3 Keys to Being a Successful Shopper

54Becoming a successful mystery shopper is simple, yet you must focus on three basic keys to make this happen.

#1: Know What You Are Looking For

Make sure to read through all of the instructions for each apartment mystery shop. Although all of the apartment mystery shops are listed on the same EPMS site, the apartment or property management companies who hire them may have different requirements.

Therefore, no matter how long you have been completing mystery shops, remember to read and take notes for each section of the shop requirements before completing the shop.

 #2: Stay Objective

Following tip number 1 will help you stay objective because you will know what is required of you and not worry if you are completing the shop correctly. This will allow you to stay calm and focused, giving the staff member ample opportunity to show you they are great at their job. You will then be prepared to create an accurate report for the mystery shopping company to submit to their client. The more focused and calm you are, the better the leasing associate can shine; it is a team effort!

 #3: Be On Time

Make sure that you arrive to complete the in person shop on time; before the leasing associate takes the last potential resident before closing. Always check with the leasing office as this is usually 30 minutes to an hour before the actual closing time. Being on time also applies to submitting your supporting documents (i.e. business card, brochure, etc) and the shop report by the due date. This should typically happen within 24 hours of completing the shop.

Overall, if you follow these three keys, you will be golden.

Customer Service Insights Derived From Mystery Shopping


Working as a mystery shopper is a fun and equally important job. Your observations as a secret shopper have to be measured and they have to be accurate. A shopper should not make up scenarios when evaluating an employee; after all, the employees will be held to standards set by the employer. In other words, someone’s job depends on your accurate report. In addition, mystery shopping gives you an opportunity to hone your personal customer service skills in your own line of work.


When you complete your shops and are ready to write up your report, remember to give an accurate, detailed snapshot of what occurred. Once you have the ability to write the information clearly, you will see how it can also be helpful you in your own life.  The writing of emails and reports will suddenly seem smoother and you will be able to compose your thoughts on paper faster. Your ability to get a report completed with accuracy will be appreciated by your colleagues and boss alike.

Besides your writing skill, your power of observations will become better. You will be able to see a larger picture when you observe any given situation. This is a very useful skill as it will allow you to see most things in a clearer light. Observing a situation and assessing quickly is a necessary skill as a secret shopper and because you have used this skill, you will be able to see things others don’t.

So, keep shopping and keep those skills going!

3 Tips to Find Shops Near You


Mystery shopping is becoming a popular way to make extra money.  This is due in large part to the fact that it is a flexible and fun option for added income. However, there may be times times you log in to the EPMS website, excited to complete a couple of apartment mystery shops, only to find there are none available near you.  Here are three tips to help you successfully locate shops near the places you live, work or travel.

#1: Expand Your Search

A shop search is typically linked to your zip code. You can find the zip code search box in the top left-hand corner of your profile page after clicking on the link titled “I want to see shop contracts near me.” You can expand this search by entering a zip code for the area you may be traveling to, in or out of state, to see if any shops are listed. For example, if your daytime job is located within another zip code, you could take note of that zip code and enter it into the mystery shop zip code search window. Alternately, when you may be traveling to visit your home town or family, you can use the zip code of the house or hotel you are staying in during that time to find available shops. You can also use the ‘Distance’ bar right about the zip code box to increase the distance that you are willing to travel within that zip code area. Of course, if you see any available shops, you should act fast and request them. This tip works really well if you are traveling to less popular cities or where mystery shopping is not as well known.

 #2: Complete Phone Only Shops

Check the phone shop tab from your main profile page. It is located right next to the ‘In Person Visit Required’ tab. Under the ‘Phone’ tab, you will find phone only shops to complete. The phone shops usually require less of a time commitment and the forms do not take very long to complete. There is a certain number of in-person shops you are required to complete before you can begin to request phone only shops, so get to work!

 # 3: Add Yourself as a Backup Shopper

Do not be afraid to click the backup shopper button when a shop that is really close to you is taken. I have received several shops this way.  It would not hurt to try and if the other person cannot complete the shop, it is yours! Don’t worry;  you will be given the same amount of time to complete the mystery shop if you become the primary shopper, so no rushing is needed.

