For many mystery shoppers, travel time to and from job assignments is downtime. If the required travel time on an assignment is fifteen minutes, twenty minutes or longer, some mystery shoppers simply pass up the assignment altogether. As a mystery shopper, you can make your miles count in a number of ways that can save you both time and money. So before you pass over that next assignment that’s just outside of your normal travel zone, consider these tips:
Money For Miles. As a mystery shopper, you are permitted by the IRS to write off your mileage traveled for business purposes. For each mile you travel to and from your job assignments, you can write off $0.55 per mile. This may not seem like a lot of money to you. However, when you consider that you often travel fifty or sixty miles per hour, if not more, this can really add up. If you travel fifteen miles to a job site, plus the return trip home, you can deduct a mileage expense of $16.50. This is as much, if not more, than most mystery shopping assignments pay. So what this means is that if you travel even a moderate distance to your job site, you can essentially work as a mystery shopper tax-free, or close to it.
If you aren’t keeping a mileage log of your mystery shopping miles traveled, it’s not too late to start. Simply grab a notebook and a pen, and start getting paid to travel!
Make The Time Count. For most mystery shoppers, traveling to and from a mystery shopping job site is not a non-stop route. Often the route to the job site is dotted with stop lights. Use the stop lights strategically to brush up on your assignment requirements. While you likely can’t read the full requirements in the car on the way to the job site, this is an excellent time to give your mind a refresher. When you know what the requirements are, you will find that you sail through the on-site visit much faster. So not only will you save time by reviewing the requirements en route, but you will also save time at the actual on-site visit.
Then, on your return visit home, use the stop lights strategically to jot down notes to yourself to help you answer the questions on your report much faster and more accurately.
Double Up. You can get the most bang for your travel time by completing two or more assignments on one outing. If you have a mystery shopping assignment scheduled in a large retail center or shopping mall, it’s often fairly easy to find another assignment to complete in that same venue. When it’s not possible to find an assignment in that same venue, consider looking for assignments that are en route to your already scheduled assignment.
As a mystery shopper, travel time may seem like downtime, but it doesn’t have to be. Use these tips to make your travel time more lucrative and efficient!