Chances are, you will not be getting a formal announcement from your providers about the high number of mystery shoppers in your area, but you will absolutely see the signs. You will notice over time that fewer and fewer assignments seem to be available on the job boards, and this is because they will be snatched up before you even see them. You may notice that it is tougher to win those assignments that your providers dole out, and this is because more people are requesting them. Over time, you will find that you are working less and that your income from mystery shopping is going down. If these are things that you have noticed in recent months, the fact is that your local area may be over-saturated with mystery shoppers.
Before you write mystery shopping off and look for another paying gig, there are a few things you can do to earn that mystery shopping paycheck you have grown accustomed to:
Look In Another Direction. Sometimes staying busy with mystery shopping assignments close to home is tough when competition for those assignments is fierce, and when this happens, you may have to expand your mystery shopping territory a bit. Gas prices are high right now, and many say they will only get higher. So this may mean that you have to pick a day or two to get your shopping down, drive out to a specific location, and do several assignments all at once. Another option to consider is working on phone assignments. These don’t necessarily have to be done from any location (except maybe your living room), and they are a great way to make money without worrying about gas prices at all.
Branch Out. The mystery shopping world is filled with some pretty unique assignments, and you may have been passing over these non-traditional assignments in the past. If you have been passing them over, chances are other mystery shoppers are, too. These non-traditional assignments may seem difficult, complicated, or undesirable for some other reason, but they are a great way to earn money if you give them a try. Consider assignments you have done before like those at car dealerships, movie theaters, nightclubs, and so forth.
Squeeze Every Penny. Often in an over-saturated market, you don’t have a lot of room to negotiate on fees. After all, you cannot expect to receive bonus or travel pay on an assignment when ten other people requested to do the assignment without extra compensation. However, if you pay attention to the job boards and visit them regularly, you will be able to spot those assignments that have been lingering on the job boards for awhile. These are the assignments that you have a shot at earning extra compensation for. Schedulers don’t like to have assignments sitting around, and often if you offer to do them for a small amount of bonus compensation, they will jump at your offer.
Mystery shopping is becoming more popular as the economy continues to struggle and people continue to have trouble making ends meet. Keep these ideas in mind if you notice the signs of over-saturation creeping into your local area.