The 8 Questions I Must Know

I promise I've searched for answers to a lot of my questions. And, I've culled my original list down somewhere in the neighborhood of 70%. But, I'm down to a few serious questions which I need answered BEFORE getting any deeper into this venture.

Reposition: I'm 53, semi-retired due to health reasons, former I.T. System Administrator and now part-time photographer -- and have lots of time on my hands, but no money.

#1 - So, of course my first question is about money... How much can I reasonably expect to make monthly in doing shops? YES, I know that depends on several factors. And, I realize no one wants to tell you what they make. But, is $1000/mth an unreasonable goal for doing shops in the Lumberton / Wilmington / Myrtle Beach area 3-4 days a week? $2000?

#2 - How many hours a week do most of you put into this? Please break it down for me since it seems most have spreadsheets -- travel, "paperwork" (submission to MSCs), actual shops

#3 - What is the average payout for a shop? $5? $15? $50? Again, I know this depends on several factors. But, let's take it in categories -- like grocery, car (service or purchase inquiry), video, audit, gas station

#4 - I live in a rural area, so there's not a ton of businesses close to me. Is there a current list of companies that regularly use mystery shoppers?

#5 - Is MSPA certification important to MSCs?

#6 - I'm honestly not much of a talk-on-the-phone person. Can most of the communication with schedulers / MSCs be handled via email or text?

#7- Are there aggregate sites for signing up for multiple MSCs? I'm assuming jobslinger.com and volition.com are aggregates. I don't want to sign up for too many and get all confused with the masses.

#8 - I found an OLD thread that said not to use AOL.com for your email...five minutes after I setup a special email address for this venture. Is AOL still a no-go? I really don't want to use my yahoo or gmail addresses for this -- I'd like to keep everything separate.

That's about it for the short list right now. I've spent the entire day reading and learning and trying to get ahead of the curve. I know ONE day isn't going to make me an expert. But, getting some decent answers to these questions will give me a solid foundation as to whether I want to venture headlong, or not. Thank you for your advice and information. I see several of the members helping others. I hope you'll help me. It could make a real difference for me -- and I would be eternally grateful. Thank you and God bless!
CharlieJ

Semi-retired, Newbie shopper:
Hwy 74 from Laurinburg to Wilmington / I-95 from Fayetteville to Florence / And, Myrtle Beach & Loris areas


Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 04/17/2017 09:41AM by CharlieJ.

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AOL has been the email that I have used, without problems, for MS work since 2005. We do have posters who find problems with gmail....there is actually a current thread about that. btw, I get emails from over 100 MSCs so that should be a pretty good indicator of AOL not being a problem.

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.
1. Nobody can tell you a reasonable expectation of what you can make unless they live in your area.
2. It is going to depend on what is in your area or if you need to travel. Plan on spending much more time in the beginning as it would be when starting any business. Way more than you would at a full time job if your goal is to build the business.
3. Again, it will depend on your area. You included video shopping on the list. Normally video is not recommended for a brand new shopper because you need to be comfortable with scenarios and longer interaction shops such as new cars, new homes, apartments and senior living facilities. The investment in equipment is somewhere between $350 and $450.
4. You may be able to find some type of list by the type of client at the MSPA website. I don't know of any list of who is shopping who.
5. Some have found a basic certification can help get their foot in the door. Many of us didn't and don't have certification. In an area where shops are not as plentiful it may be better.
6. Most MSCs only what to communicate via email.
7. Jobslinger.com is an aggregate site. Volition.com is not. V is another mystery shopper forum with job listings like this one. Other aggregate sites are MSJobBoard.com and ISecretShop.com.
8. I don't use AOL for mystery shopping although I have several old accounts still used for other ventures. There is no requirement you use one of your existing Yahoo or Gmail accounts. Pick the provider you prefer and start a new account, they are free. It is best to keep your business email simple. If possible use your name so schedulers won't have any trouble remembering then add a signature line including things like your certification if you choose to go that route.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig.
@CharlieJ wrote:


#1 - So, of course my first question is about money... How much can I reasonably expect to make monthly in doing shops? YES, I know that depends on several factors. And, I realize no one wants to tell you what they make. But, is $1000/mth an unreasonable goal for doing shops in the Lumberton / Wilmington / Myrtle Beach area 3-4 days a week? $2000?

