Refer your friends or not?

After I tell them that for an oil change that they will have to answer over 100 questions and do several narratives and have the times of arrival and when the vehicle was pulled into the shop and how long they actually worked on it they usually say forget about it. Then when I mention that it takes 3 months to get the money in your hands they look at me like I am a nut. But when I tell them that it is 20 to 30 dollars a shop and 45 reimbursements. for maybe 2 hours of work they still look at me like I'm nuts. But that is ok I'll do them every chance I get. It is 70 dollars every month after the first couple of months plus the oil get changed in all of my cars.

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When I was doing this part time I would tell anyone who would listen. I recommended companies and included caveats about scams and that it may time to make money.
They'd come back to me and say they couldn't make money. Toldya it'd take months. They got scammed. "You didn't tell me." Yes, I did. And they shouldn't have to be told that no one is going to pay them to cash a check (however it works, never experienced it).
Now that mystery shopping is my main source of income, I tell no one. Even if asked about how to get started, I say Google. Do you own legwork. I'm not giving up the knowledge that took me years learn to make it easy for someone else to take work. People take it as harsh and it may very well be. I agree with Shoptastic's pizza shop analogy. How many other people can you step to with your hand out and expect them to give you their job? (I only consider a job mine when I self-assign or am assigned it, but still.)
Before I know it, I'll be taking jobs for less or going farther for them. There's a lot in my area, but only so much that's worth the time.
That was good, jack8762. I agree with what you said about not giving up information that you discovered by yourself to someone who might (with or without trying to do so) end up with a better shopping deal than you now have.

The thing about me is, I do not believe that telling people about work that I rarely do or am waaaaaaaaay too old, sober, or otherwise to do, is the same as stepping down from a job and handing it over to someone else. While I would not tell anyone where the clients are situated with MSCs, I sometimes mention that places are shopped. I have completed too many assignments when out of rotation because no one else was available to do the work. I know that some assignments need more shoppers in order to have a wider variety of respondents and feedback. Trying to grow the shopper pool for these assignments is nothing more than increasing the variety of shoppers. I believe that there is enough for everyone, but I do not guarantee that it is here, there, anywhere, or in any particular format. So even though I get most of what I need from outside the shopping world, I believe that some other people will find much of what they need in that world. Who am I to get in their way? If I can guide someone to the existence of mystery shopping and they can find their way beyond that and to something they like there, that is a good thing. I lose nothing. They gain a chance and, if they think it is good for them, an opportunity for more.

.. September is dressing herself in showy dahlias and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception. - Oliver Wendell Holmes
@Vrausch..I just read this post and your saying your niece graduated (MBA) from Northwestern, where my daughter went and got a double degree,psychology and English Literature and a Masters from Loyola, who as well is no slouch. My daughter wants nothing to do with MS'ing saying it takes too much time for too little money, so to each their own. I as well am a senior (older) than you and have been doing this for 14 years, now slowing down. I will be in Chicago the end of the month, and taking my daughter for a nice dinner, she does like that part of MS'ing. I as well am in So. Cal., but being L.A. is so large, chances of doing the same work are nill. This is a great gig for seniors who have time and want to be productive.

Live consciously....


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2019 05:16PM by Irene_L.A..
Irene, if vrausch's niece just graduated, she may not have gotten her "dream job" just yet, and even if she did, mystery shopping as a side gig is a smart way to start paying off some of those student loans. And there are some great paying jobs for people who can speak 4 languages, not to mention it's nice to not have to pay out of pocket for meals (as you and I both know very well). Your daughter is well-established in her career and doesn't want or need to shop and that's fine, but there are great paying shops out there for new graduates and career professionals alike, even those who have great paying jobs already.

It sounds like you are going to have a nice time in Chicago, the weather has been beautiful in the midwest lately (it was 77 degrees yesterday). I hope the nice weather holds up for you, it will be beautiful on the lake!
I'm not comparing, my daughter has never been a shopper (like her Mom), and yes is established, but a nice dinner is a good thing. I was there at same time last year, and weather was 76%, perfect for me, not a hot weather girl. She lives 4 blocks from the lake, but we always go to the river with all their cute restaurants and boat trips. She is making plans to go to a play and music festival, and I think she has something else planned. I will be going with her boyfriend to hear her speak at a lecture she's giving, so thrilling for a proud Mom. Very excited, seeing each other twice a year keeps the relationship strong (so she says) smiling smiley

Live consciously....


