Edited By Ceridwyn

Feature Shopper: ShopperBob

Forum Alias: ShopperBob

How long have you been mystery shopping? Since 2003.

What got you started? During the winter of 2002-03, I began searching for a profession that could supplement my upcoming retirement from 39 yrs. in direct commissioned sales. After considering several opportunities, the idea of being paid for an everyday task caught my attention.

What was your first assignment and how did it go? I agreed to complete my first shop at a Greyhound bus station for $20. Unfortunately, what I hadn’t anticipated was the time lag between work and pay. In this case, it was 73 days.

What is the key to your long-term success in mystery shopping? Over the past decade, I’ve completed 2797 jobs for 88 shopping companies, and only not been paid on 4 occasions, of which 3 were my errors. I have both failed and succeeded. I failed as a full-timer, but after a few years, finally found my niche.

Having been self-employed for 4 decades prior to my entrance into this line of work has greatly assisted me from the standpoint of both attitude and realization that I’m an independent contractor bidding on work that no company has the slightest obligation to award me. Folks, this IS business… you’re not an employee to whom a corporation must treat in a fair manner.

What is your least favorite assignment? Over the years, the only classification of assignment I’ve avoided is cemetery visits. Those are just not my “cup of tea.” There is, however, a type of shop I now will not accept: a targeted apartment job. These workers have become quite difficult to contact and it’s now no longer a favorable work to pay ratio for me.

What’s your biggest pet peeve with mystery shopping?I HATE repetitious reports.

Also, a quick word of caution to those contemplating extending a second or 58th chance to a company who has violated them in the past: Yes, it’s possible for the leopard to change its spots, BUT, having lived in excess 2/3 century of life, my experience is that in either love or business cheaters continue to cheat.

What are your favorite MSCs? As to my favorite MSCs, it, for me as a capitalist, is a matter of who is paying me the greatest sum for the least work and aggravation. At this point, it would be: #1 Corporate Risk Solutions, #2 Informa, #3Maritz, #4 Quest For Best, and #5 Strategic Reflections.

To be in my “top 5,” I require both speedy and abundant pay and the MSC must be easily accessible. In addition, if mind numbing reports are required, remuneration need be commensurate with this condition. One of the above once paid me $50+ $116 in goods to complete a normal shop and dispatched the funds to my Pay Pal account in less than 30 minutes. This is definitely my kind of company.

What’s your #1 tip for other shoppers? Finally, four suggestions for shoppers intent on earning money: always operate with the thought that this IS business. Next, consider video work. My lowest paying such assignment was $50+ an oil change, but at the other end was one for $400. Continuing, learn from the mistakes and advice of those on the Mystery Shop forum. Last, but certainly not least, apply for route work. It need not be as a road warrior; I’m a day route shopper, but traveled 438 miles this past New Years Eve to complete 17 assignments.

Any other words of wisdom to share? I may have neglected to mention this IS business! In accepting work, you’ve entered into a contract. Your dog’s grooming, your cousin’s visit nor your desire to play are acceptable excuses for breaking your word.

Now, let’s earn some money, or, for those for whom cash isn’t their prime or solitary motivator, have some fun.

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