One of the top aspects of mystery shopping for many people is the flexibility mystery shopping allows us. With our busy work schedules, our busy personal lives, and other aspects of our lives that could interfere with a “normal” job, mystery shopping allows us to still earn an income while working around the other demanding areas of our lives.
For many mystery shoppers, we often try to fit in as many assignments as we can into our already-busy lives, squeezing an assignment in during a lunch break at work, in between the kids’ soccer games, between college classes, or other activities. There are times, however, when our best efforts at booking up our free time with mystery shopping gigs hits a logjam due to schedulers who fail to respond to our requests for assignments in a timely manner. We’ve all been there – you request an assignment, and hold off on requesting other assignments for that same time slot to avoid overbooking your schedule. Days pass, and you finally hear from the scheduler that the assignment was given to someone else. In the time you waited for the scheduler to respond, you missed out on requesting other assignments, and don’t end up finding any work to do during your small window of free time.
A Balancing Act. There is no denying that this is a frustrating scenario that most mystery shoppers have faced, and many face repeatedly on a regularly basis. There just doesn’t seem to be any way to truly book up your schedule without risking overbooking, and thus the headache of slow-to-respond schedulers starts to make an impact on your pocketbook.
Keep in mind that simply requesting an assignment does not mean you will necessarily get the assignment. Take a fair assessment of your scheduler, and see if you can risk overbooking yourself without causing a major jam for yourself if you end up being granted multiple assignments. For many people, it’s better to have extra money and extra work than no money and no work. Just the same, if you request multiple assignments for one time slot, be sure they are in roughly the same location. In the event you do end up getting both assignments, you don’t want to have to travel to two different ends of town for the site visits.
Keep A Log. If you keep a log of which assignments you request with which schedulers, how long it takes the scheduler to respond to your assignment request, and what the outcome was, you likely will start to see a pattern. With this pattern in mind, you will have a much better idea of your likelihood of getting an assignment for a particular provider or scheduler. This information is invaluable for mystery shoppers who are worried about either not getting enough work to do or getting too much work to do.
The scheduling aspect of mystery shopping can be a balancing act, as you try to work as much as possible without the risk of overworking yourself. Chances are there will be days when you do end up overbooking yourself and have to work the mystery shopper’s equivalent of overtime, and there will be days when you don’t work at all. But when you take the time to keep a log or journal to track your requested assignments, you can greatly improve your ability to manage your schedule and reduce the headache of slow-to-respond schedulers.