If you need to know how to start mystery shopping as a way to make a little extra money on the side but aren’t sure where to start, then this mystery shopping guide is for you!
We’re going to answer a few important questions and give you the answers you’ll need before getting started.
Mystery shopping is a simple, straightforward way to make a little extra money, doing the things you normally do! And you’ll need a rundown of how it works before you begin.
What is mystery shopping?
Mystery shopping is the process of going undercover for a third-party, market research company to report on various aspects of the customer experience, usually for retail chains. You may be tasked with reporting on anything from the overall cleanliness of a retail environment to the friendliness of the associates you interact with.
Are mystery shopping jobs legitimate?
Yes! There are plenty of legitimate mystery shopping companies out there. These companies are third parties that employ people like you and me to do boots-on-the-ground research for them.
Does mystery shopping pay well?
That really depends on your perspective. Mystery shopping was much more lucrative 10 to 15 years ago. That being said, you can easily make $10-$20 per gig. If you did just 1 a day, 5 days a week, then you’d make between $50 to $100 in the course of a week. Over 52 weeks, that works out to over $5000. That’s not bad money for the work!
Which mystery shopping companies pay best?
Truth be told, most mystery shopping companies have very similar pay structures. You’re usually tasked with buying something. You get reimbursed for this purchase, and very often you’ll get an additional bonus on top of that.
What qualities do I need to be a mystery shopper?
The basic qualities needed to start as a mystery shopper are attention to detail and good written communication skills. You’re evaluating a company from a consumer perspective by answering a series of questions, so you’ll need to be able to communicate clearly to convey your experience in detail.
Keep in mind, just because you complete a mystery shop doesn’t mean it will be accepted. If you leave out answers or fail to follow directions, you could disqualify yourself from payment.
How do I become a mystery shopper?
1. Sign up
The first thing you have to do is to sign up on a reputable mystery shopping site. Some of our favorites are iSecretShop, Market Force, Gigwalk, and Field Agent. Be savvy and watch out for scams from other companies. Mystery shopping companies will never ask you to pay them money to conduct a shop. So, if you see that as a requirement, STOP…that should be a big red flag!
2. Apply for a shop
Once you’re signed up, you’ll need to search for shops in your area and start applying. Be sure to read all of the shop details very carefully. All shops have stipulations, deadlines, and requirements. Attention to detail is crucial.
3. Plan for the shop
Once you’re accepted for a particular shop, there is a little bit of planning required to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Here are a few suggestions for preparing for shop:
- Add the shop date and time to your calendar
- Be sure to also block out time to complete the report after the shop
- Make sure your phone is charged (most mystery shops require photos)
- Print out the instructions or read them right before your shop to make sure nothing is missed
4. Complete the shop
Whether it’s a phone or in-person shop, now that you’ve signed up, it’s time to follow through. Take pictures. Take notes. And, upload your report. That’s it! You’re a Mystery Shopper.
If by chance you can’t complete the shop, be sure to follow the steps to notify the mystery shopping company as soon as you can. No matter what, don’t just ignore the shop. Mystery shopping companies don’t have to do business with you. If you’re unreliable, you won’t get many opportunities.
Mystery shopping won’t make you rich, but once you complete shops on a regular basis, it can become an easy side hustle. It doesn’t require a great amount of time and skill. Plus, you usually can work shops into your regular routine.
If you have any questions about becoming a mystery shopper or want to share your experience, drop us a line in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you!
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