Interesting to see how long people have been at this! I’ve only been at it for 4 years. I love having the extra income to go with my full time job. It’s allowed me to do so many extra things that would have been hard to afford.
I started in mid-1995. Never dreamed I'd still be at it all this time later. Although there have been many positive changes, especially online reporting and self-scheduling, I've seen the fees go down by 1/2 or more. When I first started, most shops paid at least $12 for a simple retail shop and they did not require pictures.
I've only been mystery shopping since February, so much much newer than most of the people on this site! It was a replacement for the side job that I wasn't too keen on (lots of long days & standing out in all weathers. I'm in the National Guard so I get enough of that at drill). I had a really good profitable month and a half before Covid began!
2014. Did a bunch of Spencer Gift shops, Modells, pizza, five guys and numerous others over the years. Now I like Costco Auto shops (in conjunction with my Instacart deliveries), HP Ink audits and USPS shops.
I started in about 1997 or 1998. Only did gas and fast food for years. Really started hustling in 2004 or so, branched out into sit-down restaurants, oil changes, audits, haircuts, massages, hotels, etc.
About thirty years! I started shopping a sporting goods store that has since closed---a few times a year. Maybe at the turn of the century I expanded to more assignments, used to snap up Card Party Outlet whenever possible. A few years ago I was on unemployment and needed to apply for another job to continue collecting. Ta da--mystery shopping filled the gap. If I do 1-2 shops a week I am happy.
I would take a man on a Mystery Shop dinner date and it was like the kiss of death for that relationship for some reason. LOL. Then I took this one particular man on a mystery shop dinner date and he thought that it was very “cool” that the meal was totally paid for. He started mystery shopping too! Soon after that, we would go on casino Mystery Shop, spending day there, doing mystery shops. Five years later, this spring, we got married and Mystery Shop dates are still one of our favorite ways to spend a day.
I would agree about the drop in prices. One of my first audits 20 years ago was to count heads at a movie theater and I paid $15 a movie show time. I still work for the same company every once in awhile and they still pay $15 a movie!