Just thought I'd share my most recent experience with EPMS. They do apartment mystery shops and when you can get one where you do a random leasing agent, the job isn't bad. If you have to shop a specific person, that's when it starts getting time consuming and frustrating.
I hadn't done anything for EPMS in awhile but got lured in by bonus pay. I was supposed to shop "Patti" and on my 2nd attempt to call, I got "Patricia" so I completed the call. At the end of the call I told her I would see her tomorrow and that's when she told me she was actually at a call center and not the leasing office. I should mention both times I called, I could hear a lot of call center type noise in the background which I thought was weird. Nowhere in the shopper instructions did I see any warning that this might happen otherwise I wouldn't have even bothered taking this shop. Anyway, I emailed the scheduler to let her know that these guys don't even answer their own phones, they send them to a call center. That makes it impossible to actually do this shop correctly since obviously you'll never actually speak to the target agent and you can't be sure you'll even get them when you show up at the location. In response the shop was cancelled and I was told that they sometimes send their phone to a call center around lunch. Both calls I placed were well before lunch so just beware that they don't even warn you calls can get routed to a call center and you could spend your day calling trying to get through to the actual office but end up talking to a call center.
I did one apartment shop for them last month. The pay was comparatively high for an apartment shop, but the report was extremely long and time-consuming, in my opinion. It also took me several days to finally get through to my target. They have many other properties in the area they need shopped, but I can't bring myself to take any more on... I'm afraid it's going to take up too much of my time!
Fresno, CA - and shopping all over the middle part of the state!
This month I've done a lot more work for EPMS than usual and them being time-consuming is the problem. Not so much the visit or the report (I've gotten used to the length and repetition), but trying to reach the target. I don't know if it varies in different areas or communities, but trying to reach a target around here in nearly impossible.
Even the shops that state anyone can be shopped are difficult because they often do not answer the phone.
> shoppersteven they pay fast but wait for your
> target to be unavailable... your impressions might
> change with multitudes of phone calls....
If you'll read an earlier post of mine, I'm kind of leery about taking another shop from them because of that reason and because the report took me FOREVER to complete! I'm still on the fence with them... we'll see.
Fresno, CA - and shopping all over the middle part of the state!
I haven't ever gotten a call center. I have resorted to calling using *67 and outright asking when the target will be in. You can say you got the name from a friend or make up another excuse. Then I contact scheduler and let them know the estimated date of contact. When I get my car back I'm heading out of town for a string of anyone sops. Will wait for bonuses.at the end of the month and do an overnight in Lexington or Cincinnati. Whee! I will find a motel to shop and some good food somewhere!
Today I Will Choose Joy!
"Finally, whatever things are good, true, noble, lovely, of good report...if there be any virtue, if there be any praise...think on these things." ....It's a command, not a suggestion!
I have never gotten a call center. I have only once out of at least 60 previous jobs not been able to contact target. I tried for two days and called Ellis and told them put it back on the job board. I have a good relationship with the company so they did not give me a hard time. Their reports are horrible but for $30 or more a shop I keep doing them. I did 14 for them last month and got paid right on time. They pay pretty quick.
I've done targeted and non-targeted shops for them. My first shop I spent almost three weeks trying to reach the target - I would almost always get a machine. I kept the scheduler up to date on what was happening, and she kept moving the deadline back, which was kind of her.
Yes, the report is a pain, but the pay is good and they pay every month like clockwork.
> I kept the scheduler up to date on
> what was happening, and she kept moving the
> deadline back, which was kind of her.
Maybe I'm just seeing it differently, but I don't see that as the scheduler being kind. It is doing what is necessary. I get a little annoyed when they act like they are doing me a favor moving the due date back when I can't reach the target because: she's on vacation, she's helping out in a different office, she knows it's her month to be shopped and is avoiding the phone, etc.
When do shop payments usually go from Pending to showing a date paid. As far as I recall shops done before June 7 would change to a June 7 payment date around June 10th and I would get a deposit on the June 22. However all my shops still show as pending. Does anyone have indication of a June payment or is everyone still in "Pending".
As stated before I do a lot of shops for them. They have now changed how they pay. It will not be as quick as before because they now pay once a month instead of twice a month. Work done in June will be paid on or about the 22nd of the following month. I call 3 times a day for 3 days and then get permission to ask for agent. This is all they require. If I have the time I will call 4 or 5 times a day but this is because I choose to. I asked Robert why the part at the end of the report that is so redundant. He told me it was because shoppers would go to the complex pick up the card for the assigned agent and leave. The part at the end is to prove to their client you did the shop. I hate it like everyone else but I can do three shops for them a day and make some good money. I do a lot of video and audio shops for them as well. The video report takes about 20 minutes and pays me 60.00 per shop. I like the company even having been frustrated by the phone calls and long reports. They work with me and have always treated me with respect.
