Do you love to shop and dine out? What if you could get PAID to do both of those things? You won’t be a millionaire but you could make a decent side income with mystery shopping.
What is Mystery Shopping?
Mystery Shopping is a topic I get questions on a lot. It’s basically like I just mentioned – getting paid to visit stores, restaurants and other establishments and interact as a normal customer. Afterwards, you complete a report report about your experience during the trip.
You don’t just go in and do what you want. No, the businesses have a specific criteria they want you to follow so you can provide thorough feedback. During your “shop”, you will follow the guidelines and instructions and file a report on the pre-designed questionnaires. The management of the establishment uses your report to make improvements that help in better customer retention, enhanced client loyalty and improving the bottom line of the company.
Mystery Shopping Qualifications
You truly don’t need to have any professional training to be a mystery shopper. You can get certified but that’s not necessary in order to get opportunities. The more detailed and thorough your report is, the higher your feedback rating will be which will help you get more better and higher paying opportunities.
You MUST have decent writing skills and understand how to use a computer since you will be filing reports. Also, having good follow through to ensure that you take the shop that you are assigned and report back the findings.
Getting Started as a Mystery Shopper
To get started, you need to determine what fields you would prefer to work with. Retail, dining, banking, etc. This is established by you so make it something that you enjoy. Also, decide how much time you can commit to doing each shop. You don’t want to overcommit and then not be able to fulfill the assignment.
As you start signing up with mystery shopping companies, do not be shocked when they ask for your social security number. This is done so they can report earnings to the IRS because, this is a job. Only provide your SSN to a site that says “https” in the URL since that ensures that site is secure.
Just as I’ve mentioned in the Tips to Requesting Freebies, it will be helpful to create a second email address that is just devoted to mystery shopping opportunities. Check that email address frequently though so you don’t miss out on any shops. The really good ones tend to fill up fast. Gmail is free and you can set up cool filters (it’s my email provider of choice).
Payment for Shops
Shops range in price from $10-$40 per hour, and even more for the complete assignment! The compensation may come in cash, or with the experience of visiting the restaurant or other establishment that offers something that you can enjoy.
On top of that, if you are required to purchase anything from the store you are typically reimbursed for those expenses as well. Side note, be sure to keep track of your mileage to/from shops as that is a tax deduction for you.
Legitimate Mystery Shopping Websites
You want to apply to several mystery shopping companies to ensure you are as busy as you want to be. Don’t be concerned that you will have too much work. You have an option! You can always turn down a job if you are too busy to work on a specific assignment.
Here are several legitimate mystery shopping websites to join:
- Ath Power Consulting
- Cirrus Marketing Consultants
- DSG Associates
- Pinnacle Financial Strategies
- Reality Based Group
- Second to None
- Service Savvy
Also, check out the Mystery Shop Forum to find other mystery shopping companies and opportunities.
Have you ever worked as a Mystery Shopper?
Got any other companies to suggest or tips to share?
If you have a unique way that you earn money from home, please share it with us.
I would love to include your experience with our readers!
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