How To Become A Mystery Shopper
Are you desperate for a job where you can do what you love? Do you love shopping? Do you love eating out? Do you love giving your opinions?
If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then you might want to consider enrolling as a mystery shopper. Mystery shopping is a job and a pastime that appeals to a magnitude of different people. With around 50,000 mystery shopping visits carried out each month, there’s plenty of scope and choice.
How does mystery shopping work?
The various mystery shopping companies work in different ways. For the most part, the role involves visiting a restaurant, café or retailer and completing a series of tasks in order to rate their customer service or products they offer. If you choose a retail based assignment, you’ll most likely be asked to make a number of enquiries to a staff member, and then purchase one item. For a restaurant visit, you may have to order two courses and a drink and simply rate the quality of food and the service you receive. Whatever the assignment, when you return home you will need to complete a survey online, detailing your experience. Often this will work on a scale of 1-10, but you’ll also have a chance to write your own detailed comments.
If you prove talented at providing detailed, constructive criticism and feedback, you may be considered for a higher profile job, where companies will specifically come to you with an assignment. These are usually subject to better pay, and more extravagant products. For example, you may be offered a free night’s stay in a hotel with dinner. They’ll reimburse all purchases including transport, meaning you get a break in a luxury hotel for free. If you’re very talented (and lucky!) you may be offered the chance to review hotels abroad or even airlines and travel companies.
How to become a mystery shopper
Becoming a mystery shopper is easy. It’s best to first research large, national companies. This way they’ll be able to offer you more assignments. Try registering with a few different ones, that way you have plenty of options. To join these sites, you’ll need to provide a few personal details, such as your bank account number, and confirm that you own something to take photos on (you’ll often be asked for receipts as proof of purchase). You’ll be able to accept assignments as and when you want, they won’t be allocated for you.
Why should I become a mystery shopper?
If you’re looking for an easy and fun way to make some extra money, this is the job for you. While some mystery shopping assignments simply reimburse you for your purchases, many also pay you a small fee simply for completing the task. You may even find that you can do some assignments from the comfort of your own home, simply by making telephone enquiries. Some shoppers manage to make a living from this, and while that’s rare, it’s an easy and simple way to give yourself a monthly wage boost.
In addition, you’ll often get to keep the products you buy, so even if you’re not always profiting significantly in terms of money, you’ll have free products which you can either use yourself or sell on.
What to be wary off
If the idea of mystery shopping tickles your fancy make sure you are aware of the scams that many shoppers have struggled with. As Secret Shopping puts it – if it’s too good to be true it probably is. Make sure when you are starting out that you are aware of the common scams that plague the industry. You also need to ensure that you are happy with the return you are getting on the time and effort you are putting into each mystery trip. Different companies offer different incentives and you have to weigh up whether you are satisfied with what you receive for your time effort and opinion. For helpful advice from seasoned mystery shoppers check your MoneySavingExpert’s forum on the matter.
Although it is unlikely that you will be able to make a full career out of mystery shopping, there are the odd few who manage to make as much as £30,000-£40,000 a year, not including all of the reimbursed products from their mystery trips. Reportedly only 10% of the shoppers that are signed up to Mystery shopping actually work regularly every month. So, don’t be put off by the vast numbers who are signed up to certain sites, your time and opinions are still very much in demand from brands and companies.
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