My Life as a Mystery Shopper
Having been involved in mystery shopping for about 3 years, I thought it appropriate to share some firsthand experience about what it is like. I will squelch the myths and hype. I will speak the truth. My article will help others learn about my life as a mystery shopper.
I have experienced new surroundings because of mystery shopping assignments. I also have received many items. For instance, I have received new eyeglasses, wardrobe items, small appliances, and have test drove new cars and motorcycles. I also have dined in eateries ranging from fine restaurants to fast food. I have had my book printing paid for. I have attended national seminars. I have learned about quite a few new products. These are but some of the benefits I have received from mystery shopping.
First, I became involved in mystery shopping when I performed a lot of online research to find out what it was all about. I simply put ‘mystery shopping’ in the search box and received a multitude of responses. I reviewed the legitimate looking ones. Then I stumbled upon a website called www.volition.com. There is a goldmine of information on this site. Plus, it is free. If interested, go here to sign up to become a mystery shopper.
Myths and Drawbacks:
Pay for a list of companies needing mystery shoppers. Some companies lead you to belief that you need to pay for a listing of participating companies to mystery shop for. ‘Become a Secret Shopper’ is a common email sent out utilizing this tactic. That is not true. I have known people who paid this fee and did receive assignments. So, the company is legitimate. However, why pay when you do not have to? Plus, I receive many more mystery shopping offers than my friend does. Do not pay for anything to become a mystery shopper. The only thing you should pay for is the time involved to register.
Make thousands of dollars while mystery shopping. Considering the average assignment is around $10, this is impossible. Plus, there is the travel time involved. Combine the travel time, reporting your results, and mileage – there is no way you are going to get rich doing mystery shopping.
Mystery shopping is an easy way to make money. Mystery shopping requires the shopper to know the client’s company requirements. Each assignment requires a test to ascertain the mystery shopper knows what to look for. This takes time. Some tests are short, some long. Of course, the longer test usually results in the higher payment.
Mystery shopping is a quick way to make money. Considering the average company does not pay their mystery shoppers until 1-1/2 months after the shop, that is a blatant misstatement. There are some mystery shopping companies that pay within two weeks. Those are nice to find, but not that common.
One drawback to mystery shopping is the fact that many times the shopper is reimbursed for out of pocket expenses. The shopper performs the shop, submits the receipt, and then gets reimbursed. The time period can be frustrating. That takes the same time as ‘getting paid’.
Another drawback consists of not getting reimbursed for travel or gas expense. With the cost of fuel being so high, this is a definite downside to mystery shopping. As a mystery shopper, one is an Independent Contractor.
Truths about Mystery Shopping:
Mystery shopping is a great way to experience new things. I never would have test drove a new Harley nor Buick had it not been for my assignment.
Mystery shopping is a fun way to meet new people. Mystery shopping usually involves conversing with people. I have met some wonderful people because of this.
Mystery shopping is an interesting way to learn about your surrounding area. I have gone to new local areas due to assignments. I would not have gone to these areas otherwise.
Mystery shopping involves variety. I have had assignments which were anonymous. This means no one knew I was a mystery shopper. Other assignments consisted of my revealing my identity. These shops happened to be photo shots and award presentations. I also have done assignments involving demo shows, trade shows, and presentations. Each assignment was listed under mystery shopping.
Mystery shopping involves learning about business operations. For any business-minded business, that is very interesting. Mystery shoppers must know the individual company’s guidelines that need to be followed.
In closing, I would not recommend mystery shopping as a full-time job. There is no way one would make enough money. On a part-time basis, though, it is ok. I only chose the assignments that are within a certain mileage radius. It works out fine.