Posts in Tips for Mystery Shopping

3 Keys to a Solid Shop Report

January 30th, 2017 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

16Remember, completing the phone and onsite portion of the shop is just the beginning. The final icing on the cake is your mystery shop report. This report is extremely important as this is what will be sent to the apartment management staff for review.

Key #1 Good Notes

To take good notes, you have two options.  One way is to take some quick notes on your cell phone by sending yourself a text or entering the information in your electronic notepad.

You can also record the shop, even if it is not an audio shop, so that you can refer to it later. This option may take the pressure off you, especially during your first couple of shops.

Key #2 Know Your Deadlines

Most shop reports are due within 24 hours of onsite visit completion. Submitting within this timeline allows you to compose the report while the information is still fresh in your mind. This also ensures that you do not forget to upload the backup documents and that you do not misplace them.

Key #3 Order of Report Completion

Once you have completed both the phone and onsite visit, upload your documentation including the leasing agent’s business card and a picture of the floor plan first. Then, you can start to enter your shop based on the order of the tabs within the mystery shop report.

To save myself time and make sure I remember the details, I enter the phone portion of the shop right after it is completed. Many times, I do this prior to the onsite portion of the shop. Doing this gives me the added benefit of knowing I have at least started the mystery shop report. I feel so refreshed once I have completed the onsite portion of the shop and I see part of the report already finished!

Preparing for a 12-Hour Day

December 5th, 2016 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

be successful as a mystery shopper Every so often, you might end up with eight or more shops that must be completed in a single day. When you factor in the hours driving from one location to the next, you know you will be working a 12-hour shift. Days like these do not often come around, so if you can get through the project and make some good money, you will be better for it. Here are a few tips to help keep you going.

Most importantly, wear comfortable shoes. Wear clothing that can take you from high-end shops, to apartments shops, to restaurants and to retail. You can also always carry items of clothing in your car.

Take your smartphone if you have one and make sure you have a full charge and a charger. If you need to download apps for any of your shops, do so at home rather than waiting Wi-Fi while out. Carry a notepad; sometimes pen and paper are easier to use than anything else.

Make sure you stay hydrated and carry some water and snacks. Lastly, make sure your car is good working order and you have a full tank of gas.

Follow these tips and you will be ready to go on your missions!

Tips for Successful Audio Shops

November 21st, 2016 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

Mystery Shopping DisguiseThere are several types of apartment mystery shops you can complete. All of them are equally fun to complete, but my all-time favorite are the audio shops. Completing audio shops takes the pressure off trying to remember every single word the leasing agent said or detail from the shop.

Tip #1: Check It and Charge It Up!

Is your phone charged? Does the recorder have good set of batteries? You will want to check at least twice so you can ensure your phone or recorder does not die during your visit. Unfortunately, your shop will not be accepted without the full recording.

Tip #2: Placement of Device

Make sure you place the recording device in a place where you will be able to clearly hear the person’s voice. For example, if the device is in your pocket, make sure the speaker portion of the phone is sticking out of your pocket and facing outward. This decreases the amount of noise from your clothes while walking and helps to clearly pick up the leasing agent’s voice.

Tip #3: Make Sure They Match

Although the shop has an audio recording, you will still have to complete an online report. You will want to listen to any parts of the recording you cannot recall to make sure there are no discrepancies in your report.

The audio apartment mystery shops are fun and they provide the company with more detail to evaluate and make sure great customer service is in place.

Top Skills of Successful Mystery Shoppers

September 13th, 2016 Posted by About Mystery Shopping, Tips, Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet


Successful mystery shoppers are the best at what they do because they consistently complete mystery shops. You can read about doing something all day, yet if you do not take the time to apply your skills, you will never gain the real world experience needed to be one of the best. If you work to develop the skills below, you will be come a great mystery shopper!


Love what you do (or at least like it). If you like, or even love what you do, you will want to do more of it. Am I right? The more you like mystery shopping, the more shops you will want to complete. The more mystery shops you successfully complete, the more practice you will get and the better you will be at completing successful shops.

Do not assume anything. What I mean by this is that you should read everything. Do not assume because you have done a similar mystery shop that it will have the same instructions and directions. Remember, there are companies that hire EPMS to have these shops completed. They will have slightly different parameters and information they want gathered for each shop.

EPMS makes it easy to read through each section of instructions and you must mark it as complete before you can submit your shop results for review. This is a good thing, so make sure to read through everything.

Take action! The best way to refine and learn something is to put it into action. In this scenario, this would involve completing mystery shops. Actually log-in to the shopper area and select shops based on your schedule to complete. It can really be this simple if you allow it.

Overall, if you follow these 3 skills, you will definitely become a better mystery shopper than you are right now. Remember, this applies to you whether this is your first or one hundredth shop.