I echo WJones. I'm in my 7th yr. with Ellis, having completed the regular apt. shops, video and covert inspections to the sum of approx. 200. I've found all to be quite accommodating, they've always returned my mail and my money has NEVER been late. The reports run in the neighborhood of 45 mins, but there is one client whose form is sooooooo redundant I won't apply for those jobs. As to targets, naturally I'd prefer a "shop anyone," but that's not how the game is played. When I've failed to make contact, permission has been granted to specifically ask for the individual. One of their competitors some shoppers love, Bestmark*, pays $18 for identical work. It all goes back to the old adage of "to each his/her own."
*I was fired by this MSC a few yrs. ago for being devoid of interest in their pay scale.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/30/2011 02:02AM by shopperbob.
I just started with EPMS in May 2011. I will post tips after each shop I complete to help you do better. Personally, I do not mind the length of the reports because I like to type and offer my opinions on things. I have recently learned: our "opinions" DO NOT MATTER! We are just there to OBSERVE. With that in mind, my reports have flowed better. NEVER recommend what the company should do to improve.
Type your reports as soon as you arrive home. Study what your person is wearing. Study that model unit!! Listen to the sales techniques used.
I also ask one of my Fair Housing questions during the phone call, one as we are walking to/from the model, and one while inside the apartment. If coworkers/clients hear you in the office asking "type of people that live here" questions it can offend tenants and savvy coworkers will know your target is being shopped. All of your Fair Housing Questions must be asked (asking just one is not accepted) !!!
I know it is frustrating when you cannot reach your target, but do what I do. Call 5 minutes after the community opens, then again before lunch time, then around 2pm. If they have not answered, they are not working that day. Never just hang up, say (one question per attempt): What time do you open-are you open Sundays-What time do you close today-for your calls when the target does not answer. Remember in your calls, they are also checking if your shopper ENCOURAGES you to visit. It is fine to set an appointment (same day only) it's just YOU cannot say "Can I come in at 11am?" The agent has to attempt.
For extra cash, if a backup shop is near your home, that you can literally pop over really quick, go ahead and sign up for it. 8 out of 10 chance the original will "flake" and you will pick up a job! I love when my husband wakes up, checks his emails, I run do a backup shop, and I'm home before he leaves his seat.
Shops do not take a long time, max 30 minutes. BUT, if your target is busy when you arrive, you MUST wait for them. That is what you are paid for. When I have to wait, that information goes on the report. And that is your time to REALLY observe and listen to what is going on in the office. Remember, you have to write about all persons you come in contact with whilst being in the office. THOSE are the details that prove you were there! You need to remember names if the target introduces you to coworkers. And anything that happens while you are there. Like: they were working on the pool, Lawn care company was there that day, a resident came for her pool pass. Also, you MUST review the grounds upkeep and note any issues, trash overflow around bins, dirty hallways, things like that.
The great thing about EPMS is that there really is no problem if you cancel as long as you state clearly your attempts to contact the target. That's what the backup shopper is for, someone trying from a different angle.
You know I dont like the word "flake" some people have good reasons for cancelling their shops. I wont work for a company that uses the word "flake". Alot of stuff that you are talking about is also in their tips on their website. I have been shopping with them for over 3 years.
I usually only work with Ellis, do several apartments per month and have never had a problem with them, also they are very accomodating. I agree with one of the above posters, I sign up for any back up job that is close to my home, and, I get several of them. If I cannot reach my target by the 2nd day, I notify Ellis and I am usually told to ask for the target the next day and say I was referred.
I am going to start doing video shops with them, don't know why I put it off for so long.
EPMS is a wonderful company, you just have to get creative when trying to find someone at an apartment. I have found when you get the call center to say "I spoke with someone in the apartment office, do you have their number?" The leasing center may say that they can rent but just tell them you would rather talk to the person you talked to in the office, and you just can't remember their name. Then when you get the number email your scheduler to let them know and get the OK to call directly. I love doing apartment shops, the pay is good and after awhile it becomes easy to do.
I quickly grab an Ellis shop in my area. I enjoy shopping the assigned targets or just the shops for anyone. I can generally make contact the same day I call. Their pay is good and if you can pick up three or four shops in one day, you get a great check. The only problem I have with them is when the target is someone you really feel bad for. I had a target that was in her late 60's or early 70's.. She was really friendly, but hard of hearing. When I began to complete the report, I just felt so badly having to provide such negative details.
Question...When you tell the agent you were referred, have you ever had one ask who referred you? So far I've been fortunate and not had to ask for the target, and I'm concerned about this happening. What do you say?
Ah, good. Friend of a friend. I had a brain freeze there!
> I say that it was a friend of mine, Jim. I
> typically add that Jim liked the apartment, but
> just when he was ready to rent, he got transferred
> to a different state.
> Or, a co-worker of my best friend told her about
> it. And, my best friend then told me. And, no, I
> don't know the name of my friend's co-worker.
> Or, a guy that my husband golfs with told him
> about it. Again, not having a name would not
> raise eyebrows.
If I am doing 'friend of a friend' trying to reach a target I am likely to mess up the name deliberately saying something like "Do you have a Linda or a Lois there? I was given her name but I can't read my own writing!"
> If I am doing 'friend of a friend' trying to reach
> a target I am likely to mess up the name
> deliberately saying something like "Do you have a
> Linda or a Lois there? I was given her name but I
> can't read my own writing!"