New mystery shoppers often jump head-first into their new-found gig. The exciting, mysterious world of mystery shopping offers the promise of easy money and a flexible schedule, without the oversight of an overbearing boss looking over your shoulder. What’s not to fall in love with?
Yet often new mystery shoppers run head-first into a brick wall as they try to get their foot in the door with this new job. If you are new to mystery shopping, here’s what you need to know to get started:
Finding Providers. Mystery shopping providers act as the go-between for mystery shoppers and retailers who are in need of mystery shopping services. In order to work as a mystery shopper, you have to sign up to work for at least a few providers. Different providers specialize in different parts of the country and also specialize in different types of assignments. For instance, one provider may specialize in fast food restaurants while another may specialize in movie theaters. On top of this, there are some fraudulent companies out there who pose as providers and end up scamming mystery shoppers out of time and money. To find legitimate mystery shopping providers who provide jobs in your area, check out the mystery shopping forums online or visit the Mystery Shopping Provider Association’s website at www.mysteryshop.org.
Requesting Assignments. Once you have signed up to work for a few legitimate providers, the next step is to actually request a few assignments. There are essentially two different ways to request an assignment. Some assignments require you to request an assignment through a “scheduler” in the provider’s office. Typically, this can be done by simply following a link or two on the provider’s listing for that job. Once you request the assignment, the scheduler will decide if you (or someone else who has requested the assignment) will get the job. Typically on these types of assignments, the scheduler will choose to give the job to experienced mystery shoppers who have proven their skills on past assignments.
The other type of assignments are the self-assign assignments. While you are breaking into the mystery shopping world, you may find it much easier to get assignments through self-assign jobs. These jobs are essentially doled out on a “first come, first serve” basis. Since the early bird gets the worm on these self-assign jobs, you really need to check the job boards often if you want to have a chance to get the most assignments. After you have racked up some experience with self-assign jobs, you will find it much easier to get your hands on assignments requested through a scheduler.
It can be frustrating to get your foot in the door in the mystery shopping world. With so much of the mystery shopping industry based on experience, it is often difficult to find the opportunities to gain experience if you don’t know where to look. Have fun mystery shopping with these valuable tips to get you started!