Can you really make money as a mystery shopper? Yes you can! Mystery shopping may be an ideal way to make money, work when and where you want to, and get some free merchandise and services.
What is Mystery Shopping?
Mystery shopping is part of the quality control process for companies. Mystery shoppers pose as regular customers to assigned shops, then report back to the company. The company provides the mystery shopper with an evaluation form to return after a shop is conducted. The company may want to find out about the service being provided to their customers or the quality of products customers are purchasing.
A shop may take anywhere from two minutes to over an hour. The follow-up evaluation can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour, depending on the shopper and the length of the evaluation form.
How Much Money Can I Make?
Payment for mystery shopping varies greatly. Payment can range from $4.00 to over $100.00 per shop. Companies may combine the reimbursement of a product or service, along with an actual cash payment as the total amount of compensation for your time. You will always be reimbursed for any purchases you are required to make.
There are plenty of shops that do not require any purchases. You are only working for the payment amount. So if you don’t want to spend out-of-pocket money for expenses, you can apply for shops that do not require purchases. These shops may include viewing apartments, storage facilities, audits in stores, and so forth.
What You Do
Mystery shoppers register with one or more mystery shop companies. You will need to fill out an application form for each company you register with. Some companies also require you to take a short test. They provide you with a narrative and then follow-up with the test. Once you are registered and accepted, you will be directed to a job board. The job board describes the available shops, payment for the shops, reimbursement for products or services, location of the shop, and the due date for your report or evaluation. All companies require you to submit an online evaluation of your visit to the assigned shop.
How to Get Started
The easiest way to start making money as a mystery shopper is to check out the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) site. The association provides shoppers with a list of jobs available. When you click on the job you’re interested in, you will be given the details of the job along with the name of the mystery shop company that is conducting that particular shop. You will then go to the mystery shop company’s web site and register with that company. You can then begin applying for shops with that company. Once you’re registered with a particular company, you can go back to their site and apply for a shop whenever you want to.
You can register with as many mystery shopping companies as you’d like. As a mystery shopper, you’re considered to be an independent contractor. You decide your own schedule by applying for shops on days and times that you’re available. You can decide if you want to pursue mystery shopping as a full-time job, a part-time job for extra money, or only when you want an oil change or a free dinner! As you learn the ropes, you’ll develop confidence and some strategies to help make mystery shopping more enjoyable and lucrative.