Depending upon the shop, retailer or type of research assignment given, a mystery shopper will generally ensure that the store and its employees are providing a high level of customer service. The positions are generally very flexible when it comes to work hours as well as location.
The exact names of the positions posted for this mystery shopper job opportunity are wide ranging, and they can be called a researcher, secret shopper, or even a retail checker. However the most common name of the job opportunity is often called a "mystery shopper". So anyone that is interested in applying should check for different designations when seeking this type of job.
Anyone who works in this field will need to pretend (in a very real, believable fashion, and without giving away the fact that they are a mystery shopper) to be a potential or an actual customer of a business or retailer. While doing this, the mystery shopper will make observations and gather information that the client company wants to know about, and then the shopper will need to submit a report with their objective findings.
Some assignments a mystery shopper may be giving include you may be asked to “pretend” you are looking for an apartment; looking to open a checking account at a bank; interested in joining a gym; or maybe even buying an item such as a piano. Your job can be almost anything
For example, you may need to mystery shop and rent a video; go out to lunch; bring your car in for repair; grocery shop, etc. You could even be asked to call a mail order house and evaluate its customer service over the phone, or to visit and review a company's web site and see how easy you find it to use. So of these job opportunities do in fact allow the employee to work from home.
Just about any type of business--small or big, well-known chain or not so, can use mystery shoppers. Major retailers like Target, McDonalds or Wal-Mart use this, as well as small “mom and pop” stores. The types of establishments and shops you visit or work with can be as varied as you like.
If you work as a mystery shopper at higher-paying service type category shops (such as home builders, apartments, car dealers, gyms, testing centers, oil changes, banks), you can usually make around $20 and $40 per assignment. A shopper at a dinner restaurant can make $35-$100 in free food/drinks. And if you work at some of the newer technology-based shops, that can involve the use of hidden video equipment during the job, you can earn as much as $100! So the income varies widely based on type of job.
A standard retail assignment will typically pay less ($7 to $15), although a "purchase and return retail shop" can pay you up to $25 per job. Fast food restaurants usually pay the least--and is often just free food and maybe a $5 report fee. Of course the amount of fees paid will vary depending upon where you live, how urgent the job is, and market demand.
A job assignment can take as little as a half hour of your time, which may even include the required filling out a report on your finding, to maybe two hours or more. The more responsibilities you are asked to complete as a mystery shopper, of course the more the assignment will pay. So a longer job will pay the employee more money for that job.
If you can focus on the highest-paying assignments, you need to make the correct connections and to create a system where you get the jobs coming to you and people calling you for your services, then you can become a top-earning mystery shopper. Employees need to perform at a high level in order to receive any repeat business.
The same as any self-employed person, a lot will depend on how much effort and time you put into it. There is no simple “easy” button to press to make a lot of money. Anyone who starts in this field will need to develop relationships with retailers and companies, and start from the bottom. You need to expect your income to fluctuate from month-to-month.
As time goes on, if you perform at a high level, and if there is a strong demand for mystery shoppers in your immediate area, and you have time available and you put in the effort, you can make up to $1,000 in a month's time in actual cash. There are other benefits as well. In addition to that, you can get high-end freebies depending upon the types of assignments you do. Experienced mystery shoppers, who do a good job, who also do audio and video shops, can make double or triple that amount, so $2000-$3000 per month. Even “dabblers”, who do it part time, and just for a few extra bucks, can make $200 or so per month.
In addition, since you will be visiting many of these establishments, you may also be able to perform merchandising at the same time to increase your income. This is a fairly similar work at home opportunity. More on retail merchandising.
A number of companies can help people enter this field. However it is always recommended that you read the fine print before signing up with anyone, especially if they request your bank account or credit card information. Generally an employee should not need to pay any up front costs for this type of job, so be wary if the company requests the applicant to pay money. Some of the Mystery Shopping sites and companies that we have heard about include the following.
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