As independent contractors, it is up to us to decide which assignments are worthwhile and which we should pass up. When you were a new shopper you may have been happy to get any mystery shopper jobs, but with experience you may be choosier about how you spend your time. When you see a job offer come through offering little pay, clicking delete and sending it to the trash may be your best course of action.
Clearly, though, someone is doing those low-paying shops. Is it always a new shopper, desperate for whatever jobs they can get? Or do experienced shoppers sometimes do them, too? Should you?
There are some reasons to do low-paying shops. For example, if you are doing a route of shops and you run across a couple of assignments you can squeeze in between your other jobs, you might decide to go for them. A shop that is not worth doing when you have to make a special trip may be acceptable when you will be “in the neighborhood” and can just pop in and do the shop.
Are there a bunch of these shops available so you can group them? Some clients will allow you to do a group of shops in one batch. There is less prep time per shop and the reports can be easier when you are doing six identical shops. (Remember not to copy-and-paste your reports, though. That is a no-no.)
Does the shop offer a benefit you want? Perhaps there is no fee or just a small fee, but the reimbursement is worth it. Or the shop involves doing something you need to do anyway. If you need to find out about mobile phone plans, it might be worth taking some shops where you inquire about plans from various carriers, especially if the report is not complicated.
Can the shop save you time you would have to spend otherwise? I will sometimes do takeout shops because they are typically simple to do and I don’t have to cook dinner. I spend about the same amount of time picking up the food and doing the report as I would cooking, and I would rather mystery shop than cook!
Do you just like to do this particular shop? One shopper told me that there was a shop she absolutely refused to do because she didn’t think it was worth her time. Her husband, however, loved to shop that client. It was one of his favorite places, so he didn’t care that the pay wasn’t all that great.
Of course, if you see that the mystery shopping company is having trouble finding shoppers to do those low-paying shops, you can always request a bonus for doing them. Depending on how desperate they are, they may be willing to pay significantly more than the original offer to get the shops done. It can’t hurt to ask, and that can turn a low-paying shop into a high-paying shop in an instant.