All of the above tips may not work all of the time, but they will give you more options when staring at a blank page of available shops.


What to Expect on a First Video Shop


Of the three types of shops, video shops can be one of the easier shops to complete for some. However, these are one of the more difficult types of shop to obtain as they go quickly. Once you are assigned a video shop, you will be asked for your mailing address and EPMS will send you the shirt and camera to complete the shop. While you are waiting for the equipment to arrive, you will want to read through the details of the shop as you would any other shop.


You will likely have to complete the recorded phone call portion. You will also have to upload a test video, basically to show that you know how to adjust the shirt and camera to the right angle for the shop.Video shops are fun because they are easy.  The hardest part about shops is remembering the details, but video shops record all of the details needed to complete the report. With that said, it is still important to pay close attention during the shop, as you do not want to rely solely on the camera. The camera could run out of battery, stop recording or malfunction during the middle of the shop. The likelihood of this happening is small, yet you want to make sure you are prepared.

Once you have completed the shop, you will simply mail everything back to EPMS in the pre-paid postage envelope included in the original box; that’s it! Remember, do a great first shop and you will be assigned more video shops as they are available.

Entering the Dead Zone

56 When an employee does not provide the information needed to complete a shop; I call this the dead zone.

As a mystery shopper, you should write down all the requirements needed to complete the telephone shop. When you conduct the conversation, you may notice your frustration building or find yourself tapping your fingers on the desk while you wait for the employee to provide certain information.Instead of receiving the information needed for your telephone shop, you are faced with those three long seconds of silence, which seem more like ten long minutes.

So, what are you going to do when an employee refuses to provide the information needed to complete a shop? There are a couple of tips you can utilize to get the information needed on those dead zone telephone calls.

One tip is asking the target if there is anything else he or she can tell you about that particular apartment, loan, or whatever type of shop you are performing. Asking a general question to explain more about the process or about the apartment helps the targeted employee provide more information without you directly asking for this data.

Another tip is asking if there is any other information a person needs to know before making an appointment to meet with them. If the person still does not provide the information required, be sure you check with the website’s instructions or contact customer service if they did not provide the information you need.

Most shops only require that you record what information you received, but be prepared to come across those occasional dead zone calls.

Buy That Special Treat

1 Being a mystery shopper has helped me earn extra cash, since working a flexible job is a must for this stage of my life. My experience as a mystery shopper work well with my student schedule that has included mandatory hours of homework and study time. It also helps my family with life’s unexpected expenses.

The opportunities mystery shopping has provided me have been helpful in allowing me to earn extra money without having a fixed employment. I can schedule many shops and still allow me the opportunity to work days, nights, or weekends.

Now I can earn extra money to pay for those occasional unexpected incidentals, go on a shopping spree, or even to engage in an occasional treat of my favorite cappuccino drink so I can keep alert while doing my school work.

Finding a job with a day and hour flexibility option is a win-win scenario that works extremely well with my current schedule. If you have to juggle a family which allows little time to find a part-time job, or work a regular job, or are a student like me, then mystery shopping would probably work for you.

The flexibility in job hours and work days in mystery shopping has made this experience a very positive work environment that has allowed me to achieve my objective in life and, at the same time, earn extra cash for those unexpected expenses or special treats.

Choosing An Apartment Shop

Extension Please

There are three main apartment shops existing on the EPMS platform; audio, video, and regular shops. Regular apartment shops are completed without recording or taking video of the actual visit, along with submitting your online report based solely on generous and objective feedback. These shops typically require you to take quick notes once you return to your car to ensure you remember key details or facts. Audio Shops can be recorded with your cell phone, pocket recorder or a recorder mailed to you by EPMS. A bonus is usually added to the base apartment shop pay for using your own device.