I don't know what shops are available in your area, but my opinion is that $1,000 a month may be a bit unrealistic. Do you plan on doing video shops? Are you willing to travel for shops?

#2 - How many hours a week do most of you put into this? Please break it down for me since it seems most have spreadsheets -- travel, "paperwork" (submission to MSCs), actual shops

Probably 20 to 30 hours a week for me. That includes reading guidelines, doing the onsite and completing the report.

#3 - What is the average payout for a shop? $5? $15? $50? Again, I know this depends on several factors. But, let's take it in categories -- like grocery, car (service or purchase inquiry), video, audit, gas station

I don't know the average. I would guesstimate about $15 if you're talking traditional mystery shops. $5 is a low fee. There are tons of shops that pay $10 or less. $60-$75 is on the high end, and are in shorter supply. Also have to factor in rotation restrictions.

#4 - I live in a rural area, so there's not a ton of businesses close to me. Is there a current list of companies that regularly use mystery shoppers?

At the bottom of this page, you will see a link to the Official List of Mystery Shopping Companies. You can start at the beginning, or you can read the forum to help you pick and choose.

#5 - Is MSPA certification important to MSCs?

No. Well, let me say very rarely.

#6 - I'm honestly not much of a talk-on-the-phone person. Can most of the communication with schedulers / MSCs be handled via email or text?

Most schedulers prefer email. In the past several months, I have been getting more and more texts. Generally, phone calls are made when there's a hot shop that needs to get booked.

#7- Are there aggregate sites for signing up for multiple MSCs? I'm assuming jobslinger.com and volition.com are aggregates. I don't want to sign up for too many and get all confused with the masses.

Jobslinger works. Volition is a forum.

#8 - I found an OLD thread that said not to use AOL.com for your email...five minutes after I setup a special email address for this venture. Is AOL still a no-go? I really don't want to use my yahoo or gmail addresses for this -- I'd like to keep everything separate.

I have seen mystery shopping companies warn against Yahoo, AOL, and Gmail. I have Yahoo and have no problems. You're smart to use an email account dedicated for mystery shopping. If you like Gmail or Yahoo, you can always create another account, with a different user name.

Hopefully, you've perused the New Mystery Shoppers section of the forum! [www.mysteryshopforum.com]
There is absolutely no way anyone can tell you all the answers to those. Like you noticed many times, every situation is different. You'll find most of the answers just going out and shopping.

Is $1,000 a month doable? Yes, eventually.. However, I would suggest that before you even think about that figure, you take it slow early and figure out what shops you are good at, can do quickly, etc.. and you'll figure out for yourself your earning potential. And even then, I wouldn't count on 1K monthly on a regular basis.
A lot of earnings has to do with how much work you are willing to do outside of the actual shops. As in building rapport, reputation and relationships with schedulers. While many prefer email and texts, those that like to call, you better be willing to talk to by phone. I prefer emails to, but find I get to know schedulers better by phone.

My workload varies. I'm part time shopper and don't even really think about $1000 a month. Last month was one of my busier months and was still only just under $400 (that's just fees, not reimbursements). This month I wont even make $100, unless I pick up a handful of shops the last weekend.
Unlike some shoppers, I don't think about the monthly bottom line, I think more about the time and effort a shop takes...and is the pay worth that? Can I find a good dining shop on my next road trip, and do I want to schedule two food shops in one day. Can I make it from town A to town B and do a shop and still get to town C on schedule and have time to do my shop paperwork as well. things like that. I build my shopping around my regular job, because my regular job can put me in a different town several days a week..

