When I got started with mystery shopping, the allure of doing everything online was enticing. I could search for jobs, select the ones I wanted to perform, and assign them to myself (or in a few cases, request that I be assigned and await a confirmation email).
The more I thought about ways to make more money, the more I was reminded of what worked in my sales career. My mentor taught me to not become over-reliant on email. If a prospect emails me with questions, it is tempting to just email them back my answers. But by doing so, I would miss so much by not picking up the phone and talking with them. I might misunderstand what they were really trying to ask, or might miss an objection they were raising.
Similarly, by relying just on the Internet for self-assigning shops, I have no idea if the stated fee is really the best payment the company is willing to make. There might be a shop in a community 20 miles away that has a listed fee of $8.00. Unless I'm going to be in the area, that's not justifiable. Often if I call my scheduler and tell them I would be willing to complete the job if it is worth my while, they will negotiate.
A recent example: two weeks ago I saw four shops from two different companies in a town about 25 miles from my home. It's an isolated community - you really don't "pass through" this town for anything. One of the two companies does not negotiate fees, but they had already added a juicy bonus to the shop. Still, I needed more before I'd travel there. The other company had three shops in that town, so I called my scheduler and told her I was working to pay off some debt this month and willing to pick them up if she'd help me out.
Two of the shops paid a total of $12.50, and the other was paying $15.00. I managed to get the two for $12.50 increased to a total fee of $50.00, and agreed to do the third for the stated fee of $15.00. I completed a total of four shops for a fee just south of $75... plus reimbursements. I was gone a total of three hours and put 55 miles on my car.