I'm a Mystery Shopper! Shhhh! Don't tell anyone! Let's keep it on the down-low. If you are like me, you have probably received spam emails promising you great riches if you become a mystery shopper…don't believe it! And definitely do not reply to unsolicited emails, they are most likely scams. They will tell you they can make you a mystery shopper IF you send them X amount of dollars. That is NOT the way to become a mystery shopper. You do not need to PAY anyone. Let me share with you how I got started. Don't worry, it didn't cost a dime and it was simple and painless!
Several years ago, my FIL became a mystery shopper, a friend of his got him into it. He would tell me about all the "shops" he was doing. (That's what they call each assignment, a "shop".) At the time, I was working a full-time job and really did not think I had the time to become a mystery shopper. After I had our youngest, I left my job to be a SAHM. I wanted to supplement our income, so I asked my FIL to send me some info on mystery shopping. He obliged me, and also sent me links to the companies he works for as a contracted mystery shopper. I applied and was accepted. I am registered with about ten companies. Whenever a shop becomes available in my area, they send me an email. If I am interested in it, I can apply for it. If I am chosen, they will contact me by email with all the details.
The way you begin mystery shopping, is to be referred by your friends and/or family members. The companies that hire mystery shoppers are always looking for more and are quite pleased to get new referrals. If you are a solid mystery shopper and you refer someone you know to become a mystery shopper; the company knows they can trust your judgement and that you are sending them someone who is reliable.
You may be asking yourself what do you need to be a good mystery shopper…well, I'm gonna tell you! First, you need to be detail-oriented. You will need to observe many things while doing a shop and you will need to remember what you saw. You need good writing skills. Most shops require a written (albeit short) report of your experience. You need to be able to write a cohesive report, excellent grammar and spelling are a must. You need to be reliable, before you accept a shop, you need to make sure you will be able to perform the shop at the time stated. And last of all. you need to take your mystery shopping job seriously! When you are performing a shop, it's all business, no playing around- this is a job, like any other. Sure, you have flexibility, but it is still a job. Many of the sites you will be doing shops at have video cameras and they will be recording the shops… those videos can be referred back to at any given time. Never tell anyone you are performing a mystery shop! As far as everyone else is concerned, you are a regular customer… very important!
Why do I like mystery shopping? Good question! I enjoy being a mystery shopper because it is exciting! I love going into places I might not visit otherwise. I like giving business owners feedback that they can use to better their businesses. I am able to take my child with me on many of the shops I do… like at restaurants or retail shops at the mall. I have even done shops via phone and email, from the comfort of my home! How cool is that?!
What can you expect a typical shop to consist of? Most shops are evaluating customer service. Let's say you have a restaurant shop to perform. You might be asked to observe what the condition of the parking lot outside looks like…is there trash strewn about? Are the windows clean? Once inside, you might be asked if the hostess greeted you with a smile, did she make eye contact? You will be asked about the waitress, your food, perhaps the conditions of the bathroom…easy stuff! When you get home, after your shop is complete, you will need to log on to your computer to fill out your survey form. Do it as soon as you get home, while everything is still fresh in your mind.
How's the pay? The pay scale ranges from $5 for a phone or email shop, to $100 and up, for more complicated shops. The most I have been paid for one shop (so far!) is $85. I had to pretend I wanted to enroll at a business college, talk to the admin dept & the finance dept…that's it! And for that, I was paid $85. Most shops at restaurants will reimburse you for the cost of your meal, some will give you an added bonus on top of paying for your meal. I have done shops at car dealerships for $20-$50. Retail shops at the mall for $25. Need your brakes fixed, or an oil check? There's a shop for that! Airport shops are a favorite of mine! I have received $25 to purchase a coffee, $30 to apply for a credit card (they supplied me with a fake SSN to use!) I also like to set up shops (mostly restaurant shops) while on vacation. Nothing like getting a free meal in another state! Or better yet, a free hotel stay! I saw a shop the other day for the San Diego Zoo, free tickets, money for food and souvenirs! Movie theaters too expensive for you? Not when you are doing a shop and seeing that movie for free!
Once you have been doing mystery shopping for a while, you might get invited to take a cruise somewhere, all expenses paid! Now that's something to think about. Or if you have a cruise planned, it might just be one a company is looking to assign a shop for. Can you imagine planning a cruise and then finding out you can take that cruise for free?! I'm going to do that one day!
I know I am not going to get rich doing mystery shopping, but I am able to supplement our income, get some free meals, free entertainment and have a blast, all at the same time! If mystery shopping sounds like something YOU might be interested in, leave me a comment and I will get back to you with the info you need to get started!
Keep using your Mommy Powers,