Mystery Shopping Choices

To Record or NOT to record

Mystery shopping has expanded over the years. There are many types of mystery shops and many ways in which to conduct the shops. As we as a country become more technologically savvy, more options for recordings are available. So, the big question for you is to record or NOT to record.

When selecting mystery shops, please take note of whether recordings are required or not. The shop instructions will inform you if it is a recorded shop and what type of recording. It is a best practice NOT to record shops that are NOT listed as being recorded in the project offering from the Mystery Shopping Company. The MSC may not have approved recordings for that property, and it may be against the law to record them without their consent depending on where the property is located.

For onsite shops that require a recording, you should start your recording when you are exiting your vehicle/mode of transport and end the recording when you return to your vehicle/mode of transportation. Most people use their phones for audio shops using a recording application. The recording will need to be submitted with your report. Pro tip: Listen to the recording as you are completing your report to help you accurately relay the information gathered during your visit. For video shops, you can use the Mystery Media Pro App or another video recording smart app, where you can video shop with your smartphone.

Tips for recorded shops:

  • Use the bathroom BEFORE you get to the location you are shopping.
  • Remember to pause the recording if you have to go to the bathroom during a recorded shop.
  • Do a test recording at home to ensure you can hear, and if a video shop you can see, the agent.
  • Make sure your phone (or DVR) is fully charged so the recording will not stop/end unexpectedly.
  • Use airplane mode when using your phone to record to ensure the recording is not interrupted.

Why record, you ask? Recorded shops pay a higher rate than non-recorded shops. You are out making visits anyway; you get paid more for the same amount of travel and time you would have spent on the non-recorded shops. Plus, you always have your phone! Work smarter not harder for your extra cash when mystery shopping!

Why Should you Shop for EPMS?

If you have signed up with Ellis or other mystery shopping companies, you probably receive our emails and other communication about available shopping opportunities near you.  If you have not done a shop for a while, you may have even forgotten why you signed up as a shopper, or how you found us in the first place.  Why should you consider renewing your acquaintance with us and doing some shops for EPMS?

Would you like to make a little extra money?  (Seriously, who wouldn’t?)  If you are saving for a vacation or would like to get an early start on your holiday shopping, mystery shopping is an excellent way to make some money.  Our shops pay a flat fee per completed contract.  You will find a nice surprise in your bank account a few weeks after your shop when your shop is paid by direct deposit. 

Many apartment communities have furnished, professionally decorated model apartments to tour.  Do you ever drive by a community near your home or work and wonder what it is like inside?   Sometimes seeing the finishes, layout and decor in a model apartment may give you ideas for how to make your own home serve you better.  EPMS Apartment Mystery Shops offer a glimpse into apartment communities right in your area. 

Mystery shopping for EPMS is completely free!  We never charge a fee to become one of our shoppers.  There are no costs associated with the tours you will take for your shops.  Apartment mystery shopping does not require you to make a purchase and then wait for reimbursement.  You will not tie up any of your own funds to do our mystery shops.

You may find a new home for yourself as part of our shopping process.  It is not unusual for a shopper to fall in love with a community they visit as part of a mystery shop.  Maybe you will be impressed by the layout, storage, and appliance finishes.  Perhaps you see residents enjoying the pool and think how much you would enjoy a swim after work.  If your lease will be up soon, mystery shopping can be a great way to get paid for your own apartment search.  If you find a new home in the process, we could not be happier for you!  We only ask that you do not lease at the time of your visit, to give the leasing agent time to follow up with you so she can earn that credit in the report.  And remember, you should never disclose that you are a mystery shopper, even after you move in!

Mystery shopping truly does help others!  When you provide honest, objective feedback through a mystery shopping report, you are helping our clients train their leasing consultants to provide the very best customer experience possible.  A truthful, well thought out mystery shopping report is a great service to the leasing consultant you shopped.  Your experience in the leasing presentation is representative of hundreds of prospects who will take a tour of that community or similar communities.  If there is information that you would have liked to receive as part of the presentation, the shop report allows you to ensure it is included in future presentations.  If an amenity is shown to you in a way that really builds value, the shopping report will make sure that feedback is noted.  Sometimes leasing consultants have given so many tours that they forget that prospects don’t always know what questions to ask.  As a shopper, you will have great influence in making sure the leasing presentation is excellent for prospects in the future.

