If you have spent any time on the on-line mystery shopping forums, you know that a popular question mystery shoppers ask is if anyone knows which provider handles a certain retailer, restaurant, or so forth. Typically, the first response to those types of questions will remind fellow mystery shoppers that our agreements with the providers forbid us from revealing which clients a provider works with. Yet some mystery shoppers will give hints and even riddles to try to relay the information in a covert way.
Mystery shopping forums are also used to see which providers pay more money, why types of assignments each provider handles, and other experiences mystery shoppers have had with a provider. This type of information is not forbidden from being revealed, and is shared openly on the on-line mystery shopping forums. However, even the information shared on these forums should be taken with a grain of salt. Just because one mystery shopper had a bad experience with a provider does not mean that you will have a bad experience also. Although if several mystery shoppers have had the same experience, that may be a big red flag to steer clear of that provider for awhile.
As you start working with different mystery shopping providers, you can save yourself a tremendous amount of time and even money in the long run if you make yourself a database of mystery shopping providers. As you experiment with different providers and peruse their job boards, fill in your own private database of the retailers you see each one working for and the approximate pay for assignments. As you complete assignments, take note of the ease you found working with each provider was, the simplicity or complication of the reports, and how fast they turned around your payment.
Over the course of several months, you will accumulate an extensive amount of information on various providers that you can use to save yourself time and money. The information you have accumulated can very much be trusted as it has come directly from your own experiences. With your trusted information, take some time to sit down and analyze. Narrow down the providers you work with to include only those providers with simpler reports who pay on the higher end of the pay scale. You may not necessarily go with the easiest reporting system if the pay for that provider is low. And likewise you may not go with the highest paying provider if their reporting system is off the charts in terms of difficulty. Find that happy medium with providers where you can earn the most money for the time and work involved.
Once your list of providers has been narrowed down, you may be able to branch out and try out a few more providers for a few months, again keeping track of your first-hand experiences with them in your database. Then again take the time to sit down, analyze the information, and weed out those providers that aren’t paying nicely for your time and effort. You can keep doing this until you have enough steady work with well-paying and fairly easy mystery shopping gigs to keep you as busy as you want to buy.
Using your own database of provider information is a wonderful way to get a clear picture of the pros and cons of each provider, which gives you the information you need to become a more profitable and efficient mystery shopper!