How To Shop Like A Pro: 7 Tricks of the Trade

We have all heard of professional mystery shoppers regularly earning $300-500 per month, or even more at times. That would be some fantastic extra money, maybe even enough for you to quit your day job and become a full-time mystery shopper. Unfortunately, many mystery shoppers seem to be capped out at earning a much smaller amount, with shops coming in very irregularly. This is hardly enough to be used as a stable income stream for you.

How do the pros do it? What are they doing that yields those great results? They do have some tricks up their sleeves, and luckily it is nothing you cannot duplicate with a little effort.

  1. Pros have been in the business long enough to know which shops are the best to work for. Companies that consistently rank highly with shoppers are Kern Scheduling and Intellishop.As a newbie, you can get an idea on which shops are good by reading forums and blogs, as well as which jobs you should steer clear from. However, take this with a grain of salt.

    Just because one shopper has a bad experience with one scheduler at that company does not mean the company isn’t worth working for. But if you see numerous shoppers talking poorly about the same company, that may give you a good indication to avoid that company for now.

  2. Just because a lot of shoppers say one particular company is great to work with does not mean that company is necessarily a good one for you to work with.Each mystery shopping company deals with their own niche in the market – such as specific types of retailers, restaurants, banks, movie theaters and so on. Some of these companies focus on one particular region of the country, too. So even though a lot of shoppers may like a company focusing on movie theaters in the Northeast, this may not be a good fit for you if you live in the Southwest and do not enjoy seeing movies.

    So while you can research companies online, some of this will also be based on your preferences and your location.

  3. Pros can quickly read between the lines on a shop and get down to the nitty gritty. They analyze the shop to determine if the work required for the shop would be properly compensated by the pay offered. Pros typically will not accept a $10 shop that requires what will end up being 2 full hours of work.
  4. A trick some pros use to get around low pay on some of the harder or more time-involved assignments is to hold out on requesting a shop until after bonus pay is offered.Of course, by not requesting the shop up-front, you may lose out on the shop altogether if someone else requests it. Holding out, though, is one way to get more money for doing the same job.
  5. Pros often see a lot of shop requests coming into their inbox. That may be from being established with a lot of companies, or it may be from having excellent relationships with a handful of companies. Either way, pros typically are able to schedule anywhere from 2-5 shops per day in such a way that generally the shops are in the same part of town.If not, they will strategically plan out their trips so they aren’t spending half the day cutting back and forth across town several times.

    This not only cuts down on their overall time involved in doing the shops, but also on the travel costs associated with the shops.

  6. Most importantly, pros know to treat their schedulers with the utmost respect and professionalism. It follows the adage of “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” Pros understand that having a good relationship with a handful of schedulers will keep them busy with recurring shops. If anything comes up that would hinder their ability to complete the shop, they notify their scheduler immediately.
  7. Remember, pay is different in certain parts of the county. A mystery shopper in New York City or Chicago likely will be paid more than a shopper in Giddings, Texas, even for doing the same type of shop.Set reasonable expectations about your possible income, and work towards your own goal. Don’t be discouraged by other shoppers claiming a much higher income level than you.

Take these simple measures, and you will soon be working at the same level the pros are and meeting your income goal.