Here at EliteSurveySites, we provide you with information to help you make and save more money. Paid surveys and mystery shopping are both great ways to make more money in your free time. They are very different and should be treated accordingly, so in this article we will go over the differences and provide you with valuable tips to help you maximize your earning through both. We love both for various reasons, but they each have their nuances that take time to learn and perfect over time.
Paid Survey Overview
Paid surveys are an easy and excellent way to make money online. We spend a lot of time on this site telling you which surveys are the best for you – in this article, we will be looking at them at a very high level. You get paid for your personal information and opinions, and it is as simple as that. The companies who ask the questions need your information for market research and are willing to pay you for it, albeit in small amounts. This article is focused on providing you with a comparison between paid surveys and mystery shopping, and providing you with advanced tips for each.
Paid Survey Pros and Cons
Paid survey pros:
Paid survey cons:
Overall, we love paid surveys! They are one of the easiest ways to make money in your free time.
Mystery Shopping Overview
Mystery shopping is another great way to make money in your free time. The key difference here is that mystery shopping generally requires you to leave the comfort of your home. The idea is that a company will pay you to go shop at their store, and give them feedback on the customer experience in order for the company to better themselves and their employees.
You generally need to keep the whole mystery shopping experience hush-hush, especially from the employee that you interact with. The companies that you will visit may vary from coffee shops to electronics stores to department stores, and basically everything in between. You will generally be required to purchase an item, which you will be reimbursed for.
Mystery Shopping Pros and Cons
Mystery shopping pros:
Mystery shopping cons:
Mystery shopping is a fun and interesting way to make money on the side, and can be easily worked into your typical daily schedule. You could squeeze in a mystery shop during your lunch break, or one on your way home from work.
Which Pays More?
Both can pay well if you spend enough time getting efficient about the processes involved.
For example, you can use a browser extension to auto-fill in portions of surveys like name, address, and other basic information. This can easily save you thirty seconds per survey, which pays off in the long run.
For mystery shopping, you may want to think about things like quickly writing notes in your mobile phone the moment you leave the store. If you have all of the information handy when you prepare to write your reports, you will find them much less time-consuming than if you are trying to fill out reports based on memory.
Paid Survey Pro Tips
We are the web’s foremost experts in the world of paid surveys. Here are some pro tips for paid surveys:
Once you are past the first few surveys, you will want to start prioritizing surveys based on pay-to-time ratio. For example, if a survey pays $1 and will take 15 minutes or a second survey pays $1 but takes 60 minutes to complete, you would obviously want to take the first survey to take better advantage of your time.
If you keep track of which sites you spend time on and how much you are paid by these various platforms, you will start to see trends and know which ones tend to offer better pay for your time. It does not need to be anything complex or incredibly advanced, even a basic spreadsheet would be sufficient. For example, a spreadsheet with the company name, time spent and amount of money earned.
If you are keeping a spreadsheet and tracking your time, you will start to notice which sites “estimated time to completion” are accurate and which are not. Some site may claim that a survey will take an estimated 15-20 minutes, and you may find that you made it through in only 10 minutes. This information can be incredibly valuable if you want to prioritize and maximize.Maybe you find a site that often overestimates, which can work well for you in the long run. Maybe you find a site that often underestimates, which will likely make you far less interested in taking their surveys. If you are tracking your time and earnings, you can identify these types of valuable insights and use them to your advantage!
If your answers are not consistent across surveys, the survey sites will eventually catch on. Some sites use tracking and algorithms to scan for fraudulent activity and will shut down your account if they catch you, so be sure to always answer questions honestly.
Some sites will pay you more for simply leaving your money untouched in your account for longer periods of time. There are costs to these companies each time they pay you, so in order to keep these costs down they will pass some of the savings on to you if you are willing to wait. A general rule of thumb is to never withdraw less than $100 in order to capitalize on these bonuses.
Some other experts in this area suggest that you should take your payouts immediately every time, due to the fact that some sites shut down and you could lose access to your funds. This is another good reason to keep records – if you know how much money is in each account you know when you have reached your minimums so that you can cash out quickly.
