Overview: Car dealership assignments are commonly available. The pay varies widely, but is often around $15. The best assignments pay well and let you test drive luxury super cars.
But there are shoppers who, plain and simple, don’t like car shops. I can understand it. You need to have as thick a skin as a car salesman has. Maybe even thicker. But it helps if you love cars.
Project Variations:I classify them as 85%, 10%, and 5%. 85% of the shops I feel tend to be routine, the salesman does one or two closes, accepts your objection, and follows up with you a day or three later.
10% are shops from Hell where either the salesman won’t let you leave, or they pester you forever with calls and emails. Unfortunately, you don’t know whether you have an 85% or 10% shop until you’re into it.
The last 5% are, for me, the fun shops. These are the ultra-luxury and super cars. They’re the shops where I can let my “Top Gear” side come out.
Visit & Reporting Requirements: There is no way to estimate this accurately as they all vary. But don’t think for a minute that these are going to be quick, either on-site or with the required reporting.
Strategies: The key, in my opinion, for having a successful car shop, is to have your exit strategy planned before you even enter the lot. My standard exit is, “I want 24-hours to think about it.”
As I said you won’t know if you’re doing a routine visit or a shop from hell until you’re into the scenario and can see how it unfolds. Shops where you have to let them appraise your vehicle tend to drift towards the 10%. A shop where you’re not trading will almost always be an 85% shop. You drive onto the lot and start browsing for the selected model. If you’re lucky, the salesman is out there within a minute or less and 99% of the time you’ll be offered a test drive. Follow the instructions on this point. A few will say decline the test drive, some will say you have to ask for one if it’s not offered.
When the salesman goes to get the key, make a note of the MSRP—the sticker price of the car. After the drive, you’ll generally go to the salesman’s office where s/he will gather your information. At that point, you’ll generally be left alone while they meet with the sales manager. Take that time to evaluate the cleanliness of their workspace, maybe go ahead and pocket one of their business cards. Since you’re going to decline the first offer, you will be left alone a second time. Some shops require that you time the length of time that you’re left alone, if yours is one of those, a DVR comes in very handy. At this point, you’re declining the second offer with whatever exit strategy you have planned.
The nasty 10% shops…anytime you’re going to a shop where you need to give the dealer your key so they can evaluate your car for trade-in, spend a few bucks, and get a spare key made. You will give them the spare so they can look at your car, test drive it, etc. It proceeds pretty much like the 85% shop, except the dealer is going to keep forcing prices at you and is not going to want to let you leave. Having your own key on your key ring gives you power.
I’ve only had one incident since I started the “spare key”. The dealer did 3 closes, wouldn’t accept my “24-hour” so I got up. He asked where I was going. I told him I was leaving. He said I couldn’t because they had my key. I held up my key ring and said I didn’t need the spare key. They had the spare in my hands before I reached my car.
The 5%, the fun shops if you will. These shops are almost always no pressure. You’re looking at spending on a car as much, if not more, than a person will spend on their home. The salesman knows you’re going to comparison shop, and likely will ask what other brands you’re considering. My out is I that I want a car that is unique, and I have backed that up by doing internet research ahead of time to know what is available.
What Others Have to Say: Feelings about automotive sales on www.mysteryshopforum.com are mixed. It seems that shoppers either enjoy doing them because they like checking out new cars, or they avoid them like the plague because of the time involved.
Estimated Pay: Pay varies widely. Some list fees of only around $15. However, these assignments are bonused frequently and generously. It is not unheard of to earn $50 and much more.