Everyone from the news media to friends and neighbors are talking about the economy these days. With the biggest shopping season of the year just around the corner, the news of the many retailers and restaurants who are closing their doors are on the tips of tongues everywhere. In fact, many of your favorite stores and restaurants may have announced plans to close their doors in the coming months, if they aren’t already closed. These may be stores you visit as an ordinary customer or as a mystery shopper. With the economic downturn, it’s only reasonable to expect even more closings to occur after the new year is upon us. This could equate to a much lower mystery shopping paycheck for mystery shoppers everywhere. Here’s what you need to know:
Check Before You Go. Recently, some mystery shoppers have accepted a job assignment only to have the store or restaurant close its doors before the assignment could be completed. Other mystery shoppers have been notified by their scheduler that their mystery shop assignment has been canceled due to a location closing. With the economy in its current state, more and more mystery shoppers will run into events such as these. To be on the safe side, call the store location to ensure it is still open before you head off to complete an assignment.
You may be inclined to skip over an assignment at a store or restaurant that is making the headlines with announcements of closings, layoffs, or bankruptcy. But don’t hesitate to accept a job assignment for this reason alone. Keep in mind that some retailers and restaurants are closing only some of their locations, while other locations will remain open. Second, often a store closing is announced far ahead of the actual closing date to help the store liquidate merchandise, giving you plenty of time to complete your assignment and receive payment. Also, some stores may file for bankruptcy for debt relief but will keep some of their stores open. So an announcement of bankruptcy for a specific retailer does not necessarily negate the need for mystery shopping.
Protect Your Paycheck. With so many store closings planned for the coming months, and still more likely to occur after that, it is inevitable that some mystery shoppers may see a reduction in their mystery shopping paychecks soon. In the current economic climate, many mystery shoppers cannot afford to take a reduction to their take-home pay. The good news is that you can take some steps now to protect your paycheck in the coming months. Sign up with a few more providers now, before you “need” the extra work. Work a few assignments for new providers now to establish relationships with them. If and when the workload slows down, you will already have an established relationship with the scheduler and will be more likely to get assignments over other mystery shoppers.
While some retailers have been hit hard as consumers scale back their purchases, there are some things people will continue to buy in hard economic times, such as groceries and gas. Other items that they normally would have purchased at high-end stores may now be bought at discount stores. Look for providers that specialize in these types of retailers to maximize your mystery shopping paycheck in coming months.
Also, be sure you are keeping track of all of your business-related expenses, including keeping a mileage log book. This will help to ensure you don’t pay the government more than is necessary on tax day, keeping more money in your pocket.
While the economy may be slowing down, your job as a mystery shopper doesn’t have to!