Ever Think About Becoming A Mystery/Secret Shopper?
Subscriber Ann sent me the following email with some awesome info on how to get started!
All of the companies I'm sending links for are totally legit. I have been mystery shopping for 3 1/2 years now and I have worked with all of these companies at one time or another. I have always gotten paid, although some companies wait up to 60 days to send their payment. Most of them will pay in about 30 days.
My favorite company to shop for is Market Force. They do all of the 5 Guys, Sonic, McDonald's, Ace Hardware and Verizon shops in my area, which is Northwestern Florida. They also have audits available for several businesses here that I do. Out of all the companies I shop for, they are the best. The reports are shorter than most others with very few narratives required. They also pay pretty fast. All the shops done in any month, are paid the next month, usually around the 9th-15th.
The first company I shopped for was BestMark. I got an oil change and tire rotation and about 3 weeks later, I got a check for $75. I was hooked then! They do oil changes at dealerships and also Best Buy shops.
Shoppers' Critique is another one I like because the have a lot of phone shops that can be done from anywhere in the country, but I also do on site shops as well, for the CATO women's clothing stores and Pet Supermarket. They usually pay in 2-3 weeks.
Jancyn is another good company.
Service Check, great for movies.
Mercantile Systems, good for a nice dinner.
None of these companies will ever charge you to get a job. You always have to pay for what ever it is you are shopping for, if a purchase is required, then you get reimbursed for the purchase and paid your shopper's fee. These are only a few that I know of personally, but they are all good companies to work with.
There are many more listed through JobSlinger. They are free to join, although one can pay for a premium account to get access to a lot of extras.
I think you have a good start here. If I can be of any help to anyone with questions, let me know. (or leave a comment below) I would also like to recommend that anyone interested in becoming a mystery shopper check out MSPA-NA (Mystery Shopper Provider Association-North America). There is a $25 membership fee, but with that you can get a basic certification which a lot of companies prefer their shoppers to have. It is not something that you have to have, but it helps. Many companies send out job notices to certified shoppers first. But, like I said, it's not necessary. I shopped for 3 months when I first started without being certified.
Here is a link to the page with shopper companies listed with them.
I hope your readers can use some of this info. It was very difficult for me starting out. I had one good link (BestMark), but I had to do a ton of research trying to find good legitimate companies after that. That was 3 1/2 years ago and to date, I have shopped for about 25-30 different companies and they are all good companies. At the end of the year, if you have made $600 or more from a company, you will get a 1099 MISC. form for tax purposes. I have also learned that I can use my mileage (both ways) and all office supplies and equipment purchases that I use for mystery shopping as tax deductions. Shoppers are not employed by these companies. We are independent contractors and we are responsible for reporting our income to the IRS. We are self-employed business owners.