Yes, there is such thing as a “mystery shopper.” Getting paid for eating or shopping or doing things which you normally do seems like a great idea. As incredulous as it sounds, mystery shopping is a real thing. With the trends of shopping going over to the internet, the days of mystery shopping have also started going online and now you can work as an online mystery shopper.
What is a secret shopper?
Wikipedia explains what is a secret shopper pretty simply. A secret shopper is a ‘tool’ used by market research firms to measure quality of service or compliance to industry standards or regulations, or to gather specific information about products and services.
What does a mystery shopper do?
Secret shoppers perform tasks such as purchasing a product, asking questions to the employees, filing complaints, etc. and then provide detailed reports about their experiences.
How To Make Money Being An Online Mystery Shopper
- Choose your method. You could be an online mystery shopper completely working from your home or you could be a mix of the two. There are a few factors which you have to weigh before you embark on your mystery shopping venture.
- Online based. If you are purely online based then you have to search for best offers and deals and apply them to get the best products. You might be asked to get something at the lowest price and you have to choose with the judgement and budget along with any coupons and offers if you can apply at different stores.
- Offline and online. If you also work offline then you can get products which are famous around your area. A person might not be able to get the farm cheese 40 miles away for the Saturday party but you might be free in the meanwhile. There are a wide variety of other things also which are location based but usually this method is a hard bet because most of the things are available online and your area is also quite limited.
- Avoid scams. Do not go mystery shopping for companies or websites without reading their policies clearly. Many “job postings” are actually added to your account which bank will clear later. Do not go for any companies which ask you to deposit a certain amount either.
- Don’t pay. No company will ask you to pay any fee before you go mystery shopping. For taxes, the minimum amount you have to earn is over $600 from a single company which is taxable after you and the company have signed an official IRS form.
Do not pay for any service in advance, if there is a fee upfront then there will be a fee afterwards also. Get out of such websites.
- Try certified companies. There are a number of organizations which review and offer memberships for companies which offer mystery shopping assignments.
You can look for companies which are a part of Independent Mystery Shoppers’ Coalition, International Association of Service Evaluators etc.
- Have a backup. In many cases or jobs especially if you are working offline, you might have to pay for the product in a case or two. This doesn’t happen for big jobs or online jobs.
A backup is also necessary for supporting you in case you do not receive any assignments as an online mystery shopper for a while. Mystery shopping also does not pay great or generous benefits and hence is mostly efficient as a supportive income rather than being a chief and permanent source of income.
How Much Do Mystery Shoppers Make?
Even though there is a story about a mystery shopper that makes $14,000 a year just from doing mystery shopping, in the reality amounts that online mystery shopper can make are much lower. But it really depends on the fact how much time can you provide to this task and how many assignments will you get. Also, the higher paying shops are usually reserved for those with experience, so you will need to be patient before starting to make some real money.