Mystery Shopping is neither a full-time nor a part-time job. It is casual work and is meant to be a fun way to get free products and services or earn a little extra spending money.
Each assignment has a shopper pay associated with it (usually $10-$15 per assignment) as well as a maximum reimbursement amount for any purchase required. Some lengthier or more complicated assignments may pay $20, $30, or even $50, but it is very rare for an assignment to have a shopper pay of more than $80 unless it very involved or requires a substantial time commitment. Be wary of any company that says they will pay hundreds of dollars per assignment or promises you will earn thousands of dollars a month.
The amount you get reimbursed for your purchase varies by client. Sometimes it is a small purchase of a few dollars just so you can go through the till and evaluate the cashier. Other times it may be a $40 salon service, a $65 meal, or even a $150 hotel room. Sometimes you can purchase anything, but other times there will be specific items required. Unless specified in the shop instructions, you are responsible for any expenses you incur to complete a shop (gas, babysitter, long distance, postage, tips, etc.). These are the sorts of things your shopper pay can be used towards. However, each assignment is different. Depending on the client, there may be reimbursement for parking, cover charge, coat check, ferry fees, national park fees, etc. You must read the shopper instructions of each shop to see how much you will get paid and reimbursed.
One way to make Mystery Shopping more profitable for you is to work for multiple companies. Sometimes it is possible to coordinate “road trips” by picking up a gas shop from one company, a hotel shop from another, a restaurant from another, and so forth. You can also sometimes get lucky enough to coordinate multiple shops in your area by working with multiple companies. This saves you gas and travel time, allowing you to keep more of your shopper pay for yourself. However, if this is something you want to do, the best thing is for you to email the shop manager and advise him or her of your intentions. We like to spread shops out to be fair to all of our shoppers, so it is not always possible to assign multiple shops to one shopper, nor is it always possible to adjust dates to fit your schedule. If you request a whole bunch of shops expecting to get them all, then cancel the one(s) you are assigned because you didn’t get all of them, it will be noted and may affect your ability to get shops in the future. Visit www.mysteryshoppersmanual.com or www.mysteryshop.org for a list of reputable mystery shopping companies you may be interested in shopping for.