Living in a rural area can often be a problem and a benefit. The obvious problem is the fewer stores, the fewer opportunities for you. BUT the opportunities that are there can be a goldmine in some locations because some MSCs have difficult time scheduling locations since no one lives there. Mystery shopping opportunities are everywhere. You just have to find them. And you also have to ask how far you are willing to drive to take a shop.
I do a lot of dining shops because I am on the road a lot, so it's easier for me to eat out. Your fast foods and fast casual type shops aren't going to make you rich (cheap side is about $4, average range for me is about $10-15, plus food costs).
As far as MSPA certification, it depends on the MSC. Some will offer you better shops if you are certified, but you can certainly shop without being certified. Many companies and schedulers don't care as much about MSPA as they do about the three Rs I mentioned above (relationship, rapport, reputation)
When I first started I too used AOL. I use gmail now, and for both you do need to watch your spam folder. AOL is a lot better now than when I first started using it as far as not sending everything to spam.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/13/2017 10:29PM by texthinker.
@walesmaven, @LisaSTL, @Mert & @texthinker...
I can't think you all enough for your thoughtful replies. I am going to move forward slowly, without dollar signs in my eyes (didn't really have those in the first place). Three R's! After reading most all day, it seems to me the real key is have a rapport with schedulers. Now, to find a way to start building that rapport. To maybe get a little ahead of the game in my rural area...and possibly the adjacent touristy counties, I also joined MSPA today. Gonna work towards that certification -- which could have twofold benefits: a) I learn about shopping without the damaging effects of doing it wrong for a MSC. b) the aforementioned possibility of getting my foot in the door a little earlier because I may be needed in my rural area.

Thanks again folks! I knew I was in the right place when I signed up here.
CharlieJ

Semi-retired, Newbie shopper:
Hwy 74 from Laurinburg to Wilmington / I-95 from Fayetteville to Florence / And, Myrtle Beach & Loris areas
Hi Charlie! Welcome to the forum, and congrats on the new venture!!!

See my answers below.

@CharlieJ wrote:


>>#1 - So, of course my first question is about money... How much can I reasonably expect to make monthly in doing shops? YES, I know that depends on several factors. And, I realize no one wants to tell you what they make. But, is $1000/mth an unreasonable goal for doing shops in the Lumberton / Wilmington / Myrtle Beach area 3-4 days a week? $2000?<<

It's very doable! You have to put the work in. Sign up with as many MSCs as you possible can. Scour the job boards frequently.

Click --> [www.mysteryshopforum.com];-- for the money.

clinen lives in a rural area. She can give you some insight.

#2 - How many hours a week do most of you put into this? Please break it down for me since it seems most have spreadsheets -- travel, "paperwork" (submission to MSCs), actual shops

When I was MSing full time, I worked about 20 hours a week, and rarely weekends. I made about $300 a week. I rarely did reimbursement shops. I focused on banks, auto and apartments. The low paying cell phone shops were fillers that put me over my threshold.

#3 - What is the average payout for a shop? $5? $15? $50? Again, I know this depends on several factors. But, let's take it in categories -- like grocery, car (service or purchase inquiry), video, audit, gas station

#4 - I live in a rural area, so there's not a ton of businesses close to me. Is there a current list of companies that regularly use mystery shoppers?

Sign up for as many MSCs as you can. Talk to clinen, as she lives in a rural area.

#5 - Is MSPA certification important to MSCs?

No

#6 - I'm honestly not much of a talk-on-the-phone person. Can most of the communication with schedulers / MSCs be handled via email or text?

Yes

#7- Are there aggregate sites for signing up for multiple MSCs? I'm assuming jobslinger.com and volition.com are aggregates. I don't want to sign up for too many and get all confused with the masses.

With the aggregates, by the time you see it, the jobs are gone. You are better off scouring the boards one at a time.

#8 - I found an OLD thread that said not to use AOL.com for your email...five minutes after I setup a special email address for this venture. Is AOL still a no-go? I really don't want to use my yahoo or gmail addresses for this -- I'd like to keep everything separate.

Create an account just for MSing. Use that for your PayPal account also. It doesn't matter which one. Check the spam folder regulerly.

That's about it for the short list right now. I've spent the entire day reading and learning and trying to get ahead of the curve. I know ONE day isn't going to make me an expert. But, getting some decent answers to these questions will give me a solid foundation as to whether I want to venture headlong, or not. Thank you for your advice and information. I see several of the members helping others. I hope you'll help me. It could make a real difference for me -- and I would be eternally grateful. Thank you and God bless!
CharlieJ

Get your flu shot...because I didn't!
Welcome to the forum, Charlie. I'll try not to duplicate the answers above.

