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Jeff68005
Star Contributor

Bellevue, NE
USA
1171 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  04:12:28 AM  Send Jeff68005 an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by AngelaN
So, what should happen here is if you take a job from them and it is one hour, you should receive the rate you were hired at,no matter what the "rate" states on the job. Is that right ?

Not always. ... my comments below only reflect "in store time". SPAR seldom pays distance pay or travel time between stores ... usually at a very small rate if they agree to it.
Examples:
When I was first hired, I foolishly assumed something like that. I was talked into going all over the city for some 10 minute Target jobs. The jobs were Time in/Time out. I assumed they would pay an hour's work minimim per store. They paid actual time at the hourly rate. ie six ten minute stores to be paid one hour of pay at your rate. The job was done and history before I caught on to that detail.
I told my DM and later up the chain of command that wasn't fair and not to expect that to happen again. I made some noises more than once that SPAR needed a flat minimum pay per store or it was not worth it.
SPAR continues to this day to autoassign some half hour max Time in/Time = your hourly pay divided by two if you report you were there for the full thirty minutes. If you are there 45 minutes, it still only pays thirty minutes unless you call the DM while in the store and get agreement to run over. Doing so also requires a RTS filing when you get home to claim the "extra time". That may take another 5-10 minutes unpaid to file. If you report you were there only 15 minutes, then four store visits are needed in order to get one hour of pay.
SPAR finally has accepted the minimum pay per store visit concept. As a result, some jobs are "Flat Rate" without regard to your actual time or scheduled hourly pay. Some do take too long to do / Some can be done quite quickly and still pay the "Flat Rate". SPAR has been doing some of the half hour job described above at flat rate as well. Your DM can explain more when that happens.
One recent job is set at a different than my normal hourly rate, but only pays one half hour of pay per store. That took reading more than once to figure out.
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Sandi G
Star Contributor

Tallahassee, FL
USA
918 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  06:00:00 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'm trying to figure out how I do not get to pick what assignments I want, I cannot negotiate prices even if the job is in the boondocks because "merchandisers have to take the good with the bad", and completion dates are inflexible so even though said boondock city has another job there 3 days later the trips are not allowed to be combined, but yet I'm still only a contractor and not an employee? SPAR may be a better overall company than Certified, but so far it is absolutely NOT working in my favor. I am in fact losing a ton of money from this merger from my Sony jobs alone.

--Sandi
traditional & video shopping FL and GA
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BeverlyAnn
Star Contributor

USA
461 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  07:26:17 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
With Certified, I ONLY assigned myself those jobs I was interested in, never taking anything that wasn't something I cared to do. As a result, I worked only sparingly for Certified, but when I DID work, I did those jobs I enjoyed, and jobs I felt I was fairly paid for. It was good "fill in" work, since I have three other companies I regularly work for.

So now here's my experience with Spar....I filled out all the paperwork, went through the VOLUNTARY phone orientation, and even did a bunch of those training modules they have for areas I was interested in. I found out who my district supervisor was and sent an email explaining that I realized that because I never worked for Certified on a regular basis, that I understood my involvement would probably be minimal with Spar, but that I would be interested in doing certain jobs if they came up. I received a reply email thanking me for that information, and telling me the area I was interested in was not available right now, and that they would keep my information in their file......fine.

Then all of a sudden, WITHOUT MY OK OR KNOWLEDGE, I am assigned the Anagram balloon job in a nearby Walmart.....this is ONE OF THE SEVERAL AREAS for which I have no interest!! I didn't apply for it, nor did I have any desire in doing this! I emailed the area manager to please remove it from my dash.....no response. With 3 days left till the deadline, I emailed AGAIN and reiterated that I would NOT be doing this job since no one had asked me about it and I was not interested in doing this. They removed it from my dash.....they also LOCKED ME OUT, and now I cannot get into the dashboard.

I really don't care, since I really need these extra jobs to be ones I can self-assign, as I work regularly with three other companies and have to know when, where, and what I'm doing with extra jobs. Anyhow, that's my story!

BeverlyAnn
Silver Certified x6xbkn
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MariaMia
Star Contributor

Los Angeles, CA
USA
274 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  10:37:03 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I worked for Spar a few years back so this may not be current information. I was okay with things till they switched me over to another task which I d/n want ( doing ad decals and other pop) which I did not want to do. More work for same money and I had no interest in the project. Was given ultimatum which I took and quit after about 2 years working for them..

