How To Get Started Mystery Shopping, Part II: What You Need to Know About Signing Up With Providers

Working in the world of mystery shopping has many benefits, but it can also be confusing and frustrating to start earning paychecks. This article is the second in a five part series that explores everything you need to know about signing up with providers. The first article in the series, “How To Get Started Mystery Shopping, Part I: Finding Providers to Work With” explores the first step of getting started mystery shopping, which is finding providers to work with. Once you have found mystery shopping providers to work with, your next step is to actually sign up to work for them.

What Is Involved in Signing Up? Signing up to work for a provider is a lot like a job interview. For some companies, the sign up process is very simple, and often just requires your name and personal information like your address, social security number, and other such details. This should include the same information you would give to any employer. For many people, it is often concerning to provide your social security number over the internet to a company you are unfamiliar with. However, if you have taken precautionary measures by checking out the company first through the Mystery Shopping Providers Association and the online mystery shopping forums, you can rest assured the company is legitimate and your personal information will be kept safe.

Other providers have a far more detailed sign up process. Their sign up process may include other information such as your income level, types of stores and restaurants you frequent, and more. You may also have to provide a writing sample, and for these providers, you want to make sure that your writing sample is error free. Writing error-free reports is a big part of mystery shopping, as it is the sole method of conveying your observations during your assignment site visit to the providers and the businesses who ordered the report (the clients). So it’s not surprising that many providers want to make sure you can write a coherent paragraph before you are permitted to work for them.

Getting Approved. Just as the sign up process varies between providers, so does the approval process. For some providers, you can begin looking for assignment on their online job boards within minutes of submitting your online application. For others, especially those that have a required writing sample or a more detailed application, you may have to wait a few days to hear back on your approval status. However, once you are approved, you can start looking for jobs immediately. You can see that in some cases you can start requesting assignments from the job boards within a very short period of time after locating a provider to work with.

After you are approved to work with a few providers, your next step in getting started working as a mystery shopper is to find your first job and complete it. The third article in this five part series, entitled “How To Get Started Mystery Shopping, Part III: What To Expect From Your First Assignment”, examines requesting assignments and what a typical assignment will be like.