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 How far will you travel to do a Mystery Shop?
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MerryWagnerGA
Member

Georgia
USA
24 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2003 :  08:58:38 AM
How far do you or are you willing to travel to do a shop. I'm just wondering what is reasonable, and what others might do. Some of the shops are up to 60 miles one way!!

Thing is, I really want to help out in an area where I know shoppers are needed!! But heck if i'm going to make less than minimum wage, plus rack up miles on my car...uummmm..gotta wonder about my sanity!!

HOW ABOUT YOU??? WHATS YOUR LIMIT?

MSPA SILVER CERTIFIED SHOPPER

BarbaraNY
Valued Contributor

Rochester, NY
USA
231 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2003 :  09:11:05 AM
Well, I have live in Rochester, NY which is a medium sized-city. There's a lot of work here but also a lot in Buffalo and Syracuse. Both of those cities are under a 1.5 hour drive from me. What I do is try to fill up a day out of town. That way the trip it worthwhile. I do this at least once/week if not more. When you figure in all the shop fees, gas, mileage, etc, I still end up with a very good money-making day BECAUSE I fill it up with shops. I definitely get a lot more shops because I am willing to travel.

BARBARA
MSPA Silver Certified
Happily Shopping Rochester, NY
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Carrol.Hwy101.Ca
Inactive

Paso Robles, CA
USA
456 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2003 :  10:11:10 AM
I travel about 150 miles one-way once or twice a month to a big city, but I usually do 20-25 shops in a day when I travel that far. I do a couple of gasoline shops and a restaurant shop to offset my expenses.

GOLD CERTIFIED
Shopping the beautiful small towns on California's Central Coast.
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SueMecham
Trainee

Challis, ID
USA
8 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2003 :  10:18:28 AM
So far, everyone has it pretty easy! I've been trying to sign up with as many companies as possible to consolidate shops. The furthest one I've done is over 300 miles away, and we do one that is 240 miles away on a regular basis (and shops in-between there and home, of course)...

We try to schedule all our shops in a row and take two or three days to do them. It helps to know where the public libraries are so you can submit the shops on a timely basis too!

Of course, towns here are 40 and 50 miles apart. If anyone has ideas on good companies to shop for, let me know. It's interesting to read how others do it....

Sue


Sue
Gold shopper x3cfja
shopping ID-UT-WY and more
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CarolynRosell
Star Contributor

Vineland, NJ
USA
1417 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2003 :  10:22:53 AM
I try to stay within 60 miles (round trip) unless the job pays more than the norm.

20-25 shops in one day!!!!! I would be exhausted! Plus the time it takes to enter all of them in!

I shop Vineland, Deptford, Mays Landing and Atlantic City, NJ
Silver Certified
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BarbaraNY
Valued Contributor

Rochester, NY
USA
231 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2003 :  10:56:00 AM
I was thinking the same thing Carolyn. I get so excited when I fill my day full and then my heart sinks when I realize I'm going to be up til 2am doing reports...LOL!

BARBARA
MSPA Silver Certified
Happily Shopping Rochester, NY
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Emma
Valued Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
196 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2003 :  11:47:07 AM
I do not shop locations more than 20 miles from my home. Even some within the 20 miles, I stay away from. I try to group my shops by location whenever possible. Most of my shops are within 12 miles from my home.

I am lucky to live in a large metropolitan area. Also, I only shop 40-50 shops per month, so I can be a bit pickier.
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.Carla Thompson
Inactive

Wichita, KS
USA
136 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2003 :  12:22:54 PM
I will travel 60 miles if the pay is good. Sometimes I do this and end up regretting it, especially if it's at a mall and I end up spending more than I'm making!I need to not take ones that are far unless I'm doing more than one in the same town. Oh well, maybe with enough headaches I will eventually learn!

Carla Thompson
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.ColleenNYC
Inactive

New York City, NY
USA
1700 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2003 :  12:31:52 PM
I will travel to Atlantic City (120 miles one way) when I am doing casino shops and a room is included. I live in the NYC metro area and I have to limit travel(20 miles one way) because of traffic, combined with the delays when the terror alert is elevated.
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BarbaraNY
Valued Contributor

Rochester, NY
USA
231 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2003 :  12:50:44 PM
Hey Colleen,

Does the terror alert level affect the amount of shops in the metro area at all?

