Written by an Anonymous Mystery Shopper
Everyone thinks that nurses make money. They lied. In reality it’s the convenience of working a traditional twelve hour shift three days a week that makes it easier to pick up extra shifts or another job.
I’ve always worked per diem or did overtime, until I had my daughter. Children change everything. Working extra seemed easy, but with a child, I had to pay for daycare. It seemed as if I was working backwards. Working extra just to pay a babysitter was senseless and nonetheless making me more fatigued. We tried cutting our expenses, cooking more instead of buying lunch and dinner. Couponing helps but only so much because you still need money to purchase products in order to save cash.
Fortunately, someone suggested mystery shopping. I had no idea what this was and thought it just wasn’t possible. Living in New York I figured it was just too good to be true. How could making extra money be possible in the hustle and bustle of a big city? How and when would I find the time to do mystery shopping?
There goes paying a babysitter again to watch my daughter. All of the excuses in my mind that I thought of as obstacles turned out to be my objectives as to why I should begin a serious journey as a mystery shopper.
The first mystery shop I did was with Bestmark. I filled out an online profile and waited. Within twenty four hours I was receiving an email with over thirty car dealership mystery shops.
I was not only shocked. I a bit intimidated. Do I have to do all of them to equate to what was needed as a monthly supplement? How could I fit the shops into my regular everyday life?
What did I do to myself? Why did I sign up to do something so silly? Rethinking only made me realize my way out of stressing over bills is the main reason why. Sure extra money never hurts but how hard would I really have to work for this money. After self reflecting I decided to accept my first shop with bestmark. The more I thought about shopping made me say less is better: fewer taxes to be paid, less time used outside of my home. and more quality time with my family.
I was limited to just BestMark, so I asked around and started doing assignments for Amusement Advantage. Amusement Advantage makes it easy because I could bring my entire family to eat and play at local bowling alleys and arcades. The only problem I found is that I would be putting the money out upfront and then getting reimbursed. Often times finding myself breaking-even, or paying extra.
With so many unknown mystery shopping companies, how do you know who is giving the best bang for your buck? I could only manage to have time to check emails once a week due to a hectic schedule. A facebook friend suggested signing up for ones that paid more. I was only being paid fifteen to thirty dollars for most of the assignments I was doing. I did not know there were shops that would pay upwards of forty-five to one hundred dollars per shop.
I was shocked, appalled and thrilled all at the same time.
But, I figured more money helps pay more bills.
Mystery shopping with Ellis was the ticket. I’m so grateful for my friend who suggested it. Mystery shopping for apartments paid $45-100 per shop. I was so excited to get started I started calculating the amounts before I even called leasing agents. I wanted to sign up for each and every available assignment. I had to rethink the idea of taking on everything, due to distances.
Some shops were forty-five plus twenty just for looking at an apartment. Sixty-five dollars to view one apartment seemed great. Considering distance was sixty five dollars worth a forty-five minute drive? I declined the far away ones and lost money due to it.
I was content with losing some because the thought of traffic and a possible accident plagued my mind. All in all, other apartment shops opened closer to home, offering the same amount of money.
I was elated to have great luck and instincts thereafter. Then there was the recording of shops. Those also paid extra due to having equipment, I was able to use my iPhone to audio record apartment viewing. Sometimes it was ninety dollars just for the use of my cell phone’s audio. Those were few and far in between but worth it.
Video recorded shops were the hardest because due dates, plus getting the equipment was difficult. There was one shop that I thought was recorded but afterall was not. Although frustrating it was a wake up call to me to be more cautious. The more exposure the better, a fellow mystery shopper told me. He told me the more shops you do, the more often the better ones come along. Thinking outside the box I figured word of mouth referral was the reason why.
I thought I’d never make big enough money to cover a whole month’s bills. I was wrong.
I did three mystery shops that totaled $1,000 in one month.
Interestingly enough they all revolved around being a homeowner. The shopping companies reached out to me and I grabbed them faster than I thought was possible. One company wanted me to perform solar panel shopping on my home. I had to call and set up appointments with up to three different companies. I was paid two hundred dollars for each successful sales visit. Needless to say, I got it done within two weeks. I kept the employer up to date with the progress with each one. I then was contacted to have three plumbing companies come to my house to give me estimates on converting from oil to gas. I got paid $100 for each of these. Between all of these assignments, I made $1,000 in one month without even having to leave my home.
Don’t give up, do what you can when you can and the rest will follow. Grab the shops by the horns and go with you instincts as to what is best for you.