Can this be an actual income or strictly extra money?

Hi, I am very new to this and was wondering if it is possible to make a living at it or if it is just good as extra income. I like to set realistic expectations so I don't want to go in expecting to make a ton of money and then be disapointed when I don't. Thanks so much for your input.

Create an Account or Log In

Membership is free. Simply choose your username, type in your email address, and choose a password. You immediately get full access to the forum.

Already a member? Log In.

Hi kcarrier,

This is actually a topic that's been covered pretty extensively throughout the board. Most conversations are archived and there's a search feature that allows you to look for ... well, pretty much anything you can think of. =)

With that being said, it really depends on a few things. Firstly, it's going to depend on your location. If you live in a large city, it's possible to get several shops, possibly per day. Even with that, though, there's a cool down period that's either 30, 60 or 90 days. That means, if you've shopped one location, you can't go back (typically) and shop it the next week, or even the next month.

Also, if you live in a large city, your cost of living (COL) is going to be much higher than say living in a more rural area. Shop rates are pretty much uniform across the board (unless you get bonused shops), which means you're probably going to be ranging between $20-$30/hr when you're actually working. I know a lot of cities where you need to be earning $50 or more per hour to even come close to rent/utilities/etc.

If you live in a more rural area (as I do), you won't be able to find that much shopping. You might be able to make a hundred, possibly two hundred dollars a week (if you really scrounge for work), but that's about it. I don't know many people who can afford to live off of that.

I would say that most shoppers use mystery shopping as a supplemental income. You could make this your primary job, but you'd have to work non-stop, 80-100 hours a week, and you'd also have to drive a lot! Hundreds of miles, more than likely, in a week. With the cost of gas tipping over $4 that's also something to take into consideration.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/2012 08:03PM by jentodd.
kcarreia,
If you do a seach on "full time" for "all dates" I think that you will come up with some threads that address this. Some people use route shopping and audio and video recorded shops, all of which have higher fees or bunus, and make well north of $40,000 per year, after expenses. Some prefer low stress, lower paid shops and may make about $100 per week, or even less.

It will take some time to build up your reputation with, say, the first ten companies that you shop for before you begin to see some higher paid shops being offered to you. Some companies just don't have any higher paid shops.

So, it's a learning process. Some people just shop fine dining to susidie great meals out; others are after a fulltime living from shop fees and reimbursements. By sturying these forums diligently, you will begin to see how we have each managed to buld what we want or need out of this.

If you need a full time income right off the bat, that is not going to happen. If you have time to grow and build, you can make what you want. AND, btw, one of the highest earning shoppers of all lives in RURAL Minnesota, so being near a big city is not essential for some. She makes great bonuses doing out-of-the-way locations where she makes big bonus money, doing multi-day rouyes, and video shopping.

If you want a crash course in how to build up shopping routes and a chance to network with schedulers from MSCs that offer routes, you might want to invest in one of the IMSC 3 day conferences. (Search IMSC here.) I learned enough about route shopping at my first conference and made such good connections there that I doubled my income in the next year, YMMV

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
I could make a living doing this but I would be so, so tired I wouldn't feel like living. So, no. Not me.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
I made $1,700 last month ($1,400 plus $300 in reimbursements) working about 30 hours a week. I live in a rural area but didn't have to travel more than 50 hours in any direction.
Hello kcarreia

I know it is usually in poor taste to talk about income, but I hope this can be encouraging to you.

I started shopping in Feb. 2012. The first month of listening to the shoppers in this forum helped me to avoid many pitfalls. The beginnings were about finding, and applying to as many companies as possible. I now am registered with approximately 100 companies. As a result of a thread on this forum I downloaded RoboForm to help with streamlining the application process. Now it is very quick and easy.

I realize your question addresses whether you can live off of your earnings? The first couple of months I earned $200-300. As I asked for advice, and followed certain threads on this forum, I got better at choosing my shops. After doing well over one hundred shops, schedulers started reaching out to me, which usually meant a bonus for the shops I accepted. It also became a feather in my cap with the schedulers: I helped to pull them out of a bind. Here it is less than six months after starting my business, I finished a route audit that took me 525 miles, at a cost of less than $200, for gross earnings of $1,108.50. My actual onsite hours were, 18.5. Fortunately the company paid travel time, wait time between shops, mileage , and $30 hourly.

