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Welcome to part 2 of our making money series.  You can read the first installment here.
Earlier this week, I went LIVE in my facebook group, Ambitious Boss Babes, and shared one of my money making activities.  You can watch it here if you’d like.
If you’re not in the group, take some time today and head on over.  We share some great stuff there as well as lift each other and support one another.  Each week there is a new topic that we train on.  This past week, we talked about adding Mystery Shopping into our routine.
So, you might be wondering what exactly is mystery shopping.  Let me explain.
Mystery shopping is evaluating the service, food, cleanliness, and other criteria that a company wants information on.  Any company can hire mystery shoppers to rate their stores, hotels, casinos, cruise ships, dining establishments, etc.  I personally have mystery shopped for about 3 years now and find it fun and rewarding.
What’s the criteria for someone to become a mystery shopper?
Most companies request that you be a US Citizen, age 18 or older.  You need to be dependable, have reliable transportation and know how to pay attention to detail and follow instructions.  Some companies require specific testing before you can shop for them.  Don’t let that discourage you, that’s an added bonus and allows you to stand out.
What kinds of places will you be shopping? 
As mentioned earlier, just about any place can request a shopper.  It can be gas stations, department stores, cruise lines, casinos, etc.
When must I report for a mystery shop? 
That depends on the shop that you accept.  Most shops require that you shop a specific date and time frame.  You can choose the shop based of what’s already going on in your life.  For me, I work it into something I’m already doing.  For example, if I had a grocery store shop, I would pick a shop date for when I needed to go and get groceries.  Being a full time working mom, choosing to do it this way, helps save me time and also adds a little money into my pocket at the same time.
What do I have to do when I perform a mystery shop?
That really depends on what they client wants.  I’ve seen some super simple shops that require you to answer a couple of questions, take a photo of the item and the receipt from your purchase to a report that has to be completed within 24 hours with 75 questions or more.
Usually, you’ll be asked to observe what’s going on with the establishment your shopping.  You may be asked to order and eat food, you may be asked to ask a clerk specific questions and you may be asked to check restrooms and the exterior of a building for cleanliness.  It all depends on what the client really wants to learn.
Some shops will require you to record video or audio.  You’ll know that prior to accepting the shop.  Others may require photos or just your written detailed explanations.
What equipment do I need to use to become a mystery shopper?
You’ll want something that is discreet for keeping notes or names/descriptions of people.  I use the notes app on my cell phone since seeing someone with a cell phone in their hands and on one, pretty common these days.  Keep in mind that most times, you’re not announcing that you’re there to perform a mystery shop so everything you do is confidential unless otherwise instructed by the client.  There are some mystery shops that are announced though and those will be in the shop description when you’re looking over them.
How much time will I spend on a shop?
That really depends on the shop itself and what’s required.  I’ve spent as little as 10 minutes to almost 3 hours.  That includes the time walking into the shop and the report.  You’ll want to consider what’s required within the shop, how much time you expect it to take and then what’s involved in the report.  Some shops might even require you to stay overnight or a few days, especially if you’re performing a travel related shop like a hotel or vacation.  One thing I’ll mention is that I would not do a $10 shop if it took me 3 hours.  I may however, do a shop that was quite extensive if it allowed me a week long vacation or if I’m already going to be at that establishment. 
How much pay will I get from a mystery shop and when will I get paid?
Again, that depends on the shop and what’s required.  I’ve seen shops pay for both the shop and the item you need to purchase or shops that allow you a free dinner.  I’ve also seen vacations, bonuses and other incentives like mileage.  If a shop is asking you to purchase something, you’ll want to make sure you have a way to pay for it upfront and save the receipt.  You will be reimbursed if you completed the report correctly.  Most companies pay their shoppers the month after the shop is completed (if you shopped in June, you’ll be paid sometime in July) so you’ll also want to keep that in mind.  You’ll also want to have paypal as most companies seem to pay this way or via direct deposit.
What companies are hiring mystery shoppers?
There are lots of companies out there hiring but please do your research when applying for them.
Companies that I have worked for and can recommend are:
Field Agent  – This company has super easy shops and pay is within a few days.  You often get free product! 
Best Mark
Customer Impact
Anonymous Insights
Job Slinger
So there ya have it!  That’s the 411 on mystery shopping.

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