Many mystery shoppers are adamant about the minimum mystery shopping pay they will work for. For some shoppers, it may be $10, for others it may be $5. How much (or little) you are willing to work for often depends on what area of the country you are in. Your cost of living in Los Angeles may be a lot different than a mystery shopper living in Pecos, Texas. Regardless of where you draw that line in the sand, there are some other factors that play into how much an assignment is actually worth. After all, a $5 shop is not always just a $5 shop.
It’s About Time! And effort, too. Different assignments have a large variation in the time and effort you are required to exert. For instance, you may simply be required to walk into a store, engage in a brief interaction with the sales clerk, and then exit. The report may be just a quick 10 or 20 multiple choice questions. Other assignments may require an hour or more of your time on-site, followed by at least another hour to complete the questionnaire. Obviously these two assignments would dictate the need for different pay scales. But often in mystery shopping, the work and the pay don’t coincide. That’s where it pays to spend some time scrutinizing the assignment requirements before you take on the responsibility of the job. Avoid the temptation to simply look at the shop pay and make your decision solely on the amount of money.
Where Are We Headed? Another factor you should consider is the location of the assignment. If the assignment is at a location that you visit regularly, such as next to your full-time job or next to your children’s school, it may be worth your while to consider the assignment. After all, you aren’t necessarily losing any time in traveling to the location since you would be traveling there anyway. Also, with a job such as this, you can actually write off mileage expense on a trip you would be making anyway. This is a hidden benefit of an otherwise seemingly low-paying assignment.
If an assignment has been on the boards for some time, you can request travel pay or bonus pay from the scheduler to make the trip and the assignment more worth your while. Since the assignment has been open for quite some time, the scheduler is probably willing to work with you to get the assignment completed.
I’d Like Two Of Those, Please. Mystery shoppers are often even more discouraged from a $5 assignment, or other low-paying assignment, by the requirement to make a minimum and non-returnable purchase at the store. Perhaps the minimum purchased required is $15, but only $5 expense reimbursement and $5 shop pay are being offered. This means you will end up being upside down $5 for doing the assignment. However, if you need to make a purchase at that particular store anyway, this $5 assignment would actually help you cover the cost of that necessary purchase.
Seasoned mystery shoppers often look at a range of factors when deciding to take on an assignment, such as shop pay, the location of the assignment, the required purchase, the requirements of the assignment, and more. When you take all of these factors into consideration, rather than simply the shop pay, you will get a more clear picture of if the assignment is worthwhile for you to complete. When you do this, you will find that there are times when a $5 assignment is worth more to you overall than a $10 assignment.