Are you considering becoming a mystery shopper? It's a great way to make some extra money, but it's important to understand what you're getting into. As an expert in the field, I'm here to tell you that mystery shopping can be a great way to make some extra cash, but there are some things you should know before you get started. First of all, no real work, including mystery shopping, involves paying to get the job. If someone tells you that you need to pay for certification, training, or a guaranteed job, don't do it.
Certification is often worthless and there may not be any work available. When you become a mystery shopper, you'll be asked to purchase items in most cases. You won't be sent cash in advance, so it's important that you have the money available to cover your purchases. It can take up to 90 days to receive a refund for your purchases, so if you can't afford to spend the money, this may not be the right job for you.
Mystery shoppers are paid consumers who are hired to shop in stores and collect data. Think of them as undercover customers who observe, interact with, and report on other customers and store employees. Mystery shoppers are hired by retailers or market research firms to shop in one or more locations and report on the overall customer experience. If you want to make the most money from mystery shopping, it's best to focus on stores and restaurants that you already frequent or those that are within a thirty-mile radius of your home.
That way, you can work your mystery shopping around your current habits and make more money. I've done some mystery shopping myself and while I don't think I'm going to quit my job to become a full-time mystery shopper, it has allowed me to run some errands and get paid a little here and there. When you become a mystery shopper, you'll need to participate in training and certification programs. The visit alone will usually take more than an hour and then there's phone training to qualify for the store. You'll also need to complete the Sinclair New Buyer Challenge, which is a questionnaire that confirms that you've read and understood the terms. You may also be asked to make a mystery purchase from the customer's location or one of their competitors in order to provide intelligence.
Founded in 1986, BestMark is one of the largest and oldest mystery shopping companies in the world with more than 600,000 mystery shoppers, intercept interviewers, and compliance auditors. It's important to note that there are many scams out there that target people looking for mystery shopping jobs. Be wary of any company that asks for money upfront or promises high earnings without any experience. Some full-time mystery shoppers have reported earning between £30,000 and £40,000 per year after spending many years on the job and building up their reputation in the industry. If you're serious about becoming a mystery shopper, I recommend attending free business seminars at your local community college. This will help you understand how to be classified as an independent contractor so that your mystery shopping decisions will be clearer.
I also suggest reading "The Beginner's Guide To Mystery Shopping" which comes with an updated list of 400 MS companies. Finally, when investigating different mystery shopping jobs, take a closer look at some of the companies before signing up. Many people have been disappointed with their jobs or not being paid as agreed after taking on these roles.