A shopper asks:
How far do mystery shopping companies expect us to drive to do a shop? I often get requests to do jobs hundreds of miles from my home! Do they really expect me to travel that far for a $15 assignment? My gas would cost more than that!
No, they do not expect you to drive hundreds of miles to do a shop. Getting a notice of an available shop does not mean that you are expected to do it. Mystery shoppers are independent contractors, and we decide what assignments we are willing to do and what fees we will accept. So why did they send it to you?
The offer you got was not sent specifically to you–it went to all of the shoppers within a certain number of miles. Chances are that they have been trying to fill that shop for a while. The first offer may go to shoppers within a few miles, with subsequent offers going to larger and larger pools of shoppers. Imagine concentric circles going out from the shop location: the first offer goes (for example) to shoppers within 10 miles, the next offer to shoppers within 25 miles, the next 50 miles, etc.
Why send to shoppers so far away? Some of them may be traveling to that location or they may know someone there they can suggest for the shop.
Additionally, there are a number of shoppers who do routes. They book many shops that would individually be too far away to be worthwhile; however, when they are doing many shops, these assignments become profitable for them. They may even book a hotel shop and spend the night, then do more shops on the return drive home. I talked with a shopper who routinely traveled more than 200 miles most days. She had a dollar goal in mind and made sure she booked enough assignments that she made her income goal and covered all of her expenses.
You can’t assume that just because a shop location is many miles away from you that there will be a bonus or higher than usual fee. After all, there may be shoppers who are much closer to the location than you, and they can easily do it. However, if you see that no one is picking up an assignment and you are willing to do it for a higher fee than is being offered, contact the scheduler and suggest a higher fee. The scheduler may or may not be able to agree to your request, but it never hurts to ask!