Money, Aggregators, Fees:
How much you can make depends on where you are located and/or if you are willing to travel. I just did a quick search for Myrtle Beach using the aggregator Presto [insta.prestomobilesurveys.com] and found 51 jobs ranging from $5 (ice cream shop) to $85 (bank shop).

It doesn't help for me to provide my info because there are plenty of shops available where I am. Shopping mostly on weekends and rarely after work, if I hustled I;m pretty sure I could get $1000/month. I would use the same strategy that Honny mentioned above.

Certification, Communication:
I've never been inclined to get any certification. I'm able to get assignments without it. I'm not much of a phone talker, either. I prefer everything to come through email. However, I don't know how many bonuses I've missed out on because I didn't answer the phone. So, if I were doing this full-time, I'd grit my teeth and answer the phone nicely.

Time:
The total amount of time that I spend searching the boards, applying, reading guidelines, doing the shop, and reporting is not a number I want to know. smiling smiley However much effort I put into the job, I am satisfied with the money I get from it.

Email:
Hotmail definitely has problems with MSCs on the Sassie platform. You will not receive blast emails, but if a scheduler contacts you directly, you will get that message.

You didn't ask, but...
Don't over-analyze it. As another poster mentioned, just get started. Take some straightforward shops, such as cell phone, fast food, and jump in. I would recommend starting with MarketForce because their shops are pretty basic.

Good luck.
I just want to add to what others have said - don't over analyze and don't quit your day job - but just try it!

Regarding money to be made - I spent four years as a FT shopper. I lived in Sanford, NC. Which is similar in many ways to the area you are in (rural, but with driving access to several more populated or seasonally populated areas). I easily made close to $2K per month, but that was after several years of building my business and also supplementing it with editing mystery shop work. I worked about 40 hours per week give or take (but not a traditional 9-5, it was much more fits and starts, which makes it FEEL like much more than 40 hours) - you might only be working for 8 hours, but it is over a 16 hour period, so it feels like 16 hours.
Welcome to the forum. A quick search on Marketforce shows over 40 shops within a moderate radius. I saw retail shops, cell phone shops, a slew of fast foods, and a dozen or more for grocery stores.

Once you're signed up and have done a few shops, schedulers will call you (if your reports are correct and on time). Make a note of their name and phone number.

I use a 3-ring binder and ordinary college lined notebook paper. Every company I'm signed up with, I note my sign in info and make notes on the types of shops they have and contact e-mails/phone #s for everyone who
contacts me from that company (with their title, if appropriate).

I'm a lot older than you, and find tech challenging -- that's why I go old-school. Plus I find it easier to keep companies in alphabetical order. I find I shop regularly for only 8-12 companies, so they are all alphabetized together, in the front.

Presto-Insta Maps aggregates all the companies using SASSIE platform.

Unfortunately, you do have to sign up for each company individually, no matter what platform they use (or don't use).

There's a list -- Official List of Mystery Shopping Companies -- at the bottom of this page.

The ones I shop for regularly are Marketforce, The Source (Trendsource), BARE International, Sales Quality Group, Intelli-Shop, A-Closer-Look, About Face, Alta360 Research, Maritz, and SeeLevelHX. However, some of those companies will not have shops in your area, and other companies may have many.

Presto shows 48 shops within a few miles of you, ranging from fast food and retail to applying for credit card for $250.

I wish I had such a selection of shops! I easily put 2500 miles on my car to find 20-30 shops a month. However, since I have to travel so far, I do get bonuses.

The advice given above is correct -- do a shop, see how it goes.

If you have a catastrophic failure your first time (it DOES happen!), just relax -- go home, see if there's a reschedule date for the shop. If there is, merely reschedule it. Don't even bother to tell the company you screwed it up, just reschedule it. If no reschedule dates are available, e-mail HelpDesk and tell them you need to reschedule for a later date, and state which day or days you will complete the shop.

