Today I’m going to attempt to answer those three questions as best as I can.
How Can I Become a Mystery Shopper/Secret Shopper?
It’s as EASY as signing up with Mystery Shopping Companies to become a shopper. I have and will list companies that I’ve shopped for on this site from time to time. Many of these companies have their own niche. For example: Shopping company #1 may only perform restaurant evaluations, company #2 may have you go into retail stores and have you purchase items (and then return them later) and company #3 might send you to the post office to send a package. Most mystery shopping companies have a variety of clients that they handle, so it is to your advantage to sign up with as many of them as you can. Remember that signing up to shop is like sending them your resume, so make certain that it is professional and reflects your skills. The MOST important question that you will be asked is to DESCRIBE A PREVIOUS DINING (or retail) EXPERIENCE. If you can’t WRITE, then you probably won’t be hired, so this question is CRITICAL. They are looking for details. What you shouldn’t say is – “We went out to eat at ### restaurant and the food was good.”
Your first assignment? The next time you go out to dinner, become aware of the service, atmosphere, cleanliness and the food. Come home and write a paragraph or two describing your experience. Keep it stored so that all you have to do is cut and paste it into your mystery shopping employment application the next time you’re asked about your writing and observation skills.
Is it true you can get paid “$500 a week” going SHOPPING?
No, you probably WON’T make $500 a week. In most cases you won’t be paid at all. Most dining mystery shops (and some hotel shops) are reimbursement only. So, be prepared to foot the bill yourself and wait 45 days to get a reimbursement check. This doesn’t mean that you CAN’T make $500 a week, but it’s not easy. At the height of my mystery shopping career, I made a lot more than this. I also worked 8-10 hours a day, 7 days a week. The “average” rate of pay goes something like this:
Retail Shops $3-$20
Fast Food: $3-$10
Gas Stations $3-$5
Movie Theaters $5-$10
Hotel Shops $0-$125
Isn’t secret shopping just a big scam?
On Tuesday I read a story on a forum that I frequent, that one of the members had been scammed after signing up and PAYING for mystery shopping information. They had signed up with a supposed mystery shopping company, placed all of their information on the secret shopping website and VOILA, they were offered a job. Unfortunately, the “JOB” was a check scam. Had the person done a little investigating (which is what mystery shoppers really do), he would have found out that this “company” had done the same to many people. Please, if you have ANY doubts regarding a mystery shopping company, you can check the MSPA to see if they are a member.
Here are a few of my FAVORITE companies to work for:
Focus on Service – shops a favorite casual steakhouse & is ALWAYS looking for new mystery shoppers Focus on Service
A Closer Look – primarily shops restaurants in both the casual and fine dining categories (although I’ve seen OTHER shops that they’ve listed as well) – You must be EXTREMELY detail oriented and very comfortable writing in depth reports (do not expect to just have a checklist report).A Closer Look
Feedback Plus – you’ll find a variety of shops ranging from restaurants to retail here. Feedback Plus
Be sure to check out Mystery Shopper News for secret shop and merchandising lessons and LEADS!
Don’t expect Mystery Shopping to replace your current job or career (at least not yet). It’s a great way to supplement your income with some VERY nice perks. If you have any questions, feel free to use the comment section or send me an e-mail and I’ll attempt to answer you the next time I post about secret shopping.