Apartment Mystery Shopping in Memphis

Deep in the heart of the Mid-South lies the city of Memphis.  The largest city on the Mississippi River, Memphis holds something for everyone!  Memphis is one of the top destinations in the US for music lovers.  Of course, the most famous Memphian was Elvis Presley.  His Graceland home in south Memphis is open for tours.  Elvis, Johnny Cash and BB King recorded some of their most famous albums at Memphis’s Sun Studio.  Beale Street in Downtown Memphis is famous for its blues clubs.  Other music attractions include the Rock ‘n Soul Museum, and the Blues Hall of Fame. 

While you are downtown, drop into the Peabody Hotel, home of the World-Famous Peabody Ducks.  Every day from 11 AM to 5 PM, the ducks swim in the fountain in the lobby of the hotel.  They are fun to watch any time of day but try to catch the beginning or end of their “workday” as they march to John Phillip Sousa music into the elevator, to and from their rooftop home.

After all of this sightseeing, you will be hungry!  Memphis is the barbecue capital of the world!  You will find sensational barbecue available on almost every corner, from walkup counters to the acclaimed Corky’s and Rendezvous.  Pork ribs are the local specialty.  If you are eating a pulled pork sandwich, we recommend you order it “Memphis Style” which means the coleslaw is served on the sandwich rather than on the side.

Memphis and its suburbs make up a very robust apartment market.  Why not take a bit of time during your visit to do some apartment mystery shops?  Wherever you find yourself in the area, you will likely find apartment communities just waiting to be shopped.  There are often shopping opportunities available in Memphis, as well as many surrounding towns including Collierville, Germantown, Bartlett and Cordova, TN.  The adjacent states often have shops available in West Memphis, AR, and Southaven, Horn Lake and Hernando, MS.  All of these areas a close by and a few shops would only take a few hours of your visit.  Why not earn some spending money to defray some of the cost of your trip to Memphis?  Apartment mystery shopping can also provide a glimpse into what it would be like to live in the area.  You might even find your own next home in the process.

If you would like help in plotting out a route of shops around Memphis or any other area, email [email protected]

Mystery Shopping in the Beautiful Pacific Northwest

There are few areas of North America more beautiful than the Pacific Northwest.  Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascades Mountains, the area between Everett and Tumwater, WA includes the metropolitan areas of Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia.  Interstate 5 runs the length of the state of Washington, connecting those cities from north to south. 

Apartments Everywhere!

With so much natural beauty and temperate weather, it is no wonder the Pacific Northwest is one of the most robust apartment markets in the country.  EPMS has apartment mystery shops available throughout this area, with more shopping opportunities being added every day.  If you live in the area or are visiting, a road trip along Interstate 5 would take you past countless apartment communities where we have available shops. 

Is the Mountain Out?

It might be nice to enjoy a little natural sightseeing during a day of mystery shopping.  If the weather is clear, you may find that “the mountain is out,” meaning Mount Rainier can be seen through the fog and clouds.  There are numerous spots along the highway that offer great views.  On the clearest days, Mount Rainer can be seen from as far south as Portland, OR.  If you are traveling from north to south, a good turnaround point may be Tumwater Falls Park, just off Interstate 5 at exit 103 in Tumwater, WA.  Tumwater Falls Park offers an .9-mile loop walking trail.  It is an easy trail and is open year-round.  The park also has restrooms and good parking.   Visitors will enjoy historic foot bridges and see the 82 foot drop of the Deschutes River into Capitol Lake. 

Coffee Anyone?

In addition to its matchless scenic beauty, the Pacific Northwest is the capital of coffee culture.  If you have finished your onsite visits for your shops, a stop for coffee may be a nice break.  There are countless local, independent coffee shops, which are part of the Seattle culture.  Why not make it part of your day to visit an old favorite, or find a new one that you love.  If you’d like a bit of a coffee adventure, The Starbucks Roastery Reserve would fit the bill!  It is located at 1124 Pike St. in Seattle, off Interstate 5 at exit 166.  The Roastery is an immersive coffee experience that will thrill all five senses of any coffee lover.  It is one of the few locations where you can see Starbucks Reserve coffee roasted onsite.  Certified Coffee Masters love to discuss all matters coffee related, like the finest sommeliers love to discuss wine.  There are lots of seating areas and free Wi-Fi, so why not spend a few minutes entering your shopping reports while the details are freshest in your mind?

