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!

Time Zones- How Important Are They?

Everyone wants to have a successful mystery shop the first time they attempt it. One of the key items to look for to ensure your shop is successful, is making sure you are shopping the property during their business hours as well as the times that the customer has outlined.

It is easy to pick up a phone or virtual tour mystery shop and think oh it says, “Anytime”. However, “Anytime” does not mean “anytime”. It means any time that the property is open for business and/or during the hours specified by the customer. You MUST be mindful of the time zones. If you do NOT call during the property’s business hours, your shop call will be considered invalid. For example, if you live in California and your shop is in Florida, that is a difference of 3 hours (3 times zones). If you wait to call at 3PM California (PST) time to call Florida (EST), it will be 6PM in Florida and it may be past the property’s open hours for business.

One helpful practice is to print out or save a time zone map of the US on your phone and/or computer. Another option would be to Google in the search bar the name of the city (e.g., “What time is Chicago, IL” ) and then Google will tell you what time it is in Chicago, IL.

There are apartment mystery shops available throughout the US – including Alaska and Hawaii! If you pick up a mystery shop and realize the time zone difference will not work with your schedule, you can decline the shop f you do so quickly so another shopper can accept it. If you pick up a shop and can’t determine what the time zone is, feel free to reach out for assistance.

Last thoughts on how to have a successful apartment mystery shop based on time: Make sure in addition to contacting during the property’s business hours that you also look at the specific instructions to see if there are specific times you are not supposed to be calling. For example, “Do NOT call between 12 and 2” or “Best time to call is between 2P and 6P”. These are time requirements from the customer. Again, if you have any questions about the specifics for a shop, you should ask instead of assuming.

Time zones are very important! Following the time zones will help you:

  • to fulfill the customer’s requirements
  • to be successful with reaching a targeted leasing professional
  • to reduce the number of attempts made to reach an on-site leasing professional
  • get your shop accepted and get you PAID!!!

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.

Putting the Pieces Together – Planning Your Mystery Shopping Day

So, you’ve made the wise decision to start earning money working from home as an apartment mystery shopper! Depending on where in the country you live, such as Wyoming, Tennessee or California, you may have access to a multitude of available apartment shops. This means you may end up having several shops you want to try to complete in one day to maximize your income, so you’ll need to know how to plan your day to effectively accomplish this goal.

First, you’ll want to make sure you know where you’re going for each of your shops and, if possible, plan your route to minimize travel time. It’s also vital to review the requirements for each shop to note any limitations on the hours a shop can be completed. Each company has different requirements and you may not get paid if you do not adhere to the special instructions for each shop.

Another helpful tip is to make sure to have a notebook in the car so you can jot down notes about each shop while the details are still fresh in your mind. Keep in mind that you would want to be sure you’ve left the premises of the apartment before writing notes or compiling other data; don’t do it in the apartment parking lot! If you’ve made any special notes about the shops after having completed the telephone calls (such as reminders about your shopper story, etc.), it would be a good idea to review those before walking in for the on-site meeting.

Finally, make sure your phone is charged and has space for photos. You’ll need to take pictures of the business card and other documents you are provided during your visit to upload as backup for the shop. Taking those photos and uploading them to the shop once you’ve left the premises will help ensure that documents don’t get mixed up with shops or lost.

The more organized you can be when planning your shopping day, the more effectively you’ll be able to complete shops and make the most money!

Is Mystery Shopping Worthwhile?

is mystery shopping worth itIt sure is worth it. When I started mystery shopping, my main concern was am I going to get paid and was the money worth the work? Well after several months in the business I would have to say it is worth it. What I did was take the amount of time it took me to complete a job and write up the report and then divide that amount of time by the dollar amount of pay and if it amounted to more than what I was making, then I knew for certain that it was worth it.

Let me ask you a few questions? What would you rather do? …wake up early to get ready, to almost finish breakfast and then fight traffic just to arrive minutes before you’re late at work so that the boss can give you that look, and now you have 8 more hours to go until you have to fight the traffic all over again just to get home late for dinner? Now you ask yourself: Is it worth it?

I would say give mystery shopping a try and at least if you don’t like it, then you are not obligated to stay here but I will tell you this. Beware if you do try it, you will love it because you are in control.

If you can follow some simple directions like that, you can be part of our team today! So is it really worth it? You bet your dollar it is. Get started today.

Qualify For Mystery Shopping

do you qualifyI believe you would make a great mystery shopper because you love to shop. Don’t you? Have you worked in customer service before and over the age of 18? Do you love to talk to people and have a fun time doing it? If you can build rapport with people quickly then you have what it takes to become a mystery shopper. We would love to have you aboard our team today.

Are you worried if there are enough places to mystery shop? Well let me tell you that there are a ton of mystery shops that are available for you to do. All we need is you.

Having worked from home for the last 6 years, I find that being a reliable employee is not all it takes to get recognition. How many of you can say that your boss is excited and satisfied about you working for them. Let’s be successful and here you can be successful, feel good about what you do and make a living.

I am reliable in doing the work that is given to me and happy to do so every day. This is a wonderful and rewarding career. I want you to take out the time right now and make a decision on your future. The next 30 seconds will be the most critical timing in your life.
Understand that working as a mystery shopper means being dependable and doing what I say I will do, on time and doing the task correctly. Aren’t you that person? I know that you are and I know that you will do a great job.

Is Mystery Shopping Really Important?

is mystery shopping importantMystery shopping is really important because it allows companies to see how their employees are reacting in certain situations, whether it be with customer service, how they deal with returns, or perhaps how they deal with a difficult or persistent customer.

