I promised to get back with continuous updates on my mystery shopping experience. This is a brief update about my experience 3 weeks in, and about 10 mystery shop assignments later.
I will also provide you with more mystery shop companies that I have come across during these weeks.
It has been fun, but lots of hard work…
This is not simple in any way! If you thought it was, I will definitely disappoint you with this blog post. If you are just looking for some EASY extra bucks, this is NOT the gig for you.
Some assignments take hours with preparations, actual assignment, and completing the narrative for the survey.
The mystery shopping companies want details, and with that I mean ALL details. If you miss explaining something in detail, they will get back to you right away and ask you to update in order to get paid for the shop.
Feels like Being Back in School – You Get Grades on Your Assignments
It feels like being back in school again, and the feeling I had when I got the final results from a test/exam. The reviewers from each mystery shop company give you a shopping grade from 1 to 10. I nailed top grade (10) on a luxury car assignment last week, and it made me as happy as when I did good on an exam at college.
After this, I have tried to tone down my ambitions a bit, since I put way too many hours on this assignment, and have dropped down to a grade of 8 to 9. Pretty decent results anyhow I guess.
“Most providers pay their shoppers on assignment. In this instance regardless the amount of hours you work, you will simply be paid per assignment” from prior article – Is Mystery Shopping a Scam? What Is Mystery Shopping?
However, to not spend hours and hours on an assignment, I think I have to be okay with a grade of 6 to 7.
I did a huge shop at IKEA the other day, and I was spending a total of 12 hours completing it. The mystery shop company paid me $60 for this assignment, so for 12 hours of work, I only had an hourly pay of $5.
Not good enough! Actually below minimum wage here in Florida.
How Could It Take That Long You May Think?
Let me tell you…First of all, this assignment came with 6 pages of guidelines and preparations. While at IKEA they had me go through each department (and they are MANY) and play up a scenario of being a customer shopping for a certain product.
After each department you were ordered to take notes, and describe the sales associate in detail; first name, last name, country of origin, height, body type, clothing, glasses or no glasses, and exactly what they said in the interaction with you.
Gahhh that was intense. It took me 4 hours to go through all departments with a shopping scenario for each.
You also had to do 3 test buys and 1 “real” purchase. The last, “real” purchase, you had to return right away with an excuse that you had changed your mind. This to grade and create rapport on the employees working in customer returns as well.
Oh boy, I was exhausted after my visit at IKEA was over, and on top of that I then had to go straight home to the computer to fill out the survey that took HOURS.
I promise you guys this – I will never do an IKEA assignment again, but other ones with less effort will be fine.
Can You Deal with Follow-Up Calls?
Another thing to consider is that you have to leave your contact details on most shop assignments, so you get a bunch of follow-up calls that can be sort of annoying. Right now when I know that I probably will have many companies calling me to follow up, I do not answer all of them, and then I am listening to my voicemail to see if it is anything important. If it is, they will leave a message.
Apart from this, I have had a lot of fun so far. I have met new interesting people, and have also learn a whole lot from performing my assignments.
For example, I have never before financed or leased a car, but now I have learn about the requirements for both options, and that to lease a car is most definitely the best and cheapest option. I had no idea about this before, since I have always paid my cars right away.
In fact, I found out by some automotive mystery shops that you can lease a brand new car for about $420 a month with a 39 months leasing period.
I also tried out different mattresses; 2 models of tempur-pedic at 2 different locations. The mattresses were equipped with luxury options like; massage features, a cooling breeze option, and a remote control to adjust the laying position. I now know how it feels to lay in an amazing bed, and sleep comfortably (I never actually slept, but can imagine how good I would sleep).
My experience from my 2 mattress assignments is that I HAVE to upgrade. It will be so worth the money if I can sleep on something so soft but still firm, and not wake up with back pain.
I have never even thought about the way a mattress feels before, or cared about if they were back friendly or not. I guess it took me to reach a certain age^^, and performing these mystery shops, until I started considering those things.
It Makes Me Wonder If Mystery Shopping Is a Sales Tactic for Companies
Not only do they improve the customer service by having mystery shoppers coming to validate their employees, but they are also marketing their products to the actual mystery shoppers and increase sales.
I mean, I wanted to buy the car I was test driving, and will definitely buy a better mattress. Smart move by companies hiring mystery shoppers.
How Much Does it Pay $$?
If mystery shopping is something you consider trying, you are probably wondering how much it pays. The pay varies for each assignment, but you can decide which ones you want to apply for.
With most assignments you get an instant approval on your application – if you live up to some basic requirements, such as age limit, if you are using a special App to complete your shops, if you are driving a car above $7000 in market value, and so forth.
I have taken shop assignments that pay between $15 to $60 so far. My recommendation, judging by the time and effort completing a shop, is to not take any assignments below $25.
I have to say that you are pretty fast making the extra money needed to pay for the bills. This week I have an assignment that pays $75 even, so that is not bad at all.
I just have to make sure not to be overly ambitious with the survey, so it does not take more hours than the assignment is worth.
More Mystery Shopping Companies
If you want to apply to become a mystery shopper, you just need to register and leave your information with different mystery shopping company websites.
You will have to agree to work as an independent contractor, and give them your social security, address etc.
When reaching the limit of $600 you have to be responsible for paying your own taxes.
It is an advantage to have a Pay Pal account, since most of the companies pay out with Pay Pal. However, Best Mark sent me a check with my pay. I got positively surprised on how fast I received it. Some of the companies do not pay out until the last week in the month after, so if you did your assignments in May, you will not get paid until the end of June.
Make sure to read the pay regulations carefully, so you know what to expect.
There seems to be many mystery shopping companies out there, which is good. The opportunities are many. Let me first repeat the first 5 mystery shop companies I listed in my prior article:
Mystery Shop Companies
These are the other companies I have found during my 3 weeks as a mystery shopper:
They are all FREE to join.
If you register with Jobslinger (a platform for all mystery shops) and decide to try out their Jobslinger Plus, you will get a list of all shop assignments from different mystery shopping companies. If you see something you are interested in, but you have yet not registered with that company, you can do an express sign up through Jobslinger. Very efficient!
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If you have any questions about mystery shopping, or affiliate marketing, just comment below. Also, I would love to hear about your experience as a mystery shopper if you have been trying it, are currently working as a MS, or have a friend that has.
If you found this article interesting, please share it with your network. Thank you!
Have fun mystery shopping!
About the Author
My name is Stina Pettersson. I am the founder of Make a Living from Home in 2017 and the author of the articles on this site. I am originally from Sweden and am currently a business owner to 3 online businesses.
I help people to start their own online business and make a living from home.
I am especially fond of helping the stay at home parent, or single parents to increase their income.
I hope I will get the honor to help YOU achieving your online success.
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