Today we have a special guest post about how you can earn extra money being a Mystery Shopper from Anna at Real Ways to Earn Money Online. Thank you Anna for this great article!
Many people immediately associate the words “mystery shopping” with “scam.” And you can’t blame them — there are in fact a ton of mystery shopping scams out there. Luckily, mystery shopping is a real thing, and it can be a fun, flexible, and somewhat lucrative side job once you know where to find the work.
What Is Mystery Shopping?
Mystery shopping is basically what it sounds like — visiting a store, restaurant, or other place of business and posing as a shopper so you can report on your experiences later. There are lots of major businesses that want to know how their stores are functioning on a day to day basis, such as how clean their workers keep things, how polite their workers are, inventory, etc. And so they go through major firms who specialize in setting up these shops as well as recruiting the mystery shoppers to carry them out.
Most mystery shopping companies will not pay you until after you’ve completed an assignment and submitted your report. In some cases, you will be required to make a small purchase at the business where you’re conducting your shop. When this is required, the company will reimburse you for what you spent plus pay you a flat rate for doing the shop.
What Makes a Good Mystery Shopper?
Mystery shopping may sound easy enough and you might think it’s a job pretty much anyone can do, but not everyone is cut out for it. There are certain qualities and traits that successful mystery shoppers usually possess. If you want to be a successful mystery shopper, the following traits are important:
- Dependable. Companies don’t want to hire people who “flake out” and fail to show up for shopping assignments they accept. If you do this, you can be pretty certain that company won’t ask you to do any more shops.
- Observant and detail oriented. This is the whole point of mystery shopping — to closely observe and notice every little thing. You’ll have to report all the things you see later in your write-up.
- Good recall. You also need to be able to accurately recall every little detail you noticed while you shopping for your report.
- Good writing skills. Mystery shoppers are usually required to submit detailed write-ups on the shops they do, so good spelling and grammar are a must. You also need to be able to structure sentences and paragraphs together in a way that makes sense to the person who will be reviewing your reports.
- Credibility. The first rule of mystery shopping is that no one — neither store patrons nor workers — should know you are a mystery shopper. So you’ll have to make sure that, to the general public, you look and act just like any other shopper would.
Reputable Mystery Shopping Companies
If you’re ready to start registering as a shopper, you’ll want to make sure the companies you consider are legitimate. Below is a list of reputable, well-known companies that have been in the business of hiring mystery shoppers for a long time:
- About Face
- Best Mark
- Beyond Hello
- Second to None
- Service Intelligence
- Shopper’s Critique
If you’re not sure whether to register with a specific company, check to see if they are listed with the MSPA (Mystery Shopping Provider’s Association). This is a reputable organization that most well-known mystery shopping companies are connected with.
Avoiding Mystery Shopping Scams
Unfortunately some scam artists try to rip people off with fake mystery shopping jobs. If you ever get a letter in the mail containing a check that looks real along with instructions asking you to complete a financial services shop, don’t follow through. Most of the time what will happen is you’ll be instructed to deposit the check into your own bank account and then wire part of the money to someone else. As you may have guessed, the check will turn out to be fraudulent — but not before the bad guys got the money that you wired to them.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many times these scam artists will pretend to be legit companies — going as far as to use logos from real companies on their fake checks! One important thing to remember is that genuine, reputable mystery shopping companies do not send out emails and letters to people who have never applied to work with them. They won’t contact you unless you’ve contacted them first.
Anna Thurman researches various online money-earning opportunities and work at home jobs. Her findings are published via her website, Real Ways to Earn Money Online.