Overview: Do you like going to open houses around town to kill time on weekends? Then consider doing new home mystery shops. Most of these do take place on weekdays rather than weekends, but they afford the shopper the opportunity to visit new home subdivisions.
I like them because I live in a small house and these shops give me ideas to help me utilize the space better.
Project variations: These are shops that can be both traditional or video. They can also be targeted or non-targeted shops.
Visit and reporting requirements: Generally, you can plan on anywhere between an hour and 90 minutes to complete these shops. On some shops there is a specific time limit and should you get one of those, adhere to that requirement. This would be one of the few instances where the shopper could be a bit more proactive to keep the encounter moving along.
Strategies: At new home shops, the agent will not ask for your ID. Often, the MSC will provide a list of emails and sometimes names for you to choose from when you do the shop. Some MSC’s even provide you a phone number to give the agent. This is one of the few cases where you will not give your name, and you will likely be changing your name on each visit.
Special note: Record keeping is key to being successful on these shops. I have a spreadsheet with each MSC I do home shops for…the sheet has the developer, development name, target name, and location, and a column for miscellaneous notes.
What others have to say: Comments on www.mysteryshopforum.com are generally positive about new home shops. It goes unstated that if looking at new homes does not interest you [or you can’t reasonably fake the enthusiasm], then you’re not going to be successful with these shops. After getting a few under your belt, new home shops can be a great way to break into route shopping.
Estimated pay: Pay generally starts at about $30 and can go up to $100 or more [including travel bonuses] if you’re doing a video route for a MSC
MSCs: Melinda Brody, Impact Marketing, Instant Replays, Shadow Agency, Coyle, and EPMS, among others.