As a follow-up to last month’s article about finding legitimate, work from home jobs that weren’t MLMs / Sales jobs, I wanted to delve more into the world of Mystery Shopping, since this was something I had personal experience with.
I had heard about Mystery Shopping before, but did really grasp its legitimacy as paid work until I decided to do a little research. It turns out that there are many professional shop companies out there, maybe even 100! However, there are also scam companies out there. To be sure you have a legitimate company, you want one that is listed with the MSPA – Mystery Shopping Association and/or SASSI (Available shops through JobSlinger). You never need to pay anything to register or shop with a company. The MSPA does offer certification training for a small fee, but it is NOT required for most companies (they just give preference to certified shoppers).
It Takes Work
I need to make it clear that Mystery Shopping is work. You have to learn quickly, retain a list of facts, have good observational skills, and good writing skills. It takes me about 1/2 to 2 hours to prepare for a shop, depending on complexity. The actual shop can take 10 minutes or a couple of hours. The report after the shop takes 1/2 hour t0 2 hours. During the shop, unless you have a photographic memory (I do not), you have to find a way to take notes w/o being seen so that you remember all the important facts of the shop. I did one shop for a major grocery store chain, which I was going to shop at anyway, and I had to visit every department in the store and: note the exact time, the name of the worker in the department, what they were wearing, how the department looked, and much more! I was sneaking notes on the back of my shopping list continually. I was pretty tired by the end of the shop.
Many Reimburse vs. Pay
I actually decided to take Mystery Shopping seriously when, the first company I registered for happened to have a shop for a prescription reimbursement up to $50. Since the adults in our family do not have health insurance, this was a great find. This was a quick shop with 30 minute prep, the time it took to fill my prescription, and about 30 minutes to fill out the post shop form. Our prescription was only for $20, but was still worth the work it took to get it reimbursed. I should note that most companies take about one month to pay and reimburse.
Getting What We Can’t Afford
That is how our family is now able to afford a few “small things” in life. Through mystery shopping I have:
- Been paid anywhere from $20 – 75 for the shop
- Been reimbursed for an oil change that we needed and some clothing that we didn’t so much need:-)
I will continue to do a few shops per month. I have seen shops to:
- Get paid to test drive a car
- Get reimbursed for a nice dinner or hotel
- Get reimbursed and paid for a coffee shop and similar for fast food restaurants
- Get paid to shop cell phones
- Get reimbursed for beauty products
I would be happy to answer any questions I can about mystery shopping and I would love to hear your mystery shop stories.
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