When you first started mystery shopping, you may have viewed mystery shopping providers as your ally. Mystery shopping providers are your only source for finding mystery shopping assignments to work on. They act as a conduit between clients and mystery shoppers like you, so working with them is a “must.” However, as time has passed and you have worked more with some of your providers, the thought may have crossed your mind that some of your providers are actually costing you money.
The Required Purchase
A critical aspect of most mystery shopping assignments is the purchase that you are required to make. A purchase is necessary with many assignments so that you can make observations about the complete buying experience in your report. However, some mystery shopping providers offer such a small expense reimbursement that you may lose money overall on an assignment. For example, with a $5 expense reimbursement in a grocery store, you can buy any number of items that are priced close to this amount. With a $5 expense reimbursement in a fine leather goods shop, however, you may be hard-pressed to find many items priced below $50. In order to complete the assignment, you may have to buy an item that you will only partially be reimbursed for!
The Time Commitment
As a mystery shopper, you no doubt have learned first-hand that time is money. The ability to complete more assignments in less time will affect how profitable you are on a daily basis. However, some mystery shopping providers have such cumbersome mystery shopping requirements that you may spend more time working on those assignments than you are reasonably being compensated for. You can keep track of the time you spend on the assignments for different providers and notice if you spot on a trend with certain providers.
Wasting Your Time
Of course, wasting time with cumbersome mystery shopping assignment requirements is only one way that mystery shopping providers may be wasting your time and ultimately may be costing you money. You may have noticed that some mystery shopping providers are more nit-picky when it comes to your mystery shopping reports. You may have learned to cater to their unique whims when it comes to writing the reports. With some providers, however, it may seem like revisions to reports will be requested despite your best efforts. Going back and forth with mystery shopping providers on a regular basis can drain your time and prevent you from earning more money.
The fact is that your experience with one provider may be far different than your experience with another provider is. With a closer look at your experiences with your various providers, you may find that some providers really are wasting your time and costing you money. Once you have made this observation, you can simply drop those providers and find a few others to work with. This simple effort may help you to make more as a mystery shopper without working longer hours or working on more assignments!