Become Mystery Shopper - Mystery Shoppers Wanted
I have been a Mystery Shopper for the past 7 years. It is fun and exciting, it is also more work than what internet and newspaper ads portray it to be. Let me take away some of the mystery from the world of mystery shoppers.
The internet ads seeking Mystery Shoppers can be called - a.k.a Mystery-Consumer, Mystery Buyers, Secret Shoppers, Shadow Shoppers, Customer Service Evaluators, Agents- always have a picture of a lovely model. Mystery Shoppers come in all shapes and sizes and from every walk of life. Our job is to blend in and not draw attention to ourselves while we are on a shop, so that we will be treated like the average customer. That is why we are hired, so that the specific client can get an honest and accurate account of how Jane Doe is being treated while shopping in their place of business.
All ads for Mystery Shoppers tout 'get paid to shop!' 'keep what you purchase!' 'eat and Shop'. That is partially true. The truth is I pay for the purchases- meals,groceries, hotels, tickets, spa, movies, conscerts, etc. upfront out of my own pocket, then I am reimbursed for my purchase, 4-6 weeks after the initial purchase. I do not get to purchase anything I want, there are strict parameters on what I can and can not purchase, if I deviate from those strict job parameters, I will not receive reimbursement.
The old adage, 'there is no such thing as a free lunch' applies to Mystery Shopping. While being reimbursed for meals and other things does allow me to go out more and do more things than I could otherwise afford, the work portion of my shop has just begun.
There is always a report to be filled out, receipts and/or pictures to be uploaded and sent in to the mystery shopping company. Some reports are relatively easy, perhaps 50 or so yes/no questions to answer and a short summation of my shopping experience. Other reports can take 2-3 hours to file due the number of questions to answer and the required narrative for each question detailing every aspect of the shop.
The shops are not always glamorous, most are far from it, some I won't even do. Would you go to a national chain of truck stop restrooms, both men's and ladies, and take pictures of the toilet from every angle? If you would, that shop is available because I turned that opportunity down. You can make a cool 5 bucks per toilet if you are willing....
Which brings me now to the pay mystery shoppers receive. Most shops are reimbursement plus a few bucks. Most, not all. Some are reimbursement only, some shops are a flat rate of usually around $10, with no out-of-pocket expense at all, with the exception of gas to get to the location, which is a big issue considering the price of gas, and there are what is called 'bonus' shops. Shops that have an extra amount of cash added to it if I do it today.
Getting rich quick is not something that a mystery shopper will achieve. It is a nice way supplement your existing income, a way to enjoy some added luxuries, and it is work.
In this business, you're only as good as your last shop grade, and yes, your reports are graded.
If mystery shopping sounds good to you, be prepared to spend hours online searching for and procuring jobs initially. It will take about 1 year to establish yourself in the business and then the better, more desirable shops, will come your way via a shop scheduler calling you.
Last but certainly not least, never, ever pay to sign up with a mystery shopping company. Never. All legit companies are free to apply with. There are certifications that are beneficial to a mystery shopper that will require a small expense, if you chose to take the certification tests, but never an expense to apply with a legitimate company to become a mystery shopper.
A good source of information for potential mystery shoppers can be found at Mystery-Consumer.com.