I had the same questions you have asked, and I am a believer now! Most importantly, I learned to follow the advice.of those who have paved the way to success. You will only succeed with very hard work, and some frustrations. Do not fret: I think it is important to the process. My heart is in it to make it a fulltime business. The choice is yours!!
kcarreira Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hi, I am very new to this and was wondering if it
> is possible to make a living at it or if it is
> just good as extra income. I like to set
> realistic expectations so I don't want to go in
> expecting to make a ton of money and then be
> disapointed when I don't. Thanks so much for your
> input.

M. Monty

MSPA Silver Certified.
Undercover Essentials video certified
PV 500 ECO...Will Travel
Wow, I would say the route you found, Monty is very, very rare. I don't do video shopping, but I have to imagine even that has a cool down period (ie: you won't be able to maintain that month to month). Also, and I hope you'll forgive my curiosity, but what mystery shopping company pays travel time/wait time and $30/hr? With your gross income divided by your shop time, it appears you made somewhere in the neighborhood of $60+/hr. I'd love to know more about this! =)

M Monty Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hello kcarreia
>
> I know it is usually in poor taste to talk about
> income, but I hope this can be encouraging to you.
>
>
> I started shopping in Feb. 2012. The first month
> of listening to the shoppers in this forum helped
> me to avoid many pitfalls. The beginnings were
> about finding, and applying to as many companies
> as possible. I now am registered with
> approximately 100 companies. As a result of a
> thread on this forum I downloaded RoboForm to help
> with streamlining the application process. Now it
> is very quick and easy.
>
> I realize your question addresses whether you can
> live off of your earnings? The first couple of
> months I earned $200-300. As I asked for advice,
> and followed certain threads on this forum, I got
> better at choosing my shops. After doing well over
> one hundred shops, schedulers started reaching out
> to me, which usually meant a bonus for the shops I
> accepted. It also became a feather in my cap with
> the schedulers: I helped to pull them out of a
> bind. Here it is less than six months after
> starting my business, I finished a route audit
> that took me 525 miles, at a cost of less than
> $200, for gross earnings of $1,108.50. My actual
> onsite hours were, 18.5. Fortunately the company
> paid travel time, wait time between shops, mileage
> , and $30 hourly.
>
> I had the same questions you have asked, and I am
> a believer now! Most importantly, I learned to
> follow the advice.of those who have paved the way
> to success. You will only succeed with very hard
> work, and some frustrations. Do not fret: I
> think it is important to the process. My heart is
> in it to make it a fulltime business. The choice
> is yours!!
> kcarreira Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Hi, I am very new to this and was wondering if
> it
> > is possible to make a living at it or if it is
> > just good as extra income. I like to set
> > realistic expectations so I don't want to go in
> > expecting to make a ton of money and then be
> > disapointed when I don't. Thanks so much for
> your
> > input.
I have answered you in a private message. A few weeks ago I asked the question whether anyone had done any dumpster dive audits? Nobody responded to the question. I found it to be too good to be true, but it is for real! I had to send the scheduler a message to verify what I was reading wasn't a mistake. Since then I have worked 20 audit, got paid for 5, and I am scheduled for 13 more next week. I have been offered 8 more for 8/23 & 8/24. Obviously a lot of shoppers did not jump on this one.