Video shops require less of your brain capacity for remembering key details, yet you will need to ensure you have several things in place to complete a successful video shop.You will need a shirt with the camera attached, which is usually supplied by EPMS. The shirt, along with required equipment, is usually mailed to your preferred address. From there, you will complete the shop. The video shops typically have a quick turnaround time for returning the video equipment as others will need to use it.

Now, you can choose the shop that will be best for you to complete within the time frames you have available throughout the week. The easiest shops to secure are the regular shops that do not require audio or video. Overall, whichever shops you choose to complete will give you the opportunity to share objective feedback on how the staff and company can improve and celebrate where they are doing well.

Is Mystery Shopping Ethical?

Is Mystery Shopping EthicalMystery shopping allows for a company to understand how their training and support is benefiting their staff members. The life blood of any company is their customers.  The fact that a company would hire mystery shoppers to determine if the system they set up is working, for the customers and the staff, is a noble effort.

There are just as many companies who do not care about customer service or whether their staff has the proper training to keep the company in good standing with who matters.

Not to mention, I am sure the company has the employee sign legal paperwork that shares that they may be subject to review or a mystery shop.

What you have to remember here is why the company is contracting to have mystery shops completed.

Many companies understand that their customers are the life blood of their business.   They know that in order to stay in business, they must make sure their customers are being taken care of, as they designed and their product is being represented properly.

We all work very hard for our money and I admire companies who understand this and only want the best for us, as consumers.  The mystery shopping companies, the legit ones, will make sure that the mystery shopping is handled in an ethical way.  After all, they are the experts in the field.

As mystery shoppers, it is our job to treat the agents or staff that we are shopping as if we were in their shoes. Allow them to do their best job possible based on how they were trained with minimal interruptions.  Of course, you are open to your opinion about this, yet mystery shopping has been around for a long time and I am sure it will continue to be a valuable component of the customer service model.

Why Mystery Shopping Is Important!

Why  Mystery Shopping is ImportantMystery shopping is not simply a side job or a hobby. It is making an impact within companies around the world.

You, as a valued mystery shopper is providing invaluable feedback, from a customer’s perspective to the head of company departments that can do something about and with your feedback. This is golden. Why?

We have all been customers and purchased products from companies that we wish would create a better customer experience.

Mystery shopping gives you an opportunity give your insights to those very people. Because, face it, sharing your concerns with customer service may only go so far.

From a company’s perspective, your feedback and input is invaluable. It helps them to develop plans to make their product and service better. They could sit in meetings and guess about what you need, what the problems are and how to fix them yet getting information from the ground floor helps to speed this process along.

With this said, as you are completing your mystery shops, you have a grave responsibility to offer the most unbiased feedback based on your experience with the staff. You should always assume the best versus the worst.

Another key is giving the person you are shopping the best opportunity to follow their company’s protocols and how they have been trained to sell or offer the service or product.

Overall, decide to be the observer of a perfectly trained agent or employee at work. Remember to give them room to do what they are trained to do. You just stay calm and natural. You’ve got this!

Mystery Shopping Is Great For The Start Of The Year!

Mystery Shopping is great for the start of the year

Mystery shopping is a great thing to do at the start of the year. Here’s why:

• You are refreshed and excited for the New Year.
• Many companies are looking to improve their customer service, thus there may be more shops available.
• The support staff at the mystery companies are just as excited as you are – to complete shops


Take some time to log onto the online portal and choose your ideal shops. As I mentioned, everyone is excited to get started or continue to mystery shop. You want to make sure you get the best shops. In order to do this, you must check the online site early and often.  Once January passes by, the demand will likely go back to normal for the amount of shops released each month. Wouldn’t that make your life easier?

If you are excited to put some extra cash in your pocket while giving invaluable feedback to companies who are looking to make improvements in their businesses, from the consumer’s perspective, mystery shopping is the way to go.

Remember to choose reputable companies. Ideally, a mystery shopping company would not charge you a fee to join their site. If a company is charging you a fee, you should find another mystery shopping company. There are many companies to choose from and you are more than ready to get started!