With the economy in a slump, and seeming to slump further by the week, many families are falling on hard financial times. A few extra dollars here and there would really make a difference. It may be that you need a supplemental income because your current job is no longer providing the income level you need or want, or you need to find a way supplement your retirement income or add to your retirement nest egg. Or perhaps you are having trouble finding enough money to pay for college. What once seemed like a sure thing financially has suddenly caught you by surprise and you need to find a way to make some extra cash.
There are many advantages to mystery shopping, but perhaps one of the best things about mystery shopping is that it doesn’t take a lot of start-up time or money to get started. In fact, if you put in a few hours of effort today, you could be earning money in just a couple of days!
Take The First Step! Initially, you need to research mystery shop providers to work for. You can sign up with mystery shop forums and get a great idea on which providers are good to work with. There are unfortunately some companies that will pretend to be a shop provider and try to scam unknowing mystery shoppers. The ultimate authority in legitimate providers is the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. Their website has a list of legitimate companies that you can work with.
You can sign up to work with as many providers as you choose. A good rule of thumb just to get started is to choose maybe eight or ten. If you find you need more work than what these initial companies are offering, you can always sign up to work for more providers.
Just visit each provider’s website and complete their online application. Some applications take just a few minutes, whereas others may take thirty minutes or longer. In many cases, you are approved very quickly and can begin searching for assignments.
Getting An Assignment. After you have been approved to work as a shopper for a provider, the provider will begin emailing you possible assignments. You can also search the provider’s website for job listings as well. You will see two types of assignments – those that are “self-assign” and those that you must request. Starting out as a new mystery shopper, you will have more luck getting “self-assign” jobs. With self-assign job, once you request them, they become yours immediately. With mystery shop assignments that you must request, your request goes to a scheduler, who in turn decides which mystery shopper is best qualified and able to complete the assignment. In many cases, a scheduler will pass over a new mystery shopper on these assignments and choose an experienced mystery shopper. So for your first few assignments, you may want to stick to “self-assign” jobs to get some experience under your belt.
Getting Paid. Mystery shoppers typically get paid in one of two ways. First, you can receive a check by mail. In most cases, the process of getting a check processed to you and mailed out can take several weeks or even months. This is hardly “fast money.” If you need to receive money faster, you should consider opening up a PayPal account. Many mystery shopping providers will process a PayPal payment within a few weeks, if not sooner. A PayPal account is completely free to set up.
You will probably need to complete a few assignments before you start to learn which providers you prefer to work with as well as what type of assignments you prefer. After you have a few completed assignments under your belt and get into your mystery shopping groove, you will be making relatively easy extra money!