My friends and family know I am a secret shopper and occasionally they relay requests from other’s looking for information on how to get started in this business. I am always discrete about the why’s, where’s and who’s of my Mystery Shopping but happy to pass on some general information.
The first thing I tell them is I NEVER, EVER pay for a contract. Reputable agencies do not use middle men who charge for the information they post on their job boards for free. I mostly advise them to Google secret shoppers or mystery shopping and study the companies listed there.
I relate that I was able to find my first few shops that way but then ran into a wall. I will tell them I found Shadow Shopper online and broke my own rule when I paid a small fee to use their list to contact agencies looking for shoppers.
I felt I had only bent my rule, not broken it, and they became an excellent source of information for my new business. I also admit I still subscribe to JobSlinger Plus. The multiple emails I receive daily save me from spending my time searching for jobs instead of shopping them.
I advise that mystery shopping, like any other line of work, has a learning curve. Entry level assignments don’t pay much, or quickly. If the $10 from that first job is needed today this is not for them. It can take up to 90 days to get the first check. However, if they like the challenge of something new every day these jobs will hone their skills. They will soon be ready for the fun stuff with larger fees. The small paydays will be larger and contribute to a steady stream of extra spending money. Patient is necessary.
And last, but not least, a mystery shopper has to have a bit of larceny in the heart. After all, any employee will tell you what their boss wants to hear if you walk in with a clipboard and come right out and ask them. We call it role playing but you can’t be afraid to tell a lie. That little deception, if done right, discovers what their boss really needs to know.