jentodd Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wow, I would say the route you found, Monty is
> very, very rare. I don't do video shopping, but I
> have to imagine even that has a cool down period
> (ie: you won't be able to maintain that month to
> month). Also, and I hope you'll forgive my
> curiosity, but what mystery shopping company pays
> travel time/wait time and $30/hr? With your gross
> income divided by your shop time, it appears you
> made somewhere in the neighborhood of $60+/hr.
> I'd love to know more about this! =)
>
> M Monty Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Hello kcarreia
> >
> > I know it is usually in poor taste to talk
> about
> > income, but I hope this can be encouraging to
> you.
> >
> >
> > I started shopping in Feb. 2012. The first
> month
> > of listening to the shoppers in this forum
> helped
> > me to avoid many pitfalls. The beginnings were
> > about finding, and applying to as many
> companies
> > as possible. I now am registered with
> > approximately 100 companies. As a result of a
> > thread on this forum I downloaded RoboForm to
> help
> > with streamlining the application process. Now
> it
> > is very quick and easy.
> >
> > I realize your question addresses whether you
> can
> > live off of your earnings? The first couple of
> > months I earned $200-300. As I asked for
> advice,
> > and followed certain threads on this forum, I
> got
> > better at choosing my shops. After doing well
> over
> > one hundred shops, schedulers started reaching
> out
> > to me, which usually meant a bonus for the shops
> I
> > accepted. It also became a feather in my cap
> with
> > the schedulers: I helped to pull them out of a
> > bind. Here it is less than six months after
> > starting my business, I finished a route audit
> > that took me 525 miles, at a cost of less than
> > $200, for gross earnings of $1,108.50. My
> actual
> > onsite hours were, 18.5. Fortunately the
> company
> > paid travel time, wait time between shops,
> mileage
> > , and $30 hourly.
> >
> > I had the same questions you have asked, and I
> am
> > a believer now! Most importantly, I learned to
> > follow the advice.of those who have paved the
> way
> > to success. You will only succeed with very
> hard
> > work, and some frustrations. Do not fret: I
> > think it is important to the process. My heart
> is
> > in it to make it a fulltime business. The
> choice
> > is yours!!
> > kcarreira Wrote:
> >
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> > -----
> > > Hi, I am very new to this and was wondering
> if
> > it
> > > is possible to make a living at it or if it
> is
> > > just good as extra income. I like to set
> > > realistic expectations so I don't want to go
> in
> > > expecting to make a ton of money and then be
> > > disapointed when I don't. Thanks so much for
> > your
> > > input.

M. Monty

MSPA Silver Certified.
Undercover Essentials video certified
PV 500 ECO...Will Travel
Thanks so much for that private post! As I said in our exchange, I'd definitely never heard of dumpster-diving shopping, but the gig sounds totally awesome and it really rocks that it worked out. I'd be so worried that it sounded scammy, but it seems like it's working for you!

Travel safe on the rest of your shops! And be sure you're updated on your tetanus shot. (;

Sending the best,

Jen

M Monty Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I have answered you in a private message. A few
> weeks ago I asked the question whether anyone had
> done any dumpster dive audits? Nobody responded
> to the question. I found it to be too good to be
> true, but it is for real! I had to send the
> scheduler a message to verify what I was reading
> wasn't a mistake. Since then I have worked 20
> audit, got paid for 5, and I am scheduled for 13
> more next week. I have been offered 8 more for
> 8/23 & 8/24. Obviously a lot of shoppers did not
> jump on this one.
M Monty Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I have answered you in a private message. A few
> weeks ago I asked the question whether anyone had
> done any dumpster dive audits? Nobody responded
> to the question. I found it to be too good to be
> true, but it is for real! I had to send the
> scheduler a message to verify what I was reading
> wasn't a mistake. Since then I have worked 20
> audit, got paid for 5, and I am scheduled for 13
> more next week. I have been offered 8 more for
> 8/23 & 8/24. Obviously a lot of shoppers did not
> jump on this one.
>
What is dumpster diving shopping? I would love a PM telling me how you got rolling this way!
jenntodd,
Regarding rotations for video shops, you are correct, the rotations tend to be very long because the interactions are long enough to make the shopper very memorable. But, video shoppers who travel have very steady work. And, the fees of from $35 pus a reimbursement for, say, an oil change to $180-$200 for more complex and longer shops, you don't need a ton of video work to really boost your income. Extra pay for travel is negotiated with the MSCs on an individual basis.

We have a video forum where we can post potential trips and the seven big video MSCs can see where we will be going and get in touch about adding shops to a route. Video schedulers also actually welcome calls and emails from shoppers asking for shops to fill a route. There is still quite a shortage of trained and experienced v-shoppers, and will be for some time, as so many clients are changing over to video. Do you have a friend or relative that lives about 250 miles from you? Think about setting up a route to and from that person, asking to stay over night a couple of nights there. Then recruit shops and travel bonuses to cover tolls, food, fuel, and a treat for your friend (nice dinner out?). You would be amazed how much you can add to your bottom line with a few trips like that per year!

