mystery shopping woman

Mystery Shopping – Unraveling The Mystery

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Robert Frank traced how Jennifer Voitle turned her life around from being an unemployed investment-banking employee to a phenomenal $7000 per month mystery shopper. While the $7000 per month figure is a bit higher than what most mystery shoppers make, it is certainly a great way to earn extra cash and lots of freebies.

So what is mystery shopping?

Mystery shopping is a profitable home based business that works especially well for mothers with young children, but also for people in many different circumstances. A mystery shopper is someone who is paid to go undercover for various companies.

Companies and employers basically need to ‘see’ how their staff is performing on a regular basis with regular customers. Naturally, if a staff member sees the big boss coming he or she is likely to clean up his or her act and be extra helpful. The boss never gets to see the true picture.

That’s where mystery shoppers come in. By hiring regular people to go and visit their stores, restaurants and hotels, the managers can get realistic feedback on their business and employees. This valuable insight into a previously unknown part of their business allows employers to provide better service to customers. And better service invariably translates into greater profits.

So in effect, mystery shopping is when a company hires you to go undercover and check out their own services and products and provide detailed feedback. A fantastic and profitable home based business that anyone can start.

Benefits of being a mystery shopper

This really is all good! While mom always said every coin has two sides, I would be hard pressed to find the negative side to mystery shopping. The benefits are really quite amazing:

  • You get free groceries, gas, electronics, movie tickets and who knows what else. Some mystery shoppers even got to go on paid vacations to Hawaii! Now that’s the kind of job we all need.
  • You get paid to do the things you most love to do – shop, eat out and hang out in cool places.
  • You can actually take your kids along with you to work.
  • You get to choose the assignments you want to take on.
  • You get to choose the hours you work.
  • There is no immediate boss breathing down your neck.
  • This is the only profitable home based business where you don’t need any special training and there is zero investment involved.

What makes a good mystery shopper?

There are several factors that determine if you will be a good mystery shopper or not and if this is the profitable home based business you should get involved in.

1. Do you have an eye for detail? This is important because you are being paid to pay attention to various aspects of the ‘job’ – whether you are shopping, watching a movie or test driving a car. The more detailed your feedback the more value it has.

2. Are you reliable? Once a mystery shopping assignment has been sent your way, you simply cannot back out. This makes things very difficult for the company as they cannot put out another shopper on short notice. In the event that you do need to opt out of a commitment it is vital to give advance notice.

3. Some amount of computer knowledge and Internet literacy is a huge advantage. Most companies prefer to receive feedback online these days. It also cuts back paperwork and the turnover time for you so get online and get savvy.

4. A really great way to build a solid reputation as a mystery shopper is to be willing to do last minute assignments even if they are low paying jobs initially. When a company knows that you will come through in a pinch, it really ups the ante.

5. Lastly, be sure to complete all assignments on time. A tardy mystery shopper cannot be trusted to provide honest feedback either. This is a surefire way to hit the bottom of the barrel!

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