The Mystery Shopping Balancing Act

Every time I tell someone that I do mystery shopping, they’re immediately intrigued.  I always love that – for a couple of reasons.  First, it makes me appear super cool.  Haha.  Not really.  Ok really.  Second, it makes me sound super cool.  Haha.  Gotcha again.

Seriously though, when I do tell new friends or folks that I am a mystery shopper there is the immediate response of “Wow, really?  That’s cool – how’d you get involved in that?”

To the average Joe, it’s interesting for about 5 minutes especially once they realize that we’re discussing ‘work’, and for me in particular apartment shopping.  And while there are other companies out there that do mystery shopping for non-apartment industry scenarios, Ellis specializes in multi-family mystery shopping.  (Side note – be careful of ANY company that wants to charge YOU to shop for THEM.  There are reputable companies that do secret shopping so research, research, research before you join one.)

Even though mystery shopping is fun, you have to be able to balance it with your regular life schedule.  For me personally, I’m not currently working a “normal” 9-5 job, so being able to schedule these shops is a breeze to fit into what I do.  But for the average worker, you may have to limit your options.

For example, some shop contracts you can complete anytime and others have specific days or times provided in the shop contract specifications.  You always want to make sure to read the shop contract specifications and choose ones that work around your schedule. Remember, as an independent contractor you can select from available assignments but that work is never guaranteed.

You can shop weekends sometimes if you work a regular Monday through Friday schedule. Some places you can shop before or after work. Do yourself a favor by researching up front to find out if the mystery shop is really a good fit for you before you accept the assignment.

Are you able to take longer than an hour at lunch?  Do a shop on your lunch break by selecting a location that is quick to get to from your office.   Pick up a couple of mystery shop contracts and complete them on your day off perhaps.

With a few hours of your time invested, you can put some extra cash in your pocket each month.  It’s also an excellent way to keep an eye on out for the next apartment community where you might want to live down the road.

It takes a little planning but balancing mystery shopping with other responsibilities and activities is entirely possible!

If you are a mystery shopper, tell us how you juggle it all.


– Kenny P