Introduction: Intellishop is a large and well known company that generates much discussion from shoppers about their strict shop grading policy. Intellishop states, “Our system may be a little tougher than some other companies you might shop for; we have very high standards.” Because they use a significantly stricter standard than probably all of the companies that use the Sassie 1-10 grading system, this disparity helps to create confusion and frustration among shoppers. But before discussing the grading policy, the basics.

Company Overview: Founded in 1999 by Ron Welty with a mission, “to build an industry-leading company with wildly loyal customers.” Today Intellishop is one of the largest companies serving clients from approximately 50 different industries in North America. They take pride in keeping clients happy and boast that they have never lost a customer. Located in Perrysburg, Ohio, this MSPA member offers all types of shops that include auto dealers, gas stations, hotels, and major league sporting venues. Video shops are also available. Payment is by Paypal on the 20th of the month or the next business day after the shop. Sassie is the platform used. As such, their shops are listed on the Jobslinger and Prestomobile websites.

How to Sign up & Get Assignments: Shoppers may log on or apply from the main website, http://www.intelli-shop.com/. The sign up process is typical for Sassie. You submit your information and an email is generated. When you reply to that email your account is activated. Although my shop log lists no tests I had to pass, a forum user recently reported a test was required for new shoppers before being eligible to get shops. Preference is given for shoppers that have worked for them before, have a high shopper rating, do not have flake citations, have Hero citations, hold certification from MSPA, and are registered as IC Pro. Intellishop offers a mixture of shops that are self-assignable and those that need to be assigned by schedulers.

What Others Have to Say: There is a diversity of discussion on the forum. It ranges from low fees, good bonuses at times, unresponsiveness, and good responsiveness. One shopper praised Intellishop for recognizing and working with the shopper when one of those ‘life happens’ events occurred that required the shopper to not perform shops on time. Shoppers report they are a minor player in the video shopping industry. However, much of the discussion revolves around a topic discussed with very few companies, grading policy. Shoppers routinely complain that the same quality of work that often generates 10s with other companies gets 7s, 8s, 9s, and rarely 10s with Intellishop. Additional complaints are about grades are deducted two points for contacting them to explain something that was already supplied in the report, or deducting one point for undefined ‘spelling and grammatical errors.’ Because of the pride many shoppers take in their work, this seemingly inexplicable result is cited as a source of frustration and dismay.

Grading Policy: With Sassie shops the grading policy does require a deduction of one point for spelling and grammatical errors. It also requires a deduction of two points when the shopper has to be contacted for further information or clarification. The difference is how the different companies apply those standards. Many companies will often not deduct that one point for one or two spelling and grammatical errors. Also, grades of 10s will often result even after contacting the shopper for further clarification. The result is that strict application of the rules for the same quality of work will result in a noticeably lower grade with Intellishop than every other Sassie company that uses the 1-10 grading system.

Sprinkled through the threads are advice about the grading from experienced shoppers. Here are three;

“With this company 7,8,9, or 10 is fine it won’t hurt you other than maybe your ego. Let it go. Your (sic) getting paid.” BuffaloNY101

“Just be aware that their editors can be sometimes “over zealous” and seemly have to justify their existence by downgrading and very infrequently awarding “10’s” and/or making comments such as “corrections needed to be made to your report, etc” without saying what the corrections were (so perhaps they’re not repeated, going forward?). Don’t let their comments be bothersome just be aware of them and as long as you get paid…treat it like “water off a ducks back” and don’t give a &$(@.” parkcitybrian

“Intellishop is an okay company. They are very clear on what they want and they pay on time. Grading of reports is inscrutable and inconsistent but as long as you can self assign and you get paid it’s not something to get concerned about. They don’t communicate well on the ins and outs and whys and wherefores of their grading but once you get over it you’ll be fine. Just accept that most of your reports will not be tens and you will have several grammatical errors and you need to be more careful of your speeling, gammer, and sentence constriction.” mdavisnowell

Personal Experience: I have performed a few shops per year for Intellishop. I find the initial fees on the low side, especially for the car shops, so I usually wait for bonuses before applying. They have paid me like clockwork on the 20th or the next business day of the month following the shop. I have found them responsive to emails about questions, including one time I was shorted a small amount of money in the payment. In that case the scheduler promptly responded and added that missing amount to the next regular payment. As for grading, my feelings changed with time. At first I was exasperated with grades of 7-10. I was comparing them to other Sassie companies and finding them inconsistent because similar quality work would normally get me 9s and 10s. I was also having a problem with editors saying that there were grammatical and spelling errors that needed to be corrected. I even went as for as to re-read a saved shop file without finding any errors. Later, I learned that they were following a stricter policy with grades. From the forum I also learned that other shoppers were being treated in the same manner. It was then easy to conclude that my shopper grade was on par with other similar quality shoppers. With time I realized that my applications were being approved, and a 7 with Intellishop paid the same as a 10 with other Sassie companies. Today, I have a grade of 9 and have let it go. I have also noticed that they do keep their clients better than most companies.

Conclusion: Because Intellishop is one of the larger ones with a wide variety of shops it should be on every shopper’s radar. Fees are on the low side but bonuses are available at times to make shops more worthwhile. My advice is to realize their stricter grading policy will likely result in a lower shopper rating than with other Sassie companies. Realize other shoppers are being treated the same, so focus more on getting the shops you want and less on the grade.

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