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2019 05:24PM by Irene_L.A..
@JASFLALMT wrote:

I love both the river and the lakeshore, and the food is so great there!
yes, all the food is amazing and portions are huge. My daughter has taken me to some great restaurants, many for breakfast, why I'm still dieting a year later. People are really nice, the Midwestern thing,

Live consciously....
I've had 3 friends ask me for help getting started shopping. Only one of them was local. None of the 3 shop or actually ever have shopped. The local one gave up when she was going to have to upload her ID. Apparently that was too hard. One of them completed one chase bank shop and quit. The 3rd looked at the boards and gave up. She asked me who does the $5 shops? I said "not me." I told her she could do a couple to prove her observation and writing skills and with each MSC she completed shops for better opportunities would come her way. She never even did one. I think many people who have a good work ethic are unable to see the potential earnings in shopping.
When I found shopping I was off and running. Haven't stopped since.

I enjoy awkward questions and uncomfortable silences. This gas station pavement is $%^@*#& hot.
@CoffeeQueen wrote:

.... I think many people who have a good work ethic are unable to see the potential earnings in shopping.
When I found shopping I was off and running. Haven't stopped since.[/quote

I have a good work ethic. I also have bodily injuries that stymie great efforts and best intentions. At one time- after a few assignments- I thought this was my dream job. Now, my dream job is one little bitty assignment that pays for itself. I do not have the circumstances needed for big earnings in money or lifestyle perks. That is, I am not free to travel far, do not have easy or quick access to many grocery stores and gas stations, and do not care about most of the lifestyle goodies that other shoppers love. I do not like to do so many of any assignment that my: eyes spin, my eyes glaze over, I groan and drag my feet, I would rather be anywhere than at the umpteenth iteration of the shop, and/or I start counting the days until the next iteration of the one fave shop. So, I have another type of daily job and a few assignments. I am happy. As long as I earn my measly coupla' few hundred bucks every month on average (or less, if I am frugal), all is well.

I know this is small potatoes compared to how some people treat their roles in this biz. This is wonderful. They can do all sorts of things that I never will want to do. I can do what I prefer to do.

I don't think people's preferences are related to their work ethic. I think their preferences for or against this type of work are related to something else.

.. September is dressing herself in showy dahlias and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias. October, the extravagant sister, has ordered an immense amount of the most gorgeous forest tapestry for her grand reception. - Oliver Wendell Holmes
All that matters is that it makes you happy. I definitely don't groan or drag my feet when it comes to my shops, only when going to the dentist (LOL). If I ever feel a burnout coming on, the solution is simple: I take time off.

@Shop-et-al wrote:

I do not like to do so many of any assignment that my: eyes spin, my eyes glaze over, I groan and drag my feet, I would rather be anywhere than at the umpteenth iteration of the shop, and/or I start counting the days until the next iteration of the one fave shop. So, I have another type of daily job and a few assignments. I am happy. As long as I earn my measly coupla' few hundred bucks every month on average (or less, if I am frugal), all is well.
Happiness comes from within, not from getting a bonus, yes, money is nice, as is a day at a spa, but that is short lived, ends way too soon. Being content with yourself, doing the right thing, having love and good health all add up in the eternal search for happiness....certainly not MS'ing, yet finding something that suits your needs and brings in an income is a good thing. I don't groan over any job, I don't do it. While learning many years ago, I
was more dedicated, now I'm into personal happiness with a glimmer of jobs I enjoy. Not able to make the big bonus due to where I live and many shoppers around, I read about, 200.00 for this job, 300.00 for that job, I wonder how far and how stressful their life really is...I know the work that I do for a job, but no hard feelings,
we all carry on and living for less is possible, trust me, and like I was raised to believe, if somethings not for you, just say no.
Added: I do love good food and a little travel several times a year, and a good man would make everything come full circle....still working on it...smiling smiley

Topic of thread: No, I still don't refer people to MS'ing, same reason I gave above.

Live consciously....


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/11/2019 10:37PM by Irene_L.A..
I had the misfortune of sharing what I do with my SIL. Five days later, she was complaining about, well.. everything. And then she went back to nagging her husband (my husband's younger brother who had asked me in the first place to get her to do something beside that). Never again.
Something besides nagging your BIL? LOL! But why is she so unhappy that she feels the need to drag everyone around her down with her?

It sounds like she would have made a terrible shopper. If she's so negative in her personal life, I doubt she could remain objective as a shopper--we all know there has to be an impartial balance of the positive and negative on our reports.

