How to Become a Successful Mystery Shopper?
- How to Get in with the Mystery Shopping Networks
- Planning out Your Mystery Shopping Route
- Secret Shopping Is Not a Mystery
- Mystery Shop for Merchandise and Money
- Part-Time Mystery Shopping
- Step Your Way into Mystery Shopping Success
- Secret Shopper Tactics
How to Get in with the Mystery Shopping Networks
Sometimes, success is a matter of being at the right place at the right time, other times it is because you put yourself in enough right places at the same time. With mystery shopping, it is often necessary to be a part of enough secret shopping networks in order to keep yourself busy all of the time. I know that when I first started that I was only part of one legitimate network. Sure, they kept me busy to a certain extent but I wanted more. Not only that, I was missing out on some awesome shopping jobs because the companies were part of another network. Here is how to spread yourself out a bit without spreading yourself out too thin in order to find mystery shopping success.
The first thing that you need to do when you start joining the secret shopping networks is to make sure that you are not hooking up with any scam services. The legitimate ones are easy enough to find if you just do some research and find out which ones get the thumbs up (without being included in a sales pitch). You would also want to make sure that you are not going against any of the terms of service that is a part of the network because you are part of a competing service. This is rare, but needs to be taken into consideration.
Once you are a part of the networks you need to start to work them all a little. Most of the good secret shopping networks will only give the good jobs to their senior members. If you just do a few jobs for any network you will begin to get a better ranking with them and start to see better jobs becoming available. You want to make sure that you never turn down any jobs that they specifically offer to you, at least not at first. By taking on these jobs you will be sure to let them know that you are a team player and will end up being invited into some of the better jobs.
When I first started doing mystery shopping I thought that I was going to be doing some nice jobs right away. It turns out that most of the jobs that these companies will offer you will be lower end jobs, but you can still get some nice extra cash if you plan your jobs right. You should make sure that you test each of these jobs to see which ones are worth the money. If you find one that does not pay enough then wait to see if they will bump the price because nobody is taking the job. Calling your representative and asking them for a bump in price will also work, especially if they need to have the job done and the deadline is approaching.
Getting in with the right mystery shopping networks is not only profitable, it is fun and can give you something to do to make money in your spare time. You just let them know what jobs you want and you will be on your way, other than that, there really isn’t any other commitment.
Planning out Your Mystery Shopping Route
It doesn’t matter what you do, it is often necessary to plan your self in such a way as you will be successful. Many people would not be able to do anything without careful planning, as they fill their days so full of things that nothing else could possibly be crammed in. The same is true with mystery shopping. If you want to be successful with mystery shopping, especially because it does not pay you a lot of money, you need to plan your day and your route in order to be effective while you are doing the job.
The first thing that you’re going to do is plan your route. This should be done before you accept the jobs and even leave your home. If you’ve been doing mystery shopping in your area for any amount of time, you will know most of the jobs that become available on a regular basis. These would include such things as restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores. You can certainly accept many of these during the day and hit them one at a time in a a specific pattern. If you are part of several different mystery shopping networks, you can also fill in any blanks that are available.
At times, it is necessary for you to be at a mystery shop during a specific hour in the day. You would want to make sure that you certainly show up during that time as you would not be compensated if you missed it. If you miss a mystery shop that is timed in such a way, it can leave a hole of an hour or more in your day depending on which job it was. Make sure that you plan your day out in such a way that you will not be too pressed for time in order to show up in this type of a job in a timely fashion.
You also need to keep in mind the type of shops that you will be doing throughout the day. It is not a big deal if you are doing things such as movie shops or mystery shopping at gas stations, but doing anything where you may end up with perishable items in the car needs careful consideration. As an example, you would not want to do a mystery shop at a grocery store and end up hauling around perishable items in your hot car for the rest of the day. You should either plan these type of shops for late in the day or do them in such a way as you would loop back by your house to drop off the items.
By planning out your mystery shopping route and the timing of your shops, it certainly is possible for you to make a success of mystery shopping. Some people even find that they are good enough with their planning that they can do it as a full-time job. With some careful planning, you may find that it works that way for you as well.
Secret Shopping Is Not a Mystery
Many people decide that they want to get into mystery shopping for one of several different reasons. Some people think it would be nice to be able to evaluate someone, especially after they had a bad experience at a store or restaurant. Other people think that it would be a great way to be able to put some extra money in their pocket. The simple fact of the matter is, however, that it is not as easy as what it seems and it is also difficult, at times, to get started.
