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 Benefits of Merchandising vs doing Mystery Shopping?
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K.Willingham
Star Contributor

Mobile, Alabama
USA
254 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2004 :  06:51:23 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am wondering if those of you that have switched over can tell me the benefits you see Merchandising vs Mystery Shopping? Such as do you get more jobs? Is there more money doing Merchandising?

Kathryn
Silver Certified

BrendaFromTexas
Trainee

Fort Worth, TX
USA
7 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2004 :  08:08:30 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'm not real sure if your saying that you are now MSing and if so for how long. When I first started out in this industry - I did do mystery shopping for a few companys. I've in the past always been on a schedule, i.e. do this on certain days, hours etc..I found I really did enjoy Mystery Shopping, but, due to the way it's scheduled by most of the companys, it didn't work out for me...I would have to compete for jobs and then sit back and wait till almost the last minute to see if I got them..Then the pay, IMO, was not that much for drive time, the time I spent in the shop and then the paperwork submission. I then started doing demos on the weekends, which I still do sometimes and enjoy it. Since I had some prior experience in merchandising during my military days and working in salons with their sales areas, I put in my application for merchandising jobs at the NARMS site and also submitted to different companys. As for receiving more job assignments, Merchandising vs. MSing, I would guess it would depends on your location and the need for reps. I am by far not as experience as some of the others on this board so this is just my . After completeing a few jobs, I found that I can't imagine doing anything else. I work now as an employee for 3 of the best companys P/T. I can still set my own hours and the pay has been awesome. I guess I just lucked out getting with some really really good companys. I absolutely love it.I have learned how much of a knack I have for organizing and I take alot of pride in my work. Sorry to be so long winded, but yes, Merchandising, for me, is the way to go.
Good luck...

Shopping Fort Worth and All Surrounding Areas
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CareyTR
Valued Contributor

USA
220 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2004 :  09:06:15 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I personally make more money with merchandising than MSing. There are a lot of shoppers around here competing for all of the shops. I have also become a lot pickier about which shops I will take. With the fees decreasing, a lot of them just aren't worth it anymore. Don't get me wrong, I still do some shops, just not as many. I find that I look for shops in areas that I have merch jobs already lined up. I've gotten reimbursed for a lot of lunches that I would have bought otherwise.

I worked in retail for years before I started merchandising, so I already had a lot of experience. This helped when I started applying for jobs on NARMS. I take everything I can, even if it is just a one time job. This has helped me get my foot in the door with some companies that I have since gotten steady work from. I think that the money from merchandising is more reliable than MS money. You can count on it more since you have steady work. For the most part, the money per hour is better also. I also do some demos on weekends which can either pay really bad or really well depending on the company.
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Ray Sola
Volition.com Staff

Prescott, AZ
USA
3065 Posts

Posted - 08/12/2004 :  1:48:26 PM  Visit Ray Sola's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Note opposite question in the Mystery Shopping Forum:

Why do you prefer Mystery Shopping over Merchandising?
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GaryMiller1
Member

Perrysburg, OH
USA
40 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2004 :  12:18:27 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
In over eight years of MSing/Merching we now do very little MSing. In fact, this year we have been turning Merching work down as we just don't have the time for all the requests. We work for over 12 Merching Co.'s in a years time and four of them pay $12-$13 per hour. We find the work windows(deadlines) for Merching are easier to work with as they are due on a day not by a particular time on a day. This makes it easier to plan "loops" to keep your mileage down which is 1/3 of our expences. The year after we switched to Merching over MSing we found that we had about the same mileage, were able to do more jobs, increased our gross income by 20% and our net income by 30%.
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Ellie
Member

Welch, WV
USA
46 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2004 :  08:29:02 AM  Send Ellie an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am doing more merchandising than MS right now. The difference in pay is tremendous. You can pull in $12-15 and hour plus milage. I have to travel a lot, so the milage thing adds up. The most I have got in milage was $10 an hour. I drove 3 hours round trip. It works for me.

Ellie MSPA Silver Certified #8cruhb NARMS Certified Merchandiser and all- around good person. Proudly shopping Southwestern West Virginia and Northwestern Virginia!!
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MaryL
Valued Contributor

Richmond, VA
USA
185 Posts

Posted - 08/21/2004 :  12:35:10 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I started our MSing and then got into Merchandising. I work for 4 companies and the work and pay is steady. I am thinking of getting back into MSing, because I have had do alot of resets lately which includes moving shelves. The shelves are killing me and resets are very physical.
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WendyG
Star Contributor

USA
278 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2004 :  04:25:59 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I love doing resets. (I know, strange!!). I actually like doing make-up. I like it when it's a reset that I can do myself. I get so involved in what I am doing that I forget about my breaks. I also like merchandising Jewelry.

