Mystery shoppers always want to know if they are getting paid adequately for their time and efforts. With each assignment varying in the time commitment involved, the efforts required at the job site, and the complexity of the report, it is not always easy to determine if an assignment is paying a reasonable fee. There are some easy steps you can make to help take the guesswork out of this process.
Estimate Your Time Commitment. It is not always possible to get a clear idea on the time involved in an assignment before you get started working on it. However, you can get a get start by taking into account your travel time to and from the job site, and estimate approximately 15-25 minutes for completing the report. Then take a look at the assignment requirements and try to gage how long it will take you to complete the site visit. If you need help, try posting a question on the mystery shopping forum’s website to get some help from your fellow mystery shoppers who may have completed the same assignment previously.
Calculate the Cost of Gas. If the assignment requires you to go out of your way, or to drive somewhere you wouldn’t already be, then it is very important to calculate the cost of gas. For example, if your car gets 30 miles per gallon, and you have to drive 15 miles to get there, and fifteen miles back, you would end up using a full gallon of gas. Which could mean $4 off your bottom line, plus the wear and tear on your car. The cost of gas can be managed by booking multiple assignments in the same area, setting up a route of assignments, or only choosing assignments in areas you are already driving to.
The Effect Of Required Purchases. A required purchase can make or break an assignment for you. First, check the minimum dollar amount of the required purchase as well as the amount that will be reimbursed to you. If there is a $5 minimum purchase and a $5 reimbursement, this may seem like a no-brainer at first glance. But this is not always the case. If the $5 minimum purchase is at a store where the cheapest item for sale costs $20 with only $5 reimbursed, you could be out $15 just for doing the assignment.. So think ahead and know what you plan to purchase before you you take on the assignment.
Even on assignments with no reimbursement on a required purchase, it may still make sense to complete the assignment. If the assignment requires the purchase of groceries, gas, or other items you plan to purchase anyway, the shop pay and travel reimbursement will help cover costs on a purchase you already intended to make. Keep all of these factors in mind with the required purchase.
Know Your Own Limits. If you find yourself having more time than money, you may find that an assignment that ends up paying just $5 or $10 for an hour or more of work is worth your while. After all, making that $5 or $10 for an hour of working is better than not making any money at all. Or you may find it insulting that somebody would offer to pay you just $5 or $10 for an hour of your time and efforts, and you may skip over those lower paying assignments altogether.
Each mystery shopper has their own threshold of where to draw the bottom line. You may even find that your own bottom line fluctuates depending on how many assignments are available at that point in time or how badly you need the cash from month to month. Keep in mind your own lower limits on compensation, and feel free to be as flexible or rigid with your lower limit as you need or want to be.
With all of these factors in mind, it is clear to see that there is not a magic number where the pay is too low for mystery shoppers in general. Where one mystery shopper may draw the line, another mystery shopper may jump at the opportunity. So with each assignment, do a quick analysis on the time and effort involved in completing the assignment, and compare that with the compensation, reimbursement, and your own threshold before requesting any assignment. When you complete assignments that you feel reasonably compensate you for your time and efforts, you will find greater job satisfaction in mystery shopping.