The real secret to mystery shopping is that it is not a mystery at all. You simply sign up with a secret shopping network and you begin to get jobs right away. Some of the mystery shopping networks have a system where you log into their online website and choose the jobs that are available. At these particular networks offer the jobs are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Other networks give you an evaluation system where the better jobs are reserved for people who have been with the system for quite some time and have been given a good marks all along.
Just because you are not able to get good jobs right away does not mean that they will never come your way at all. At times, your representative from the company will contact you directly in order to offer you a special job that is in your area. It would be a good idea for you to accept any of these jobs, as you would certainly be able to raise your marks within the system by taking them. Not only that, they are often a special job that will take place at a nice restaurant or perhaps a local pub. When my wife and I first started mystery shopping, we ended up being offered a great job at a local pub. It paid for a few free drinks and appetizer. Sure, it wouldn’t make us rich but it was a nice night out on the town on someone else’s dollar.
As you stick with the mystery shopping networks and you begin to gain some seniority you will find that better and bigger jobs begin to come your way. That is how it is possible for people to do this for a living, as the jobs that are reserved for the top shoppers actually pay great and provide you with some nice perks. In fact, once you gain some seniority within the company you can contact your representative and ask for a boost in price on a job that you would like to do but doesn’t meet your payment standards.
Mystery shopping does not really need to be a mystery. If you join a legitimate mystery shopping network you will be part of a group of businesses that want to make sure that their employees are keeping their conduct and location up to their standards. You will simply visit these locations to evaluate them for the company, what could be simpler?
Mystery Shop for Merchandise and Money
There are many reasons why someone would become a secret shopper. Many of them are interested in making a little bit of extra money and they heard that this was an easy way to do it. The fact is, however, that it takes a lot more work than most people realize and there tends to be quite a learning curve involved in the entire process. Once you are past that learning curve, you are on your way to discovering what being a mystery shopper is all about. Once you are into the system you will find that you are mystery shopping for both merchandise and money.
My first experience with secret shopping taught me that you can actually score some great items along with getting paid. When I went on my first shop it was at a donut shop where I had to order a coffee and a bagel sandwich. This is something that I typically do anyway, so doing it and getting a few dollars was a definite plus. I decided that I would do this on a regular basis, not only for the few dollars that I could make, but for all of the great stuff that I could get. Here are some of my favorite mystery shops and what I was able to get for doing them.
Mystery shopping at the movies is a great way to be able to see the flicks for free. Everyone knows how expensive going to the movies can be, especially if you take a date and then hit the snack bar. If there are a lot of competing movie theaters in the area you will be able to find a lot of different mystery shops to those theaters. Not only will they pay admission for you and a friend, they will also give you enough money that you will be able to get popcorn and drink at the snack bar. I do a mystery shop at a movie theater almost every weekend and I haven’t missed a flight for every year.
Sometimes there are special mystery shops which become available that you are able to take advantage of. These would include such things as going out to dinner in an upscale restaurant or having a drink at the local pub. Most of these jobs will not give you extra money to put in your pocket but they will help you to pay for your meal. As an example, I went out to eat a few weeks ago at a very upscale restaurant and was given $75 as a compensation for my eating there. My wife and I ended up having a bill of about $90, with tip included so we had a great meal out for just over $15.
Not everybody does mystery shopping for a living. Some people that do it don’t even bother secret shopping for the money that they can make. They know that if they wait for the better jobs to come available, they can get some great stuff in compensation for their time.
Part-Time Mystery Shopping
I have known several people who have done mystery shopping for a living. Most of them were disabled in one way or another and were just simply supplementing their money that they got for their disability. It really worked well for them as they were able to keep busy doing mystery shopping and could provide well for their family and doing so. For most of us, however, mystery shopping on a full-time basis is not really ever going to be a reality. It would take an extreme amount of planning in order to be able to ever come close to a full-time income doing secret shopping. Most people, however, do mystery shopping on a part-time basis and not only get a little bit of money for their pocket, they also help to defray their expenses for things such as gasoline and groceries.
When my wife and I first began secret shopping, we were only doing so on the weekend. We started out small, only doing shops for breakfast sandwiches or groceries but we ended up actually doing quite a bit more. There were some days, in fact, whenever we would leave in the morning and have an entire route mapped out a different mystery shopping jobs that we could do along the way. We would typically start out getting a breakfast sandwich at the local doughnut shop, courtesy of the mystery shop of course. We would then continue to the gas station where we would put a few gallons of gas in the car and then go to a second gas station where we would do the same thing. After doing a quick shop at the grocery store, we would swing by the house to drop off the perishable items and then head out to mystery shop at the local restaurant for lunch.