Lots has not changed..based on reading the blog... shrug,M
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Sharon H.
Member

Columbia, CA
USA
10 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  10:39:53 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Now I'm really confused! My contract states that I am an IC, but you were locked out for turning down an assignment? The Anagram job was totally not worth what MF was paying, and had I been assigned the shop, I would have also turned it down. The flat rate never covered the time I spent in the store. Was Spar offering more for the work? I am also wondering what the hourly rate is for this company. I didn't see it in the contract, and I don't remember hearing it in the orentation. Like you I did very little work for MF. I also cover a large area, and bundel my shops accordingly. So far I've only been offered the home improvment bay audits. MF didn't pay enough for these to take any. Is Spar any different?

Happily shopping in places most people have never heard of, all over Central CA, and the foothills.
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BeverlyAnn
Star Contributor

USA
461 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  1:57:02 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have NO CLUE what the pay rate was for this job...I couldn't find it on the dashboard anywhere. But like I said, I don't really care at this point. But I hope it works out well for those who are interested!

BeverlyAnn
Silver Certified x6xbkn
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MariaMia
Star Contributor

Los Angeles, CA
USA
274 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  2:41:07 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The starting rate for Spar a few years back ( maybe 3 ) was about $10 hourly. I dont know what it is now and if mileage is paid anymore. I doubt mileage is included.

Would be interesting to find out .. HTH
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Ellinbeth
Valued Contributor

USA
129 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  2:47:15 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'm with you, Beverly! I can't find out how much it pays and the manager will never e-mail me back (let alone call me as we were told would happen). So now I'm out a couple of hours of my time for the mandatory training, a conference call with the client with the health posters (and then I wasn't assigned the job).

So---it doesn't look like SPAR is going to work out for me. I don't want to be assigned jobs I don't want, with just a couple of days notice. I don't want 2.9% deducted from my pay. I don't want to make less than I made with C/MF. I don't want to have to get manager's signatures. I don't want a manager who won't answer me.

I never thought another company could be worse (pay less/be more disorganized than C/MF), but the writing is on the wall...

Ellinbeth
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MarlaB
Star Contributor

Attica, IN
USA
2843 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  2:47:15 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Like any job, if you don't want to do the work, quit the job. Spar's rules and regulations are what you have hired on to do. If that disagrees with you, then quit.

Their pay is your rate of pay, either by project (usually the 10-30 min jobs)(flat fee) or hourly (time in/time out). I've found that if you are given a maximum time, then you should be able to accomplish it within that time. These times have been checked out BEFORE assigned to reps. Supervisors and District Managers actually DO these jobs (or have responsible reps do them). IF you go over, by only doing the assignment, then contact your supervisor/DM.

BeverlyAnn, If you are locked out, chances are that you now longer work for Spar. You need to contact your supervisor.

Marla
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Sandi G
Star Contributor

Tallahassee, FL
USA
918 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  5:28:10 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Can someone who has done a Sony job please help me out? don't have an HH, I'm one of the unfortunate MFI people grafted in to SPAR and I'm trying really hard to figure out how to make this work. I did the spinner to inline conversion and collected inventory counts as usual. I click on the Internet Call Form - where I've reported the other jobs assigned to me this week - and it tells me to do the full product count first. I spent the hour it took to look up all the UPC numbers of the stock, and entered all that. I cannot believe they do not have a more efficient way to enter that count. Then it tells me to do the inventory, which was what I had already done via the full count, but I entered them all again only to be told those UPC codes were already reported. No duh. Now it the call form says I must enter returns. There WERE no returns. I tried entering a title with a zero count, but that did not work. I have absolutely no idea how to enter the stupid results of the visit. I've literally spent more time reporting than doing the dumb conversion to begin with, and I still have another store to enter. (not to mention another store to complete tomorrow) My patience has completely evaporated. I used to like the Sony jobs but definitely no longer. Where in the world do I have to click to say what time I arrived, who the manager was, and that I did the job I was supposed to do?

--Sandi
traditional & video shopping FL and GA
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Larry Estep
Member

Rantoul, IL
USA
39 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  5:38:35 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
So here is my experience. I get an e-mail on Sunday morning telling me that jobs are available in most all cities in IL and to reply back with contact information and towns that I can do. I do so and then get a call at almost 10PM on Sunday night. The guy who calls gives me another number to call and talk to the DMM, whom lives with him. I call her and have a pleasant conversation, but she isn't at her computer and can't tell me what is available. She asks me to call back around 6 the next evening "after the main office closes".

I call back at 6 on Monday night and she asks me to call her back in an hour or so because she needs to focus and get her head in the game and she needs to fix a fresh pot of coffee. I call back at 7:30 and get no answer and no voicemail. I've sent 2 follow-up e-mails and received no response. I guess my help isn't needed. Not a very professional way to run a business, and it doesn't give me much faith in the future with this company.

