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How do you find a legit mystery shopper job and

1070 Views 21 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  CerridwenLorelei
are they really worth it?

do they give you the $ to go or do a reimbursement thing?

thanks for not calling me on it and waiting for me to see it ROFL
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I've done mystery shopping many times, most of the time with kids in tow, though not lately. I found most of the companies at -- if you find mystery shopping there will be a list of companies. It should always be free to sign up with them -- I would stear clear of anyone who charges for those leads. It was a little time consuming to sign up with all of them (there is a lot!) but once you do, you will start getting emails with different jobs that you are eligible for. If the shop interests you and you are able to meet their deadlines, etc. you can request it or sign up for it. Each company works a little differently - some give cash, some give meals or merchandise depending on the shop. Definitely fun and I am sure people can make some $$ doing it -- I didn't do it more than once or twice per month due to time constraints. Good luck!
I registered for about 20 of them 4 or 5 mos. ago. I found that to be a complete waste of my time! The only jobs they'll offer to a newbie are crappy ones. Lots of lying, or things that wouldn't be feasible to take a child to. For example, computer shops and TV shops in the mall - they want me to go in, prompt the clerk to give a certain sales pitch, then you have to take a questionaire on what they said or didn't say... yah right! I would have a hard time just focusing on keeping my kids from tearing the store apart, I don't think I could remember the whole sales pitch!

Then I got excited b/c they wanted me to do a Babies-R-Us. But once I found out the details.. they wanted me to go in and tell them I was pregnant and fill our a registration, answering questions like, "How did the clerk congratulate you? Did the manager come out to congratulate you?" You could never take a child to that one! (well, unless you really were pregnant

I ended up doing one in January at the Panda Express in the food court of the mall. That was fine, but the only would reimburse for 1 meal, and it's not somewhere we would eat in the first place. So it was kinda just a fun distraction for a rainy day. But I just got the check for that (a whopping $5.77) only a short 3 mos. later ... Just not worth it for me.
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Sounds like you got some crummy shops
I got a full-service sit down restaurant that reimbursed up to $40 several times and some other decent eating places. We did get fast food shops but those weren't too bad -- I often was able to swing through the drive through and hubby had them as a snack
:. There were some bank ones and gas station ones and even several mall ones that were worthwhile if they were in my close area. I wonder if it depends on where you live? I have several good size cities that are close to my home and lots of retail places. Anyways, good to know what to look out for and avoid!!
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Don't get me too wrong
i've had good offers, too. Just the only one I've actually done is the food court one. A couple weeks ago, we were supposed to do a sit-down steakhouse, but it came time to do it, and we didn't have the funds. Since the one and only shop I'd ever done hadn't paid me yet, I was uneasy about doing the pricey one, not knowing when I would have been paid (i mean, I know they tell you a time to get paid, but my check came quite a bit after that date). I also get lots of gas station offers, but they are all about 1/2 hr from our house, and they only give you $12 worth of gas.
I'm done. Glad I tried it out though, or I always would have wondered. I actually did that and a friend of mine IRL tried out giving samples at stores (like at Sam's club) as an independant contractor. Neither panned out, but since we each tried one, now we know about the other one, too
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my sis lives in NYC and she is working for 3 different mystery shop companies. She makes several hundred a she gets the reimbursement on top of that.

Most of the jobs she makes $8-$10 per occasion plus gets reimbursed for whatever she has to purchase.

One of her checks last month was over $300 and almost $100 was reimbursement...but that isn't bad for one agency.

It is true that you can't usually take a child along. And there are very detailed notes you need to keep. (like the exact amount of time it takes for someone to greet you, etc) But if you have someone who can watch the kids while you run out to do a shop it might work out. It's not really something you can make a career out of...but it is good for a bit of extra money.

If I had an empty credit card that I could use to put the initial purchases on (that I'd of course pay off when I got my check) I just might give it a go.
Its usually a marketing job, so I might suggest setting yourself up as a mystery marketing spy for hire
The guys at work would often go incognito from the marketing department (lol as if) to see what the same products we made other people sold for.

For example you see that places like walmart always have the cart if you bought at Kmart you'd pay 50 here you'd pay 40.

Approach a local store, If you did a feasiblity study for them such as my local toy store drives me nuts, they are so overpriced but local I don't buy there their prices are 20% more... If you took a store then showed them that their prices are lower than most (something they could highlight) or that they are way overpriced compared to their competators so should adjust their prices accordingly. I think there's many stores that would pay $50-100 dollars a month to know they are in the ballpark...just a thought.

