Would you like to learn how to become a mystery shopper? Check out this post to learn more.
Everything you need to know about how to become a mystery shopper will be in the following post. I hope you find them helpful and informative. I have been a mystery shopper for over ten years, so trust me when I say; you can have fun and make money as a mystery shopper. As with most things, it's not for everyone, so that you may hate it. There that's my disclaimer!
After I had my first son and decided I would not be returning to work, I decided to start looking for alternative ways to bring in extra money. Mystery shopping was one of the things I looked into. After much research, I found a lot of great companies to work for. Now, with that being said, I do get something out of the way right off the bat. If you are looking to bring a second income into your mystery, home shopping is not how to do that. I have yet to find a company that pays enough to replace an income completely. Under the right circumstances, it would be possible to earn a good chunk of change to buy gifts for others or the way we shop weeks worth of groceries off of just a few "secret shopping trips."
I greatly enjoy mystery shopping, auditing, theater checks, in-store sampling, and merchandising. The important thing to remember is that every company and every shop is different. They each have their guidelines, so read them carefully and be reliable (that's what they are looking for). If you get a good reputation as a shopper, it can take you places, and a bad one can get around even faster.
Want to become a mystery shopper? Here are a few different types of shops you can expect to see:
Types Of Mystery Shopping Jobs:
~ Pay/Return -For a shop like this you have to go into a store and purchase an item (sometimes a particular item) and pay for it (with your $). Then you have to return the item (sometimes immediately a few hours to a day later). These shops will pay you a flat rate to do this.
~ Purchase/Keep- For a shop like this, you are required to purchase an item (with your $), and you get to keep the item (it will usually specify the amount they will reimburse up to), and the company will reimburse you for your purchase and pay you a flat rate.
~ Fast Food Promotions- You have to make a particular food purchase, and you are looking for the employees to do certain things for the promotion (up-sell, greet you, repeat order back). A shop like this will usually reimburse, has a flat rate pay, and you get a good feeling (if they win) with rewarding them with a prize!
~ Fast Food Check- A shop like this will require a particular purchase (sometimes you can order anything), and you will be reimbursed and paid a low flat rate.
~ Merchandising- These are jobs that require you to refill coupon machines, put together plan-o-gram type displays, take brochures to the electronics department in large stores, and hang movie posters in theaters (along with so many other jobs). You usually get paid per 1/2 hr, and the job will have a cap time. So you could get a job hanging a movie poster (harder than it sounds), and the cap is 1hr. Any time it takes after one hr. will not be paid for.
~ Theater checks and audits- These are my favorite! You have to go to the selected movie and watch for trailers, count the number of people viewing the movie, look for promotional materials, and various other assignments. You do not have to pay to get in (you will have a letter to show the manager), and you can stay and watch the movie and get paid!
How To Become A Mystery Shopper:
I would suggest starting your journey HERE with the MSPA or Mystery Shopping Providers Association.
If you are interested in investing a lot of time applying to companies and shopping, I suggest you get certified. I currently hold a silver certificate, and it was both easy to obtain and inexpensive.
The companies you apply for will ask if you are certified and for your certification number. This helps get shopper jobs because they know that you are dedicated enough to get certified, and they know you have gone through the testing and have agreed to maintain the integrity and abide by their code of ethics.
The Application Process: What You Can Expect:
When you apply to become a Mystery Shopper, you are considered an Independent Contractor; this means you own your own business and are responsible for paying taxes on any of the money you earn. It is rare (I have never seen one) that a company would hire you as an employee.
Now when you get ready to apply for companies, I would suggest you save any essay type answers to a Word document. This will save you so much time! Companies will ask questions like: "Describe a recent shopping trip or restaurant experience you have had in the last week." They are looking to see if you pay attention to detail.
For a restaurant (fast food) you can include things like:
- The cleanliness of the parking lot
- Whether or not you were greeted upon entering and what was said
- How long you waited in line before your order was taken
- How long it took to get your food after your order was placed
- The appearance of the restaurant, friendliness of the employees
- The bathroom (did it have toilet paper, was it clean, how did it smell)
- How was your food (was it hot, fresh, how did it taste)? You can use many of these examples for a shopping trip as well. Having worked at Burger King, I find it easier to describe a restaurant! Can you see why you wouldn't want to have to rewrite this 25 times?
Another common question is, "why would we want you as a part of our team." This one is simple enough. They are looking for dependable people, who work hard, pay attention to detail, and are available to fill in for other shoppers.
I am going to leave you with two companies to apply for today.
See Level This is the first company I ever worked with! They shop Sunglass Hut, Watch World, Travel Centers, Apparel, and High-End Shops and Vision Centers (eyeglasses and contacts).
Market Force, This is my all-time favorite company. They have three portals you can apply for. This is for fast food, electronics stores, cell phone providers, convenience stores, grocery stores, and TAX PREPARATION!
They currently offer shops where they will reimburse you for having your taxes prepared by a company, and I believe you also get a good flat-rate pay! The portal is for merchandising and theater checks! And the portal is for banking and financial shops.
A Closer Look - Applications are open for both the USA and Canada. You must be 18 and have a shopper essay ready for your application. Wondering what a shopper essay should sound like? I've included an example below.
Second To None- Easy application! Once you apply, you will see a portal that lists their available jobs. It looks like they have grocery store shops. I'm going to try one this week and let you know how it goes.
Best Mark -Super easy application. They have fun amusement shops (think go-karts). Once you apply to can click on available shops to see what they have near you.
Secret Shopper - Easy application, must pass a short quiz.
Movie Measure - Watch movies, install movie posters, and more.
Bare International - Home Depot, Best Buy, and more. Easy application. Click to view jobs after creating your account.
NOTE: A reputable company NEVER asks for money EVER! Also, I would recommend staying away from check-cashing shops!
Alta360 - Gas shops
Take time to educate yourself on Mystery Shopping Scams before you start applying/accepting gigs.
Mystery Shopper Application Essay Example:
Some mysetry shopping applications ask for an essay. For example, the question may read like this:
Please provide a minimum of two full paragraphs describing your last casual or fine dining restaurant experience. Our clients require that their shop reports provide fully detailed narrative descriptions of the evaluator’s overall experience. Your narrative will be evaluated for quality, descriptive content, spelling, and punctuation.
Here is an example of what the company is looking for. Please don't copy and paste my essay. Get creative and write an honest essay detailing your most recent or most memorable experience.
Application Essay Sample:
My most recent casual dining experience took place at B Franklin's restaurant in Woodbridge, VA. We arrived at the restaurant during the dinner rush but found the parking lot dark and empty. The restaurant is new, which likely explains why the parking lot and temporary sign are not well-lit. We were greeted as we entered the restaurant by a pleasant hostess who gave us our menus and took our drink orders. The hostess returned with our drinks before our waiter arrived to take our order.
The waiter informed us of the nightly specials and gave recommendations when asked about the meals we were considering. The restaurant had a nice atmosphere and was very clean. The restrooms were also clean and well-stocked. When the food arrived, it was hot and looked delicious. Sadly the taste was disappointing as the sandwich I ordered was overly buttered and soggy. I didn't complain about the meal, I didn't eat it, and the waiter didn't notice. After finishing our meal we asked for our check, paid, and left. After our most recent experience, I wouldn't recommend this restaurant to my friends.