If you would like to complete shops in this area or any other part of the country, just log in to your shopper dashboard to search for available shops.  You can search for shops near your home or in any other area you’d like to visit.   If you are interested in a route of shops in one area, email your scheduler.

How COVID changed apartment shopping-

New Ways to Tour

As we are all aware, the emergence of the COVID pandemic changed how people interacted with each other. It also changed apartment mystery shopping. There are now more options provided for touring/seeing an apartment at the location.  Below are some key takeaways to help you with your post COVID mystery shops.

On-site guided Tours-

For a guided tour, you will tour an apartment (and the amenities) in person at the community with a leasing professional assisting you and leading the tour. Depending on the location of the shop, you may have to wear a mask based on local and/or state guidelines. Also, the leasing professional may not shake your hand due to COVID safety protocols. Make sure you read the client’s specific shop instructions and the questions on the report to ensure you are giving credit as required.

Self-guided Tours-

For this option, you will arrive on-site and hand over your ID and they will give you keys to an apartment for you to go look at and then return the keys to get your ID back. Sometimes you will have the opportunity to talk with the leasing professional after you complete the self-tour. Another option is you login to a mobile application, upload an ID and then you are given a code to a lockbox for you to enter in order to get in to see the apartment.

Virtual Tours-

When a leasing professional talks about a virtual tour this could mean several things.

  • Virtual tour video
    • Is a pre-recorded video of an apartment and/or a leasing professional walking through and talking about an apartment (or amenities for that matter). This is NOT a live virtual tour. This is a video. The video can be personalized which means that the leasing professional videos themselves in a specific apartment to meet your needs and addresses you personally in the video to discuss this particular apartment.
  • Live virtual tour
    • Is where the leasing professional schedules a specific time and date to tour with you virtually. They may use any platform (e.g., Zoom, FaceTime, Google Duo, Microsoft Teams) to conduct the tour. The leasing professional calls or emails you and when you connect/log in the leasing professional takes you on a tour of the apartment (or amenities)
  • Virtual tour walk-through
    • Is where the leasing professional leads you through a virtual tour video while on the phone with you. The video can be emailed to you or something you can see on the website.

What type of tour am I supposed to take?

When signing up for a shop, please look at the client’s specific shop instructions which will indicate the type of shop that is required. If you EVER have questions about the type of shop, you can use the white envelope on your shopper page to contact a team member who can provide clarification about the type of shop.

Telephone Target Tactics!

Telephone Target Tactics

We have your Telephone Target Tactics!
You’ve accepted a shop and are ready to get started. What’s the next step?  For most mystery shops for Ellis, the telephone shop comes first.  If you have a “shop anyone” (aka random) with no target leasing agent, you can call the community at the number given in your shop instructions and speak with whoever answers the phone. 

But what if you have a target agent?  Many shops require mystery shoppers to speak with a particular employee on the phone and in the community.   Sometimes the most challenging aspect of a shop is to reach that person on the phone to conduct the phone shop before visiting the community.   Here are some tips on how to reach your target leasing agent as painlessly as possible.

  • Read the client specifications (aka instructions) carefully to ensure you call on the best times to reach that person.  Ellis doesn’t always know the leasing agent’s schedule, but we will tell you if we know they only work certain days.  Some shops include notes that your target agent will be working alone on certain days.  Those are obviously the best times to call.
  • If your target agent answers the phone, you are in luck!  Proceed with the call without ever letting on that you were hoping to speak with that person.  Be prepared that it may not be your target leasing agent who answers. 

What should you do if someone other than your target agent answers the phone?