I've tried to find out what DG Sony stores I am going to have, as I was servicing a number of ones out of the local market because MFI did not have anyone to cover them. I don't want to do certain locations due to the distance unless my mileage is compensated. I was asked if I could do WM balloon assignments, and I stated that I have had too many bad experiences with them (not getting paid because the helium tank was empty, store wouldn't allow me access, sufficient time not allotted, etc.) and I was told that would not be a problem. I wish Spar's system would allow you to see what stores are assigned to you, and allow you to choose locations that are open to be assigned to. I would think that would be something that would make everyone's life easier.

Larry
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Gayle M
Member

USA
25 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  6:29:25 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I was able to get some assignments from my DM. I personally feel like its so busy right now, with some many new merchandisers and so many new jobs that they are inundated right now. I find it much easier to send an email, detailing what work I have done in the past and that helped a lot. I received some bonus pay in the past, but what was explained to me was that they keep us close to home with little driving. Therefore bonus pay is not needed. They did raise the pay on many of the jobs. I was assured that if indeed I went remote locations we could discuss what they call access. I just think we need to give the new process some time before we all start complaining about this.
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BeverlyAnn
Star Contributor

USA
461 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  6:51:59 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Marla, I agree with you...I've probably been booted out of their system--oh well! I never actually did any work for Spar, so it's not like I'm out anything. But I have to say, that I tend to agree with others who feel Spar may be overwhelmed right now with all the C/MF reps coming on. It does sound like they are a bit disorganized right now.

BeverlyAnn
Silver Certified x6xbkn
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Jeff68005
Star Contributor

Bellevue, NE
USA
1171 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  8:10:23 PM  Send Jeff68005 an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MariaMia

The starting rate for Spar a few years back ( maybe 3 ) was about $10 hourly. I dont know what it is now and if mileage is paid anymore. I doubt mileage is included.

Would be interesting to find out .. HTH

It's not that simple. SPAR uses an index as a few other companies do. When you made $10.00/Hr, many others did not ... myself included. I later found out the rep across the river made less than I did. It depends where you live and what the index tells the DMs to set your hourly pay at.
I agree, you DM should inform you what the rate is where you live. It's a safe bet the new hires in my area are very likely paid better than I am because SPAR's vocabulary seldom includes the word "raise".

Jeff Hix
Serving metro Omaha, Nebraska including Bellevue, Papillion, La Vista, Ralston, Plattsmouth and Council Bluffs, Iowa.
MSPA Silver Certified - MSPA Gold Certified - NARMS Proficiency Test PASSED
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Jeff68005
Star Contributor

Bellevue, NE
USA
1171 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  8:25:47 PM  Send Jeff68005 an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
If you have the MF/Sony jobs or (any Sony jobs) and do not have a handheld (HH), please consider using your Android cell phone as a workable substitute. Information on how do acquire the SPAR app is in the [b]eknowledge[b]. eknowledge has a link on your individual page.
There are barcode reader APP available at Google Play.
It is a much better option than trying a MF approach to SPAR's system even tho, when you do learn it, they aren't that different except SPAR's servers do not go down as much nor as often as MF's crash machines (servers as a term would have requried an upgrade at MF)
Please do read the bulletins. SPAR has a UPC type code for you to enter to indicate no returns in the return report. SPAR does have a UPC type code for no out of stocks. The bulletins tell you those codes.

Jeff Hix
Serving metro Omaha, Nebraska including Bellevue, Papillion, La Vista, Ralston, Plattsmouth and Council Bluffs, Iowa.
MSPA Silver Certified - MSPA Gold Certified - NARMS Proficiency Test PASSED
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Sandi G
Star Contributor

Tallahassee, FL
USA
918 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2013 :  9:23:27 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I did watch the video, twice. I tried every one of those codes from the instructions, multiple times, even when I was quite sure that it was not the code for the area I was trying to report. It came up "No matches could be found for the Product search criteria. Please change your criteria and try again." I read through every piece of paper from them I could find. I'm still stuck. It's after midnight now, so whoo hoo, I made it to the 4th assignment before having a tardy report. I'm going to bed now.

--Sandi
traditional & video shopping FL and GA
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Dar-L
Star Contributor

USA
1031 Posts

Posted - 05/03/2013 :  12:59:10 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Thanks for all your guidance Jeff. Great to have someone with a logical mind to help us newbies thru this.

