For those who are confused with the title (and just clicked on this article because of the word shopper) a mystery shopper is someone who is hired by companies to check on their competitor’s products and services. Some simply call it spying, but for companies, it’s more of a strategy to know who they’re tough competitors are and to know their weaknesses.
The tasks of a mystery shopper vary. It can be as simple as purchasing a product and assessing it, or as extreme as behaving in an unlikable way to know how the employees (of a certain establishment) deal with such situation. Most mystery shoppers are sent to retail stores and hotels to check on it. There are also some that are sent to theaters.
Employee VS independent contractor
The first step towards becoming a secret shopper is to know if you want to be an employee of a certain company or if you want to be an independent contractor. If you’re an employee, your unemployment insurance, social security and compensation, as well as your federal and state withholding taxes will all be your employer’s responsibility. However if you’re an independent contractor, all the aforementioned will be dealt by no one else but you.
Because a mystery shopper will assess products and services of other companies, you should be equipped with all the tools needed. This is a stress on the independent contractors who are responsible for providing their own tools. From answering typical questionnaires up to the gadgets used to record video and audio – all of these (in fact even more) are necessary. If you don’t have enough budgets, then you can choose clients that can settle on smaller deals such as asking questions and buying products.
Create your mystery shopper profile
Make a list of all the zip codes of the areas you’re willing to check. You should also provide a sample writing tackling about your past experience as a mystery shopper. Be sure that this writing is at its best because most companies are very particular about it. Add a couple more info about yourself and your mystery shopper profile is all set.
Sign up with different companies
There are tons of mystery shopping companies out there and you have the freedom to choose. It’s best to sign up in as many companies as you can for you to have a bigger chance of having more projects. Companies will check on your profile, and if they’re not happy with it, then they won’t pick you. If you’re still a starter, it’s best to choose companies that are starters as well but have a good background.
Sit back and wait for companies to call you
The last thing to do is to sit and wait for these companies to contact you. Once you get a job, create a work log and record everything about a project. Fill out the necessary forms and print out the instructions from the company. Starters often get small rates that range from $6-$15 each project. Higher rates of course will be paid to those who have more experiences.