From the full-time mystery shopper to the mystery shopper who picks up a few occasional assignments each month, every one wants to find ways to make more money. The reality of the gloomy economy has long since hit, and mystery shoppers everywhere and thankful to have mystery shopping as a source of their main income or additional income they can rely on. But if you are looking for ways to make even more money as a mystery shopper (and who isn’t!), here are a few things you can do:
Branch Out. You may feel like there is simply not enough time or opportunity to make additional money as a mystery shopper. You may not see additional assignments posted on the job boards, or the assignments that are posted aren’t assignments you want to take on or that work around your already busy schedule. There is no need to wait for your same old types of assignments that you’ve been working on for months and months to pop up on the job boards again. Instead, sign up with a few additional providers. Keep in mind that there are literally hundreds of providers out there who are looking for mystery shoppers to complete their assignments each and every day. While not all providers will have opportunities in your areas, it’s a fair bet that you aren’t working with ALL of the mystery shopping providers who have jobs in your area.
Look Again. Also take a second look at the providers you are already working for. Really read through the jobs that are posted again. Perhaps there are a few assignments you have been passing over out of habit that really don’t sound so bad after all. What may have sounded like a dud assignment initially may not sound so bad when you are in need of some additional cash. Or perhaps other mystery shoppers such as yourself have also been passing over these same assignments, and the provider has added bonus pay to sweeten the offer.
Write Off Your Mileage. If you aren’t writing off your mileage as a mystery shopper, the bottom line is that you are losing money on every assignment. The IRS requires that you report your income as a mystery shopper to them, but you are allowed to write-off expenses related to mystery shopping. One of the biggest, recurring expenses related to mystery shopping is mileage. For every two miles you drive, you can write off over $1 of the income you will earn on your next assignment. In many cases, you will find that when you write off your mileage, the income you earn is largely or even completely tax-free. On some occasions, you may even find that you can report a “tax loss” on your income, meaning doing the assignment will save you money on taxes on your other sources of income, such as your regular job. So you can see that this adds up in a huge tax savings at the end of the year! And the only thing you need to do to take advantage of that tax savings is to jot down your mileage for each assignment you complete in a handy notebook.
Extra money is just waiting for you to take advantage of, in the form of tax savings from your business-related expenses and in new mystery shopping providers and assignments ready to give you additional work. Take advantage of these sources to start making (and keeping) more money as a mystery shopper!