Sometimes, on the weekends, we would do a series of mystery shops that would give us a night out on the town. Since we live in South Florida, there are places where movie theaters and nice restaurants are in close proximity. If we did our planning properly, we were able to take in a movie (complete with a trip to the snack bar) and then head over to the restaurant which was just across the street. The entire evening out would be totally taken care of and we would usually end up with about $20 in compensation on top of the items received. The only thing that really cost us was about 30 minutes of time once we got home in order to fill out the online evaluation forms.
Mystery shopping is not for everyone as it does take time and there is a learning curve when you first get started. If you have some initiative and the desire to get some things for free, mystery shopping can offer you an opportunity to be able to make some part-time cash and have a little bit of fun along the way.
Step Your Way into Mystery Shopping Success
With anything that you do, it is not always possible to jump in with both feet. This is the case with mystery shopping, as many times it is necessary for you to start at the bottom and work your way up through the ranks. Depending on the mystery shop network that you are part of, you may have to take some jobs that don’t pay as well in order to be qualified for the ones that do. With other networks, the jobs are posted on a single board and it is on a first-come first-served basis. Even with those particular networks, however, the representatives will often call you individually to offer you some of the better jobs. This would only happen after you have established yourself as a good worker within the network.
Once you become part of a legitimate mystery shopping network, you are going to need to establish yourself within the community. You can do this by taking on any of the jobs that are available in order to gain the rankings that you would get from a job well done. When I first started mystery shopping, I had to take some jobs that only paid a few dollars. After I did about six of these jobs, however, I got a phone call with an offer to take on a mystery shopping job at an exclusive restaurant in town. This was a welcome change, as it paid for a meal for two that would have cost us will well over $75.
As you work your way up through the mystery shopping ranks, you will find that more and more jobs become available. You should make sure that you do not only take the good jobs, however, as some of the lower jobs can also do quite well for you. One of the best things that you can do, if you are going to take a lower paying job, is to call your representative and see if they will give a boost in commission. You can be successful at doing this if the due date for this particular job is coming up in a hurry. The mystery shopping companies give themselves plenty of cushion in their prices to be able to negotiate with some other better shoppers.
Some of the mystery shopping networks also rank you buy points or perhaps stars. You might start out without any ranking at all but as you successfully complete each project you will be moved up through the ranks. The best jobs are available only for those who are ranked highest in the system and you will find that they become available once you reach a certain status. Until that time, make sure that you continue to do jobs on a regular basis as this helps to establish your credibility within the network as well. If you are persistent in your efforts, you will find that you move up through the ranks quickly and the better jobs can be yours.
Secret Shopper Tactics
Many people who begin mystery shopping become discouraged because it is hard to make a lot of money doing it. There is a steep learning curve to a lot of the mystery shopping jobs that you’ll be doing. Once you do a few jobs, however, it gets increasingly easy to be able to know what is expected of you when you’re on the job and to fill out the online evaluation forms quickly. Most of what you will be doing is actually common sense but it does take time to understand what each of the different companies expect from their employees. Here are a few things that will help you to make your mystery shopping the most profitable.
The first thing that you should do whatever your mystery shopping is to enlist a buddy. My wife and I started mystery shopping at the same time and it has worked out very well for us as we are able to do twice as much in less than half the time. It is also worked out well and that we are able to take jobs that we would not be able to take if we only had one account with these companies. Here are some of the reasons why having more than one person working together can benefit you whenever you are doing mystery shopping jobs.
The first way that teaming up for mystery shopping can be beneficial is whatever you’re doing many jobs during the day. Some of our first jobs that we did were with grocery stores and these are perfect for more than one person as you can split up and cover twice as much area in the same amount of time. Whenever we went into the grocery stores, I would go up to the service counter and ask a specific question of the person working the counter. I would then go directly to the produce section and ask a question from somebody working in there. After working in the produce section I would go directly to the seafood area in order to give them an evaluation. By the time I was finished with the three jobs, my wife would be finished with the bakery, deli and meat department. We could then proceed to checkout and be out of the store within 10 minutes.
Another reason why is it a good idea to have more than one account with the mystery shop network is because many of the individual stores will not let you shop them more than one time in a two-month period. If you and your partner each have your account, you can do your favorite shops twice in the amount of time that you could typically only do them once. That is why we are constantly able to go to the movies and to do our favorite grocery stores in various mystery shops on a regular basis. It helps us to be more productive in our mystery shopping jobs.