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 Is being MSPA Silver or Gold Certified Worth It?
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Teresa-WI
Valued Contributor

East Troy, WI
USA
192 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2006 :  08:10:40 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have been GOLD for almost three years. The diffrence I have noticed is not that I get more shops, but that I get higher paying and more interesting shops. There are a few companies that let Gold shoppers pick first, but most of them do not have to much in my area anyway. I think it is well worth the fee and time, just for the networking part of it alone. Personally I didn't really learn anything, as I have been doing this over 8 years, but met a few companies and it's always nice to see what other shoppers look like. Have to say I was surpised at the number of men that attended.

Teresa Schilling
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LThurston
Contributor

TX
USA
89 Posts

Posted - 05/26/2006 :  08:26:46 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Teresa-I have to agree with you, I have gotten much more interesting and better paying jobs since I have gotten my gold certification. It does seem there are more opportunities available.

Lisa
MSPA Gold Cert
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Ron de Sacramento
Valued Contributor

Sacramento, CA
USA
214 Posts

Posted - 07/24/2006 :  8:08:05 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I picked up an assignment this morning because I mentioned to the scheduler that I was Gold certified and reliable. The shop came open last week and I think someone flaked on it.

The rotation on this shop is 90 days and I was on my 47th day.

The bar was air conditioned (it is 105 in the shade right now); the mixed drink excellent and the entree to die for.

Gold MSPA certified has its privileges!
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Kimberly Johanson
Apprentice

Minneapolis, MN
USA
2 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2006 :  5:46:22 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I recently completed my silver certification. After I had updated my information with certain companies, I was offered more jobs. I am not really sure if this had anything to do with my silver certification, or not. Regardless, I felt that the $15.00 fee and taking the test was well worth the effort and cost to receive silver certification. I would certainly attend a gold seminar if one ever comes to my area. In the end, I feel it canít hurt to be certified.
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Ron de Sacramento
Valued Contributor

Sacramento, CA
USA
214 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2006 :  9:50:47 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Got another plum set for Friday. I asked the scheduler a question about the shop and he thanks me for picking up the assignment.

He thanks me.

I am going to be one happy camper Friday afternoon after getting wined and dined. I just wish I could sneak a cigar and brandy sniffer on the tab.

Is being Gold certified this good always?
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2006 :  9:55:46 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
As far as I have seen, yes!

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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KellyH
Star Contributor

USA
316 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2006 :  05:54:18 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
For the companies that use MSPA certification, I would say Gold is absolutely worth it. I enjoy receiving more notifications of shops (better paying ones) in advance. Plus, I find myself taking fewer shops, yet earning as much as pre-Gold certification.

However, there are a few MSPA companies that I believe disrespect the certification. For example, there are numerous schedulers (from two well-known companies) that give "priority" to Gold shoppers. The priority is really not impressive, since the shops pay low...but are listed as "fun and easy shops." Something else that is done....is sending the initial notification to Gold shoppers at 12:30 p.m. At 12: 35 p.m., the notification goes to Silver shoppers. I believe these actions show disrespect to Gold shoppers. Giving us a whopping 5 minutes lead time, or lower pay, does not show value for a Gold shopper.

Anyone else notice companies doing this? Or is it just me?

MSPA Gold
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SheilaW
Star Contributor

Fairfield, CA
USA
881 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2006 :  07:10:17 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Ron - you make it sound so good that everyone in your area will become Gold and then where will you be with all that competition?


Sheila, NoCal
Proudly shopping Solano County including Travis AFB.
Gold Certified.
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2006 :  07:11:23 AM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Most of the companies give us the advantage of more time than five minutes, but I have seen a couple that do the five minute thing. I have a habit of not even reading fun and easy posts or emails as for the most part, our shops are work. Fun, maybe, easy at the same time, doubtful. The other advantage is being accepted so quickly for shops when there are so many applying. I agree that offering low paying shops is not a pat on the back shop, but maybe that is all that company has to offer at that time.

I do hope that as the MSPA grows and more companies recognize the advantages of using Gold shoppers that we will have even more opportunities.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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KellyH
Star Contributor

USA
316 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2006 :  07:31:51 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hey Pam,

I agree that most companies give us the advantage. I would not have work, if it was not for these places. The two I "spoke" of in my last post have numerous shops in my area.

I would like to edit my post to say "schedulers", instead of "companies." The schedulers from these two companies appear to view Silver and Gold shoppers as the same. They continuously post shops at the same time. This seems to be a disservice to us and an advantage to the scheduler.

I agree the money offered may be what is available. It is disappointing seeing $5-8 shops with the qualification section stating, "GOLD ONLY." I equate these offers to "Great job going gold. We value your certification and time to be less than minimum wage." Like you, I delete these "fun and easy" offers.

MSPA Gold
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2006 :  07:45:36 AM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I agree 100%. Anyone can become Silver with $15.00 and a computer. It takes dedication, money, time and travel to become Gold and I feel the Silver certification should should not even come into play until the Gold shoppers have been given 24 hours or so to accept the jobs.


I think if I saw a shop offering "Gold Only" and that ridiculous fee, I would have to email the scheduler or company as there must have been some type of mistake in the posting or email.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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KSSLorri
Star Contributor

Cincinnati, Ohio
USA
603 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2006 :  07:46:58 AM  Visit KSSLorri's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hi Kelly,

Not sure which company or scheduler you are referring to, but I can tell you that we schedule a ton of those $8 instant reward shops (which also include a reimbursment of $6 to $15 depending on the client), and we do start off just offering them to "Gold" only (for 24 hours, not 5 minutes!.. lol), before releasing them to Silver then releasing them to the general shopping population.