You will be out the expense of the first shop, yes, but you will have learned a great deal.

Good luck!
The information ceasesmith has give you is golden. I live in a rural area and travel a minimum of 2000 miles a month. I take advantage of my rural location and travel God Bless Texas; well at least the southern border and some of the coastline.

You need to decide what's worth to you. I don't make a ton of money as a day route trip chick. I have on the other hand established myself with schedulers so I can be in the areas of TX for the freshest produce, the best deals on pork butts (sausage making), shank end hams and the 10lbs of quarter cut chicken,. I do my best never to schedule a coastline route until the moon is going to be full. (Shrimp boats come in before the full moon because the shrimp dive deep during the full moon)

This summer I'll be looking for anything in a certain area so I can pay the gas. We will want to can/preserve/freeze peaches.

I do know I finally found a job that I love! Yes, there are the days when I want to say 'take this job and shove it', plus the big fun days of 'what was I thinking?' Then I get home. My ChiX is ticked. He's all about giving me grief and then he finds his favorite ball. He's still bent, but I'm forgiven as long as I throw the ball, for a solid 15 minutes.


Mystery shopping is what you need it to be for you on an individual level.

After my long winded post. I would not ever think I am the person to tell you how you need to run your own business.. That said I will apologize because I am opinionated, long winded and having a clue hasn't been in my wheel house lately.

Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning; the devil shudders...And yells OH #%*+! SHE'S AWAKE!
You didn't say much about health, and I won't ask for specifics about that. I would only suggest that you be gentle with yourself. You will find out as you go along what is best for you. You will know when or if it is okay to add challenges to your unique life and shopping career.

Enjoy!smiling smiley

p.s. Have you considered merchandising, auditing, and other jobs in this industry?

Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind - listen to the birds. And don't hate nobody. Eubie Blake


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/15/2017 02:10AM by Shop-et-al.
One day last month, I got up a 4:45 AM, did my first shop ($100) at 7:30 AM, my 2nd at 9 AM ($75), my 3rd at
10:30 AM ($100), the 4th at 12:20 PM (LUNCH! Hip Hip Hooray!) $50; my 5th at 3:00 PM ($40), and my final
at 3:30 PM ($175). $540 I then drove almost 200 miles to get home. Total driving: over 500 miles, time, 17
hours. However, it wasn't 17 hours of working -- I hit some thrift stores (always fun, fun, fun!), stopped at a friend's house to visit, etc., etc.

And I am old, tech-challenged, and 100% disabled. I cannot stay on my feet more than 20 minutes, I cannot walk more than a block, I cannot turn, twist, or lift over 3 lbs. However, I can write a narrative in short, declarative sentences that actually make sense. And thank goodness, I can still drive. At least, as long as I get home
before dark, LOL!!!
Hi CharlieJ - As an IT person, have you considered OnForce or FieldNation as you slide into (semi)retirement? It gives you the opportunity to pick and choose.
Welcome to mystery shopping!

I am not a "career" mystery shopper. I take a more leisurely approach to it, but it works for me. I would say that depending on your area $1000 in a month is possible, but I would start out slow at first. It is easy to bite off more than you can chew and get overwhelmed. I like to get feedback AND receive on time payment from each new MSC I sign up for before I do too many shops for them. That way I know what their expectations are and how reliable they are before I get too invested. I keep track of all of my log in information, scheduled shops, payments pending, etc. in different spreadsheets in Excel. I save images of my reports and receipts for 6 months which is a bit over what some MSCs recommend. Organization is super important. My shopper e-mail is different than my regular e-mail address. I get a ton of e-mails from schedulers, and for me that is the easiest way to keep everything separate. I would try not to stress too much about making a wage from mystery shopping. At first, I'd just try to mystery shop for things you would already normally do until you get comfortable. Also, compensation is a lot of the time at least a month away, so you won't be making anything that first month, but after you get into it you will be pleasantly surprised at how profitable it can be :-)

There is also a lot of helpful information in this forum. If you use the search engine for specific MSC's you can find a lot of information about them before you even sign up for them.