Now ask yourself are you the one who could report on a good or bad experience? Can you tell the truth so that the customer service experience for someone else is better and improves?

If you said yes to any of these then you are the right person for the job. In knowing this, companies may have a better idea of how to train their employees and to better understand the needs of customers and be better equipped to handle any situation!

For those employees who are already doing an excellent job, mystery shopping can serve as a positive reinforcement and implement raises in employee salaries. Many employees may get rewarded by their company for the excellent customer service that they provide.

So do you want to help employees improve their evaluations and make more money? Well by serving as a mystery shopper you can do just that. Get ready for a new ride or vacation somewhere far.

Listen up let’s start making money now . Get started today. Fill out the application which is so easy and begin your new task. Are you ready to get started? Do you have what it takes? I believe in you so do you believe in yourself? Get started today!

Try Mystery Shopping. You will Like It!

try mystery shoppingMystery shopping is probably the most powerful and impactful way to gain data for business owners of many types in order to be able to make recommendations and improvements on their existing business so that they can keep and gain market share. Relatively speaking the idea is not anything new however it is now become a mainstream career for people like myself who have either lost their job or are in transition for another path of life. For many that path of life has been closed since the economy almost dropped in December of 2008.

Look around! When was the last time someone came knocking at your door to talk to you about an opportunity that you can do any day all day at almost any time that would allow you some freedom? You don’t even know right? Well I didn’t either until I found Mystery Shopping. For the last past 6 months I have had the pleasure of mystery shopping and I just love it. I am having a wonderful time and enjoying the free time that I have in between to spend with my children.

I can’t think of a better opportunity. If you are thinking about mystery shopping and the benefits of having the freedom that it gives; then you should try it. It will work wonders and you will never be happier than you are now.

So can I count on you today to start? Can I count on you to begin reaching your goals and dreams? Can I count on you to begin a new journey through life? If nothing at all utilize mystery shopping as a backup plan to reach your income goals.

Shop Pay Differential

shop pay differentialIt’s Monday morning and I open my email to discover I have over 20 job notifications posted there. I open the first and discover ABC Company has need of a shopper to check out and report on the registration process of a new home builder in Any Town, USA. Good! That’s just the kind of job I like. The details say the visit should not last more than 15 minutes. When I look closer I find the written report has about 25 questions and requires each answer is noted in the lengthy step by step narrative. Also, I need to provide an alias name and email address so I can track follow up. Well, the pay is $35. If it weren’t for the time involved in the travel to Any Town my hourly wage would be okay. I’ll keep this one in mind.

After checking a few other emails, some with jobs that pay as low as $3 for a phone call, I open the next and find XYZ Company is offering a new house shop, also in Any Town, USA. On this one I have to provide my alias information to XYZ Company before hand. They will assign me an alias phone number but they will track phone follow up while I will track email follow up. The details for the onsite portion are pretty much the same except I have a target and specific day to shop. The report consists of 10 questions, two of which require a short comment. NO NARRATIVE! The pay for this is only $30… but they offer a $15 travel allowance.

I shop frequently for each of these companies. Because I enjoy this type of role playing I will continue to work for each of them. However the difference in pay gives me cause to wonder. Does one charge the client more?
New home shops are not the only type shop where I find a substantial variation in payment for similar work. The pay for similar scenario bank shops varies widely as does shopping for new cars and apartments.

I also I also wonder why report requirements differ so much when shops I am doing, while for different agencies, are for the same client. I’ll save that discussion for another time.

How To Write Better Reports

How to Write Better ReportsWriting a great report for your mystery shop is critical for the client. A well written report should be clear, organized and a virtual replay of your experience. The client for which you are writing the report is relying upon this accuracy of information so that they can further provide training and feedback to their staff. The information you share about your experience is used to provide coaching, reward employees and enhance their performance on the job. In addition, the quality of work you provide in your report ensures your successful assignment for future assignments. Often schedulers are specifically looking for great shoppers to do that last minute urgent assignment and being able to depend on you and your writing creates a win-win solution for both you and the client.

There are many tips you might want to consider when writing your reports. When asked a yes or no question, always follow up by providing an explanation to your answer. Go beyond just stating yes or no. Offer the reader an explanation about why you responded yes/no. For example, if the question asked you whether or not you were thanked for visiting, answer such question with “yes, the sales associate thanked me for touring today, and asked what day and time I could return to complete an application.” To ensure that your commentary is concise, use description words that add value. Keep your comments objective and add value to your statements. For instance, “Sally was dressed in neat and professional attire. She wore a black skirt, white blouse, and nametag. Her hair, makeup, and nails were tastefully manicured and conservative.”

It is equally beneficial to the client when your comments help the client to imagine the setting for which you visited. Describe the experience so that they client will be able to view the experience as if she/he were there in person. The client wants to understand what areas might need to be improved upon to enhance the efficiency of their team. For example if you encountered an experience where you felt the associate was rude; don’t merely state, “she did not speak to me nicely and was rude.” A more helpful explanation might be, “When I arrived, Sally was on the phone. She appeared stressed and disorganized. Her desk was cluttered with numerous papers, there were three guests waiting to be seen. She was so busy that she was not able to make eye contact or greet me verbally with a friendly tone in her voice.” Help the reader understand the circumstance that made your interaction positive and/or negative. Any comments you make should be a recording of the facts surrounding your visit and they should be made in an objective manner.

Lastly, always spell check and proof your work for accuracy. When you leave your shop, always drive away from the location and park somewhere safe so you can make notes of your experience. Your accuracy for the story is critical and any falsification of the data that you provide could potentially eliminate you from being paid and receiving additional work in the future.