Who doesn’t want to see a bigger paycheck for the time and effort you put into mystery shopping? After all, after considering the travel time, time conducting the mystery shop, and your time to complete the report, some assignments pay below the hourly minimum wage. The good news is there are some steps you can take to get the paycheck you are looking for this fall!
Get What You Deserve! Many mystery shoppers have united recently to boycott assignments paying $5 or less. The goal is to get schedulers and providers to realize this low pay is insulting and not worth a mystery shopper’s valuable time and effort.
Every mystery shopper has their own threshold for what is considered acceptable pay. Your threshold may be determined in part by a mix of your family situation, financial situation, location, and the shop requirements. For instance, what is acceptable pay for a single person in Eureka, Kansas may seem insultingly low for a mother of three (who has to take her kids with her on each shop) in Los Angeles, where the cost of living is much higher.
While it’s a good idea for all shoppers to unite firmly against the $5 assignments, you may make the personal decision that an assignment paying below $10 or $15 is not worth your time in general. Or you may consider these only if the assignment appears fairly straightforward and “easy.” To ensure you get the pay you feel you deserve for your efforts, avoid accepting a lower-paying job than what you are comfortable with even in slow times unless you are in desperate need of the cash. If you hold out for another day or two, another better-paying assignment may come along.
It’s Not All About the Shop Pay. It is very easy for a mystery shopper to have blinders on in terms of pay. However, what appears on the surface to be a $10 shop is usually not a $10 shop! How can this be?
The answer is simple. The IRS allows you to deduct the mileage for any business-related travel expense (such as miles traveled to and from a mystery shopping assignment.) All you need to do is keep a small notebook in your car and diligently record the mileage for each assignment you complete. Depending on the miles you travel, taking this very easy extra step can sometimes double (or more) your pay for an assignment.
Where’s My Money? The biggest reason mystery shoppers fail to get paid on completed assignments is a failure to follow the requirements precisely. The bottom line is that you can request and complete all of the mystery shop assignments you are able to get, but you won’t get paid for your work if it is incomplete or shoddy. The best thing you can do to ensure you get paid for the work you do is to read through the requirements carefully before your site visit. If you don’t understand any part of the requirements, don’t be afraid to contact your scheduler and ask. A scheduler would much rather answer questions on the front-end than have to ask you a ton of questions to complete a poorly-done report. Then commit the requirements to memory and be sure you follow them to the “T”.
By following these simple tips, you will enjoy making more money as a mystery shopper in the coming months!