If I could do an assignment for MSing that we be steady every month or every other month so you could count on it I would love mystery shopping. I have 2 jobs that are like that now. This way you know the procedures of the shop and you do not have to put so much time in with different instructions all the time.

If you are not careful, merchandising can be the same way. When you take all the one time jobs for $12 - $16 per hour (IC Agreement), and all they are is one hour, you go in the whole processing all the paperwork before you get into the store. But if you can pick up a merchandising job that is repetative than it's not so bad.

Hope this helps.

Wendy
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MaryL
Valued Contributor

Richmond, VA
USA
185 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2004 :  12:21:11 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I like merchandising especially regular weekly work. The work is steady and after a few months the work can be done faster, so you make more money per hour or have time to get more work done. Resets are the heart of this business and I do them, just too many lately. If you have reset experience, there is so much much more work available. I currently merchandise sunglasses, magazines and also work for a hugh manufacturer so I am always in grocery stores, either doing resets or audits. Merchandising is a great way to work and keep busy if you want to work. I am also going to start MSing again and work shops betweeen the stores I visit. I like the resets I do by myself so I do not have to be at a store at 7AM or work overnight.
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DeeDeeRose
Valued Contributor

Florida
USA
152 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2004 :  08:25:46 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
My DH and I are both MSers and wondering about getting into Merchandising too. The most important thing for us, is there heavy lifting involved? We are both car accident victims with back injuries so cannot do any heavy lifting and not sure what this kind of work really involves. Can someone let us know if this is something we should even be thinking about? TIA.

MSPA SILVER CERTIFIED rvcg5f
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Tom
Contributor

USA
211 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2004 :  10:11:25 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Merchandising pays much better...a company asked me to do a cost analysis for doing a job...that entailed everything from initial email,paperwork preparation,travel time,actual job time,reporting on line,phone calls etc....merchandising pays better because of a number of factors ( which I will not explain, I may commit it to print))...also there are the performance parameters (perimeters?)...good merchandisers can very easily do MSing but MSers can't adapt as easily to merchandising
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Marcy
Valued Contributor

Terre Haute, IN
USA
191 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2004 :  7:03:32 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
DeeDee, usually if heavy lifting is required, it will be stated in the job description. If not, there may be some lifting, but it's not usually anything too difficult. If you have any questions about a job, don't hesitate to ask the scheduler before accepting any position. They would certainly be able to tell you what is involved in that particular job and if it would fit your needs.

Marcy ~ mystery shopper in western Indiana.
MSPA Silver Shopper certified #ijjaaf
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JennyW
Valued Contributor

Bartlett, Tennessee
USA
106 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2004 :  10:56:05 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have been mystery shopping for about two months, but I have not tried merchandising yet. I currently work full-time, but my plan is to quit in a year or two to be at home with my son. I like the flexibility that mystery shopping allows, and I would like to make it more of a full-time thing once I quit working. However, I'm thinking of combining it with merchandising to provide a more steady and reliable income. I just want to know if my plan is feasible or not. I'm looking to make about an extra $1000 per month shopping and merchandising. Is this realistic? I'd appreciate any feedback from experienced shoppers/merchandisers. On average, how much are you earning each month, and how many hours per week do you work? Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

MSPA Silver Certified 7/21/04 #oitvxn

Shopping Memphis, TN and loving it!
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DonnaYarb
Valued Contributor

Bonaire, GA
USA
244 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2004 :  11:57:14 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Jenny...I think you would have a more difficult time merchandising if your son is not in school. Typically you can not take children on merchandising jobs like you can with MS. As to what you can earn, it depends on your area and if you are close to a metro area. I am averaging over $1400 a month, but that includes me driving to Atlanta once or twice a month and taking some of the outlying small towns(as long as the pay is worthwhile or I get enough shops in that area.) I have become pickier over some of the shops I take, but I still will take some fillers that are lower paying.

Donna Yarbrough
MSPA Silver Certification # 4xkrhh
Shopping In Central Georgia
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Marcy
Valued Contributor

Terre Haute, IN
USA
191 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2004 :  12:05:14 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Jenny, I completely agree with Donna, merchandising is not any job that children are allowed to accompany you on unlike mystery shopping. You have to meet with management and can be in stores several hours, depending on the job. Taking children would be unappropriate. Now if you can make that amount in mystery shopping alone, I have no idea. It depends on your market and the number of shoppers competing against you.

