So you’ve seen the ads and thought how nice it would be to get free merchandise and paid to shop. It sounds great, something for nothing. As the old saying goes nothing is for free. Mystery shopping is work. Below are few things to keep in mind if you’re considering becoming a mystery shopper.
First, let’s talk money! This is not a get rich quick program. The expense of completing the mystery shop will initially come out of your pocket since you cannot get paid until after you have completed the assignment and turned in all required documentation. Most companies pay out on a monthly basis so it may be close to two months before you receive any reimbursement or payment. Also, most payments are small if not reimbursement only. However if you are looking for a dinner, haircut, oil change, etc. mystery shopping may be just what you are looking for. Plus, once you complete your assignments on a steady basis you won’t notice the gap between the shop and reimbursement as much.
Next you need to know, mystery shopping is work! You will be required to know the shop companies policies and policies of the business you will be mystery shopping at. Depending on the type of mystery shop to be performed, there may be eligibility requirements such as owning a specific type of vehicle, having a teenager that can go on a shop with you, owning or renting a home, and so forth. You will be required to comment on very specific aspects such as the color of clothing worn, if a belt was worn, how long it took to be greeted all while ensuring you aren’t giving yourself away.
The mystery shopping company you receive your assignment from will also have very specific requirements of how to claim mystery shops, what paperwork is required upon completing a shop and when you must have your completed documentation turned in by. If you miss a step or do not turn in your information on time you risk reducing or losing your payment altogether. This is not because they are trying to keep you from money owed but in order for them to receive payment from the business you’re shopping at they have deadlines for presenting the findings. Also keep in mind most paperwork is completed online and you will likely need access to a printer and fax machine as well.
Still interested? If so do your research on the company you are applying at. A legitimate company will never ask you for money to be on a shopping list. You can try looking up the company with the better business bureau to see if there are any complaints and of course it’s always smart to complete a general internet search for comments on the company. Once you have found a legitimate business be prepared to complete a full application but again do not pay for a list of mystery shopping companies or to be on a list to become a shopper. Happy Shopping!