Saturday, October 26

Mystery Shopping Road Trip: Post Mortem

Back when I worked at the software company, my sales director required an occasional review of a "deal" that was either won or lost to break down the effort involved during the sales process.  We called that meeting a post mortem, and it was an opportunity to look at the big picture and learn from what transpired.

Since early August I have been traveling the country on perhaps the longest mystery shopping road trip anyone has taken, ever.

Total Gross Income:  $13,118
Total Expenses:  $7,434
Total Net Income:  $5,684

Total Miles Driven:  13,428

Fringe Benefits

Hilton Honors:  earned 48,048 points, net of redemptions (valued at app. $151).
Choice Hotels:  earned 59,090 points, net of 8,000 point promotional redemption for $50 gas card (valued at app. $457).
Value of hotel points calculated based on information provided at http://hotel-rewards-programs.findthebest.com/.
I also earned a handful of points earned with other loyalty programs, maybe $25 worth.

Credit Card Rewards:  I earned roughly $185 in rewards by charging everything.

Value of Rewards Earned:  $818

I did much better in the earlier weeks of my trip.  Several of the hotels were free because they were mystery shops.  I also did not have any large vehicle repairs until Week 6 of the trip.  As the trip progressed, I noticed hotels in parts of Oklahoma and Texas were crazy expensive, generally because of the demand created by the oil field workers in the area.  Also, I knew before I accepted this route that I had two prior commitments that would require me to return to Florida.  Absent this expense, my net income would have been about $1,000 more and I would have completed the route faster (probably in 6 weeks).

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