A mystery shopper is a fantastic means of extra income. However, you should be aware of all possible aspects. I am sure that you have heard some of the normal rules: You are not an employee, you are an independent contractor; you get paid to shop; you are required to fill out surveys; you must have wonderful English skills, etc. I wanted to tell you some other lesser known facts about mystery shopping, some good, others that tend to make you want to be cautious in the matter.
1. Your Credit Score Can Be Affected. I recently went into a store to perform a “shop” which required me to act as though I was going to purchase a product, but at the last moment, say that I did not want it. Apparently, when I checked my Credit Report later, I found out that the company ran the credit check, and I was denied. So, the shop paid well, but I was affected in the long run because of it.
Honestly, though, I have performed about ten of these shops, and I have had only one run my credit report. However, it was ran. Since I have found that out, I have been weary of ever applying for those assignments.
2. You Can Get Paid $100 or $32 for Doing Four Hours Of Work. When you become a mystery shopper, you are not contracted to a particular company, like you would be as an employee. You can apply to over 20 companies at one time to get more assignments. Also, with each company, the rates are negotiated differently. You could do one shop for one company for $10, and turn around six months later and do it for $25.
3. You Probably Only Have Three Month Time Frames To Be A Mystery Shopper, And About Two Years Before You Are Known. You hear people who make this a full-time job, and it is possible if you like in a mega-metropolitan area with 100 mystery-shopping companies in the area. For most of us, though, that is not really the case: I live in a small-big city, and I have about ten companies who constantly work in my area. They tend to have the same jobs. I have found that even if I wait the required six months to perform a shop, by the third or fourth time, the associates are able to recognize me. I can tell because I remember the ratings were much more different when I started then now. In fact, I may have gotten softer, or the associates know when I come into the store.
4. You Can Be Promoted As A Mystery Shopper. I have worked for companies that if you have worked for them for so many assignments, and pass a background check, you can become a business auditor. It’s a pretty cool gig. In fact, you probably want to find one of these companies that allow for promotions because of the #3 tip.
5. You Should Keep This As A Hobby, and Do Not Do More Than Three Shops In A Day. When I started out, I had just lost a job, and I thought that I could make a living as a mystery shopper. I made the mistake of signing up for five assignments in one day. I started at 8am, and I was not finished until midnight. I did not factor in the time to drive, the time to input, and the time to remember everything in a day. Since then, I have made an absolute rule not to do more than three a day. I assure you, a full eight-hour day will include three shops.
The craziest thing is…I have told you all of the biggest mistakes that I have done as a mystery shopper, and they may scare you. However, this past week, I have scheduled five mystery shops. That is because I love what I do. I get to improve people’s lives, but the associate and the customer. I get to inform people of how to do better, and I get to help people make a living by evaluating them and giving their bosses measurable proof for a raise. I love what I do. I just know that sometimes…you have to take the good with the bad.