Mystery Shopping 101 - How to Make Extra Cash in a Slow Economy
Mystery Shopping is also called secret shopping or shadow shopping. Companies offering
market research to services are also looking for "shoppers" for merchandising and auditing
jobs. Mystery, secret and shadow shopping jobs are quick easy jobs where you will evaluate
service and product and offer feedback in exchange for a payment of a fee and
reimbursement for your purchase.
Merchandising and auditing jobs are jobs requiring you to stock arrange or assemble
products or displays. All of these jobs offer a great work from home opportunity. Mystery
shopping, in all of its forms, can be a legitimate entrepreneurial opportunity for a
working mom, student or retiree. Mystery shopping can also provide a little extra spending
money to anyone in exchange for a few hours or their time in the evenings or on the weekend.
The mystery shopping opportunity provides a part-time "job" or a fun money making
hobby. Secret shopping could be a full time job for the right person, in the right
Secret shopping is a market research tool that allows companies to maintain consistent
quality and evaluate their training needs. Companies can also use secret shoppers to
insure the cleanliness of their facilities and the courtesy of employees. The companies
that are looking for mystery shoppers are in many different businesses ranging from banks
and dollar stores to theaters and grocery chains to fast food chains to auto dealerships.
Jobs or Shops
There are hundreds of companies offering mystery shopping services. Major companies
contract with a mystery shopper company as they would contract with an advertising agency
or public relations company. The company then works to develop a survey or questionnaire
to give the information needed for good business decisions, training development and
Mystery shopping companies can be found by a doing a simple Internet search. There are
forums and bulletin boards where shoppers share information. There is a Mystery Shopping
Association offering leads, education and advice. You must be 18 yrs old and have a
computer and Internet access. Most mystery shopping jobs and reporting is handled online.
It helps to be organized. Companies will expect you to complete assignments and report in
the time frame stated.
When you access a job board, the pay will be stated along with information and limits
on reimbursement. Mystery, secret and shadow shopping jobs will generally pay $10-$15 per
job. These jobs take 30-45 minutes to complete. Some will pay more, some will pay less. I
have seen jobs paying up to $75 and reimbursing up to $45. Merchandising jobs offer a bit
more as a basic fee and sometimes offer you several hours of work with a per hour fee. I
recently saw a merchandising job offering $45 for four hours of work stocking toys on shelves.
The pay for mystery shopping is processed monthly. There will be about a month between
completing the job and receiving the pay. If you complete a job before the 15th of one
month, the pay will be processed around the 20th of the following month.
You will need a fax or scanner in order to submit receipts. As a mystery shopping you
are an independent employee and all of your expenses to do the job are tax deductible.
Possible tax deductions include mileage, postage, cost of internet service and office
supplies. Your accountant can give you specifics and clarification. If you decide to give
mystery shopping a try, you will provide a valuable service for companies while getting
paid to shop. Enjoy.
Make sure to visit my blog
Mystery Shopping Income
for helpful tips and advice on how I made $75 in one day and how to find the right company for you!