Company Overview: Creative Image Associates, Inc. (CIA) was founded in 1989 and is based in Fitchburg MA. This MSPA member company specializes in serving the financial services industry and offers reports that can improve employee performance to deliver necessary customer service. Their client base is currently in the northeastern United States and Florida.
This company might qualify as a “Boutique Company” because of a focus on the financial services industry, a smaller client list and limited geographic location for their shops. Instead of a job board, shops are awarded by email during the first part of each month. New shoppers may inquire through their website (http://www.creativeimage.net), or contact the scheduler if responding to a job posting.
Personal Experience: Over the last five years, I have performed approximately 90 shops for CIA. That number would be higher if my worksheet did not count branch appearance, teller and platform shops during one visit as one shop. These shops have mostly been on-site visits with a few phone shops mixed in. I find the shop fees adequate for the work involved. Compensation includes mileage of 40 cents per mile. Invoices for mileage are required to be submitted online and a reminder email is sent near the end of the month.
Payment is made by check that is mailed about the last day of the month for shops completed in the prior month. In other words, payment for April shops will be mailed at the end of May and be received about June 3nd. What sets this company apart for me is the responsive service it provides to their shoppers. Holly Warren, the one scheduler I have had during my five years of shopping, always responds promptly to emails and is quite understanding when issues arise. One example is regarding a phone shop to a mortgage department of a credit union in which I failed to reach anyone in the target department after four calls. She asked me to continue and after four more calls without success I again asked how to proceed. Her response to my second inquiry was that the credit union had to know what was going on and to write it up as it was and I got paid!
What others have to say: A search of the forum will show recent threads labeling this company a fraud. After reading those posts, it is clear to me that this poster was the victim of the common mystery shopping scam email and mistakenly sought to blame the MSP used in the scam. Other postings, although limited in number and often going back some years, are almost uniformly laudatory. They include several comments about different schedulers being great to work with. The only complaint relates to the lack of an application form on the website.
Overall: I can easily give Creative Image Associates a strong recommendation because they treat their shoppers as valued partners. The mileage pay does not hurt either.