Poor BIL!! Sounds like your husband got lucky smiling smiley
Thanks JAS! I feel bad for the guy. Not only is my BIL a very sweet person, he has the patience of a monk. I have no idea why she is so miserable. When their family visits from Boston, it's like hell for us. She messed up most of her shops and did not get paid. For the shops she did get paid, her complain was that it wasn't enough. She also made her husband write up a few reports for her. I baby sat her over the phone for most shops. She quit after some time much to my relief. My husband has a name for her "Bellatrix Lestrange" . Yeah, he's a nerd.
Lots of good perspectives in this thread. I think whether or not you refer people has a lot to do with where you shop and what kind of shopper you are.

Shop in small or sparsely populated areas: less likely to refer since there would be more competition.
Ship in or near big cities where shops are plentiful and bonuses low: more likely to refer.

Full time shopper who relies on shopping for a significant portion of income: less likely to refer
Part time shopper who takes shops more casually: more likely to refer

If you shop in a place where there are lots of shops (and shoppers) and rarely see bonuses, you're less likely to see other shoppers as your competition. If you shop as a big part of your income, you are more likely to be protective of every shop you do and don't want any additional competition.

I can say that I fit into both categories where you'd expect someone to be more likely to refer their friends/family: I shop part time from the suburbs of a very big city. I've referred only about 4 people in the years that I've been doing this. Only one ever bothered to sign up and do some shops before deciding that it wasn't really for her. For the last person I referred, I did a lot of leg work: I put together a list of companies to start with and advice on how to get started.... I won't be doing that anymore, lol. Wasted effort: the person never followed up or pursued it.

Shopper in California's Bay Area
Mystery shopping is not my full time job and I don't really talk about it with anyone except my husband, who is my partner in crime for restaurant shops, so doesn't do his own. When it has come up, rarely, people ask and I explain how complicated it is to get started and they usually get bored by the end of the conversation haha. And I don't bring it up much because I seriously don't want to get too involved in their footwork of getting started- I spent enough unpaid time and energy getting my own mystery shopping off the ground.

I personally am actually quite ambivalent about mystery shopping- I don't do it much any more. I understand that for some people who are professionals and able to negotiate their own rates, it might be worth it, but for the casual shopper it's rarely worth it, unless you are doing stuff you would already be doing or want to do (for me that's going to nice restaurants). Anyone I would refer would be a casual shopper, so I don't know that I would really refer them. They all seem to have expectations that you get to go shopping and get tons of goodies and stuff. Yes, I have shopped Coach before and I got a fair rate for a couple hours of work, but I didn't get a Coach bag lol.
Yes. I was referred by a friend, and I am so grateful for that! MSing has been a huge part of my life in many different forms. Yes, I have referred several friends. To my knowledge, only one has followed through, and she was happy to make a little money on the side. As others have said, some people don't realize the amount of work (even when you tell them) or don't want to put in the work to make it worthwhile. It still doesn't hurt to tell them. Rotation is a thing, and they might prefer different shop types than you. It's a personal decision, but yes, I help others who express interest the same way I was helped.

Happily shopping the Pacific Northwest. Shopping since 2013 and editing since 2018 smiling smiley
I live in Chicago and there are about 10 companies that I like where the shops are first come first serve. I do not tell people about them. I sell Avon and there are so many Avon reps that I have people have me take an hour going over items, giving out freebies, only to go buy from their aunt cousin or neighbor. So, no I do not make competition for myself. I do not feel bad about it. It is hard work but I can make an extra 1-2k a month and why would I want to lessen that?