Or you could hire yourself out as mom private investigator - for 15 dollars I'll drop in on your kids daycare, your son's hockey game so that your husband is being nice and not yellling, not picking up a hockey mom
your contractor actually arrived at 8am and worked the whole day (there's many people who work who have stuff done and think oh crap they are drinking beer and smoking....not working) your pooch is treated nicely at the kennel.

Mystery shopping sounds cool but I'd make a list of the places you go to anyhow and start your own blog
have something to show companies that you can do - a blog would show what you thought of restaurant x, get a list of how to critique, what to look for...
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I will give this some more thought
I found my company through a friend, that's how they did all their recruiting. Here (Nevada) you have to be fingerprinted and are treated as a private detective, so unless you're going through a registered company, you won't get any work.

I made some money, but the questionairres were always soooo long, and the websites where I was supposed to post them hardly ever worked. It was hardly worth it.

If you decide to do it, and get some of the harder, more time-consuming shops, I would negotiate for more money after you've done them a few times. My brother used to contract mystery shopper companies, and he said they'd pay over $200/shop. For which you would probably get about $30. Just FYI.
I do this! I haven't for awhile because there are no places really close to me; but I am a mystery shopper for Longhorn Steakhouse. Shhh... it's a secret.
They reimburse for I THINK $40, which is enough for my mom & me & Joe to eat. We have a 45 minute drive to get there & then we do a little shopping so it makes for a nice day... I am always reimbursed before they tell me I will be.

I will try to IM you the name of the company; can't remember it at the moment... they might be local though...

Some of the mystery shopper jobs are worth it; some aren't. "Shop" around.
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Interesting...I too, have always wondered about this.
I'd like to give it a try.

Is there a way to search for companies that specifically hire in Massachusetts? I am looking thru companies on the Volition site--but not finding an easy way to determine which hire here vs. elsewhere @ the country. ( But I am making my way through!)
My best friend gets all kinds of great mystery shop offers... she's signed up with a few companies. You start off getting the crummy ones, but the more you do, the better shops you get. I just got back from South Carolina, and one of the nights in our hotel in Hilton Head was free because she was doing a mystery shop. Can't beat that! Anyhow, I'm signed up with one company and have started doing the mickey mouse assignments... I started off with three and they pay $10 a shop (enough basically to cover gas) Like OP it's a diversion, but again, the more you do the better shops you get. With my girlfriend I have had a free meal, a free hotel stay, free movie tickets, etc. She manages to stay home with an at-home data entry job and the mystery shops.
I have done mystery shopping and was getting some good jobs, but it was never lucrative enough to keep me interested.

I prefer to do focus groups- they are much better paid. Volition should have some of those listed as well. I do gorups about every 3 months and usually get paid between $50 and $200 for 1-2 hours work, as opposed to $10- $15 where I have to go to the store/restaurant, appraise my serive, go home and then write up a report. It's too much work for the money!
I have to go to the bathroom several times and I don't think you can leave the focus groups can you ?
Where do you find a reasonably priced fax machine?
And what is reasonably priced these days?
You can (usually) also scan your receipts. I don't have a scanner or fax machine, I just took photos with the dig. camera and emailed them to the company. That always worked fine

What is a focus group? Like a survey?
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a focus group is a group of people of a certain demographic who give opinions on certain topics., usually for advertisers, so they know who best to advertise theit product to appeal to their intended audience. There are a lot of fun. I have also done taste tests, the last was on nutrition bars. I had to taste test 9 different bars and got paid $100 for it. Not bad!

About the bathroom thing, I'm not sure, you'd have to ask. I once left the room to take a call from my babysitter which they were ok with, but you would need to check.
I do focus groups and mystery shops, off and on, when I need extra cash. I've gotten some nice sit-down meals mystery shopping, and also some that paid $30 or more. I do grocery shops for one of the big supermarkets here regularly - they only pay $10 but the shop is easy, I mostly just shop as I usually do.

I did medical research a couple of weeks ago, and that was great. I guess you have to be careful, but the drug I tested was one that has been on the market for twenty years and I actually took it years ago... they're testing it for a different condition and needed healthy volunteers. I had a two hour office visit and spent one night, and made $500. I did have to sleep odd hours during the overnight and they hooked me up to all sorts of wires, but the bed was comfy and it was like a hotel room rather than a hospital. Oh, and I had to give pee and blood twice, once at the visit and once at the overnight. Didn't bother me...

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