Some of my extra income comes from Mystery Shopping. I started 3 years ago and I love it. My husband and I get to try new restaurants, products, stores, and salons, and I get paid for it! I must say though it can be a lot of work and one screwup and you may not get reimbursed for the shop.
What is Mystery Shopping?
Mystery Shopping is the practice of using shoppers who have been specially briefed to anonymously evaluate customer service, operations, merchandising, product quality, and in special cases, employee integrity.
Mystery Shopping goes by many names:
Let me first tell you how it works:
First you sign up for the Mystery Shopping Company (I will list them below the ones that I have successfully completed a shop and received payment for it.) Never EVER EVER EVER pay for a site that wants you to pay for the information to become a Mystery Shopper. All the information is out there free, you just have to find it, but it is a good thing I compliled this list for you!
Next, you receive emails about new shops or you can check out the companies website.
Once you request a shop, you wait until you hear from a scheduler via email whether or not you are accepted for the shop. Some companies let you self-assign yourself a shop, but it is rare and you have to already have a relationship with the company.
When you are accepted you follow the directions in the shop email and then return back to the company website to submit your survey. Some mystery shop surveys are easy and quick while others can be long and tedious. I have had to type essay length answers for some questions and then I still get an email from the scheduler saying I was not descriptive enough on something.
Once you do a few shops for a few different companies you will quickly get the hang of it and see what works for you. Like I said earlier it is nice to try out new places or products. I have shopped upscale salons, high end restaurants, fast food, casual restaurants, banks, retail stores, oil change locations, car dealerships, gas stations, casinos, bowling alleys, and more…..
You do have to have access to your own computer and have a digital camera or a scanner, and usually you have to pay for the item/service and then the computer reimburses you in a specified amount of time. Oh also, some companies pay you a shop fee and reimburse you which means you get $X dollars to complete the job and they reimburse you a certain amount and other companies just reimburse you. But either way you get something for free!
Mystery Shopping could be a full time job if you let it, but I think it is more fun to do here and there when you need something or want to try something new. For example, I cannot remember the last time I paid for an oil change or getting my hair highlighted, I just wait for a shop to become available and then submit for it. Also, about half the jobs specifically say no children so that could be a problem for you stay at home moms, unless your like me and you can get a family member/friend to babysit so you can go out!
As I said I have been doing this for 3 years, not so much now that I have 2 kids, but you can always ask me any questions if you need help!
Mystery Shop Companies:
Finally, I have received payment and continuously work for the companies listed above; however, I have signed up for every company out there because it doesn’t hurt to get their emails and then delete if I don’t like their shops. So check out http://www.mysteryshop.org when you are ready to sign up for more companies or to just read up about mystery shopping.
See this article from ABC NEWS:
ABC News: Make Extra $$ as a Mystery Shopper