Why don’t you take a few minutes today to log in to your shopper account and look for available shopping opportunities near your home or work.  If it has been a while since you logged in, make sure your contact information is up to date to make everything go more smoothly.  If you have any questions along the way, just email [email protected] and we will be happy to help!

Revive Your Wallet by Mystery Shopping

It’s that holiday time of year again! Maybe all the joy, merriment and gift-giving has left your wallet a bit thin. Never fear – apartment mystery shopping can help you start bulking it up again in no time! If you’ve never considered mystery shopping or working from home, let’s talk about the reasons it could be a great choice for you. Continue reading “Revive Your Wallet by Mystery Shopping”

3 Reasons to Apartment Mystery Shop This Fall

The fall season is prime time for people to make changes and move. Many people move to new cities or within the same city for school, jobs, or other reasons. Often, people choose to live in apartments, either as a temporary residence between homes or as a more permanent living arrangement while attending college or waiting to purchase their first home.


New Builds

Most major cities, such as San Diego, California or Minneapolis, Minnesota are building more condos, townhomes and apartment communities than ever. Completing apartment mystery shops in these areas enables you to get paid while looking inside those new properties you see popping up all over town!

I love completing apartment shops for new builds. It is exciting to peek inside the massive new constructions taking place in my city of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Explore Design Layouts

I personally enjoy exploring the many apartment design layouts the various apartment communities have to offer residents. I have visited properties with over 12 potential layouts to choose from! This is a great way to get ideas about what you like the next time you are on your own house or apartment search. Plus, the deign models can offer helpful suggestions of new ways to arrange furniture.

Increase Your Shop Profile Numbers

The more successful apartment mystery shops you complete, the better the chance of getting more mystery shops! Not to mention that all the practice will help you hone your skills, both in shopping and in composing the report. After all, every mystery shopping company is looking for the best and brightest, so use this as your time to shine.

No Experience Needed!

There is nothing more frustrating and discouraging than wanting and needing work but being unable to secure a job due to lack of experience. After all, how can you gain work experience if you are not able to find a job?  If you are a high school or college student, a stay-at-home parent, or just someone who needs extra cash on a part-time basis, mystery shopping for EPMS might be the answer to earning work experience with a flexible job schedule.


Many mystery shopping companies, such as Ellis (EPMS), do not require prior work experience and provide free on-line tutorials to help you learn the ropes.  When you apply to shop with EPMS, you participate in a simple on-line tutorial and then complete the online certification test. You can be approved and ready to begin shopping as early as the same day in some cases!

Apartment mystery shopping with Ellis has the advantage of allowing you to gain work experience with no upfront costs. In addition, there is work available in areas where other such opportunities may be scarce, such as St. Paul, Minnesota, Lincoln, Nebraska and parts of south and west Texas such as Abilene, Odessa or Laredo.  If you are looking to essentially earn money from home and you would like to begin to build your resume with some real-world experience, mystery shopping is an excellent option.

Instead of feeling discouraged if it has been days and still no telephone call from that last job interview, take a couple of hours, visit our site and get on the road to earning money and experience with a flexible schedule.

Mystery Shopping is Simply the Best!

There is a plethora of mystery shops that can be completed in various industries to allow you to earn money from home. From dining to amusement parks like that famous one in Orlando, FL, you can complete a mystery shop within almost any industry. In this article, we’ll discuss why mystery shops within the apartment industry can be some of the best! One major perk is you can find available shops almost anywhere in the country, from Chico, California to Omaha, Nebraska and even in Harrisonburg, Virginia.



No Money Upfront 

Many mystery shopping industries require you to purchase food, items or admission upfront. Although those costs will most likely be reimbursed, you still must come up with those funds to begin with and in some cases, the shop pays a flat rate to include that reimbursement.  This is not the case with apartment mystery shops, such as those offered through EPMS. There is no money required upfront to become an EPMS shopper or to start shopping regular paper shops.