BARBARA
MSPA Silver Certified
Happily Shopping Rochester, NY
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NatrinaNC
Valued Contributor

High Point, NC
USA
159 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2003 :  1:51:13 PM  Visit NatrinaNC's Homepage  Send NatrinaNC an AOL message
I have traveled 90 miles before one way. But I had 6 apartments for 2 companies, was able to find a dinner shop, and a hotel shop. So I scheduled them all in one trip. The hotel had high speed internet also, so I was able to bring my PC, the only thing I hated was lugging that thing around but it all paid off.
Because there aren't many high paying jobs left in my area, I will drive for some good shops, and I have friends in the cities I shop, so I make the evening a social night.

MSPA Gold Certification #icw3ir
MSSIC: NatrinaNC
Shopping the Triad, Triangle and Charlotte Areas: High Point, Winston Salem, Greensboro, Burlington, Durham, Cary, Raleigh, Concord, Charlotte, Matthews, Kannapolis, Salsibury
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AudreyParkerFl
Member

Pompano Beach, FL
USA
10 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2003 :  2:25:41 PM
In general, I will travel up to 50 miles for a local shop, scheduling several shops that can be done to or from the farthest location. I rarely have to go more than 30 miles. I'm in the Ft Lauderdale area of Florida (but I'm originally from NYC.) These native Floridians don't want to travel outside the gates of their residential community!! So, shoppers like me just clean up. I'm averaging 80 to over 100 shops per month. I shop approximately 30 cities within three adjoining counties (Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach).

In the past, I did several demos at a computer store that was almost 50 miles from my home - but the job paid $20 per hour for 4 hours at the location and 1 hour of online/conference call training.

I traveled 70 miles for a hidden video shop for the Shadow Agency. I was paid $75 for that shop and there was no report - just mail in the videtape and transaction receipt. Since I drive about 75-80 miles per hour on I-95 and the shop took 20 minutes, I think I came out in the black.

I will travel farther if it's a hotel shop - but again, I would have to schedule other shops in the destination city or be visiting that city for vacation or other purposes. I did that when I attended the MSPA Gold Shopper Certification workshop in Nashville (November 2002.) I had a hotel shop for one of the two nights that I was in the Nashville area. I know that a couple of other attendees did the same thing. I have a hotel shop in Orlando in August (pays $75 plus mileage and reimbursement.) I'll schedule other shops in the area for the days that I'll be in Orlando.

Yesterday I did 9 shops in 4 hours. The farthest was 20 miles away, with the others within an 8 mile radius of my home. I've been shopping long enough to know which companies do what shops. I can schedule several shops the same area. Also, having many malls and restaurants in South Florida helps. Remember, mileage is tax deductible at 36.5 cents per mile. The only time I curtail my driving distance is during the holiday season - too much traffic, too many tourists and too many long lines!


Audrey in S Florida
MSPA Gold Certification #hcgbr7
Shopping Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties in Sunny Florida
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MarthaJB
Member

Opp, AL
USA
46 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2003 :  5:11:12 PM
I am afraid if I stuck to 20 miles I would be shopping cotton fields....look up Opp AL and you will see why....but I do have a golden arches in town - I just do NOT eat there....:~} And I have extended calling so I can call most of the bottom third of Alabama.....anyway I piggy back shops and to walk out of my house I usually have 100.00 in shops on my clipboard....but that is after YEARS of knowing who posts shops when - taking a low-paying job when I am going to be within 20 miles to get in good - how long I am going to have to do them in is very IMPORTANT cause one of my companies use to give a week and now gives 2 days so I do lots less for this company now - what companies might extend the due date for a TNT (tried and true) shopper....I have read others say that they need to get a dollar for each mile they are gonna drive and that is probably a good idea of how much you need to get to make any money at this....the $7.00 are GREAT filler shops for the higher paying ones especially since they tend to give you a date spread!!! :~} Martha


MSPA Gold since 11/16/2002 ~~ and ~~ Shopping South-central Alabama and NW Florida since 1997
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.ColleenNYC
Inactive

