That’s it – I quit.
No more hunting for someone’s nametag or remembering if they used my name or if they offered me some product and offered it nicely. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t a bunch of people waiting to do it – you go right ahead but you have to know what you are getting in to. The pay can range from $3 with your sandwich reimbursed to $100 for an ultra complicated picture-taking, mega questionnaire, several days job. Well, those have been my experiences – but I only work for 3 different companies when there are dozens with a big variety.
For those who have never tried it, here are a few hints to not fall for traps:
1) if you are ever asked to pay to sign up for mystery shopping – scam
2) if you answer an ad in the paper or from TV and you get the run-around and loads of info collected – scam
3) if you sign up for a company to assist you in locating mystery shops in your area – well, technically not a scam but it’s a waste of money
Snopes.com has a pretty good read on avoiding fake secret shopping lures. But don’t go looking for mystery shopping because you think you can turn it into a full-time job. Those who might consider this type of extra responsibility are:
1) those that don’t care about the pay
2) those that don’t care that they will be independent contractors (you get 1099ed)
3) those that have internet access to do reports at the end of the day (before midnight of the day you did it)
4) those that can spell and write complete sentences
5) those that answer what they are asked and not go off on what they think is important information which will be tossed out – it’s not about you, it’s a job.
6) those that can do the assignment on the day assigned & not late
7) those that can be fair & know someone’s job may be on the line
8 ) those that can be objective and not all personal about it
9) those that have transportation
10) those that are responsible
There are certifications and different qualification tests that you can take but… you don’t start out with them. Sometimes each mystery shop has its individual quiz – so, first sign up and then work towards different certifications. And yes, all this is time consuming.
You usually start out by signing up with a company. Each company will have several contracts with different restaurants, stores, banks, anywhere service is provided. You’d be surprised but it isn’t just the big chains that hire mystery shopping companies, small ones do too. After you are in the database of Company X, you can sign up for email notifications of jobs in your area. Don’t think you will be bombarded with offers; they may come once a week or once a month – it all depends on the company’s contracts.
Laredoans complain about customer service all the time as if companies didn’t care or weren’t listening. They do. And they pay money to have these mystery shopping companies hire locals to check out that customer service.
Of course, the average Joe can let a particular place know what they think in many ways – this is just one formal structured way that looks for very specific things and pays you for it.
Before you start asking for the contacts to these shop companies – mystery shopping is no mystery and the info is out there in the national association directories or even on social media. I don’t want to hurt the 3 companies or reveal who they are at the risk that the companies who hire them feel exposed and break their contract. Don’t look in your local paper; don’t pay for some service, just research online since the job really is internet-based. If you are resourceful, you will find them.
Happy shopping :P.