Design and Layout Ideas 

Multi-family housing construction is at an all-time high in many major cities from Corpus Christi, TX to Knoxville, TN, which really increases the demand for apartment mystery shoppers. A fun benefit of completing these shops is they provide many opportunities to see new apartments, including their interior design. This can give you some great ideas for decorating in your own home. The layout of the apartments and offices are always interesting to see as well.

Short Answer Mystery Shop Forms 

The shopping reports for EPMS are easy to complete. The forms are filled with questions you answer based on what you remember from your recent shop. The report is broken down into sections organized by the parts of the shop (telephone, community appearance, greeting, tour, etc.) and most of the questions are yes/no with a few comments questions to sum up each section.

The sooner you begin, the sooner you can start making money, so get out there and get shopping!

Shopping Can Help the Community

As a mystery shopper, you should take great satisfaction that you are truly helping to improve your community by providing a comprehensive customer service report.

Many companies often send surveys to their buyers after a purchase to gather information on their customer service. This will help to improve their services.  As a mystery shopper, you usually submit a much more in-depth report, which usually includes a physical inspection of the premises, interaction with employees and customers, as well as feedback on the representative’s presentation.

Mystery shopping reports will usually ask you to focus on one employee and provide feedback on what their strengths and weaknesses that individual displayed. You will also be asked other questions about the maintenance of the community.

When companies compile all their mystery shopping reports, they will make changes in their policies and this benefits the community resources.  For example, some companies have utilized recommendations from mystery shoppers on allowing potential residents to view photos of sample apartments in their leasing office that were previously not available for viewing until the following month.  Previously, if a building was at a 100% resident occupancy, many leasing professionals would just tell a potential resident they were currently occupied and would not extend an invitation to visit. Now, more companies are offering prospects an invitation to visit despite having no vacancies.

Do not hesitate to offer suggestions in your report. Sometimes those are put into action and help to make your community a better place!

Two Tips to Grow Mystery Shop Monthly Income

89Let’s face it, we mystery shop because we like to provide invaluable information to companies so they can continue to provide great customer service to their clients. However, we also like to make money. We have bills to pay and we want to enjoy life; that takes money.

First, decide how much money you want to make each month. You should determine how much extra money you want to make each month and you can decide a different amount from one month to the next. Remember, nothing is set in stone here.  From there, you can work out the math for how many shops you need to complete to make that amount of money.

The great thing about apartment shops is it costs no money for you to complete the shops, meaning  you do not have to buy any item or pay for  anything and wait to be reimbursed. This is great, not to mention apartment shops pay well.

You should check the mystery shop site weekly. There are some mystery shop companies that will send you weekly emails on what is available. Otherwise, you will need to check the site to make sure you are able to secure the shops you want to complete.

Mystery shopping gives you the flexibility to make more with less time invested than going to work. Take some time today to check EPMS and see what shops are available for you to complete during your spare time. You can thank me later!

3 Reasons to Mystery Shop Now


Mystery shopping is a fun and engaging way to make sure companies are meeting their customer’s needs. Companies invest money to train their staff, so they want to make sure the staff is following the training. Mystery shops give companies the opportunity to collect data and gauge the performance of their staff.


One reason you should begin mystery shopping now is to make extra money. You get paid to complete mystery shops, which is a good thing as your time is valuable. The great thing about apartment mystery shops is that they pay well relative to completing other types of mystery shops. You can make as little or as much money as you like with mystery shopping. It simply depends on how much time you have and how confident you are with completing multiple shops.

Another reason to mystery shop is that you can work on your own time. You can choose mystery shops that fit in your schedule and you do not have to worry about clocking in or clocking out; there are no set schedules. Mystery shopping companies do not have a minimum number of shops you need to complete each month. It is completely up to your schedule.

Finally, you stand to gain new skills when you start mystery shopping. The more mystery shops you complete, the better you will be able to complete future shops. You will also feel more confident completing multiple shops, which allows you to get better shops over time. You will feel more comfortable completing numerous shops per month as you get the hang of what is required to complete a successful shop.

Overall, mystery shopping is great way to build your skill set, make more money, and make a difference in customer service.

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!