As a mystery shopper, if you consider your time traveling between assignments as downtime, you are missing out. Most mystery shoppers will spend between fifteen to thirty minutes on round-trip travel for one assignment, and if you are doing many assignments during a day and not profiting from your travel time, you are losing money. And if you are passing up on assignments that you may consider a little too far out because you think travel time is downtime, that’s just another area where you are losing out on potential income. Take some time to consider this:
Writing Off Miles. The IRS lets anyone who is traveling for a work-related purpose to write off mileage traveled for business purposes, and this includes mystery shoppers. Every mile you travel to and from your site visits is a tax write-off. While the write-off may seem like just a drop in the bucket, it will add up over time. The current write-off is fifty cents per mile, so if you travel 20 miles for a site visit round-trip, you can write-off $10. Many mystery shopping assignments don’t pay much more than this, so you can see that writing off your travel miles is a great way to equalize the tax liability as a mystery shopper.
To write off your miles as a mystery shopper and take advantage of this huge benefit for traveling to and from assignments, you just simply need to keep a handy mileage log in your car and then log your miles traveled for each business trip you make. This is a great way to get paid to travel.
In The Car. With mystery shopping, we all know that time is money. The more assignments you can squeeze into your day, the more money you can make in the long run. You can take advantage of your time in the car by brushing up on your assignment requirements at stop lights. This is a great way to refresh your memory on what needs to be done during the site visit and to strategize about how you can most easily complete those requirements. When you spend some quiet time in the car thinking about your plan of attack, you will find that you will fly right through your assignment site visit. This is a great way to become a more efficient mystery shopper.
Don’t let the return trip home go to waste either. Use the stop lights on the return trip home to jot down helpful details about your site visit. This will help you shave off how long it takes to complete your report once you get back home.
Make The Most Of Your Trips. If you find that you are completing an assignment, heading home to do the report, and then heading back out again for another assignment, you are likely wasting some valuable time. Take some time to plan out your mystery shopping site visits so you can complete two, three, or more site visits in one outing. Ideally, you can plan your site visits in such a way that all of your site visits for a day are in one location, to further cut down on your travel time.
Use some of these great tips to get the most out of your travel time and ultimately increase your profitability as a mystery shopper.