I am finally able to start looking for flexible merchandising work now that my youngest is in preschool two days a week and the fact that grandparents are near and love to babysit (and are retired). Up until now, I've found a couple companies that let me work in the evenings/weekends which is rare.

Marcy ~ mystery shopper in western Indiana.
MSPA Silver Shopper certified #ijjaaf
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Vonette
Star Contributor

Walla Walla, WA
USA
867 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2004 :  12:10:18 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
It's definitely feasible. However, you will find that you are spending a lot of time out doing jobs and not necessarily home with your son (especially with merchandising). Is he school age? If so, you can probably do the majority of work while he's in school and be there for him when he's home. Consider, though, that there is a lot of administrative stuff (filing paperwork, tracking pay, etc.) and computer stuff (email correspondence, entering reports, etc.) to do while you're at home. This will interfere with your accessibility to your child during some of your time at home.

You will probably not be able to pursue much regular merchandising work until you have quit your other job, but there are some one-time projects you can start with to get your foot in the door. Be sure to allow some time to establish yourself in the merchandising world and build up steady work once you have quit your other job. It took me about three months of trying before I was able to break into merchandising with steady work, and another year to get to the point I am now where I have regular work with three companies and occasionally have to turn down work from others due to a busy schedule. I could see where it might take significantly longer in an area more saturated with merchandisers.
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JennyW
Valued Contributor

Bartlett, Tennessee
USA
106 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2004 :  12:48:46 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Thanks so much for your feedback! Yes, my son is school-age, so my plan is to work during the day while he is in school. Since I don't have any merchandising experience, do you have any advice or recommendations on getting started? I've seen all the merchandising companies on volition, but I don't know anything about any of them. Should I just register with all of them, like I did with the MSing? Are there any companies that are willing to give a "newbie" a chance? What are some good companies to get started with (and are good about paying)? Is there anything I can be doing now (training of any kind) that might help my chances? I appreciate everybody's input and friendly advice!

MSPA Silver Certified 7/21/04 #oitvxn

Shopping Memphis, TN and loving it!
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MetroM
Trainee

USA
5 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2004 :  1:21:30 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Jenny, I started in merchandising less that two months ago with absolutely no experience. I found a couple of companies that let you self assign some jobs if they are available. The pay wasn't great, $8 a job, but most jobs took less than 1/2 hour. I signed up at NARMS and began to receive a few inquiries. I was honest in any resume that was requested when applying to NARMS or Volition inquiries. I stated I had no experience but was eager to learn. After about a month of that I finally got a part time, long term position that pays pretty good and gives me the income I want a month. I recently retired so I don't need that many hours a week to provide me with some play money. Go for it. Sign up in NARMS and many other companies you'll see out there from reading Volition and a few other good forums.

Fudster
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Michelle1975
Star Contributor

Newton, NJ
USA
549 Posts

Posted - 06/12/2005 :  7:53:02 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The benefits of merching vs. MSing...it's just as fun, I travel just as much, but I can live off of my earnings! Yippee!

Michelle
MSPA Gold 3knuvj
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KaySFbay
Star Contributor

Redwood City, California
USA
316 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2005 :  12:23:24 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I recently signed up with another merchandising company to do a 5-hour project once a week. The net pay is lousy and they don't pay mileage or drive time. I knew that going in. My rationale was that since they hire employees, not ICs, at least some regular Fed, State and SS contributions would be made. (I hate paying estimated taxes.)

However -- and in my experience this is the big gotcha with merchandising -- once they have you, they want you to take on other tasks that pay so little a teenage babysitter would sneer at them. $6 for a 45-minute job where you'll have to drive 30 miles round trip. That's working for less than nothing.

Now, I think all reasonable people assume that merch companies will bundle the small tasks together so that you make one trip and get several things done. And sometimes this is true. But I've found that just as often it is NOT true. And since it's a task at "your" store, they expect you to take it no matter how much money you lose in the process.

I used to think merchandising was the big win in the Merch vs MS contest. I don't think so any more. MSing for the most part is one task, one time (unless you are lucky enough to get a lucrative route). I think I'm going to give up merchandising and stick with the $18, $25 and $40 mystery shops.


Kay
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SAnne
Contributor

CA
USA
79 Posts

Posted - 06/15/2005 :  8:47:39 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I serviced the same stores for almost 5 years. It was great income and the checks came every 2 weeks. I didn't have to do any searching for jobs as you do with mystery shopping. I got to know store management well and they watched out for my merchandise. I just moved out of state and I hope to find another great company to work for.

MSPA silver certified!
Breast cancer survivor
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