The Secret To Making Serious Money
Mystery Shopping Is Make It A Business

Making a business out of mystery shopping is a lot easier than other formsIn a credit crunch like we are experiencing.

Face it, 2009 and beyond are going to hurt.

You probably won’t have a lot of available income to put up for business tools, marketing, personnel and inventory.

But the same techniques for creating a business will help you begin generating serious income from part time effort in a matter of months.

Be careful with your money--There is no need to spend money for you a list of mystery shopping companies. You can get this information for free by doing a bit of research.
Diversify Your Income Stream—From the beginning sign on with at least a dozen companies who schedule shoppers. Sort through the listings each day at and pick one or two to join.

1. You are looking for shopping jobs with a minimum payment of $10.
2. You want to find them within your comfort zone (30 miles from home).
3. They involve no upfront investment of money, even if it is reimbursed.

Stay focused on the job—If the companies you sign with have a website, check it frequently. Be proactive, don’t wait for their email. Often by that time, you’ll find the job has been snagged by another shopper.
Get the most from technology—Many of the high tech devices you currently own can serve you well without added investment. 1) Use your PDA for not taking during covert shops; 2) Use the GPS system on your cell phone to navigate through strange communities; 3) Use your digital camera for photos the company may require, and 4) Your computer and printer/scanner will be needed every day.
Know what you are doing—Once you have been assigned a job, download the paperwork immediately to become familiar with the job requirements. At the same time print out the report you are going to have to file so you know the questions you will need to ask.
Tighten Your Schedule—Make every mile count by scheduling multiple jobs for the same day within your 30-mile circle to make the most use of your gas and maximize your income per day.
Set Up Your Records—You will find knowledge of Excel invaluable to record the details of each job.

You can figure out your own column headings for items you want to track, but Excel gives you the ability to populate your spreadsheet with formulas that will calculate profits, total expenses and total income. On a separate sheet in the same file you can set up a database of the companies you work with keeping the website URL, phone numbers and contact information in the same place.

Map Your Schedule—Keep a calendar and add new shops to it immediately. This not only helps you to remember them, it can be useful in deciding whether you need to schedule more shops in the same area.

Get Organized To Succeed—Before embarking on any mystery shopping mission make sure your tools are sharp. Pull together all of your paperwork so it is handy for review just prior to beginning the assignment. You will need a pen or pencil and a couple of back-ups. Glasses if you need them and a back-up pair in your bag. Yes gentlemen, a shoulder bag to stash all this is very appropriate. Make sure your camera batteries are fully charged? Do you have space in the storage device for any required pictures? Do you know where you are going? Either program the GPS or print out a Google map with turn-by-turn directions. Getting lost either going or coming eats up gas (here are some tips on conserving gas) and could make you late for the appointment.
Rehearse Your Clock and Dagger Routine—You need to be sure you won’t slip and reveal you are a covert shopper. Don’t do anything to make a clerk realize you are anything but an ordinary customer. Keep your note-taking out of sight. A PDA or cell phone recorder is always less obvious than a notepad. If you must use a notepad, take it into the bathroom and jot down reminders there. If the job requires it, obtain a receipt or business-card to establish you were at the facility.
Wrap It Up Quickly—As soon as you return to your car, move it to a spot where you are out of sight and fill out the printed version of the online report you will file when you get to your computer. Get the details down while they are fresh in your mind. Some companies want to know the stores neighbors left and right. Make sure you have the Rep’s name and that it is correctly spelled. Not the overall condition of the store’s interior and exterior. You want to be able to comment reporting facts, not your opinions. You don’t write the store was a mess, you tell them what was out of place and that paper or boxes were left on the floor. In short, paint a picture of your visit. Show the reader what was wrong or right.
Finish the Job Smartly—Your assignment is not complete until you have filed the report. Most of these are done with online forms with yes or no and multiple choice answers along with a few narratives for your writing pleasure where you paint your picture with words. Most companies want these reports filed within 24 hours, some six and some immediately.
Find the Big Players—If you are in this business for the long haul, you need to be working only for companies offering a two-figure fee. If you are traveling 30 miles one way, to get there and back home you will use 2 gallons of gas or more. As of mid-November that translates to at least $4 you need to deduct from the fee you will get on 30 to 45 days. You will spend at least 30 minutes making the visit and another hour minium to submit the report, Say two hours…what’s your time worth? If they are paying a $5 fee, you’re down to 50 cents an hour.

Make it an integral part of your research into companies you will work with to know what they are paying. It is often better to wait until the company scheduler gets in a bind and has to provide a bonus to get the job done before deadline. One $20 or $30 job is worth far more than ten $5 jobs.

You will find the $5 gasoline station jobs often require an elaborate certification process, are much more complicated and require photos shot just so precisely and after your gas you net $2. Nope. On the other hand, the $30 jobs are much more enjoyable and actually require less work.

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