Yes, you can make some extra cash as a mystery shopper. You read correctly. Keep reading and hopefully I can convince you that the bad things you’ve heard about mystery shopping may not be exactly the truth.
Sure, there are some scammers out there, but I can give you the inside story on a number of programs where you’ll make some extra money and even get some free items. The best part is that you don’t have to work the nine-to-five so it can fit in perfect with a semi-retired lifestyle as well as enhance it somewhat.
What is a mystery shopper?
Being a mystery shopper means you go into a selected business and follow some simple instructions provided by the program you’ve signed up for. Sometimes that can be as simple as walking around the store and making a series of observations. Often it entails making contact with a sales representative, asking pre-determined questions about an item, possibly purchasing that item and observing the interaction during the entire visit.
Once complete, you go home, fill out a questionnaire that will ask about the shopping experience and submit it. You get paid a set fee for your feedback and also a set amount for the item purchased. Typically it’s a small item, but sometimes it can be a big ticket purchase and often you get to keep the item plus whatever the fee is they pay you for your feedback. The term mystery shopper comes from the fact that you are doing this secretly so as to not tip off the store you are doing it. Especially if it’s caught on security cameras, so the key is to appear like a regular customer.
A number of companies use agencies that operate mystery shopper programs to spot check how well their retail outlets are doing in customer service, overall professional attitude and appearance. You can sign up with a number of these agencies with mystery shopper programs and depending on where you live, could easily turn this into a regular part-time job and who wouldn’t want to get paid to shop?
Where to find the jobs
Here are a couple of tips to weed out the scammers from the real deal: first, if the mystery shopper program you are signing up for asks for a registration fee, just leave the site – do not pay a penny. Second, if you sign up with an agency and they try to make you pay to see the jobs they have available, leave that site as well. Here’s a great place to start to find out more about the program: Mystery Shopper Provider’s Association (mspanorthamerica.com) can put your mind at ease about the important role mystery shoppers play in making retail business a safe place for all consumers. The cool places to join to become a mystery shopper include:
Following your free registration, and the approval of your application, you can then login and scroll through their job listings. Each job will have a complete outline with instructions of what to do and after you fulfill the store visit, return to the website and input your feedback. The pay rates are dependent on the task expected of you to perform.
How much can I make?
For example, you can expect between $10 to $20 for regular shop visits plus reimbursement, for items you are instructed to purchase. If you have the time to visit dozens of businesses a month, it can add up quickly. Payments are provided via PayPal by most of the services listed above. The ones that pay by check do so at the end of the month.