We do this not because we think Gold shoppers will be flattered with the high paying shops, but we'd rather have Gold shoppers (and then Silver) take them because we are shipping out what can sometimes be hundreds of $$ worth of prizes, and we know that the ethics agreement signed by certified shoppers is enforceable, so we feel we have a better chance at fewer lost/stolen prizes with these shoppers.

We know that these aren't high paying, but by allowing Gold shoppers "first dibs", it allows them the option of picking the locations closest to them, or on a "route" that they normally do where they might want to pick up some quick "filler" shops to make their trip more valuable. The reward shops ARE easy (and fun is relative.. depends on whether you enjoy reveal shops), because the surveys typically take 5 minutes or less to complete when you get home.

We have other programs (like Spa shops) that are NEVER offered to anyone but Gold shoppers. Every company operates differently, obviously, and some companies have tighter turnaround and rush projects where they are not afforded 24 to 48 hours before posting the shops, because they need them filled asap. However, most of us will choose a Gold shopper over a non-certified shopper when 2 like applicants in every other way apply for the same shop.

Hope that helps.

Lorri (Kern) Hsu
KSS International, Inc.
KSSLorri@kernscheduling.com
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KellyH
Star Contributor

USA
316 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2006 :  08:07:33 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hey Lori,

I did not want to mention names or clarify who the scheduler/companies are. This is due to many people monitoring Volition, plus this topic is whether Gold is worth it.

BUT, I was not talking about you. I am talking about the grocery, retail, etc., types of shops that are delivered to my inbox. Within 5 minutes to an hour later, the second notification comes.

BTW, I like the Instant Reward shops...especially when they are given as a route, etc. They are quick, easy, and the pay is decent for the time spent.

Keeping peace on the forum, :-)
Kelly

MSPA Gold
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2006 :  08:11:19 AM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Now, if it is reimbursement for the food as well as a fee, I include that in my total job fee. Anytime I don't have to cook is a reward in itself. Hey, and that could be what is considered the "easy" part.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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JanetOKC
Contributor

Oklahoma City, OK
USA
57 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2006 :  08:25:37 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I was getting better jobs before I ever gold-certified. I have only run into a couple of companies that said they gave me preference specifically because I was gold-certified, and those were companies for whom I'd never worked in the past. So the gold certification was really all they had to go on in evaluating how dependable I might be.

Reputation (based on experience with that specific company) seems to carry more weight than being gold-certified. Of course, it's hard to build a reputation if you can't get that first job with a company.

My daughter is starting some MSing. I had her get silver-certified, but I doubt that she'll mess with gold. Through her experience, I'm reminded of how easy it can be to get jobs. As a matter of fact, she and I are applying for some of the same jobs, and she's actually beating me out on some of them! I'm guessing the companies like "fresh blood" in the shops sometimes. Also, perhaps they are looking for a young adult vs. a middle aged adult for some shops.

Janet
MSPA Gold Certified
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2006 :  08:36:03 AM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Wow, that is odd. How are your ratings with the shops you have completed? I do see alot of shops for those under twenty five or thirty, but they will run out of those due to rotation. Maybe you could apply to more companies that appreciate the "Gold." Do we have a list of companies anywhere that give preference to the "Gold" shoppers?

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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Ron de Sacramento
Valued Contributor

Sacramento, CA
USA
214 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2006 :  09:17:04 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SheilaW

Ron - you make it sound so good that everyone in your area will become Gold and then where will you be with all that competition?
I've done a fair amount of assignments (as we all have) not only in my area but also others. And, I look to see where an assignment is not getting picked to do it to get into the rotation closer to home.

For August I plan on focusing on the relationships I have built to maximize the Midas Gold touch. I will be on the road and am working on a gem in Los Angeles.
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2006 :  09:29:47 AM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I travel alot too. I get tired of doing the same shops in my area. I never have any problem getting shops from schedulers in groups or from companies when I tell them I am going somewhere.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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Ron de Sacramento
Valued Contributor

Sacramento, CA
USA
214 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2006 :  10:39:57 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ron de Sacramento

Is being Gold certified this good always?
Just got done submitting this shop. As Goose says in Top Gun, "The list is long and distingushed."

The funny or sad thing is yes brandy and cigars were available and I was crying in my mandated soft drink that I could not do brandy with a ciggie for the road.

If this shop report is received well, which it should because the shop went so well, I see a ciggie and brandy in my future!
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KathrynJP
Member

San Antonio, TX
USA
20 Posts

Posted - 07/29/2006 :  8:57:05 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Being gold definitely has it's benefits. I was certified at the first workshop in Texas and two days after I added it to my profiles I was invited to do a fine dining shop which was the first of many. There are some wonderful assignments out there to be had but even with the certification you have to work your way up to them. One company I love working for keeps surprising me with goodies. I've started traveling (at their expense) to do some very fun and lucrative assignments for them. The frequent flyer miles have allowed me to take my other half along to enjoy the trip. Enjoy those burgers as you never know what they may lead to.

Kathryn
MSPA Gold Certified 2003
Have passport/will travel
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