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Starting Your Own Mystery Shopping Company

Occasionally on www.mysteryshopforum.com, a shopper will “vent” about some aspect of a shop, and the “venting” will usually end with some form of “I could make the form better.”

A shopper recently sent me the following. He asked me to remain anonymous.

“A few weeks ago, I went out to dinner at an ethnic restaurant owned by a friend. We hadn’t seen each other in quite a while so he stopped by to see me while I was eating. He had a conundrum. He has three locations in town and is in the process of opening a fourth and he has a problem of work not being done right and service declining when he’s not there.

“Those of us who treat shopping as a business are, to varying degrees, entrepreneurs. So, when he asked me what I was doing now, I told him I was mystery shopping. He asked if we could meet for lunch later in the week and I agreed.

“When we met, he told me that he had been in touch with a mystery shopping company but the numbers he was given were not feasible for his four unit restaurant. I immediately stopped him and said I did not want to know the name of the MSC, or any of the details. We discussed in general terms, what he hoped to accomplish. One thing I insisted on was having the flexibility of having up to four diners at a meal as there are times when one or two may be too obvious as shoppers.

“I created a 15 question report with a narrative at the end and we agreed on a price for which I would shop two of his locations each month.

“Does this mean I’m starting the ‘John Doe Mystery Shopping Company?’ No, not by a long shot…at the same time, I am attentive to opportunity. I found a way to help out a friend and benefit personally from it at the same time. I don’t know which MSC he spoke with, or the price he was quoted, and it really doesn’t matter. I’m under their price yet I’m making more than I would as an independent contractor doing the same job, so we’re both happy.”

James here again…that’s a great example of finding a need and filling it. I’m sure there are many local businesses that are under the radar of the big MSC’s, yet they can benefit from being shopped. Consider approaching the owner and offering your services. Keep your eyes open for opportunity; you never know where you’ll find it.

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