Mystery shopping is a growing industry. As with all industries, you need to educate yourself before beginning. There are a lot of benefits to mystery shopping, but it is not all fun.
Most mystery shopping companies do not charge a fee to start. There are companies that offer a list of companies for a fee, but most of this information is available on the internet for free. Save yourself some money and do a little research.
To be a good mystery shopper, you need to be organized, detailed, have a good memory and reliable. Different companies require you to keep copies of your receipts and reports for a certain amount of time. Some require you to mail in your receipts. You have to be detailed in your descriptions and observations. You must remember times, names and more. A shopper has to follow directions precisely. If you take an assignment, you must complete that assignment. If you fail to complete an assignment, it may be grounds to terminate your contract.
A good mystery shopper can make a decent, extra income. If you stay organized, I suggest keeping a calendar of where and when you are shopping. You can schedule nearby shops the same day. A mystery shopper can eat and also receive some products for free. Pay will sometimes include the reimbursement amount, it may be only reimbursement, or it may be both. Make sure you are clear on what you will be paid for.
There are some negatives to mystery shopping. Some of the forms are long, very detailed and time consuming. Before taking an assignment, make sure to look over the forms to see what details are needed. Also, check to see how much narrating is needed. Take into consideration how much time it will take you to fill out the information, and if the pay is sufficient for your time. Read all instructions carefully. If something is not completed correctly, during or after the shop, the shop may be considered invalid and compensation may not be made. Make sure to mail or fax receipts when required, or compensation may be withheld. Some companies require long test and review test before a shop can be accepted. Also, make sure you are aware of when a company pays, some pay periods are a couple months away.
Mystery shopping can be a great source of income. There are great, reliable companies out there. With a little practice and research, you can be on your way to being a great mystery shopper.