Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Can You Make A Living From Mystery Shops?

I have a friend that is unemployed right now and called me, asking my opinion on mystery shops. She saw a 'help wanted' ad for mystery shops and the ad said she could make a full-time income doing them.

I've done Mystery Shopping on and off for a few years for about five different companies.  Most are similar in the required work and how the report needs to be turned in (scan receipts, answer detailed questions, etc).

I'm not going to give details on 'how to' do a mystery shop but wanted to give my opinion on them. First, there a few types.  You can go eat somewhere like a nice steak house and need to order a drink from their bar to and they'll reimburse you for the 'dinner for two with drinks and dessert' and maybe give you a $5-10 bonus.  Second, they might just pay you to go somewhere.  Go test drive a car and get $30, park your car at an airport parking garage (schedule this if you are planning to fly to get parking for free) and they'll reimburse you for your parking.  Sometimes they'll want you to purchase something, like a women's pair of jeans, try them on and wait one hour and then return them and they'll pay you $15, other times you have the option to return or keep the item.

So, there are a few types, but they mostly pay you $5-15 (the dealership ones seem to be an exceptionally large pay).  The mystery shop places will also added extra bonuses if they are on a tight deadline to get some of the shops done.

Here are a few legit companies that I have done mystery shops for:


Do remember they have to be done in a timely manner and the online report (takes about 1 hour to fill in) usually needs to be done the same day.  If you do not do them correctly, they won't pay you.

Also, most payments are made to you through Paypal.  So, once paid you will need to transfer the funds to your bank account. 

IMHO (in my humble opinion) you will not be rich, not be receiving full-time income, nor even part-time income doing mystery shops. They are added extras and can be fun and exciting but the ads offering $20-50K a year are false-advertising.

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