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Hi Walesmaven,

Thanks so much for this information! I've been interesting in this for some time, but I'm also a full time writer and so with all the traveling I do back and forth between my editor and my publishing company, plus the conferences, I haven't really had the time to check into it yet.

I do, as matter of fact, have relatives that live about 300 miles north of where I live! I travel their direction quite often just to visit and try to do "regular" mystery shopping in both locations to help with rotations.

I'd really love the chance to try this. If you have a referral link that you could pm me, I'd be happy to give you all the credit. =D

Thanks again!

Sending the best,

Jen
jen,
Video takes some training and specific equipment. I would sign up with Instant Replays and Clear Evaluations and use their equipment for a few shops before deciding to invest about $300 in equipment. They will help you understand how to use the recorder and button camera. Later, consider online training with Undercover Essentials if you decide to continue with video work.

I suggest that you do a search here on "video" and "all dates" and read, read, read, if you have not already done so.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Thank you, Walesmaven! =D

I really appreciate that. I had considered your suggestion, about just testing out equipment, first. I think there's a company, and I can't remember which one right now, that actually does some apartment shops near me that sends out video equipment, too. I wasn't sure that was the way to go, but after you said it, I think you're right! I will definitely give them a try. I'm not a shopper with either company-- Instant Relay or Clear Evaluations. I should be!

Thanks again!

Jen
jentodd,

The company may be EPMS (Ellis Partners...). They have sent me audio and video equipment. The video shops pay approximately $60 in my area. The equipment is sent without any need of a deposit. Also, when you do video shops for them, the online reporting is not nearly as extensive as there regular Telephone and Onsite shops.

They provide self-assigned shops.

Jentodd Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thank you, Walesmaven! =D
>
> I really appreciate that. I had considered your
> suggestion, about just testing out equipment,
> first. I think there's a company, and I can't
> remember which one right now, that actually does
> some apartment shops near me that sends out video
> equipment, too. I wasn't sure that was the way to
> go, but after you said it, I think you're right!
> I will definitely give them a try. I'm not a
> shopper with either company-- Instant Relay or
> Clear Evaluations. I should be!
>
> Thanks again!
>
> Jen

M. Monty

MSPA Silver Certified.
Undercover Essentials video certified
PV 500 ECO...Will Travel
One caution,
EPMS has some very, very, long written reports with some video shops. That is not the case for most video shops with other companies. However, Robet A. at EPMS's video division is great to work with.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Hello walesmaven,

You are right concerning some "very, very" long reports. I asked why some were very short (video reports), and some long. The client's preference was the short answer. Could you share a couple of companies that provide equipment for use? I love video shopping. I have some video equipment, but no button camera and DVR. I think those are the most efficient cameras I have used, the battery life and recond time has been more than adequate so far.

walesmaven Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> One caution,
> EPMS has some very, very, long written reports
> with some video shops. That is not the case for
> most video shops with other companies. However,
> Robet A. at EPMS's video division is great to work
> with.

M. Monty

MSPA Silver Certified.
Undercover Essentials video certified
PV 500 ECO...Will Travel
M Monty,
Go to the VSN forum and read about the required camera standards. And, yes, a BUTTON Cam is required. Apply to those 7 companies and check out their job boards. Most loan equipment. All give first preference to those with their own PV-500 button cam rigs. [www.videoshoppingnetwork.org]

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
Hi, SETSWANA66, since this is a forum posted on the open internet, available to anybody with a computer, I suggest you remove your e-mail address. To edit, select "edit post" in the right hand corner of your post. You will be able to remove your e-mail address and re-post.

To find jobs, go to the blue link at the bottom of the page, Official List of Mystery Shopping Companies. You will apply with each of the companies you select at their online website, providing your SS# and personal information, and they will require you to sign a confidentiality agreement. Some may ask you for a writing sample or have tests for you to take. Once you are accepted by a company as a mystery shopper, you will be able to search their job board to see if they have jobs in your area. The more companies you sign up with, the more chances you will have of finding jobs.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login