  • Don’t just hang up on multiple calls when the wrong person answers.  You may occasionally do so, but a bunch of hang-ups over a short period of time will be a red flag that someone is being shopped.  Try to use various methods to end the call without creating a suspicion that you are a mystery shopper.
  • You may very occasionally say you have reached the wrong number, but don’t do that too often or it too can create suspicion.
  • You may try asking a quick question and then end the conversation as if you have your answer. “What elementary school is closest to your community?” or “Do you have washers and dryers or just hookups?” 
  • You could try asking for an entirely different person (other than your target or someone who has been answering on your other call attempts.)  When they say they have no one by that name, you can say you must be thinking of the wrong community.
  • Try calling at different times of the day, 3-4 times a day, for a couple of days.  (Some clients want mystery shoppers to make fewer calls than this, so always refer back to those client specifications for your shop.)

If you have made a few attempts to reach your target leasing agent without success, Ellis’ team may be able to permit you to ask for your target agent by name.  If this is the case, you should ask for them by their first name only, as giving their last name would not come naturally to a prospect.  They may ask how you learned of them or of the community.  You can say you were referred by a friend who considered that community when looking for her home.  Just don’t offer too much detail or get caught in a story that may trip you up as a mystery shopper.

As with any aspect of your shop, keep Ellis posted on your progress by clicking on the envelope icon next to the property’s name on your mystery shopper dashboard.  If you have asked for your target leasing agent and been told they are out for a few days, using the envelope is the best way to let us know.  We will get back to you quickly if we have any tips or changes to the process. 

Reaching your target agent isn’t always difficult, and it doesn’t have to be scary.  All of our team has done phone shops of our own, and we’ve learned a lot of tricks along the way. Don’t panic; maintain your anonymity as a mystery shopper, and keep us posted!  We are right here to help you along the way.

Help Them Help You

When you choose to work from home as a mystery shopper, you have several important responsibilities. One job is to create a space for the leasing agents to show their best performance. To do this, you want to make sure you take the focus off yourself as much as possible and instead allow the agent to take the lead. You’ll want to be sure to present yourself as an open, pliable leasing prospect.

Here are three great ways you can conduct yourself to allow the agent the best opportunity to succeed: 


The leasing agent should be doing more talking than you. Remember, your job is to respond, not lead the conversation. Of course, there may be some leasing agents who are more talkative than others, but that is okay; another part of your job is to be comfortable with silence.

The leasing agent should be aware of what his or her job consists of, so sit back and let them take the wheel and guide the conversation, both on the phone and on-site.  Be responsive and answer questions freely, but allow them to ask for the pieces of information they need. 


The more comfortable the leasing agent feels with you, the more he or she will feel inclined to complete their job thoroughly. A smile, especially a genuine one, can go a long way to creating a scenario where the leasing agent believes they can succeed in closing an apartment lease with you. 


Act like you are a real prospective resident. This means you should allow the agent to sell you on the community. If you do not like something about the apartment, use it as your objection for the leasing agent to overcome. This will sound more natural and believable. However, keep in mind that you are not really leasing, so you do not have to press too aggressively about your objection.

Apartment mystery shopping will become easier the more relaxed you are on the job!

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.

Good Credit Score?

okAre you someone who has good to excellent credit score? If so, then do not overlook those credit mystery shopping jobs since they offer higher payments amounts for those shoppers who have very good to excellent FICO scores, and if you do mind having a store run your creditability.

Most of these types of shops ask that you apply for a store credit card and will require that particular shop to run your FICO score.

If you do not mind having someone run a credit check and check your credit score, then most mystery shops can pay over $100 for a simple 20-minute visit. In addition to getting paid to do this mystery shopping job, you also obtain a store credit card too.  So, if you were already planning to apply for a store credit card or do not mind someone running your FICO score, then these shops might work to your advantage.

Most of these credit card shops that command a higher shopper payment are conducted at stores where a shopper pretends to purchase or apply for a home loan, a car, line of credit, or just apply for a store credit card.  Most consumer credit bureaus state that having someone run a credit check once every six month does not affect your overall credit score.

So if you were planning on obtaining a store credit card anyways or do not mind an occasional credit check to earn higher amounts of quick cash, then these are great shops to earn fast and higher amounts of money.

How To Prep For Your First Mystery Shop

How to Prep for First Mystery ShopThe goal of completing your very first mystery shop is two-fold.  You need to actually complete the shop and then you need to be able to get more mystery shops!   Your very first shop is key to learning the ropes and moving forward to becoming an expert mystery shopper.  Here are a few tips to help you along the way in completing your very first mystery shop.

