The Truth About Pizza “Phone Assignments”

There has been a lot of talk lately in the mystery shopping world about boycotting the assignments under $5. Pizza phone assignments quite simply require you to call up a pizza restaurant and inquire about specials. In other cases, you may be required to actually place an order and then call back and cancel it. The bottom line about these assignments is they are not worth the time and effort required to complete them. Here’s what you need to know:

What Can You Buy For $1.75? Yes, you can seriously expect to get paid anywhere from $1.50 to $3 for your time and effort. Some mystery shoppers may be tempted to think this may be acceptable since there is no time and expense involved in travel, and the phone call may only take about five minutes.

Once you take into account the time of both of the required phone calls, as well as the waiting period between the two calls and the time it will take you to complete the report, your total time commitment has crept up to about an hour. Is an hour of your time worth $1.50 to $3? Probably not!

Cancel My Order. Pizza phone assignments may be worth the time and effort if you at least got a free pizza out of the deal. But these assignments off you no freebies,  not even cheese sticks or a soda! You will literally get a check for just a few bucks in the mail, and that is it.

Sometimes It Pays To Travel. Often on lower paying assignments, you can rationalize that with the extra perk of writing off your travel expenses, your time and effort may be worth a $5-$10 assignment. For instance, driving 20 miles for an assignment will give you a tax deduction of $11 ($0.55 per mile). So on a $5-$10 assignment, you usually can expect to pay zero taxes on it, and possibly even claim a tax write-off if you travel far enough. When you do a phone assignment from your living room, you can’t write off mileage, so this hidden perk is gone.

Do You Want To Play ‘Twenty Questions’? You may wonder how many questions can possibly be on a report for an assignment over the phone. The answer isn’t twenty questions, but rather closer to forty or fifty. The report will ask you very specific questions about the times you called, how long you were put on hold, how long the calls lasted, and so on. You will need to keep track of the  names of the people you spoke with, specials they offered to, and a number of other details. With your calls lasting maybe a total of five minutes, there is a lot of information to keep track of and remember in just a short period of time. The only saving grace of this assignment is that since you are in the privacy of your own home, you can quickly scribble down notes as you are talking or after the conversation is over.

The bottom line is that there is just no real advantage to spending your valuable time and energy on such a low-paying assignment with no perks. It’s best to avoid these assignments and spend your time on an assignment where you will receive a decent paycheck and extra perks.