A number of people have recently asked me about mystery shopping since I posted on the topic a few times on my Facebook. I figured it would be good to explore a few things in the industry – all from first hand experience in an effort to better assist anyone else that might consider diving in. Let’s think about it for a second, we all have that dream of making money while doing the things we love; for some that might be grandiose like flying around in a Learjet beating down business moguls but for others it might be something as simple as eating at the hottest restaurant, grabbing happy hour drinks with friends, even wanting to pay for only 50% of your gas bill. While mystery shopping will definitely not get you the Learjet (at least not in my experience), it has recently offered me an opportunity for a free plane ticket. The latter is what mystery shopping really focuses on, the micro-experiences of our lives. I have been in the industry for about 3 years and since then worked for multiple companies on a per diem basis. Since I like to keep records of everything, I have amassed about $6,000 over the course of these three years and yes, if you were to pursue mystery shopping aggressively on a full-time basis it is definitely possible to make a comfortable living from it. I have met other shoppers who do just that. Interested yet? Read on.
First of all, mystery shopping is compromised of multiple companies and although depending your research you might come up with independent contractors or corporate, for the most part it is corporate headquarters contracting third-party quality control companies to manage and execute audits on their branches. For example, Regal Theaters headquarters hires Gigspot which in turn hires mystery shoppers to evaluate a Regal Theaters branch in Hawaii. Mystery shoppers then turn in the audit report, unrevealed or sometimes revealed, to Gigspot which then report the findings back to Regal Theaters. Other companies like Jancyn might focus on restaurants and bars, others like Kinesis focus on banks. Each company has a focus area and that is what corporate offices seek out.
Let’s address a couple of myths before we dive into the process and selection of shops. Myth #1: Mystery shopping is a way I can get rich quick! Nope, mystery shopping provides income but it’s cost:benefit is a bit of time for a bit of money. Quantity can offset this but again that depends on the time and is in direct correlation to the amount of work you put in. Real estate is the best get rich scheme out there. I digress. Mystery shopping augments your lifestyle habits. If you like going out to bars and restaurants, well then what’s better than taking out a friend, offering everything under the sun and leaving with them thinking you’re the best thing since sliced bread and you not having to pay a single dime. Myth #2: Mystery shopping can get boring. It might seem that the job opportunities are straight-forward, however in the process of completing these shops you might discover new opportunity. For instance, on a bank shop I was required to ask certain questions and during the course of the Q&A session I discovered that the bank was offering a limited certificate of deposit promotion at 5% APY. Did I take it? Of course I took it! Had I not performed the shop, I would have never known this bank had amazing promotions. Myth #3: Mystery shopping is a scam! Hmm. While I can say that not 100% of the offers are legit, I can say that if you go through the process that I describe to you it will be 100% legit. If you try and perform a Gooogle search for mystery shopping like I did in the beginning you will be led astray. The golden rule of mystery shopping is NEVER PAY ANYONE FOR OPPORTUNITIES! Scams involve companies trying to insert themselves into the process as brokers which is unnecessary and dangerous to you.
So, what do I need to do you ask? Read the next section or scroll to the bottom for the portal gateway link and try to figure it out yourself. Be happy I’m not a professional blogger and don’t try to string you along a couple of posts to get follows before giving you the link. MSPA or the Mystery Shopping Providers Association is a legitimate association that serves as a liaison between interested mystery shoppers and companies that contract mystery shopping jobs. MSPA does offer a certification for a price that most likely gives you increased creditability with companies but I’ve never had to leverage that option. If you do choose to do that, post a comment below and let me know the benefits. Once you click on the link provided, enter your zip code and it will bring up a list of companies within a specified radius that is offering job opportunities. Even the most rural areas have these opportunities. When you click on these companies, you will be asked to apply, provide basic information, payment information (how you want to be paid), and a short writing sample. The most important thing with mystery shopping is grammar, punctuation and writing with clarity. You have to be able to compose paragraph narratives detailing EVERYTHING requested in the assignment. Name of the hostess? Check. Time arrived at the establishment? Check. Time between placing the order and when it arrived? Check. Fib a fact or miss a requirement? Fired. Because so many people are signing up for opportunities, mystery shopping companies have the luxury of picking who they want for assignments. The industry stresses attention to detail so if you’re the person who can’t remember where you last placed your wallet or cell phone, mystery shopping isn’t for you. If you are still interested the link is below. Good luck and post a comment below if you have any questions, need clarity or have any feedback. I’m excited to hear about your experiences!
UPDATE: New Link here – http://www.jobslinger.com/