Read Everything. The mystery shopping company you are working for will post documents to help you along the way with completing the shop.  You can find almost everything online or printed somewhere.

Do not be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions does not show a weakness but that you did your homework. A rule of thumb would be to send a several questions at one time versus one question per email. I know this should go without saying yet it has happened several times.

Release the need to be perfect. You may or may not complete the perfect shop the first time around. That is ok. It really is,  just know what you absolutely need to remember to complete the shop and go from there.

Get it done. This is your first shop. You may forget something, you may not. Either way, you will survive.
Do not be discouraged. You can always ask questions. Read the documents posted about the actual mystery shop and any additional information about being a mystery shop, in general, is available as well.

Great, hopefully you are excited to prep for your first shop. It will get easier yet you must start somewhere.

Remember that you can always reach out to the mystery shopping staff with questions. Just make sure to do your homework and read all of the documents beforehand to show that you have put in your due diligence as well.

Mystery Shopping For The Holidays!

Shop for the holidays!Thanksgiving has ended and is closely followed by the holidays of Chanukah and Christmas. Extra cash is always needed during this time frame and making fast cash always seem difficult, but not if you work with mystery shoppers.

The thought of finding side job may create an image of standing in long lines at the unemployment office for hours on end or waiting at the temporary job agency, and then you still have to wait weeks for someone to call you for a job. That is not the case with mystery shopping jobs.

These shops allow you to make extra money even if you hold down a full-time job, or go to school, or maybe you are a stay at home mom.  You can earn money in just a few hours.

Just spending 15 minutes on the computer can begin your journey to making a couple of hundred of dollars in a short time. Wouldn’t a couple of hundred dollars help you during the holidays? It is all up to you on how much time you want to put in to make some extra cash for the holidays.

Mystery shopping jobs are flexible part-time jobs and the majority of them only require a couple of hours to complete an assignment. A vast majority of mystery shopping jobs can fit into any schedule, since they can be done either in the morning, afternoon, evening, or even on weekends. All you need is access to a computer and just need to sign into several mystery shopping companies.

Everyday, you can view numerous job opportunities and you can assign these jobs to yourself immediately. With mystery shopping jobs, you can just log into several websites and view hundreds of job opportunities and assign them to yourself immediately. These shops pay between $30 to $250 or more, depending on the job, and some can only take a couple of hours. Most mystery shops pay within 30 to 60 days and even doing just a couple of hours can generate you a couple hundred dollars. So shop and get paid for the holiday season!

Students, School and Storage

Students, School, and StorageIt’s that time of the year again for the annual pilgrimage back to school. Stores have posted signs for great deals and the students show no signs of happiness. The students attending the institutions of higher learning generally head back toward the end of August with public and private school children returning anywhere from now to the end of August.

I’ve noticed that in recent years the trek back to college is a little more involved than I originally thought.

As a mystery shopper, I can site some examples of the process. I see an increasing number of students that are returning to campus to earn their degrees while living in off-campus housing. When engaging in apartment mystery shopping I have observed students residing in a variety of housing arrangements including luxury high-rise apartments. In “ancient times” living in other than campus housing meant a small apartment nearby shared with a friend or two. Interestingly that has all changed. Many apartment management companies I come in contact with tell me that although they cannot discuss demographic information due to Fair Housing Laws, they are leasing to students with certain restrictions. During a recent mystery shopping experience, I had the opportunity to ask a recent graduate if there was a shortage of college housing/dorms. She told me the dorms had strict rules and they want the freedom to come and go as they want. If a two-bedroom apartment rents for $2000 a month and it’s split four ways, it’s a done deal and affordable.

While mystery shopping at self-storage facilities, I noticed that college students are very busy just before school starts with cleaning out their storage spaces to move their possessions into the apartments rented for the next term. These facilities get busy very quickly as students begin using hand trucks and anything else they can get in order to move items of various sizes and furniture. Once this is completed, storage facilities will once again have room for everyone else. And, of course, just the opposite happens at the end of school year. The stuff goes back in and they go home.