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Mystery Shopping: Can You Really Get Paid to Shop? Grad Money Matters


™Part fun, part spying – mystery shopping has held its allure on the masses since the 1940′s. ™What started as a means for companies to keep tabs on employee integrity has evolved into a $600 million dollar industry in the US alone.


™If you would like to explore one of the most intriguing money making ideas where you can get paid to shop, then this series of articles is for you. y

™In this first segment, we will help you determine if y you are cut out to be a mystery shopper.


™If you think this is the right option for you then check out the other articles in you, the mystery shopping category to learn more about avoiding g scams,, finding g legitimate companies and much more. ™Prerequisites you really y want to become a mystery y y ™If y shopper, you’ll find these qualities advantageous as you build your reputation –


™The ability to manage your time, money, and records effectively ™The ability to write clear, grammatically correct reports reports, using correct spelling. spelling ™The ambition necessary to seek out shopping assignments, rather than waiting g for them to come to y you ™People skills


™A good memory; you can’t take notes during a mystery shopping trip ™A credit card; although you can usually pay for your purchases with cash or check, some (particularly those in higher-paying g p y g jobs) j ) may y be expensive. p As you may have to wait a couple of weeks for your company to reimburse you, a credit dit card d could ld prove useful. f l ™A computer, or easy access to one


™A cellphone or watch with a stopwatch function to time transactions when function, required ™Silver or Gold certification from the MSPA (Mystery Shopping Providers’ Assoc.). Again, g this is not essential, but it will g give you the advantage when it comes to landing assignments ™Clothing that will allow you to “fit in” at the places you shop


™The ability to give an honest, accurate assessment of your transaction, transaction without worrying that you’ll hurt someone’s feelings. g ™The ability, on occasion, to pretend to be someone y you’re not ™Patience and perseverance: it takes time and experience to work up to those posh shops ™A PayPal account


™Initial Investment ™Mystery shopping is a very affordable idea to try out. ™Assuming you have a computer and a couple of nice outfits already, already you will only need to spend money for certification from the Mystery y y Shopping pp g Providers’ Association (MSPA).


™Although certification is not (currently) required the MSPA materials provide required, valuable training, and the fact that you are willing g to invest time and funds into getting the certification shows potential employers that you’re serious, knowledgeable, and reliable. ™ At the time of this writing, Silver C tifi ti Certification costs t $15 $15, while hil the th Gold G ld Certification program runs $99 plus shipping and handling handling, as well as applicable taxes.


™How Much Can You Make? ™As with other money making ideas, ideas mystery shopping incomes vary widely, according to the type of assignment assignment, the quantity of assignments a shopper decides to take on, and the area of the country in which she is shopping.


™Most assignments pay between $5 and $15 for retail and fast food, food $20 $20-$40 $40 per shop for more expensive companies ((think car dealerships p and apartment p complexes), to as much as over $1,000 for evaluating an entire mall. ™If you are required to purchase an item (sometimes you’re not), you’re often given i a price i range; you will ill be b reimbursed for it later.


™Most shoppers make a few hundred per month not something you can live on, month, on but enough to claim that you get paid to shop. p ™Occasionally, in large urban markets, an experienced, motivated mystery shopper might be able to earn between $1,000$3,000 per month.


™When you consider the time spent, for a beginner mystery shopper, shopper the hourly rate of earning usually translates to less than the minimum wage. g ™If you don’t enjoy shopping then this may y not be the best money y making g idea for you. ™Advantages to Working as a Mystery Shopper ™There are many reasons why mystery shopping is a popular part-time occupation:


™You can set your own hours. ™ You can often shop with your children. children ™It takes very little monetary investment on your part ™Your efforts determine the amount of money you make. make


™Nice dinners, small items, and occasionally trips and amusements occasionally, amusements, all reimbursed ™The chance to go to restaurants and businesses which you may have overlooked ™You can often work as much or as little as you like. ™You may be asked to role-play by taking on another identity. ™Did we mention you get paid to shop?


™Disadvantages to Working as a Mystery Shopper ™Of course, as enjoyable and convenient as it sounds sounds, being a mystery shopper does have its drawbacks: ™You can make a nice supplementary income from mystery shopping, but you will not be able to support your family on it. ™The volume of assignments you’ll need to do to bring in good money can lead to burnout.


™Constantly eating out for assignments can lead to weight gain. gain ™It may be difficult to find high-paying, or a large volume of, of assignments in small cities, towns, or rural areas. ™Competition for jobs may be steep, as many people find the idea of mystery shopping intriguing.


™You will need to keep detailed financial records for tax purposes. purposes ™There are many mystery shoppingrelated scams out there; you you’ll ll need to be smart and savvy not to fall prey! ™If you are a shopaholic, this job is not a way to feed your addiction for free. Find something else.


™Services Offered ™Your mystery shopping job can take any form you wish. ™You can specialize in restaurants, restaurants clothing, retail, residential services, or other areas (although you may have to prove your abilities doing low-end work before you can move on to high-end companies).


™You can become a scheduler for a mystery shopping company, company managing other shoppers. Mystery shoppers have gone on to form their own companies, g p , to writing mystery shopping guides, and to run websites and training programs to help those who want to enter the field. f Mystery shopping is one of those money making ideas that can turn into a full blown dream career.


™urther Info ™To get started as a mystery shopper, shopper start by visiting the websites of MSPA member companies. companies ™Then follow their (reputable) links in order to register with company websites. Be sure to register with more than one; it’s allowed, and you’ll be able to pick up more assignments than you would from one company alone.


™When you do go to register, follow this cardinal rule: never ever register with a site that asks for money, either to list you,, or to provide y p you y with “valuable materials.” p ™The MSPA code of ethics prohibits agencies for asking for payment to provide listing services or job i f information, ti and d you can find fi d the th “valuable materials” for free online.


™Remember, too: if it sounds too good to be true, true it probably is is. Don’t Don t believe an ad that promises large pay for very little work. Mystery y y shopping pp g won’t make you y rich, but for a part-time job that allows you to provide useful services for a little money and a lot off fun, f it’s a great choice! ™G d money matters ™Grad tt ™http://gradmoneymatters.com

Mystery Shopping Can You Really Get Paid to Shop  

If you would like to explore one of the most intriguing money making ideas where you can get paid to shop, then this series of articles is f...

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