Happy Shopping!
There is a history of issues between AOL email addresses and SASSIE.

For example, I just received an email back with the following error for 16 emails:
"mtaiw-aaj03.mx.aol.com gave this error:
: AOL will not accept delivery of this message."

If I visit one of these shoppers' profiles, there is a message that states:

"Warning:

Your email address "XXX" has been placed on our "DO NOT EMAIL" list because your email provider has repeatedly rejected our emails (or has sent us a demand to stop sending you emails - this is common with AOL accounts). As a result, you are no longer receiving shop email offers.

Note: If your emails are repeatedly getting disabled (again, this is common for AOL accounts), please visit our FAQ page (with instructions to register on our "Protected List" ) at [www.sassieshop.com]

To restart emails, click this link to receive an email containing a link to restart your emails.
(It will come from shopper_email_support@sassieshop.com):

Restart Emails"

This can happen with any email server, in theory. For example, I've seen it happen often with college email addresses. The link provided in the warning above (http://www.sassieshop.com/site/sassieshopperemailfaq.php#link3) will tell you how to put yourself on self on SASSIE's protected list. Your safest bet is to check in on each of your accounts every once and a while to ensure that emails are still being sent.

Scheduler and Editor for Shoppers' View
www.shoppersview.com
christinew@shoppersview.com
616-608-1594


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/14/2017 08:18PM by ShoppersViewChristine.
What is also a benefit for you is that you have a firm grasp on proper spelling, punctuation and grammar. I shop as well as edit, and I can tell you from an editor's perspective, the number of people who can't fulfill those three basic things is truly astounding! Good luck to you!
Charlie, Hi!
I'm retired and thought MSing might be fun - I'm new to it also. Here's what I can tell you from my experience so far:
I registered with "KSSInternational " and 3 schedulers; one MS Company did their own scheduling & I honestly don't know how he found me! I was assigned 5 shops that were within an 8 day time period. I was getting crazy keeping track of everything! Each shop was unique with different requirements . With The 4 KSS Shops I still went to the scheduler with questions or shop issues . This was mostly through emails but I did have a couple of cell calls. Of the 5 that I was assigned to they were all to be completed within the 8 day window - each had a shop date (you selected) and a 1-2 day time period to get everything submitted.
Out of the 5, I submitted 4 and only 1 on-time! One Bank Shop was to meet with a Financial Advisor to discuss financial planning. I canceled out of it .when I calculated the time I'd spent already and hadn't even been to the bank - I was going to be paid $5 an hour at best ! It was a $60 shop with no expenses included.
I think my biggest mistake was that I had all 5 more or less at the same time and since I was new to the experience I couldn't keep up with everything !
As for the money....I'll be curious to see what seasoned shoppers say.
I did another bank shop to open a checking account, and the account had a $10 mthly fee so the $60 I made will really be $50 unless I keep the account open and use it as my primary account. I won't do that, the account I have is better and doesn't have a mthly fee!
I'll continue with this if I'm being helpful - for now I have to close.
Do you know about "Uber" or "Lyft" ? I think you'd make better $$ in less time....
You won't know how much time it's going to take until you do a few shops and get a feel for what you need to do/see/photograph/remember. Take it easy at first. The shops get easier as you sort out what's important and what's not, so you spend less time looking and trying to remember stuff that isn't important.

In a rural area, "reveal" shops can get you identified by the store personnel really quickly. I live in a small town and I don't do reveal shops at all any more.

I do a lot of restaurants and fast food. Once you're established, you may find that you get calls from schedulers near the end of the month. Some shopper flaked out, they have a deadline to meet, and they're desperate. These are the ones where you can ask for a bonus and get it, as long as you meet the deadline with all the data required. I no longer sign up for fast food shops when they are first posted. Around the 20th of the month I start getting the calls for shops that need to be done NOW and I have established an amount I require for each one - it's several times the initial offering. I do a few shops at the end of the month and make as much as I used to running around all over the place for four weeks.

