Welcome to the world of Mystery Shopping. First off, I want to tell you that you are in the right place if you are looking for information on LEGITIMATE mystery shopping. There are a multitude of scams out there, and I hope to shed light on some of the common scams, so that you can avoid them and find an abundance of real work and income. I have been working as a mystery shopper for the past 3 years and I have gained some valuable knowledge through many sources and I would like to share it with you.
First of all, I'll tell you right now that there is no quick way into the business. You will not start right off making $40,000 a year. There is potential to make this kind of money. However, it will take you a while to build up a reputation and get enough shops under your belt to make this kind of income.
One thing I would like to make clear right away is that if you ever get a cashier's check sent to you from ANY mystery shopping company with a letter that tells you to cash it, DO NOT DO IT! Most people know this already, but when a $2,000 check comes written out to you, common sense seems to go right out the window. Here is an excellent example of what I am talking about.
Now that we got that out of the way, lets talk about the ups and downs of shopping. Ask yourself before getting started, what are you you looking for from mystery shopping? If you are looking to make enough income to support yourself solely on that income, you're most likely looking at a long road to get there. In other words, don't quit your day job. You also need to love to drive, or at least not mind a lot of driving. Chances are you will not be able to make very much money working close to your home and you will probably have to travel. If you do not live near a major metropolitan area you will most likely need to make serious considerations about what kind of vehicle you'll be driving, because if you mystery shop very frequently, you will probably be putting a LOT of miles on your car and burning up a LOT of gas. I have heard of some of the full timers putting 50,000 miles a year on their cars. Much of this is because of "route shopping" which I will discuss more in a later post.
Perhaps you are just looking to do just a little bit of mystery shopping. I'm sure you've seen images of women walking out of department stores carrying several large sacks next to an ad that says "Become a Mystery Shopper and Get Paid to Shop!" These ads can be more than a little misleading. Lets say you did get to do a shop at a department store. Chances are the reimbursement isn't going to pay for much, and certainly not enough to fill several bags. However, there are some shops that are relatively easy, where you just go into a store, do a quick evaluation, and get to keep a small item. If you're not trying to make money and you just take pleasure in getting something for free, then you might not mind this type of shop. I've done so many different types of shops that it may take me a while to get through all of them, but I want to make sure to take the time to really be thorough in explaining what there is out there.
So, stay tuned. I will update this every day or two so that you can get out there and get shopping!