Shopping may be a passion of yours, or perhaps an expensive hobby. It makes you feel good inside to buy new things. But when you look at the amount of money you spend on your little hobby, the guilt creeps in. You don’t have to give up shopping to get rid of that guilt. The trick is to turn that hobby into a job that pays you money.
Mystery shopping is a real job that you can get started with today.
The first step is to locate companies looking for new mystery shoppers. But you’re in luck! Mystery shopping companies are always signing up new shoppers. You can get a list of legitimate mystery shopping companies at the Mystery Shopping Providers Association website (www.mysteryshop.org).
You’ll want to sign up with at least 10 different companies, possibly 20 or more. These companies will not always have shops in your location, and when they do have shops close to you, those shops may quickly be assigned to other shoppers. So to maximize your income potential, sign up with more shops.
Each company has their own application requirements. Some applications are very basic, with your general contact information and personal stats such as your age, income level, and so forth. This information allows the companies the ability to match you up with shops that suit your profile. Other companies have much more in-depth applications, including essay questions such as why you think you would be a good mystery shopper.
Once you’re approved as a mystery shopper for a company, you typically will start receiving email notifications when that company posts new shops for you area. However, you should still check in with the company’s website regularly to ensure you haven’t missed new shop postings, or that shop requirements for already-posted shops haven’t changed. For instance, if nobody requests a shop, the company may offer additional pay to get the shop done.
Review the shop requirements carefully. Pay specific attention to the location, the shop pay, reimbursement details for any required purchases, the return policy on that purchase, and the time period within which the shop should be completed. Some shops also have requirements on who you can (or can’t) shop with. For instance, some shops require you to complete the shop alone, while others require you to complete it with a spouse or friend. If you will have any problems meeting the shop requirements, pass on that shop and look for the next one. Don’t worry, more shops are posted every day.
Some shops are self-assign, meaning as soon as you click the link to request the shop, the shop is instantly assigned to you. For other shops, you have to apply for them by clicking a link on the website. Then you need to wait for the email response telling you if you got that shop or not. New mystery shoppers sometimes have difficulty getting the “apply for” shops, but the self-assign shops are first come, first serve.
So check your email often so you can be the first one to respond to the self-assign shops. Once you’ve got a shop assigned to you, be sure to read through all of the instructions and follow them to the tee.
With a little bit of effort, you’ll soon be turning your expensive pastime into a lucrative side-job.