The Questions and Answers You Need to Know about Mystery Shopping to Start Making Money
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The Questions and Answers You Need to Know about Mystery Shopping to Start Making Money

EPF Last Update: May 28, 2019

If you think you’d never see the day when the words shopping and earning money can be used in the same sentence, think again. Mystery shopping is a fun and exciting way to make money on the side. Sounds like the dream job, eh? On this blog post, we will cover the basic 5 W’s of mystery shopping and hopefully at the end of this post, you can decide if it’s something you can see yourself doing for a living, or maybe just for fun (while earning money).

What is Mystery Shopping?

Mystery Shopping is a unique form of customer feedback wherein an anonymous shopper is asked to accomplish different sets of instructions that aims to measure the quality of service an establishment provides to its customers. It is so that businesses could have a closer look, feel and an insight on what customers are experiencing on a day-to-day basis. They evaluate everything from customer service, to cleanliness, down to the simplest protocols the business should be practicing. In the simplest of terms, a mystery shopper represents the consumers sector of the business.

In mystery shopping, a person is hired, briefed with a situation, and is given a set of instructions to follow as he goes to the establishment anonymously (thus being a mystery shopper).

Mystery shoppers are commonly asked to evaluate different things that may include:

  • How long it takes to be entertained by the employee/s
  • Speed of service
  • Cleanliness of the premises
  • Dress code, greetings, etc.
  • Specific services offered

This is a good chance to get an unbiased review because the employees have no idea they’re being evaluated and they would act as they normally do every day. The feedback that comes from the mystery shopper can be useful for market research. It can help in knowing what areas of their business needs improvement, thus closing the the “gap” between the promise of businesses to its consumers and how well the actual performance is living up to their promise.

Why to become a mystery shopper?

As a mystery shopper, you are getting paid to shop and it is a legitimate way to make extra cash. The more businesses are located in your area, the more opportunities there are for you to become a mystery shopper. On top of being paid to shop, or eat, or talk to someone, you also help in improving the quality of the establishments and help them in providing optimum service to the public.

Who can become Mystery Shopper?

Being a mystery shopper is more than just going to a store, buying something, and reporting it back. You have to have a keen sense of observation skills, a good memory, and of course, you have to play the part. But do not fret. You don’t have to be an actor to accomplish the different tasks. Some of the tasks are things that you already do as a normal citizen like ordering food, opening a new bank account, etc. On some assignments, you will be asked to write down or bring a recorder so you could record the transaction. Feeling like an undercover agent yet?

Where can you get assignments?

There are tons of companies that provide mystery shopping opportunities depending on your location. While most are legit, be careful of advertisements and sites that offer assignments that are too good to be true because they might be scams. The safest way to look for mystery shopping opportunities is checking out from sites like our. We list many legitimate mystery shopping companies.

How do I become a Mystery Shopper?

As I have mentioned above, the chances of the availability of mystery shopping gigs depends on the number of shops in the program and also the amount of mystery shoppers in your area that you have to compete with. After all, mystery shopping is a job you have to get hired to.

After searching for a job, all you have to do is signup and complete the job at an amount of time specified on the job listing. Then, fill up the shop report with the corresponding receipts and/or documentation (recordings/proofs that you did the assignment) and voila! Wait for the payment. Rinse and repeat.

Getting your first gig

Before you dive into the world of secret shopping galore, allow me to stress a few important reminders that can help you in choosing your first job as a mystery shopper. Some have already been discussed above, but it doesn’t hurt to be cautious, right?

  • Do your research. When you’re about to take a job, see to it that the company offering is legitimate.
  • Never accept a gig that requires you to transfer money before you get hired. It’s probably scam. Be wary.
  • Familiarize yourself of the duties and responsibilities of an independent contractor. As a mystery shopper, you’re considered an independent contractor, so tax withholding will be your responsibility as opposed to an employee wherein compensation and income tax withholding are the responsibility of the employer.
  • Some gigs require you to buy something from your own pocket first and then they will return the cost along with your payment for the job. Always be mindful of your transactions and keep receipts so you wouldn’t encounter problems with reimbursement.
  • In relation to the earlier tip, make sure you can afford the out-of-pocket expenses before you accept the job. If not, start with jobs that don’t require you to purchase something like inquiries and operation checks.
  • Choose gigs that are worth your time, money and effort. Weigh in the different external variables and identify whether it is profitable or not. For example, if it requires you to travel or drive around but the gas mileage you spent is not included as compensation and is greater than the amount you will get from the gig, it’s probably better to look for another gig. Safety and health are also important factors to weigh in.
  • Join forums and communities in different social media platforms so you can have intel on where to get gigs and tips about how to become a better shopper. After all, where else can you learn but from those who are already doing it? Learning is your weapon, my friend.
  • Don’t forget to have fun!

You may have noticed that in the title, I have mentioned 5 W’s needed to know about mystery shopping while I have stated only four and one how. Here’s the last one and is probably one of the most important of them all:

When can I start Mystery Shopping?

The good news is, you can start looking NOW. All you need is a browser and an internet connection. Good luck mystery shopping!

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