So one more question.... CRI was fond of telling us that they "did not pay for report time" even if lengthy reports or crashes were their shortcoming. Most of us found a way to work report time into store visit time, to get paid fairly for what we provided the client.

What I'm reading on here is that is just not possible with Spar? HH's and apps record and Geotag store time. Does Spar expect us to give them the report time? Printing time and expense (.07/page? Ha!)

Or do you, in your experience, feel this is just an implementational setback, soon to be corrected?
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Jeff68005
Star Contributor

Bellevue, NE
USA
1171 Posts

Posted - 05/03/2013 :  01:36:20 AM  Send Jeff68005 an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I fail to foresee any changes on that score. Using the Android APP or Hand Held units (HH) on site is the only way I know how to be paid for your reporting efforts. It sure beats the MF way of reporting.
In over three years affiliated with SPAR, server down time has been very little. You will grow to love SPAR vs MF on that score. I have noticed the servers down overnight for an hour or so. SPAR will tell you since your deadline was midnight ET, the down server hour should not affect you. From a policy standpoint, that is correct.

IF the factors in your question take you over the time budget, then you are still expected to contact your DM while on site for overtime approval followed by the RTS proceedure as shown in your assignment as a viewable file.
So from SPAR's perspective, they do not pay for job prep work, reading the paperwork (instructions), reporting time.
There are times, it just is not worth it to me to file for the extra 15-20 minutes over for each job. Discuss this with your DMM. IF they get to know you and the quality of your work, they may be a bit more flexible. This will vary by individual (both DMM and Rep). YMMV.

The printing allowance has been in place for at least three years without modification. Your job board has a link to show your projected allowance per job and how it was figured. Printing is only paid if the job is reported. My only workaround is to print my own stuff double sided when it makes sense. Sometimes, I doubleside the one sided sheets telling the store about new releases. (promo title 1/promo title 2 on other side) That will depend on your store manager if it will fly. I point out each side in my store manager briefing. While you time is not covered, I can print most jobs for the printing cost budget. Given the number of merchandising companies that pay NOTHING for printing, I appreciate SPAR paying something toward that expense.
=============
SPAR does not require Geotagging. By my choice, I Geotag all my pictues, but that does not add any time to my picture taking efforts.
The HH does not geotag. To my knowledge, the Android APP does not or if it does, nobody has said anything when I have reported from off site like McDonalds, Burger King, etc. They are delighted if you report using the Android APP or WiFi using your laptop, because they get the reports faster IF you elect to "Communicate" before the end of your work day. My problem with that is you are burning daylight filing reports in the middle of your work day. It is your individual choice.
The Android APP is very unforgiving after Friday until Sunday when you may download the new week's work. Many jobs are not downloaded into the HH, so it's the Android APP ... or file your report(s) from home or the library later.
==================
I have been lucky on paper. I hit some office store promos last year to the point that I still am using cases of that paper which cost me almost nothing. I bought the paper and received the cost of the paper as instore credit (rebate) which I used to buy ink when it was on sale or promo. I have at least 5 cartridges of all colors ahead of my needs as a result.
That store and I laugh when they suggest ink or paper for the upsell effort. We both know better.

Jeff Hix
Serving metro Omaha, Nebraska including Bellevue, Papillion, La Vista, Ralston, Plattsmouth and Council Bluffs, Iowa.
MSPA Silver Certified - MSPA Gold Certified - NARMS Proficiency Test PASSED
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Sandi G
Star Contributor

Tallahassee, FL
USA
918 Posts

Posted - 05/03/2013 :  06:22:42 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Apparently sleep did help my cognitive thinking a little. For everything else I entered for the FPI, I typed a portion of the name in the box on the right, did a search, then clicked to add it to the left. That was how the directions suggested, and was certainly much easier than manually typing in every single UPC. That does NOT work for the
'skip this part' codes, however. Those codes should be just typed in on the left side and then it recognizes it and you move on. Same thing with the returns. Since I'd done everything on the right side first, it did not occur to me until this morning to put the code simply on the left side. How a simple yes/no checkbox on most forms will trigger the appropriate actions and this requires such a rigamarole is a mystery to me, but hopefully this will help out someone else trying to learn this system.

--Sandi
traditional & video shopping FL and GA
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Ellinbeth
Valued Contributor

USA
129 Posts

Posted - 05/03/2013 :  08:37:28 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Finally heard from my manager about the pay---half of what I was getting with C/MF. And that's the hourly pay, so if a job lasts only 30 minutes, I'd be getting paid a whopping $4.

SPAR is definitely not for me. I'm resigning.

Ellinbeth
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