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Mystery Shopping is a great way to add extra income to your
household without disrupting your routine.  What is mystery
shopping anyway?? Shoppers work as independent contractors,
which means that you are responsible for your own taxes.  It is
very important to keep good records of your expenses.  The
biggest expense is mileage.  Keep a separate folder that lists
all of your expenses while doing your evaluations.  Shoppers
are hired by companies that do business evaluations.  You
will receive an assignment to go to a business on a certain day
and probably a certain time.  You will be sent a form that contains
all the details that have to be observed.  Then you just go to the
location and get all the information and send the form back to
the company that hired you.  The way that companies
choose to get their reports varies from on-line reports to
fax, e-mail or snail mail.

What kind of companies do mystery shoppers visit?  Almost
any kind of business.  You could be assigned to restaurants,
theaters, retail, banks, golf courses, apartments, hair salons,
gas stations, hotel, or even major sports and entertainment

How is the pay? You will not get rich mystery shopping.  It
is a source of extra income.  While some people may make
a living doing this, they are rare and probably have years of
experience and work for lots of companies.  They also may
have low expenses or live in an inexpensive area.  It is an
excellent source of extra money and it is fairly easy to build
up your work to equal $500 per month if you live in or near
a large city.  Most companies pay once a month near the
end of the month.  For instance, if you do a shop on May 1,
your pay will come around the end of June.  Any shop that
you perform in May will be paid near the end of June.  Before
each assignment they will tell you the rate of pay.  Sometimes
there is a meal or tickets that come with it also.  Some finer
dining assignments only pay for the meal, but it is usually a
meal for 2, and a very nice one.  The general rates of pay
run between $5 to $50 each, with most falling somewhere
in between.  You have to decide which shops are worth it
for you.  I strongly suggest that you take the first shops that
are offered to you by a company unless they are too far away
or the pay is extremely insufficient for the job.  Your first
assignments will not be the best jobs, the experienced
shoppers will get the first crack at those.

It is very important to be impartial.   Your job is very important
to the people that receive your reports.  Your job is to really
just say what happened.  Your personal input is welcomed
and appreciated, but if you have an unusual personal bias,
it is not fair to hold that against an employee or a business.
Of course, they may want to hear all your comments so they
can improve, which is the reason you were sent there.

It is very important to be very detail oriented, companies
want you to be very precise about times, names and any
other information that they requested.

It is also important that you stay anonymous, don't let anyone
see you taking notes.  A good trick is to carry a checkbook
that just has blank notebook pages in it.  Most people are not
suspicious of someone writing in a checkbook.  Also you may
dash into the restroom and write down a few notes before you
forget.  When you go to restaurants you can take a newspaper
and write notes on the crossword puzzle. 

You never need to pay money to get a list of mystery shopping
companies.  There is a very complete list here in the links.  You
may wish to subscribe to a newsletter, but also there is plenty of
information on-line and it is not necessary.

How do you get started?
Sign up for
the e-mail newsletter from this site.   Emergency
jobs are listed here and it is a quick way to get your foot
in the door. Then go to the mystery shopping links (links are located
just below the banner on top of this page) and apply
to as many companies as possible. Contained
within the shopping links are links to merchandising
and demo jobs as well.
 When available the areas
they work in are listed.  Apply with the on-line application or
e-mail or snail mail a letter.  Using the 800 number is a bad
idea and it will lower your chances of getting hired.  Please
feel free to say that you were referred by MOM!MOM!.COM.
Also there have been many questions about putting
your social security number on applications.  Just
put all zeroes in the space for your ss# and explain
somewhere in the notes that you will provide it if hired.
To make this whole process much quicker, I highly
recommend Roboform it keeps all your contact information
and will automatically fill out a form for you.  It has no
spy ware or scum ware and is a good internet neighbor.
It will save you hundreds of hours filling out applications.
We recommend you start your application process with
BestMark They have many shops in the US, Canada
and some in Europe. 

NEW! Our International section.  For our visitors from all over
the world that wish to be shoppers or merchandisers.

For all of you with children or grandchildren, I strongly
recommend . I have been with them for years and it
has helped me to save a substantial amount of money
for my kids college funds.

It is also a good idea to sign up for paypal.   Many mystery
shopping companies are paying by paypal now and you
will get paid quicker.


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