Sign up with several MSCs. You may find that some of them have nothing to offer in your area. Drop them and sign up with someone else. I get lots of e-mail offerings daily and I delete most of them, but there are gems in them that are worth my wading through the rest.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and suggestions. I feel really bad because I did a "Bar Shop" for a MS company and worked directly with the CEO of the company who was a really nice guy & went out of his way to help me. I was so confused with the wording on the survey and the bar offered 2-4-1 drinks until 10:00pm with loud music that made it impossible to ask any questions ( which was part of the shop) the lighting was dark with colored mirror balls that screwed up your photos which were also part of the shop. It took me 2 days more than the date it was due but I finally finished and submitted it. That was about 4 days ago and the guy hasn't contacted me at all. I'm sure I'll never hear from him again!
It looks like from what you've experienced and learned along the way it takes some time to figure out what's best for you and go forward accordingly - it also seems like getting it submitted on time is important too!
Again, your thoughts are much appreciated!
I have made $450 in some months and $1100 in others working PT. I suggest apartment shops before trying video and new home shops. The reports are a little long for the money but it gives the right formats and helps you look for what you need to remember. Senior housing is lucrative.
I am busy the first 10 days of the month and then it is quiet, picking up @ the end of the month.
I'm new and trying to understand how this works - Is this the correct scenario? You are assigned by a scheduler whose client is a MSing Co. (does the process begin with registering with the MSing Co?)
The MSing Co. is hired by the client that is ultimately the establishment that you will perform your shop with. Once it's complete and submitted the MSing Co will edit it, and contact you for clairification if necessary before sending it on to their client as completed. The client then uses the findings as a tool to work directly with their employees to improve quality control and customer service and ultimately productivity and profitability. Is that correct?
With that being said first you should identify the MSIng Co.s that best fits your needs and once you apply and accept the shops, you should align yourself with the schedulers to keep getting the best assignments.
Who controls your ratings? Are you more connected to the MSing Co once you complete and submit the shop - will they be the one to contact you after they review what you submitted - if it's accepted or not how will you know?
@bcriado wrote:

I'm new and trying to understand how this works - Is this the correct scenario? You are assigned by a scheduler whose client is a MSing Co. (does the process begin with registering with the MSing Co?)

Hello Bcriado, based on the three posts you wrote in this thread you seem to have gotten off to a bad start on the seven shops you mentioned in 8 days. But what you described in this post sounds about right. Getting to the end of your post (which I have shortened) most of the time after you submit a report you will not hear back from anyone. If there is a question or some sort of error you will hear back but if your report has no issues no one will contact you. A few msc I am signed with will send an email thanking me for a good report but most do not. Some msc (msing co) give a rating on each report you submit. Some do not advertise the rating if there is one. If you check your page with the msc you will see the rating your report has gotten. This can take anywhere from a day to usually not more than a week to show up.
If you still have questions it might be a good idea to start your own thread with your issues. I am not sure if there is some way to have your posts in this thread transferred to a new thread so it does not interfere with the questions posed by CharileJ.
Good luck mystery shopping! Just to remember also, that each MSC have their own different requirements for banks, gas stations, car dealerships, cell phones, grocery stores, etc. Not all shops are the same. Try one out first of that type to see if you like them. We all have our favorite type of shops to do.
I have done many of the $50 bank shops, with bonuses for travel time. You have to prove youself before asking for a bonus, in almost any situation. These are not "newbie" shops. And, like many better paid shops, they do require doing a little planning of your scenario. For new shoppers, I suggest starting with simple teller visit shops and working your way up. Also, if I take any assignment and then see that the scenario required is confusing, or does not make sense for my geographic area/local economy, I need to get to the MSC rep (not the outside scheduler) for suggestions, clarification, alterations, as necessary. That means reading the scenario/guidelines immediately and communicating promptly, and, preferably, always in writing. I have found the MSC reps can usually help with how to carry out the scenario; if they cannot, I feel that it is okay to cancel so that they can reassign in time to meet their deadlines. By the nature of their lack of direct access to the client, outside schedulers are very rarely in a position to get timely answers if the shopper has questions. For this reason, newbies may want to try to work directly with MSC schedulers in there early days.

Yes, on-time reporting is ESSENTIAL to building a shopper's rep for reliability.

