Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Mystery Shopping

I was just reading a magazine article where the author alluded to the fact that mystery shopping is a scam. Mystery shopping is not a scam. Someone selling a list of mystery shopping companies is a scam. I have even been hearing advertising on the radio from so called legitimate companies trying to get you to pay them for a list so you too can be a mystery shopper! I couldn't believe that the market had gotten so large they could afford radio advertising in the middle of the day.
You can make money mystery shopping in fact one lady even wrote a book about her experiences and she was making really good money. It is like any other job, the more experience you have the more money you will make. As a mystery shopper just starting out you will probably get jobs paying $5-$10 or jobs that just reimburse you for a meal etc. As your experience grows and you prove yourself to be an excellent shopper you will see the better jobs come along.
The mystery shopping industry prides itself on having great shoppers. You will need to be able to follow through on all aspects of the job if you are going to accept it. Don't take a job thinking I might be able to get to the store on this date if I can find a babysitter. If you can't make the deadline the company is probably not going to continue to use your services again. Same thing with the paperwork, if you can't follow the instructions or if you do a sloppy job you are going to get a bad reputation as a shopper and you won't get jobs.
I suggest signing up with a few companies at first and getting some experience under your belt. Then apply with other companies showing that you have experience so you can start getting higher paying jobs. Before applying for an actual job read all the qualifications, instructions etc. Some companies have online training that you must complete before you can apply for jobs, show you are serious by completing all the available training.
You can also become certified. The certification costs a few dollars, less than $20 to become silver level I believe, but isn't required to become a mystery shopper. I am not certified because I only shop occassionally. If I start shopping on a fairly regular basis I will take the time to become certified.
There is a free list of mystery shopping companies at www.katieshugs.com and anyone is free to use it. There are a ton of companies out there but my favorites are listed here. You can also join the message board to talk with other shoppers and find out if this is for you.


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