Your student income does not always have to come from student loans, on campus employment or delivering pizzas in the neighborhood. Unless you’re living off your parents, you know how difficult it is to live on campus without making money of any kind. Mystery shopping is an excellent option to earn extra student income in college.
Mystery shopping offers you the opportunity to work when you want and around classes and study time. This is not income that is going to pay for your entire college experience. Depending on the number of assignments you do, you can earn anywhere from $500 - $1000 a month. Most mystery shopping companies require you to be 18 years or older to be added to their databases.
Mystery shopping is also an area where you can improve your writing skills. Some assignments require a lot of narratives and will take some time to write. The more writing you do will ultimately improve your writing proficiency, but they may take too much of your study time away from you. Generally, I would tell you to avoid some of those time-consuming assignments.
Some of the best assignments for student income include apartments, auto dealerships, retail stores, grocery stores, convenience stores, and many others. If there are assignments for a dentist or an optometrist, those are very good as well.
Audits of all kinds are good assignments. Most don’t take a lot of time, although there are some that may require a lot of narrative and pictures. If you have slow upload speeds on your computer, it could take some time.
If you don’t want to leave the campus, or you don’t have a car, you can do a lot of phone calls and internet assignments. Neither is time-consuming and you can do many assignments from anywhere in the country. There may be a purchase requirement involved. You’ll be either reimbursed for the cost or required to return it. Many times, the return process is evaluated as well.
Restaurant and bar assignments will not really help your student income. Most of the time, you receive reimbursement for the money you spend on your meal. If you make any money, it will be $5 or $10 for the report. Sometimes, you spend more than the amount to be reimbursed. If your main goal is to make some student income, these won’t help you do that. They will help with a nice meal, which is also important.
Video mystery shopping makes a lot of sense for a college student. Your student income will sometimes be more than double that of the written assignments. Even on some restaurant and barroom assignments. There is some investment involved before starting, but that will pay for itself after a handful of assignments. Instead of writing a lot of narrative, you can upload video while you’re studying.
Apartment shopping is a great video assignment for a college student. These assignments take between 15 and 30 minutes to do on location. Written assignments have long narratives to write for the final reports. Some video assignments will have long narratives as well. The trick is to find the video assignments that ask a handful of questions and take only a few minutes to complete.
New home builder assignments can earn some good student income, especially for video mystery shopping. However, some college students may look too young to be believable as new home buyers.
A video assignment for a dentist is a great assignment for some extra student income. You can make $200 on an assignment that takes about an hour at the office to complete and the reports to submit aren’t long. I’ve done many of these where I got my teeth cleaned and didn’t have to pay anything.
However, there are assignments where you may have to spend up to $300 for your visit. You’ll be reimbursed for the work that’s done on your teeth. Getting paid $500 is not bad for a morning or afternoon. Just make sure you can put $300 on a card for a while until you get paid.
Once you visit one dental office, you won’t be able to mystery shop that location again.
If you don’t take classes in the Summer, you can apply for many assignments. You can make some good student income by working consistently during the Summer or anytime you have breaks in your class schedule. There are mystery shopping assignments year round.
One Summer assignment that always looks appealing is for an amusement park. Amusement park mystery shops are a lot of fun, but they are quite demanding. You have to spend at least 4-6 hours at the park to gather your information. Then, you have to write a detailed report within 24 hours. If there is no bonus involved, you profit only $20 - $30 for the work. You will be reimbursed for parking, admission ticket and some concessions.
The mystery shopping business is always looking for new faces to visit different places. Learn how you can start your own mystery shopping business from my book, “Take That Job And Mystery Shop It!” I also list close to 200 mystery shopping companies that you can click on their website and fill out an application. There’s information about each company and I indicate which ones I’ve had success with. You can also find out what industries they specialize in.