Getting More From Your Career As A Mystery Shopper

by WorkFromHome on October 16, 2011

Mystery shopping must be one of the most interesting and rewarding at-home careers in today’s market. As a mystery shopper you will be required to evaluate restaurants, shop at the mall, and even have services like carpet cleaning performed in your home. The incredible thing about this type of work is that not only do you get paid to do these things; you also get to use the services, eat at the restaurants, and keep the merchandise you purchased for free.

If Mystery Shopping Is So Great – Why Doesn’t Everyone Do This?

Mystery shopping has acquired a somewhat shady reputation in the work at home industry, but for no apparent reason. Perhaps it is because the job is so simple, and provides so many benefits, that the position sounds “too good to be true.” Mystery shopping has been around for at least fifty years and is one of the best tools that corporations can use to gauge the success of their company.

CEO’s and other management officials can read through reports and listen to employee feedback to get a feel of what takes place in their retail centers. However, without first-hand experiences from customers to review, the reports and feedback are useless. Management needs to know how the customers see their business, because in the end without them there is no business.

Because this information is so important, companies are willing to provide free services and pay a salary to “mystery” customers to go into their establishments and rate their experience. In a way, it does sound “too good to be true,” but it is a very legitimate profession that many enjoy.

How It Works

Once you have applied for a position with a mystery shopping employment firm, you will go through a quick review process that helps the company understand your personal demographics. There are times when a company may request, for example, a 40-50 year old woman go to the store and purchase a specific item. If you fit that description, you will be sent to perform a “shop.” Most of the mystery shopping jobs that are out there, however, are just generalized jobs and anyone can participate.

Each company will have a different way of posting available positions that are open each day. Some have a job board on their site, while others notify by email. Once you have found a task you wish to perform you accept the job and complete the required task. When you have completed this task, you will be required to immediately fill out an evaluation form and submit it to the company. Most mystery shopping companies have online submission.

When your evaluation is completed, you will submit your payment form and are free to perform the next task. You are not limited to the amount of “shops” you can do each day, so you can increase you decide your own pace.

What Do I Need To Be A Mystery Shopper?

Becoming a mystery shopper is fairly easy, and you probably have everything you need right in your home. As a mystery shopper you will need:

  • Personal transportation. You will be required to visit these establishments in person.
  • Computer.
  • Cell Phone. Some companies may require you to phone in your evaluation from the establishment itself. This is rare, but it does occur.
  • Fax Machine. Some of the mystery shopping companies still require you to fax in your evaluations. However, this practice is quickly disappearing.
  • Notebook and pen. It is smart to write down notes about your experience when you return to your car after the task has been completed. This will allow you to make accurate reports when you return home.

How Does Payment Work?

Mystery shopping companies will pay you different amounts for different tasks. Each company also has different rates for their jobs. It is very important that you familiarize yourself with the payment system of each company that you work for as a shopper. Some companies will also reimburse you for mileage to and from the establishment.

Anything that you have purchased will be reimbursed to you above the payment for your services. It is very important that you have receipts for your purchases and that you submit them to the company when you submit your report. All companies reimburse authorized purchases at 100%.

Are There Any Drawbacks To Mystery Shopping?

The only real drawback to mystery shopping is paying for the services you are evaluating upfront. Reimbursement is quick however, and once you start receiving payment for your services, the upfront costs will not be so bad.

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