If you allow yourself to get distracted in the middle of surveys, and you walk away for periods of time, you may come back only to find out that your survey has expired and you have to start over again. Obviously, this is not the best way to maximize your time or earnings, so you will want to avoid this.
Mystery Shopping Pro Tips
We have done all of the research and testing and trial and error so that you don’t have to. Here are some useful tips for maximizing earnings with mystery shopping:
If you have already started mystery shopping, then you have no doubt experienced this – you take a mystery shopping offer and head to your destination, only to find that the drive-time is more than you anticipated and it kills your profit margin. Make sure to check live maps to ensure that there isn’t bad traffic getting to your destination.
If you were already going to purchase a TV for your bedroom, then it would be a perfect opportunity to mystery shop at an electronics store and make some money on the purchase. Alternately, if you are mystery shopping at a clothing store that you would never shop at normally, you may end up spending money on an article of clothing you will never wear and if you do not get fully reimbursed you could be upside down on your investment.
If you want to maximize your earnings, you will want to get in, complete the task and get out as fast as possible so that you can move on to the next mystery shop. To this end, you will want to keep conversations with company employees short and sweet. Only interact with them long enough to get the information that you need, and then proceed to pay and exit the building. It is easy to find yourself engaged in a longer conversation than you anticipated.Also be sure not to go shopping while you are mystery shopping. You should go shopping at a separate time and not mix the two, as you will want to track your time and maximize your productivity. This is impossible to do if you keep finding yourself going aisle by aisle and playing with every gadget you see.
If you find a shop that seems to pay well, request that the schedulers put you on the schedule to visit that shop every month. This will help you with building predictable income and maximizing your time.
If everyone turns down the extremely low-paying jobs, mystery shop companies will be forced to start paying a more livable wage. For example, if you find an offer that pays less than minimum wage, don’t take it! It will be worth it in the long run, as these listings go unclaimed and the owners will be forced to up the pay.
It is a fairly straight-forward process and only requires a little bit of your time. This will pay off in a big way as you will have access to much better shops and you will get assigned better paying mystery shop gigs. When you apply for a mystery shop assignment and the person competing with you for it does not have MSPA certification but you do, guess who wins?
It can be quite time-consuming just to search for and find mystery shop assignments every day. They move fast, especially the high-paying ones. Be sure to put a good alert and reminder system in place to manage the new listings, so that you have first access to them and can pick up assignments before other people do. You could consider using a mail filter to search emails for specific information and separate them out and alert you.
If you don’t want to pay taxes on your survey earnings, you will want to be sure that you never make more then $600 with any one site in a given year. Frankly, this is unlikely for the most part but you should keep this in mind. We are not proponents of this, but just passing on the best tips and tricks as they come to mind. Some people are happy to make the extra money and claim the income and others will stop prior to reaching the $600 level so that they do not receive a W9 from the survey site.
Surprising Places to Mystery Shop
Do We Have a Preference?
Mystery shopping tends to be more fun and interesting, and gets you out of the house and into the fresh air. Alternately, paid surveys allow you to work from home and truly maximize your time based on the fact that there is no travel time to consider. You will want to look at the pay to relative time investment with everything that you do and evaluate which offerings make the most financial sense to you. You may also find that you are better at one or the other, or enjoy one more than the other.
Paid surveys are much easier to find and complete, and can be fairly effortless. You can do these surveys while watching TV or even exercising, which can be helpful in maximizing your personal time. Alternately, mystery shopping requires more thought and action, which stimulates your brain and keeps you from becoming lethargic.
Both of these methods of earning can be lucrative, and if you follow our advanced tips and tricks you can develop smart systems to implement that will allow you to better maximize your earnings and minimize your time investment.
We here at Elite do all of the heavy lifting so that you can make as much money as possible, without the need for the research and trial and error. We want to make your life as easy and profitable as possible. Now get out there (or stay in) and make money with paid surveys and mystery shopping!
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