The answer to that question for most mystery shoppers can be summed up with another question, “How much am I getting paid to do the work?” There is, of course, more to an assignment than how long your assignment takes. For instance, if you spend an hour scouring the provider’s job boards to find one assignment, that is an hour that you can a lot to the time you spent on that assignment – time wasted before you’ve even started on the actual job. And then, of course, there is the time it will take you to complete the site visit and prepare the report. So the answer to this question often involves the amount of time required to complete the job. A $10 assignment is simply not worth three hours of work, but a $40 or $50 assignment may very well be worth it.
Time-Wasting Assignments. We’ve all seen them on the job boards, and chances are we all have done or even continue to do time-wasting assignments. Some of the biggest time-wasting assignments include those at stores with multiple departments, such as electronics stores, department stores, and grocery stores. More often than not, an assignment at one of these stores will require you to visit each separate department and interact with the staff in each department. The reports tend to be broken out by department, asking the roughly the same questions for each department. What this equates to is doing multiple “shops” in one assignment.
While this could be a time-saver if you were getting paid to actually complete multiple assignments, more often than not you are getting paid what you would get paid for any other single assignment. The report is lengthier and more detailed, the site visit is lengthier and more detailed, and the pay is about the same. Why do mystery shoppers continue to do these types of assignments?
The Benefit. Most people have needs at these types of stores. From food at the grocery store and clothing or shoes at the department store to batteries, gifts, and even appliances and larger purchases at electronics stores, there are likely things that are on your “need” list that can be found in these stores. These “needs” are items you are planning on purchasing anyway. So if you can have a $10 or $15 shop pay plus another $10 or $15 expense reimbursement for your required purchase (a purchase you were going to make anyway), the assignment seems a little more worth your time and effort.
Just watch out for the trap of buying things you don’t really need. If you truly don’t “need” anything at the electronics store and you are considering taking on a three hour assignment for $10 worth of pay, it may be better to keep scouring the job boards and pass that assignment buy.
More Time Than Money. In this economy, many mystery shoppers are struggling to make ends meet or are trying to earn extra cash to build up a larger nest egg for rainy days. If you fall into this category, you may be ready to take on any assignments that come your way. For many mystery shoppers, it is far better to be out working for any money at all rather than sitting at home twiddling your thumbs and not earning a dime. These assignments are great for putting some extra cash in your pocket when other assignments are not available for the taking.
While these time-consuming assignments may not be at the top of most mystery shoppers’ list of preferred assignments, they certainly have their benefits and can put some much-needed cash in your wallet.