Posted By Jacob Jans, Editor

How I Earned $1,439.07 in One Month as a Mystery Shopper

Note: Due to the personal nature of posting exact income, the author of this article has chosen to be anonymous.

As a mystery shopper my life is different from day to day, week to week, and month to month. I mystery shop as my full time job and it is my only source of income. In the month of April, 2016 I earned $1439.07 in shopper fees including bonuses and another $165.85 in useful reimbursements.

I started mystery shopping over 8 years ago. What was only a few shops back then has now become many shops each month.

Why? First, I liked it and realized it could become profitable and become my regular job. Second, I became disabled. I found it is a way to be able to support myself without going on full disability.

I shop 5 to 6 days a week usually taking Sunday off, except every now and then when I take one or two easy shops. I typically do my shops from 2PM to 10PM and reports anywhere from 10PM to 4AM. This is not straight shopping or doing reports – it is just the time range when they are done and reported.

How did I make this much money in April? First let me start with the types of shops I performed. I did the following shops:

  • Microsoft shops at both Microsoft stores and Best Buy Stores,
  • Oil Change shops,
  • Gas Shops,
  • Shoe shops,
  • Fitness Center Shops,
  • Party Store shops,
  • Bowling shops,
  • Bar Shops,
  • Drug Store shops,
  • Bank Shops,
  • Car and motorcycle shops, Movie shops,
  • Hardware Store shops,
  • Cell Phone shops,
  • Highway travel center shops,
  • specialty retail shops,
  • and of course restaurant shops.

I am registered with over 200 mystery shopping providers. I get my shops through emails and contact with schedulers. I look on job boards for individual mystery shopping providers (MSPs) or multiple MSPs, such as I ask for bonuses and am willing to travel regularly within 100 miles one way.

I set up routes with several shops in one area starting with a bigger paying one or two and add several more to it to make the trip worth it.

Let me give you an example of one week of shops.

  • In the week prior to preforming these shops I got an email on some bank shops that were paying $100 each. I applied for and was accepted for 3 of these shops. One was to open a checking account, one was to open a savings account, and one was to apply for a credit card.
  • I looked at one of my MSP’s job board and self assigned a shop to pick up a credit card app and the terms and conditions and mail them to the MSP. This shop paid $12.50.
  • While on another MSP’s job board I saw and picked up a phone shop which was in an area I would be passing. This shop paid $9.
  • I was emailed about a movie shop which reimbursed for 2 tickets and paid $5.
  • I received a call asking me to perform a couple of Home Improvement shops. The scheduler asked how much I would need to be paid. I told them I would need a $40 bonus on each of these two shops that paid $12 each with a $1 reimbursement. They called back with approval.
  • I got another call the next day and got another home improvement shop with a $90 bonus plus the $12 pay and a $1 reimbursement.
  • Lastly I picked up an alcohol compliance shop which paid $25 and reimbursed up to $3 for a required purchase and another $10 if the alcohol was allowed to be bought.

This had my week booked. It took me a half hour to drive to one of the bank shops, and 10 minutes to the other two. They each took an average of 20 minutes at the bank, with one taking 10 minutes to apply for the card, and another taking 30 minutes to open the checking account. The input time for the report was an average of 20 minutes.

I drove past and performed the phone shop while doing the bank shops. The phone shop took only 10 minutes in the store and 5 minutes to to complete the report. Since it took no extra drive time I made a nice $9 for 15 minutes work. The credit card application shop took 5 minutes in store and 10 minutes to enter the report and was also on the way to a bank shop. Another 15 minutes for $12.50 this time. The next day came a movie shop and two of the home improvement shops. I took my nephew to the movie where he had to attempt to buy an R-rated ticket, after which I entered and bought my ticket to the film he ended up buying. We enjoyed a movie and I made $5 on top of it. I then preformed the home improvement shops about a half hour drive one way and 10 minutes between shops. The shops took only 25 minutes each and were about 15 minutes to report. The total time including drive time being 2 and a half hours. I made $104 plus $2 in useful reimbursements. Thats $41.60 an hour minus gas and wear and tear. I did my last home improvement shop the next day and added another phone shop for $13 which was right next store. The in-store time for the phone shop was 15 minutes and report took 10 minutes. There was no extra cost in gas or mileage. The next day I did my alcohol compliance shop which took 10 minutes in store and 5 minutes to report. It was a 20 minute round trip drive. $25 for 35 minutes. Not bad.

In summary I made this much by doing a few key things.

  1. Being signed up with many MSPs
  2. Checking my email and job boards
  3. Contacting schedulers asking for bonuses
  4. Routing shops in the same area or adding shops I was driving near.

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