The Challenges of Mystery Shopping in the Winter – And What You Can Do About Them


Mystery shopping is a great job most of the year. It takes you out of the house to different places with each assignment, and it allows you to pick and choose your assignments. However, as great as the job is most of the time, these same factors that make the job so amazing much of the year inevitably are some of the very factors that can be challenges for you in the winter months. Mystery shopping can indeed be a challenge in the winter, but by noticing where the challenges are, you can take steps to overcome those challenges.


The Weather

In almost every corner of the country, the winter weather can be miserable. Factors like frigid winds, ice and snow storms and more can make you want to do nothing more than curl up indoors. Some mystery shoppers who work purely for extra spending money may indeed reduce their work hours during the most brutal months of the year simply to avoid having to go out in bad weather. For the rest of the mystery shoppers who need to continue to work, however, the cold weather can be a nightmare to contend with. As a mystery shopper, you can look for more phone assignments to work on. These may not pay as much, but they also don’t take as much time to do and will negate the need to go out in to the cold. When you do brave the elements, look for assignments that will allow you to park close to the front door or that may not require you to get out of the car at all, such as a drive thru restaurant assignment.


Fewer Assignments

Another challenge associated with mystery shopping in the winter is that there are fewer assignments to work on. It is no surprise to many consumers that the holiday season is the busiest shopping time of the year, and many stores are more focused on maximizing profits during this time of the year than on improving customer service, cleanliness of the store and more during the winter. Until the holidays are over, you may notice a drop in the number of assignments. This is particularly true for the number of retail store assignments. You can look for assignments at restaurants, grocery stores and other venues, however. Also, consider signing up to work with more providers during this time of year to maximize your earning potential.


Greater Competition

It is true that some mystery shoppers slow down their work efforts or even stop working altogether until the spring season arrives. So, you may think that this means you would have less competition for assignments. However, the fact is that this is also one of the most expensive times of the year. Between holiday traveling and gift-buying to the need to pay for the ever-increasing cost to heat your home, you no doubt are trying to find a way to pick up extra assignments for income just as many other mystery shoppers are. Prepare yourself for the increased competition for assignments by reviewing job boards more frequently than usual, and sign up to work with a few other providers if you find that you are not getting all of the assignments that you want to work on.

Mystery shopping in the winter can be miserable and challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Consider applying some of these tips to your work efforts now to enjoy mystery shopping for the next few months.