & then) and a $20 bonus is reasonable considering they require a 2 hour report (who does that?).
The longest grocery report I ever had was 35 min max, most are 15 to 20 min. Years ago, even Safeway/Von's only took 15 min (check boxes, minimal narrative). I think you're not out of line asking for a $20 - 25 bonus, the worst they will do is say no. (wow, 2 hour report, really?) I wish you luck!
Ok, the first thing I want to say is to stop selling yourself short. I don't make as much mystery shopping than some of the vet's here (23.50 an hour). But darn, the longer you take underpaid assignments the longer it takes to get MSP's to pay a decent rate for some jobs. I refuse to do a book store shop for a cup of tea. MF starts the shop for a tea reimbursement, that's total bs. The who wants a burger shop starts out underpaid, I did some for that price when I first started. I never do those now. All I have to do is sit back and wait for a phone call, and I easily get four times that much. I understand new people taking jobs for whatever price but if you've been doing this for a while you should get offered bonuses. When you do jobs too cheaply you hurt everybody in this industry because then we can't get what we need or want because they say to themselves, No worries I'll get so in so to do it cheap. The cheaper they can convince you to take the job for the more money they make. I did a green grocery shop this week at a hard to fill location and got 75. The report took maybe 15 minutes to do. I've been offered a 100 for that location so I know what it could be done for. My rate right now is 10 dollars an hour, roughly sometimes more sometimes less if it's something I want to do. The key is to add other assignments when you decide to add to a bonused base location.
What I'm saying is I take 1 or two assignments and base a route on them. I have to make at least 75-80 on the base location/s. Then I build around it. The $75 grocery store I added a $35 station, 2 super easy OSI's for another $40 (10 min time +10 min input 4 pics total) plus the merchandising project that was prescheduled for the day. Today I made $187 altogether. It's nowhere near what my counterparts make but hey, it's a lot more than I made delivering pizza's or cashiering.
@LindaK all I can say to you is you will never make any money just doing the close, in town shops. Yes, I do them. I do them to keep my scheduler's happy, I do them because I don't want to drive long distance every single day. Sometime's I want to keep things short and sweet and give my brain a rest. But if you close your mind to being a route driver you will never learn the potential for this business. I found a few (about 6) gas stations on the board right before Christmas that no one wanted to do at night. I added a couple of OSI"s enroute, a couple of day shops (stations) and wah-lah I made a route that was worth over $500 bucks. I drove about 2 hours in the afternoon did six night shops was done by midnight and on my way into the motel room, got up the next morning and knocked out the couple of day gigs and OSI"s on the way home and in less than 24 hours I made over $500 bucks. It was certainly worth a night in the hotel, and I spend around $75 for a night because the cheaper ones I don't like.
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