If you're interested in becoming a mystery shopper, there are many different assignments that you can apply for. Some assignments don't take a lot of time to do. Those usually don't pay a lot of money. Assignments that take some time to prepare and take longer to perform will usually have higher pay.
When you are becoming a mystery shopper, I think it's better to start with assignments that are fairly easy and quick to do. The first assignment will be a challenge to you anyway, since you've never done anything like it before. You have to make sure you follow the directions for the assignment and answer all the questions on the questionnaire. You may have some peoples' names to remember. You want a report that is short with a few multiple choice and yes or no questions. Plus, you don't want to write a lot of narrative.
These are the assignments that fit that bill:
Convenience store assignments consist of looking for cleanliness inside and outside the store. Are the gas islands clean and the trash emptied? Do all the islands have squeegees? Inside the store, you make a purchase on a couple of items or gasoline. You'll be reimbursed between $5 and $10. You get the persons' name who helped you and if they thanked you for the order. You may have to look inside a restroom for cleanliness. You'll spend between 10 and 15 minutes in the store and another 15 to write and submit the report.
These are the fast food restaurants that have short surveys to complete. Especially if it's a drive-through only. You'll look for cleanliness and fast, friendly service. I've had many of these assignments where I'm a mystery shopper when I enter the place, but reveal myself at the end of the visit. I have to listen for an upsell, like an offer for a combo or a soft drink. I would sit down and eat my meal before presenting a good score card or a bad one to the manager on duty.
Office supply stores may have you spend 15 minutes to ask a couple of questions about ink cartridges or printers. An appliance store may have you ask about a washer/dryer set. A clothing store may have you ask about a certain piece of clothing and try something on. Essentially, you evaluate the person who helps you. Did you have to wait long to be helped? Were they friendly and eager to help? You'll have some questions on cleanliness to answer as well. When becoming a mystery shopper for retail stores, you have to remember to get a business card from the person who helped you.
Telephone calls usually have short reports and don't take long to do. Phone calls can range from ordering pizza to asking about services from a funeral home. Some are audits where you're making follow up calls for a business. I've had assignments where I had a list of 200 phone numbers to call to follow up on people who visited a medical clinic. I would receive $2 from people who completed a survey of 10 questions. I would receive $1 from people who took my call and hung up. No pay if there was no answer after three attempts. Every time I had these assignments, I averaged $1 per assignment. I had a lot of responses, quite a few did not answer, and a few hang ups.
Financial institutions are pretty fast and not hard to do when becoming a mystery shopper. I've done quite a few banks and credit unions where I would make a buy a money order. You're looking for cleanliness and fast, friendly service. The drive-through assignments are the wait in line and fast, friendly service. Some of those have taken less than 5 minutes to do.
I want to caution you about these and cheque cashing stores. These assignments do not pay $350 per hour or per location. If you see an ad for this or an email from someone ignore it. This is a scam. Scam artists want to send you a check worth thousands of dollars and ask you to wire a portion of it to a third party (the scam artist). The check ends up being a fake and you'll be responsible for all the money if you cash it. Cheque (or check) cashing stores and financial institutions usually pay between $8 - $15 per assignment -- not $350. There are some bank shops that pay $50 or more, but it's with the investment department, which takes more time and have longer reports.
Hopefully, you will like the experience of becoming a mystery shopper. I think it's important to like mystery shopping before plugging into assignments that take more time and pay more money.
After you have a few assignments under your belt, you can do some more challenging assignments and ones that take more preparation.
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Learn more about other assignments that require hidden video equipment.
See 2014 ABC News story about hotel mystery shopping.
You can learn more about starting a mystery shopping business with my book (and eBook) "Take This Shop And Mystery Shop It!" I list more than 200 mystery shopping companies that you are looking for new faces to visit different places.