Have you ever wondered what is a mystery shopper and how to become one to add an additional stream of income to your household?
This blog post will give you some insight of what a mystery shopper is, tips on how to be successful with the jobs, and some of the best companies to work with.
A mystery shopper is a person who is paid to pose as a potential customer, client, or everyday shopper to asses customer service levels and services of a company, retail store, restaurant, and assorted professional services. The mystery shopping jobs require the shopper to be undercover to complete the observation, and complete a detail report which include specific information the company is seeking of the observation and submit it by the designated deadline. Some shopping jobs can require more attention to details than others. Each assignment has a description and itemized tasks detailing what should be observed and reported.
Mystery shoppers are independent contractors that can work for as many different mystery shopping companies as they desire. You should never have to pay to be a mystery shopper. Most reputable companies pay you a fee for completing the shop, and most offer a reimbursement for the average cost of what you are assigned to eat, or if you are required to make a small purchase. Not all will reimburse for purchase, in those cases you can likely return the item at a later date to obtain a refund on the item. For certain shops their is not a fee paid, however you are fully reimbursed for the service or meal. For example getting an oil change on your vehicle, or filling up your car with gas. You may not receive a fee payment, but you did get a free oil change or fill-up.
Also the typical amounts of the fee paid for a mystery shop can range from $5 – $50, and in times of need companies will offer bonuses. Mystery shopping is a great side job for an additional stream of income, but I wouldn’t count on it to replace your primary source of income. It is also great for supplementing some household expenses like eating out for lunch, or maintenance on your car.
Most mystery shop companies pay via Paypal. Each have their own payment schedules detailed on their sites, some are faster than others. On average expect payment 2-4weeks after job completion.
Its certainly not a bad idea to contract through several companies, as they all offer different types of mystery shopping jobs and opportunities. Most companies offer the option of emailing job availability notices, so its also a good idea to have a designated email just for mystery shopping. Otherwise your email can become saturated with job notifications. You can also check the job boards for assignments in your area.
5 keys🔑 and a few tips with how to be a successful mystery shopper, and what the companies expect from you.
#1 Key🔑 To be a successful mystery shopper you must following the direction details provided with the mystery shop. Some shops will provide specific information regarding targeted sales people they are seeking to evaluate. Others provide instructions to make a call ahead to the service department to see if they will schedule an appointment with you, prior to arriving at the location. And there are other specific requests that will be located in the directions of a particular job. It is important to read all of the instructions to ensure you complete the shop correctly. Not all shops are detailed, but the higher paying jobs tend to require the most detailed tasks. If you do not complete all the tasks as instruction you could risk not being paid for doing the shop.
#2 Key🔑 Be observant without being obvious. The core of mystery shopping is for the person you are observing to not know they are being evaluated. If you are taking obvious notes, are acting unnatural with a lot of questions, those are things that can make a person suspicious they are being mystery shopped. With restaurant shops a picture of the food is normally required. But you do not want it to look weird that you are photographing your food.
To help me with those situations I simply act like I do as a foodie social media junkie. Its appears like I am taking a picture to post on social media, and when I’m taking notes it looks like a text on my phone. If I am doing a retail store mystery shop, most require spending some time in the fitting room. I use that time in the fitting room to update my notes in my phone while I’m timing how long the sales rep takes to check back in on me to offer help.
#3 Key🔑 Be organized and throughly review your data collection is accurate, and you have gathered everything. In an none obvious place someplace near where your mystery shop is located double check the shop detail requirements to make sure you have taken all your pictures and gathered all the information you need before you leave your shop. There is nothing worse than getting home to write up your report and realize you forgot to get a timestamped picture of the store window, or restaurant sign. You can also make sure to quickly go over your notes to make sure you obtained info and completed all the observation tasks, like doing a quick walk thru of the bathroom, and obtained the sales persons name or accurate description.
#4 Key🔑 Write the observation report with correct grammar, and use spell check before submitting. You are not only evaluated on completing the tasks requested, but also on submitting the report so that its presentable to the client that requested the mystery shop. If the mystery shop company has to do extensive grammar corrections when proof reading, some may reject the report. Others may limit you from doing other jobs if the report is not of good quality writing.
#5 Key🔑 Submit the report on time! The mystery shops have deadlines of completion. You have to complete the assignment and submit the report by the assigned deadline cut off date and time. Its best practice to write up and submit the report the same day you complete the shop, while everything is still fresh in your mind. If you are going to miss a deadline you should contact the mystery company and let them know, some will offer an extension of completion. However some will not. if you miss too may deadlines, the companies will stop using you as a contractor.
Pictured below (to the left) is an example of a typical mystery shop job details and requirement page. You can read this prior to requesting to be assigned to the shop to make sure it is something you qualify for and want to do.
To the right is a picture of the login page that leads to the job board. For some mystery companies this will also show the total number of shops you have competed and your ranking with those shops. You want to keep a good rank standing for self assignment eligibility and to be emailed for higher paying mystery shops.
Some of the best companies to work with are apart of the Sassie network system. Sassie itself is not a mystery shop company, it is the system that the mystery shop companies use. It is very easy to sign up to be a mystery shopper, simply go to their sites and fill out the registration to sign up. You can search the job boards to determine the types of jobs you would be interested in doing.
I’ll provide you guys with the names to my Top 10 Mystery Shop Companies that I prefer to contract with. Click the names of the companies to be taken to their websites to sign up:
6- HS Brands
10- Sinclair Metrics
I hope this has been helpful info with guiding you towards the right direction to becoming a successful mystery shopper. With organization, time, and some hustle being a mystery shopper could become a fun and legit additional stream of income for you.
Thanks for reading and MUCH SUCCESS to you on all of your side hustle and empowering endeavors!
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