Mystery shoppers just love to talk about their providers! Now, the mystery shopping agreements you have signed with each of your providers limits what exactly you are permitted to say, but that doesn’t keep you and other mystery shoppers from communicating on forums and such in code or riddles to convey the information you want to share and hear. The fact is that if you spend even just a little bit of time on the online mystery shopping forums, you can glean quite a bit of information about providers you are currently working with as well as those you haven’t yet signed up to work with. And if you visit the forums regularly, your brain is probably overflowing with information others have shared.
The information shared online about mystery shopping providers runs the gamut in terms of topics. You can learn which mystery shopping providers pay really well, and which pay poorly. You can learn which mystery shopping providers pay fast, and which ones pay slow or have been known to reduce pay for crazy reasons. You can learn (through riddles usually) which providers work with your favorite companies, which companies are easy to work with, and which companies have long reports that take a lot of time.
If you are like most mystery shoppers, you may be tempted to say, “Oh, that’s interesting,” and then continue on your way as you skim the forums. But let me tell you this information, especially when it is all taken together can be incredibly useful to you and can even help make you more money as a mystery shopper!
Consider the fact that in mystery shopping time is money, so if you can find out which mystery shoppers have easier reports and site visits, that alone could make your mystery shopping assignments more profitable. If you know which providers are easier to work with, you know they won’t be nit-picking your reports and causing you to waste your time with back and forth Q and As on your report. This, too, can save you money. These are just a few of the many ways that you can benefit form the massive amounts of information conveyed on the forums about providers.
But how do you go about compiling all of this information? After all, you are a busy mystery shopper, and you simply don’t have the mental wherewithal to memorize all of this information about each and every provider discussed. The only thing you need to do is to start a new spreadsheet. Each and every time you read something about a certain provider, make a note in your spreadsheet. This may sound time-consuming, but if you have your spreadsheet open while you are visiting the forums, it will only take you a few seconds to type in a little note here and there. And over time, you will gather an incredible amount of information about these providers. You can use this information to keep yourself ahead of the curve by only working with the best providers – meaning those who pay well, offer easier assignments, have shorter reports, and pay promptly.
If you aren’t keeping tabs on the providers with your own spreadsheet database, you are missing out!
I haven’t spent much time in the forums lately, but I would advise against taking what is said there as gospel truth. People go there to gripe about a provider when they do a job wrong and don’t get paid. If you are brand new to mystery shopping, it might be helpful, but you will learn the ropes much better by doing a variety of jobs for a variety of companies.
For example, there is one company I work for that I was warned against in the forums. They pay really well for fairly easy shops, but they are always 30 days late with payment, and even then, I have to send them a reminder via email. I don’t mind that, and had I heeded the forum warnings, I would be out hundreds of dollars.
I agree with Emily. 90% of what you read on internet forums are from people who just love to complain. I feel that if you are happy with the mystery shopping company you’re with, then stick with them no matter what anyone says.
If a person doesn’t like the jobs they get whether with mystery shopping or merchandising, instead of trashing the whole company, move on! Someone out there is bound to like the shops or assignments!
Well I thank you all for the infomation you have provided for me ,I am new at this and I am wondering it it for real?
It would be very helpful if you could post a list of forums.
We could evaluate comments and if we monitor a few forums then we could judge the companies to shy away from.
Thank you for all the information you provide to us.
One thing I make sure to do, is contact my scheduler if there is an issue with any shop information. By making the email a little personal, with a greeting and their name, I’ve had them call me when they have a shop hanging like a noose around their neck that’s in my area or on the way home, to see if I can get it done during the next couple of days for them. The pay got upped to the max and it will keep me on their list of go-to auditors.
A spread sheet is a wonderful idea. I have scribbled down companies for years and never been able to find the slip of paper that I scribbled it on. Thanks.
Great suggestions! Another idea is to set up a separate e-mail strictly for mystery shopping. I have found it can help with the organization of shop information & instructions for multiple companies and you don’t end up spending an unnecessary amount of time sorting through boat loads of e-mails.
Another great resource to stay up to date is the MSPA, they have a list of legitimate mystery shopping companies, information on the latest “scam warnings,” and job postings for many companies! As a stay-at-home mom on-the-go its nice to have all the information posted on one site.
One of the companies I shop for is BestMark; I have had no problems with them and my state scheduler is always prompt to respond to any questions I have about certain shops. Plus, she is always available by phone and is super helpful. Some of the companies seem to only respond to e-mail which isn’t always convenient so I like that I can get a hold of someone just by calling.
I did mystery shopping about 10 years ago and just returned to it this spring, along with merchandising. I find I have to be careful the number of jobs I agree to. It is easy to look at a list of 6 shops and think it will be easy. But then I run into schedule delays, like not being able to find the location, having to wait for someone to search for merchandise or sign a form. Let alone the time it takes to complete these reports when I get home late and exhausted. Then I can’t work for several days. I have health issues. I still think I’m super woman, but find out repeatedly that I’m not. I really like the information in this newsletter. I’ve gotten some really good jobs as results of leads, along with great ideas for all the details that go with this job.
Is anyone willing to share how much money they take in, in a given period of time, versus how much it cost them in time and money to do the jobs. I’ve been thinking I need to do this to figure out where my efforts raise the most money and satisfaction. I’d enter, but I don’t have the information available.
There is noway to say how much one makes. Every job pays different. It also depends where you live. This isn’t a full time job.