How To Get Started Mystery Shopping, Part III: What To Expect From Your First Assignment

Mystery shopping is a fantastic way to earn some money. With the flexibility the job offers plus no training or experience required, many people find that they can start earning money as a mystery shopper right away. This article is the third article in a five part series. The first two articles explored how to find mystery shopping providers to work with as well as what to expect during the sign up process. (See, Part 1, and Part 2.)

Once you have signed up to work with a few mystery shopping providers, you are ready to start looking for assignments. Most, if not all, providers list their open assignments online on job boards. Some will also email you as new jobs become available. So it’s usually pretty easy to find available jobs. However, the best jobs are usually snatched up right away. These top assignments are those that pay the most money, are easier to complete, or are at coveted locations.

Requesting Assignments. The first step to getting assignments is to simply request them. Some assignments are self-assign, meaning once you request them they become yours immediately. With other assignments, you must be approved by a scheduler to complete the assignment. So with these assignments, you will request the assignment and then wait to hear back if you got the assignment or not. Often, these requested assignments will be doled out to the most qualified mystery shopper who requests the job, so these often are not given to new mystery shoppers. However, you never know who else is requesting the assignment so it certainly doesn’t hurt to request the job.

The Site Visit. Once you have a scheduled assignment to complete,  you will need to review the assignment instructions thoroughly. Pay attention to things like the date and time the assignment must be performed, if you need a stop watch or camera to complete the job, and so forth. These are things you will need to know before you arrive at the site visit.

You are not permitted to bring your instructions inside the site with you, so you will need to commit the requirements to memory. Be sure to note what kind of interaction you need to have with the employers, required purchases, if you need to check the bathrooms, and so forth. Then it is simply a matter of showing up for the site visit on time and fulfilling the requirements.

The Report. After the site visit, it’s often a good idea to jot down some notes once you are safely hidden away in your car. Not all mystery shoppers do this, but if you think you will have a hard time remembering the employees’ names, times you arrived and left the site, and so forth, it’s best to write them down before you forget this information. You will need to write these details down with accuracy in your report.

Your report is how you convey the observations of your site visit to your provider and the client. The report should be unbiased and fact-oriented. It should also be free of grammatical errors and written with a fair and professional tone. Usually a report must be submitted within a certain time frame. Each assignments varies a bit as to when the report should be submitted, but largely you will find that providers want the reports submitted either that same day, or within 24 hours. Reports are submitted online, and you may be asked to submit a business card or receipt of your required purchase along with your report. So you may need to have access to a scanner or fax machine to fulfill this requirement.

Getting Paid. Different providers have different payment policies. Some will pay you within a week or two of your report being approved. Others will pay you within four to six weeks. Some providers will still snail mail a check to you, but more and more providers are switching over to using PayPal. So many will require you to open a PayPal account if you don’t already have one.

After you have completed your first assignment, your thoughts will likely turn to how you can fill up your schedule with mystery shopping assignments to really maximize your income potential. The next article in this series, “How To Get Started Mystery Shopping, Part IV: How To Fill Up Your Work Schedule” will explore scheduling strategies.