Mystery shopping can be more fun and exciting that most other types of jobs, but it is nonetheless a job. Very few mystery shoppers would continue to work as a shopper if they did not need or want the income that it provides. With this in mind, it makes sense that you would want to find ways to boost your income. By identifying some of the most common factors that result in lower paychecks, you may be able to make strategic changes to your work efforts to boost your income! Consider some of these common factors that affect mystery shopping paychecks.
Your Expense Reimbursements
Your income as a mystery shopper is essentially comprised of your base shopper’s pay and the expense reimbursement. At first glance, the expense reimbursement may not appear to be income. This is, after all, a reimbursement for an expense that you were compelled to make in the assignment requirements. However, by using the expense reimbursement wisely, it can actually turn into income. Consider if you use an expense reimbursement at a grocery store to buy a cake from the bakery. Unless you are hosting a party, this cake may be an extra luxury that you didn’t really need. However, if you use that same grocery expense reimbursement to purchase essentials like milk and toilet paper, you are reimbursed for items that likely were on your grocery list. Using your expense reimbursements wisely can result in a boost in net profits.
Your Hourly Rate
As a mystery shopper, you may be aware that you are not paid on an hourly rate. Instead, you are paid based on the assignments that you complete. However, you can and should perform an hourly rate conversion on your assignments. Take note of your total compensation for the assignments as well as how much time it took you to complete the assignments. You likely will notice that your hourly rate with some providers’ assignments or with certain types of assignments is higher than others. After you have made this connection, you will be able to select your assignments more carefully based on the total income they can provide to you.
Your Tax Write-Offs
As a final note, you should be aware of how your tax write-offs affect your paycheck. If you are not currently writing off any business-related expenses, you may be losing money with each assignment. Your income as a mystery shopper is taxable, but because you are in independent contractor, expenses like office supplies and equipment, travel expenses and more may be written off as deductions. Educate yourself about these deductions through your own efforts or by sitting down with an accountant. By keeping more of your money in your pocket and limiting what goes to Uncle Sam, you can enjoy increased profits.
The fact is that you can work harder and work longer hours each day to boost your income, or you can work smarter. By focusing on these three factors today, you may discover great ways to increase your net income without working any harder or longer at all!