In a job where time is money, one of the most important qualities a profitable and successful mystery shopper needs is time management. That’s not to say that the ability to write effectively and concisely on your reports, to pay attention to details on the site visit, and other qualities are not also important. However, if you are truly going to be able to make serious bucks as a mystery shopper, you need to know how to not just manage your time, but how to best manage your time. If you have found yourself wanting to make more money as a mystery shopper but are unable to cram any more assignments into your day, here are some tips to consider:
Multi-task: Mystery Shopping Style. In other jobs, multi-tasking may mean reading emails while you are on a conference call. In mystery shopping, multi-tasking means filling up your day in the most strategic way possible. This can take practice and a lot of planning, but with even some basic steps, you can soon be on your way to more productive and profitable days. Consider how much time you spend traveling to assignments. If you are answering ten, twenty, thirty minutes or longer for just one assignments, you are spending a lot of “down time” in the car. Do what you can to plan your mystery shopping outings together. By “together”, I mean in locations and at times where they can be completed in just one outing rather than multiple trips out the door. Eventually, your goal should be to get 3, 4, 5, or more assignments completed before your return home to type up your reports!
To accomplish this most effectively, look for assignments in the same shopping mall or retail center, or otherwise for assignments that are located en route to the assignment that is farthest away from you.
Avoid Return Visits (Sometimes). There are some assignments that require you to visit the store twice, either on the same day or on different days. Often, you will see this type of assignment requiring an exchange or return of merchandise that was purchased on your first visit. Occasionally, these assignments will provide you with higher pay for the return visit, but often you will see the same pay for these two-visit assignments as for other single-visit assignments. Unless you simply have no other options for work on those days or have a very light workload, you should pass on these and choose assignments that are more worth your time and effort. If you do accept this type of assignment, be sure to allow plenty of time in your schedule to complete the second part of the job.
Time For Reports. If you are able to book multiple assignments on one day in a time-efficient way, you’ve conquered half the battle. The other half of the battle, of course, is completing the reports for all of those assignments. Think about how long it takes you to complete a “typical” report, including answering the questions, reviewing your answers, uploading scanned copies of the receipts, and more. You may occasionally run into a report that takes just ten minutes or so, but most of the reports take at least thirty minutes from start to finish. Be sure to allow plenty of time at the end of your day to complete each and every report on time.
A Handy Schedule. The busiest of mystery shoppers keep their work schedule on a calendar or a PDA, or otherwise have developed a system that allows them to quickly see what jobs they have (and where the jobs are) on any given day. With the proper scheduling system in place, you can quickly and easily see if you have time to fit in another assignment on a specific day or if you need to pass on an assignment. Be sure that you schedule time to complete your reports and to complete site visits for two-visit assignments on your schedule. It’s also helpful to combine your work schedule with your personal schedule to avoid scheduling conflicts.
These helpful tips will get you well on your way to becoming a more efficient and profitable mystery shopper!