The story you are about to read is true. The names and types of shops have been changed to protect the innocent.
Two weeks ago I had a short, overnight route, scheduled. It was a trip where I would be able to combine shops and delivering an order of books I wrote to a museum. I was leaving home on September 23 to do a series of car shops up the East Coast of NC, then inland to Raleigh, spend the night in Lexington, NC so I could deliver the books to the museum first thing Tuesday morning, head down to Charlotte, knock out several shops there, and return home the evening of the 24th. It was all set to be a nice, easy trip…then I looked at some job boards.
I found a Lamborghini video shop in Charlotte. Ok, no problem. I had enough time after my last shop to do that and still get home at a decent time. I applied and knew it would be Monday before I heard anything.
Then I found six apartment shops in Raleigh, NC that could only be done on September 25. Now the wheels start to turn. I looked at the price that was quoted. Knowing my car’s mileage, and what a hotel and extra meals would cost, I began the task of deciding if the numbers would support a trip where I would be backtracking virtually my entire route.
I decided the listed price of $20 per shop was not feasible. As I was now in a weekend, I knew that any offer I made wouldn’t be acted on until Monday at the earliest, meaning I wouldn’t know anything until I checked into my hotel Monday night to check email. What to do?
I carefully wrote an email to the scheduler, explaining that I would be within two hours of the location on Wednesday and, if they could pay $40 per shop, I could do them. I also explained that I would need to know by close of business on Monday, and gave the scheduler my cell number so he could contact me if need be.
I packed on Sunday for a three-day trip. On Monday, after my third shop, I got a phone call from the scheduler. He was interested in my offer but could only afford $35 per shop and asked if that would be a deal breaker. As so many have advised on www.mysteryshopforum.com when it comes to negotiating a price, ask for more than you want so you have room to negotiate. $35 each was the bottom line at which I could afford to do the shops, so I picked up an additional $210 gross simply by maintaining a degree of flexibility in my travel arrangements.
Is this something for everyone? Probably not. A lot of the “road warriors” plan their routes well in advance. I understand that need. At the same time, being able to maintain a degree of flexibility can allow a shopper to pick up opportunity wherever it my knock.