New York City, NY
USA
1700 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2003 :  5:46:37 PM
Hey Barbara,
When the terror alert is elevated to high,the national guard is posted at all of the bridges and tunnels connecting NY/NJ. I live on the border line of Staten Island and NJ, and run into delays constantly. My Jeep was stopped and searched a few times,but usually once the get to know you the wave you by. I do have alot of trouble on certain Newark Airport shops. I try not to be too elusive, but cant come right out and tell the security why I am there. There are times in Manhattan that I will get questioned while doing shops. I just try to blend in without looking out of place, but it is hard to get access to all the places you need to get to,when the terror alert is raised.
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MarteeC
Star Contributor

Tampa, FL
USA
1352 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2003 :  6:34:31 PM
I generally only shop within 10 miles of my home although I do use a 30 mile radius for one of my higher paying companies-but I will not go that far unless I am making $150.00 or more, i.e. tomorrow I will be going a total of 67 miles r/t from my home and will make $150.00 I figure 2 hours in the car and 2 hours on the jobs. Basically, I do not leave my house or less than $100.00 in shops (yes, there ARE exceptions-but that is my general rule of thumb.)
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Shasha
Valued Contributor

MS Gulf Coast
USA
241 Posts

Posted - 06/01/2003 :  8:59:15 PM
It depends. If it is the weekend, I don't mind traveling to New Orleans or Mobile, AL (60-70 miles). If I travel this far, I try to combine shops. Kill 2 birds with one stone so to speak. I usually make it a fun day when I travel this far. Because I have a full-time job, I do not travel this far during the week.

mystery shopping along the mississippi gulf coast & mobile, al
mspa silver certified
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DeanaCal
Contributor

Citrus Heights, CA
USA
79 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2003 :  10:28:52 AM
How far will you travel to shop?

I really have to sympathize with you folks living in rural areas, but I have an opposite problem. I live near Sacramento, and we are loaded with shoppers. It's very difficult to get many shops near me, and some that are in this town may be only 11 miles away, but it takes 45 minutes to get there because of downtown traffic. It's difficult sometimes to justify an hour an a half round trip, a half hour inputting the report, and the actual shop time for $12. On the other hand, there are some areas with a Sacramento address that are only 5 minutes away. Now I've found out that when signing up for a new company, I tell them the areas I am available for, and write "many parts of Sacramento."
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MichelleJ_OK
Contributor

Tuttle, OK
USA
80 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2003 :  11:22:56 AM
I live in a rather rural area. Nothing is close by, but everything is near. (Make sense?) The major city is more than 20 miles away, as are all other cities I shop in. I go in to OKC often enough to not care how many shops I take. But to go to surrounding cities that I would not otherwise go to, I stack shops. I drive as far as Edmond which is about 60 miles from me, one way.

"I wish I had a dollar for every time I spent a dollar, because, then, yahoo!, I'd have all my money back.
--Jack Handey, "Deepest Thoughts"
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SharonInCO
Valued Contributor

Conifer, CO
USA
218 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2003 :  11:25:34 AM
The answer to this question depends on so many factors. As already mentioned by others, how rural or congested your area is one factor but there are others. I personally live in the foothills outside of Denver. I drive 40 miles one-way to my "day job" on the South-East side of the metro area (live on the South-West) so anything that is "along the way" is fine but it is rare for me to accept a job that is 25+ miles WEST of my home as there just isn't much commercial in that direction and it's rare to see more than one lonely job out there. In the metro area, distance isn't the only limiting factor, either. I find myself factoring in how easy it is to get to/from the location, ease of parking, etc.

Sharon
MSPA GOLD Certified Shopper
Shopping the South and West suburbs of Denver
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ElizabethBowen
Contributor

NC
USA
87 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2003 :  12:38:14 PM
Looks like the answer to this question varies for everyone, depending on what level each person works as a shopper. I work a different full-time job, so I try to take shops within 30 miles. I can do some "quickies" on my lunch break if they are close enough, but really, if I pick up 40-50 shops a month, (add that to my mother/wife duties), it's almost too much! So the more shops I can bunch together in short trips, the better off my whole family is!

Elizabeth
MSPA GOLD Certified
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Julie_WA_Writer
Star Contributor

Western, Washington
USA
1859 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2003 :  9:06:52 PM
It depends on a lot of factors.

* What does the job pay? I'll go a lot farther if I'm paid mileage.
* Who is the scheduler? There are some I'll bend over backward for because they remember the loyalty.
* What is the shop? I'd drive a lot farther to pick up an upscale restaurant than I would a fast food.

In general, I shop within 50 miles.

“Great empires are not maintained by timidity.” Tacitus
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