I just returned from an out-of-town trip where I used a navigation system for the first time. Wow! What a useful device to have when driving in an unfamiliar area. Instead of trying to read printed directions and find road signs, I just drove and listened for the little voice that would tell me to turn right, or follow this road for 4.2 miles, or stay to the left . . . it was so easy to get where I was going. I couldn’t help but think how useful this would be when doing mystery shops.
If you have ever driven around in circles, trying to find a street number that will tell you which shopping center includes the store you are looking for, or gotten lost trying to read directions and drive at the same time, or had to find a location after dark, you will appreciate the simplicity of a GPS navigation system. Just punch in the address you want to get to, and press “go.” The system determines where you are, then gives you step-by-step directions on how to get there.
The units have a display with a map that shows where you are and where you are headed next. But there is also a voice, telling you things such as, “Turn right, then drive 3.6 miles,” or “Turn left in .4 miles, then right.”
Another benefit of using a navigation system is that it shows you how many miles to your destination, making it easy to track mileage for your tax records.
Although I do not know if any of the available systems will plot a route for you, they do show how far to each destination. So you could enter all of the addresses of your mystery shops in the GPS before leaving home, then check the unit to see which one is closest and go there. At each location you can again check how far to each destination and always go to the closest location.
Navigation systems used to be very expensive, but there are now several models available for less than $3o0. There are no monthly fees or subscription fees with a GPS, so your only cost is the cost of the unit. The GPS can pay for itself. You will save gas by taking the best route and not getting lost. And you will no longer have to spend time at the computer planning your route and printing pages of maps and directions–so you will also save the cost of the paper and ink. When you can drive directly to your destination, you save time and the stress of driving around in an unfamiliar area, trying to find your shop location.
Need another reason to get a navigation system? Because you will use it for your business, you can take a tax deduction, lowering your out of pocket cost. A GPS can be just what you need to save time and money, and make your mystery shopping trips more efficient.