Ask. The worst they can say is “No.”

This week I picked up 14 bank shops for a route, and a restaurant dinner shop. All the shops were supposed to be completed by Friday, 12/13/13. Here’s the catch. I won’t have them completed until December 19. And the schedulers are cool with that. I can hear some of you asking, “Has Bond finally lost it?”

In past comments from Mystery Shopper Magazine, as well as posts on www.mysteryshopforum.com, I continually stress that the one thing we have to sell is our reputation. It’s our only marketable asset. And it’s a shopper’s reputation that can cause a scheduler to extend a deadline by almost a week. Granted, we’re also looking at the end of the fiscal quarter, and end of the year for most companies, so there is the impetus to get the jobs done. Still, a scheduler isn’t likely to let a shopper ask for an extension on a route of shops if the shopper hasn’t proven that he or she can get the job done.

This will be my third visit this year to some of these locations. The scheduler knows I will deliver the reports on time and with the quality the client expects. If I hadn’t proven myself on several routes of these shops earlier this year, I seriously doubt that I would have been given an extended deadline to do 14 of the shops in December; two or three…maybe, but not 14 to do over a two day period.

The dinner shop was a similar happenstance. I was actually looking for a hotel shop to cover the overnight on this route, but it was not to be. I did find a dinner shop that the scheduler agreed to extend the deadline on. Again, I’ve worked for this scheduler before, although not on this kind of shop. She knows I will deliver on time and with the desired quality.

It all boils down to your reputation or “street cred” for the youngsters reading this. Shoppers who encourage others to lie or “embellish” reports to MSC’s aren’t doing anything but hurting themselves. And they are at least indirectly responsible for increased reporting requirements to prove that we were where we claimed to be.

Your reputation is one of your most valuable assets. As a shopper, it is your only asset. As you search the job boards as Christmas approaches, evaluate your reputation. If you think it’s good, or better, ask for an extension on the deadline if you see a shop you want but can’t do when required, ask for an extension. If your reputation is solid, and if there’s any way they can extend the deadline, you can just about bet the deadline will be extended. Just don’t let the new deadline slide or you might be hearing taps instead of the ring of a cash register.

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