Note: The author of this article has chosen to remain anonymous.
I am a full time mystery shopper (due to necessity and health) in addition to being a merchandiser and an occasional demo person. In the month of July, 2015, I earned a total of $1,031.12 for mystery shopping alone. Yes, I do mystery shopping full time and it’s how I pay my bills.
The demo jobs used to be plentiful but multiple companies were bought out by other companies and my demo gigs were dramatically cut. (I did not want to go through the hassle of joining new companies in the demo arena)
I started mystery shopping 6 years ago when my former job downsized me and I found myself unemployed. As I said earlier, demo’s were the first real break I had, because a lot of employers seem to blame an out-of-work employee, as if they were “defective or something”… It was hard then and it’s even harder now to try to find full time work. I am in a certain age range and you often get overlooked when you are new and fresh out in the job market again. I can’t change my age but I can change how I think and what I decide to do for a living.
I started with one mystery shop every other day (as a newbie) until I felt confident and then worked into 2-3 a day. Presently, I am comfortable with up to 4 shops a day. I know there are shoppers that do 12 and 20 a day but I think I would pull all my hair out if I had that many to do.
I work 7 days a week and most of my shops are not high paying, like video shops or $300 credit card shops. But someday, I would love to do video shopping. It seems so refreshing to show raw footage of how someone is really treating you (good or bad) and there can be no denials of poor service or disputes about whether someone greets you or not on video. Why didn’t they think of this sooner? Either way, I would like to do video shops if one of my MSC’s accounts dries up. I will be forced to step outside the box further and look for more opportunities. For now, I am eeking by and try to make ends meet.
I shop 7 days a week, as I said and my goal is to make $50 a day. I am registered with over 225 mystery shopping companies and actively work for about 30 companies. I get most of my shop notices through emails and about 20% with phone calls to me. I also do an active search for my favorite companies a few times a day. I like to make $50 a day, as I said, but many times that does not happen. I might only make $25. Some days I make $80 (those great bonused shops) and that is a good day for me. I use Job Slinger so that helps as well in finding jobs but honestly I don’t actively look on there, rather they email me current jobs available. I do like that all my Sassie companies are on JS and I can go in there to report shops as well.
I am a morning person and prefer to get up and get the day going. That means up at 5 a.m., hit the gym by 6:30 a.m., rush back home and change and start my day. I have no choice but to join a gym, as my blood pressure makes me a walking time bomb. I really don’t want to go out like that. I want to try and salvage my body… I should mention there are days when I leave at 8 a.m. and do not get home until 6 p.m., depending on how many shops and how complex they turn out to be.
I rush home, get my reports in and like to be done by 2:00 p.m., from there, (multi-tasking) I get ready for my next day’s shops, search my favorite job board, and prepare for the next day. When I am all done, in my free time I like to read the Mystery Shopping Forum. 🙂 I honestly find it stressful to not get my reports in right away. Once I do them, I have the rest of the day to take care of what I need to do.
I really enjoy the mystery shopping for the diversity of shops, each different and unique from the other and the idea that it keeps my mind alert. (think of any other type of job where you have to remember so much, be so observant and be so detailed). ..The only regret I have about mystery shopping is the wear and tear on my car. I have replaced way too many things including engines and at some point, I would like to think I made out ahead but with car repairs, likely not.
Here is a breakdown of July 2015:
7 Fast Casuals (average earning $15 per shop)
18 Quick Serve Burger Shops (average earning $11 per shop
3 Ice Cream Shops (average earning $10 a shop)
9 Famous Burger Joints (average earning $18 a shop)
15 Grocery Stores (average earning $15 a shop)
8 Hardware Stores (average earning $15 a shop)
5 Cell Phone Shops (average earning $18 a shop)
3 Big Box Stores (average earning $15 a shop)
1 Music Shop (average earning was $15 for that shop)
In that month of July, I earned $497.00 in Reimbursements and $529.00 in Shop Fees.
I did this by:
Keeping a good eye on my emails and looking for special bonused shops.
Getting ready each day preparing for my shops by using Google Maps to find the proximity of each shop, in miles between the next so I would route my day without wasting excess gas.
Making sure my GPS was set the night before so I would not get lost and be late for assignments.
Answering my phone . THAT is how I got a lot of my shops!
Making sure I had cash on me when the shop called for cash.
Making sure I had gas in the car and did not need to stop on the way to shops.
In conclusion: I enjoy shopping so that’s half the hurdle to struggling to make ends meet. It would be hard to go back inside a big box store or brick and mortar setting, once you get a taste of mystery shopping. The money is out there. You have to work your buns to find it, execute the shops and turn them in within the time frames. Otherwise, all that you do is for naught, when you are not paid because your shop was late or not performed correctly.