Chicago based shopper with 7 years of experience, here to share and learn even more
I used to help people out a lot. NOT ONE OF THEM EVER SIGNED UP! I no longer waste time with people. Those who say they want to do it I tell them to sign up for MarketForce. I used to tell them to come back to me after they had don 10 visits. Once again - no one ever came back. Now I tell them to come back after 5. Still waiting for the first person to come back to me for more info. I did have a long time friend whose daughter just graduated college contact me about this. I gave her a few more sites. She said she did not want to include her SSN. I said that was her right but he can't do it without inputting it. My nephew just turned 21. I said he could do tobacco/alcohol ID checks and make more than he has at his part-time job. He wants no part of it. OK. Most people hear what I do and want to do it. The "romance" of it all sounds appealing. The reality isn't. I will push people to MF and if they are too lazy to do 5 MF reports they are not cut out for this. No biggie to me because my days of WASTING considerable time on them is OVER! Fool me once.........................
I shop a large facility (think sports or transportation) as part of an ongoing project. One friend who is a freelance journalist with great writing and observation skills would make a very good mystery shopper. He's one of the few people who are aware of my involvement in the project and asked if I could suggest him the next time the MSC was recruiting new shoppers. I explained that there weren't going to take anyone without experience and instead sent him a very detailed list of six MSCs that have easy shops within minutes of his house. Months later it was recruitment time, and of course he hadn't applied for a single MSC. His application was not considered. When I take a friend out to dinner I let them know how long the survey took -- none have ever expressed an interest in doing it themselves. A friend asked if I could get one of his friends who lives near many of my better bonused shops into MSing. I politely said that if I told him who I worked for it wouldn't be a mystery and he never pressed the subject.
Most of my friends are not interested in it. Few of them (how I explained it to them) make fun of me and see this as plainly "she is going to stores and getting paid to do so". They see it as I am basic girl and its stupid.

I made several months ago, an insane amount for compliance shops over a special project the MSC had. I am proud of the amount I made (technically more than what my friends make in a month). But they saw me as the girl who goes to (insert chain store). It paid as I live near so many of them that 14 locations took me 1 hr away from home (round trip).

I travel a lot in my daily life, and look at shops between 2 points 40 miles away from one another. So I shop upwards of 100 miles radius. So I have tons of shops and some bonus.

As much as my friends/family like the laugh at me doing various shops they are simply not interested in it. So I keep the money to myself and let them complain about their bills.
My son started mystery shopping as a way to earn money when he's in between jobs. He does well, only takes shops with good incentives. But we have learned that there is someone here locally that is discounting their time. The bonuses keep dropping and the jobs that we like to do best and usually pay the most are not as available, and the bonuses are getting smaller. I'm not recommending anyone, I schedule all of my son's shops. We were lucky to get 6 gas station shops for $37 each this cycle.. and there isn't any excuse for it. I used to get $50 or more for those before.
In the past, I've helped about 25 friends get started. Only 1 is actually still shopping 5 years later. Most never even tried, a few tried and decided it was too much work. One who was unemployed said it wasn't worth his time. I spent more time trying to help people than they did giving it a try. Then when people heard I shopped (my hubby liked to tell people about it), I would point them to the MSPA site and wish them luck. We've moved to a new area, and I don't tell people I shop.
I used to recommend this to cash strapped friends as a way to make a few extra dollars. Most said immediately it was not for them. Some asked me for help getting started, which I provided, and then never did anything with it. None would have been competition for me. My neighbor used to ask tons of questions, but because of her erratic behavior in her personal life, I never provided much help. She then found another friend of hers that does mystery shopping and they helped her. She bragged that she did her first shop, then complained that the company took too long to pay her. She said her friend stated that the company was known to be slow paying. I work for this company and if anything they were paying early at that time. A few days after she did her shop, I got an email offering a bonus for the same location. I stopped offering to help or even offering to provide website details as everyone flaked out and never followed through. I have pointed people in the right direction (when they asked) and stated they could reach out to me if they need any help. Usually I never hear from them again.
I used to recommend this to cash strapped friends as a way to make a few extra dollars. Most said immediately it was not for them. Some asked me for help getting started, which I provided, and then never did anything with it. None would have been competition for me. My neighbor used to ask tons of questions, but because of her erratic behavior in her personal life, I never provided much help. She then found another friend of hers that does mystery shopping and they helped her. She bragged that she did her first shop, then complained that the company took too long to pay her. She said her friend stated that the company was known to be slow paying. I work for this company and if anything they were paying early at that time. A few days after she did her shop, I got an email offering a bonus for the same location. I stopped offering to help or even offering to provide website details as everyone flaked out and never followed through. I have pointed people in the right direction (when they asked) and stated they could reach out to me if they need any help. Usually I never hear from them again.
I introduced my daughter in law to a few shops so she could go out to eat more with my son at some of his favorite places and get repairs/oil changes on their cars. I do not share with locals as i worked hard to find companies that work my area. I do refer them to sources for shopping compnay lists. Most dont want to do the work required to find shops in their area. Ive been at this 15 years and Ive filled out forms to join up for companies i never even get one shop from. It took a lot of time and I'm not willing to hand my hard work off to someone else. I do wish however that there was a way to find out what companies work what areas...not all list the states they work in. Its very frustrating.
Yes, but I do not give specific companies. I believe in anonymity. I tell them where to search for shops in general.
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