Many mystery shoppers get into mystery shopping for a number of reasons. Among those reasons are a flexible schedule and the thrill of doing something covert. Plus there are the perks of getting to keep most of what you buy while you’re “working.” Mystery shoppers often are pulled into this job with the hopes of making great side money, or maybe even quitting their regular job to be a full time mystery shopper. If you’re new to mystery shopping, chances are you have wondered how much money you can realistically expect to earn as a mystery shopper.
Reality Check. While there are some skills required to be a mystery shopper (such as being detail oriented and the ability to write a clear and concise report), the job is largely open to just about everyone. On a pay scale, this puts the job on the equivalent of perhaps working in a retail store or waiting tables. There is some skill required, but most people could do the job.
What this means for your paycheck is that when you look at your mystery shopping pay on an hourly basis, you can expect to make maybe $10-15 hour on a decent assignment. Of course, with mystery shopping you are paid for completing the assignment and not per hour, so if you can work faster than that and fit in more assignments into your day, you can make more money for your time.
There are assignments that pay more than this, but they are largely few and far between, and they often go to more seasoned mystery shoppers rather then new or inexperienced mystery shoppers.
Why Mystery Shopping Is Better. Mystery shopping of course has additional perks that traditional part-time jobs don’t have. You have the ability to work as much or as little as you want or need to. You can work one month, and take the next month off. You get reimbursed for most of your purchases, giving you “freebies” on on a variety of goods and services. You can also write off your travel mileage to and from your “job.” With most hourly or part-time jobs, you’re not allowed to do this.
Making Mystery Shopping A Full-Time Gig. For the vast majority of mystery shoppers, mystery shopping is a part-time gig. Some may work just a few hours a month, and some may work up to twenty or thirty hours a week. Some mystery shoppers may work around their kids’ after-school activities while others may work around their college course schedule to make extra money.
Since you can customize your work schedule, mystery shopping allows you to work as much or as little as you like. There is the opportunity and the possibility for most mystery shoppers to work 40 or more hours per week and earn the equivalent of full-time pay for their efforts. In some parts of the country, particularly rural areas where assignments are scarce, this is not a feasible possibility. The mystery shoppers who have successfully turned their mystery shopping business into a full-time job are few and far between. These pros work hard to line up a consistent work schedule on a regular basis and put in full-time hours to this job each week.
As with many things in life, with mystery shopping will get out of it what you put into it. But before you get too involved in the job, it’s nice to know what pay scale to expect!