Best Way to Grow Your Mystery Shop Skills

September 13th, 2016 Posted by About Mystery Shopping, Tips, Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

16It does not matter whether you are a new mystery shopper or you have been doing this for years; you can grow your skills at any level of your mystery shopping career.  To be the best at anything, you need to focus and grow your skill set. This takes time and dedication, yet it does not have to take all of your time. If you are strategic and plan accordingly, you can get a lot done in a small amount of time.


The absolute best way to grow your mystery shopper skills is to practice. Actually this is the best way to grow any skills. If you’re only doing one or two shops a year, there is no way you are going to learn the ropes of being a successful mystery shopper. You may be wondering how many shops you should complete per month or year. Well, this truly depends on your schedule and availability.

The ultimate best way is to practice your skills. And the best way to practice your skills is to mystery shop. There are a variety of mystery shops available. You can do apartment shops, restaurant evaluations, hotel shops; the list can go on. Choose the type of mystery shops you like the best, select a reputable mystery shopping company and start shopping!

For apartment shops, EPMS is one of the best companies. They have a variety of apartment shops to choose from along with the ability to select a majority of the available apartment shops to assign to yourself. Remember, you can always decide your schedule of shops based on your own free time. There is no clocking in or out with mystery shopping!

Conducting the Phone Portion of a Shop

July 28th, 2016 Posted by About Mystery Shopping, Tips, Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet


There are typically two components to apartment shops and the first starts with a phone call. During with phone call, you will assess the leasing agent’s ability to learn your apartment home needs, share details about the community and apartment amenities, and entice you to visit the community and tour the facilities. This phone call is typically recorded. EPMS will provide a toll free number you will dial and enter a special code unique to that shop.


There will be times where you cannot get a leasing agent on the phone right away and you may need to either call back or in rare cases, leave a message. In those cases, if the leasing agent returns your call, you will need to make an excuse to call them back on the recorded line using the EPMS toll free number. With most apartment shops, you will either be assigned a specific leasing agent to call or you will have the opportunity to shop any agent that answers the phone.

Either way, it is up to you as a shopper to allow the leasing agent to do their best. Try not to lead the call as it is the leasing agent’s job to ask you questions and inspire you to take a tour. The phone shop must be completed prior to taking the in person tour, which you will always say yes to when and if it is offered by the leasing agent. Once you’ve completed a couple of phone assessments, you will see how easy they really are.  Do not worry and remember to allow the leasing agent the best opportunity to be successful!

3 Keys to Being a Successful Shopper

July 26th, 2016 Posted by About Mystery Shopping, Tips, Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

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.

Recording an Audio Shop

July 22nd, 2016 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

Recording an Audio ShopAudio shops are one of the three types of apartment mystery shops that the Ellis Partners in Management Solutions offers on a monthly basis. When you log onto the website: you will see different color-coded icons next to the different shops. The color selected will determine the type of shop you will be conducting. If you select the purple icon a pop up button will ask you if you have the equipment to carry out the shop. If you do have the means to do so then write in the box you can do the shop soon. If not you will have to wait for Ellis Mystery shopping to end out audio equipment for your use.


Now if you wanted you can buy your own equipment and thus you would be ready whenever an audio shop were to come up. In order to find recording audio you have a few choices. If you have a smart phone you can check the app store to see if someone is selling the audio recorders for you phone. Then you would simply pay for the app and download it to you cell phone. Follow the instructions and you would be able to record. Simply make sure you can download the voice recording in file easy to upload and email.


If by chance you would prefer to buy equipment then a quick search on online web stores such as eBay or Amazon will give you an array of choices. Today’s recorders are small and you can get one half the size of a pen. This definitely comes in handy as it can be put in a pocket to carry to your assignment. Check the online ratings and you can get a recorder that will do the job over and over. Again make sure the files can be downloaded and emailed.

3 Tips to Find Shops Near You

July 19th, 2016 Posted by About Mystery Shopping, Tips, Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet


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.


Share The Love of Mystery Shopping!

July 18th, 2016 Posted by Tips for Mystery Shopping No Comment yet

Share the Love of Mystery ShoppingDo you remember how you learned of mystery shopping?

Looking back, I am sure you are so grateful for this amazing opportunity. I was rather busy, going to school, and working two part time jobs. Mystery shopping fit into my life perfectly. Plus many of the shops were at places where I have shopped or would shop anyways.

What is so amazing about mystery shopping? Well, the flexibility of working around my schedule, the freedom to make more money on demand, and making an impact all at the same time.

Well, it is time for you to share the love. It is February after all.. the month of love!

Many mystery shopping companies have referral systems for you to refer people who you think would be perfect for mystery shopping. After all, it takes one to know one.

Some companies may even offer a monetary or raffle style thank you gift for the referral. The more people we get on the bandwagon to make sure companies are offering great customer service and quality products to people like you and me.

Your action step is to check with each mystery shopping company that you shop for and see if they have a referral system set up. If they do, ask a friend or family member if they would like to do mystery shopping.

Of course, make sure they understand what it takes to be a mystery shopping. After all, you want to be known as the person who sends quality referrals.