Returning Shopper


I am excited to restart my mystery shopping journey. A few years ago I was doing really great! Making about $2k/month playing around. However during the past few years some life changes has chipped away at my opportunities. Combined with the pandemic I was forced to the sidelines. I will share some of my challenges with the hopes I can get some advice, motivation, and tips.

First I moved from Anaheim to Palmdale, CA. If you're not familiar with southern California it was moving from a big city to suburb in the desert.

Second, I now have a two year old son! I'm think traveling, overnight, and amusement shops are best with the family, but I need to be efficient with my time on finding and scheduling shops.

I used to enjoy going out and shopping but with the challenges listed I feel I need to move to phone calls and learn not to be too picky with local shops. I'm starting to take revealed audits.

I'll probably finally attend some kind of convention. Did you find attending a convention/expo helpful with organization?

Thanks for listening!

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1. I don't see why the 90-minute move should make much difference. Shopping in S. CA is like route shopping; No matter where you live, you will be on the road a lot.

2. Shopping with a two year old would be a challenge, inefficient, and most likely uncomfortable for the child. You could not do revealed audit with a child. What's he going to do, sit in the car for 30 - 60 minutes and wait while you conduct the audit? Good luck with that. However, it might be enjoyable for him to travel with you as he gets a few years older.

3. If you enjoy phone shopping, go for it! There are not as many phone shops as written, but it will not be uncomfortable for you or your son. There are some shops that allow you to bring children, but I imagine a two year old child would likely distract you from the shops. A child that young requires constant supervision.

4. No, not unless you have difficulty with organization. Mystery shopping conventions cost a lot relative to the benefits you may get, unless you are a newbie shopper. Expenses include at least three days' missed work, possibly hotel expenses, increased meal expenses to eat out, and travel expenses.
I am brand new to the forum, just joined yesterday. I am exploring the possibility of being a shopper as a means to supplement my Social Security. I have not yet applied anywhere, as I like to get knowledge ahead of time before making a commitment.

I am replying to you, since I too live in Anaheim, Ca. You mentioned you did very well when here just “fooling around”. And while I understand you cannot give out specifics, I was wondering if you could share some information with a possible newbie shopper. Things like, what kind of shops you did, amount of time dedicated weekly to shopping and reports, amount of weekly travel time and miles, etc. If I could make even half of what you did, it would be an awesome offset to mine and my wife’s Social Security income! In about two months, I will not have to worry about my amount of income, which makes the independent contractor scenario perfect for me.

Thank you in advance for your time and input!

Mike, As a newbie you will need to first make a reputation with several MS companies (There are over 200 of them) with lower paid shops before you will start seeing their higher paid shops of their sites.

The best way to jump start your MS business is to go to the New Mystery Shoppers area of the forum and read the topics that are "pinned" to the top of the list there.

Also, try a couple of different types of low pay shops to find what you hate and what you like. In my case, back in 2005, I discovered that I hated fast food shops and anything else that required split-second timing with a stop watch and I loved bank shops were I was playing a part that required a good memory but also that I "stay in character." Some shoppers decide the exact opposite of what I did. That's what is great. there is something for everyone in this business.

Finally read shoppers comments here about specific types of shops or clients and specific MS companies. Sign up with the 15 most mentioned MS companies, to get started building your business and your skills. check their job board daily to get started. And, important rule-of-thumb: on any day when you want and MS job but do not have one, sign up with 10 most MSCs. Don't worry about which ones, except to avoid those where the majority of shopper comments are negative. (EVERY MSC get some haters, so ignore the random rants). I actually signed up with MSCs in alphabetical order when I started. Don't pay for lists of MS companies; that is all here, free. Look at the foot of the page for lists of companies.

Above all, enjoy!

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 very much for your reply and info. Do you have a rough idea how many hours per month you spent on shopping? Also, any idea of your radius from home for shops??

Thanks again,
At times I did routes of several days, using hotel shops to cover overnight expenses. At other times I did shops within 1 mile of my home. You just cannot begin to imagine the variety of shops available in non-covid times. And, most of those are slowly reappearing. How many hours? As many or as few as I was inclined to spend.

Time for you to start reading more of the posts in the forum to get a better idea of what is available.

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.
Welcome! My name is Kristin Alioto, I am a Scheduler with Data Quest. We have mystery shops throughout the country, if you would be interested in signing up with us, below is a new shopper sign up link. Create your profile through Sassie with Data Quest

Hope to work with you, thank you!

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