When starting out, I strongly suggest taking ONE shop from an MSC at a time and concentrating on doing it and asking for feedback. I just would send the editor or scheduler an email stating that since this was my first experience with a shop of this kind and/or with their company, I would greatly appreciate constructive feedback so that I can learn better how to meet their standards. HUGE MSCs like Marketforce, may not even bother to reply to such a request, but medium and smaller MSCs often have very helpful editors and schedulers. Since scheduling companies do not usually have any direct access to the client, new shoppers may want to start by doing shops assigned just by the MSC, in order to facilitate 2 way communication about expectations and anomalies.

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.
This might be the 9th question: What, exactly, is an "easy" assignment?

Some jobs are considered easy as in scope of task or reporting system. But each shopper is unique and lives in the world in their own way. Here is one example of how "easy" shops are not do-able.

If you cannot stand comfortably for more than three seconds, you might avoid shops where you might have to stand for any length of time. Can you stand unaided in line in a restaurant, retail store, theater, or bank? If not, can you compensate with support or adaptive equipment?

And what about the super personalities who need to sit down occasionally? Some talented sales people are barred from certain demonstrating jobs because sitting is forbidden. I wonder if my wee efforts to permit sitting when possible and reasonable will ever bring certain gifted and talented persons to certain jobs...

There are other tasks in this industry which may challenge certain bodies, and it is good to know if one's health issues are a liability or an asset for each job type.

Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind - listen to the birds. And don't hate nobody. Eubie Blake
Hi, I too live in a rural area. I kept track last year (my first full year) and I found that there are not too many high paying assignments unless you are willing to travel a great deal. My total taxable income for 2016 was $910.00. I know that is small potatoes for most but I had to watch my income due to Obama care and I do this for fun. But I wanted to let you know I traveled 2780 miles to make this amount. Most high paying jobs are 1.5 to 2 hrs one way from my home so I mostly just do local and wait until they call with a bonus. I averaged about 1 assignment a week. I also only work for one company. I had tried 3 others but the assignments were all so far from me it was not worth all the travel time. But the thing to remember is just to start and take it from there, I never would go out to eat alone before I started MS but now I'm fine, so I've overcome one fear in life and it might seem silly to most but to me gave me confidence to try new things.
Would you like the optimistic or pessimistic answer to your question?

I have been shopping for over 10 years. If it is NOT FUN, I ain’t gonna do it!

You must read the forum and walk the footsteps of experienced shoppers. Better they step in it and tell you about it than you step in it. There are greedy mystery shopping companies and scam artists. Read the forum. Ask the forum if you are not sure.

You will be eating pizza that you must take pictures of the bottom of the picture at just the right angle. and the picture will never be acceptable. You will wind up mutilating a pizza and not be reimbursed.

You will, visit a furniture warehouse and walk for miles answering hundreds of questions on the survey but if you get one wrong you are toast, You do not get paid, the shop will be rejected, more often than not, because the client puts in ambiguous questions You may see the item you must evaluate but it may be a prop in a different department...sneaky! You will eat sweetish meatballs and be rejected because you can not remember hundreds of questions and locate all the merchandise in the proper department.

You may flush your camera down a toilet in a gas station restroom trying to take a picture. or the nice gas station guy in the turban may want to do bodily harm for taking pictures of his gas pumps.

But then there is the good and legitimate shops. You can get a Texas steak and celebrate your birthday on a saddle attached to a saw horse while everyone yells YEEE HAAA! and you eat buckets of peanuts.

The compensation is reimbursement for the required food. You must buy a $15 steak by the time you pay for the tax, tip and appetizer you are digging into your pocket for money. Consider it a discount. on the meal. If you do it right you can have fun and enjoy for about $20 out of pocket.

The guest you bring along will grab your $15 required steak. Unless you contribute about $20 from your pocket you will be stuck with a hamburger or road kill to stay on the $35 budget. $10 each out of pocket is a good deal for dinner (more if you drink alcohol.) If your bill is $55 because you bought the appetizer and the big steak and had fun where can you get that for $10 out of pocket?

You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want ..Zig Zigler
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