I mentioned mystery shopping in a post recently and a few of you asked for more info in the comments. I put a couple of ideas out there, but thought it would make a good post. First of all, yes it is a very legitimate way to make money. You simply need to be careful and know where to look for the legitimate jobs. You should never pay to be a shopper. However, that being said, you will in many cases need to make a purchase (food, small item for proof of visit etc) for which you will be reimbursed.
There are tons of different types of shops. I have shopped restaurants (fast, casual, fine dining), banks, retail, gas stations, movie theaters, bowling, and more. If you can pay attention to details and have decent writing skills, there is extra income to be made. In my area (New England), I could make a full-time income from it even if I traveled as little as 50 miles. For most, it is part-time and what you can make will vary based on how saturated your area is with shoppers. I have made as little as $100 a month (months when I only take my "easy", favorite shops) and as much as $600 (as many as 40 shops).
There are approximately 200 companies who hire mystery shoppers. A separate email for shopping is strongly suggested! You will need to give your basic info and it would also be beneficial to have a writing sample ready (a recent retail or dining experience). Other than that, there is no formal interview process. If you want to make a few hundred bucks per month, I would suggest signing up with 40-50 companies. I am signed up with about 50 and regularly for about half of those (with 5 of those giving me a third of my work). You will get asked for your social security number for tax purposes (They will send a 1099 if you make $600 plus from the individual mystery shopping company). I simply make sure the site is secure before doing so (https vs http).
Where do you start? The following sites are legitimate and are the best resources for reading all you wanted to ever know about mystery shopping (there are audits and merchandising thrown in this category as well, but I have done neither so I have no opinion) and the list of legitimate companies.
Mysteryshop.org (This is where you can get certified as well. It isn't required, but I found after I got silver certified I got a little more work. It currently runs $20 and is good for life.)
Mysteryshopforum.com (MUCH to learn here!)
Finally, a little about getting paid. You will have to wait anywhere from a week to 90 days to get paid (It varies widely throughout the industry, but when you sign up for each company they will give you their time frame for payment). Payment type varies as well ranging from checks, to direct deposit, to PayPal (most popular).
If you have any other questions, just ask!
Archive for March, 2014
I had been pretty down in the dumps about the tutoring business. It doesn't help when "well-meaning" family members point out most businesses fail in the first year. Then again, if someone tells me I can't succeed, it lights a fire in me to prove them wrong!
Business has doubled in the last few weeks and the phone is still ringing off the hook. I have been working quite hard at marketing and it is paying off! It has definitely helped my mood.
I also have been doing a lot of mystery shopping. I have never stopped, but generally do about $100-150 a month in shops. This month I am at $368 (and I still have days to fill if I find the work). Not only am I/we trying to buy a home in the near future, but I desperately want to go visit my adult kids and my grandkids in Florida who I have yet to meet (19 months and 3 months). I finally felt I could justify the trip (Family is most important, but I did have to make enough to cover the bills first) and bought a ticket on Friday. I will be heading down for five days in June right when school lets out here, which should be a slow week for tutoring. I am super excited!
In the meantime, I am going to keep doing as much mystery shopping as I can to pay for the extras on the trip (not much as I am staying at my son's and will be using their car). Any extra will go to the home fund.