2007 - Volume #31, Issue #3, Page #08[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Mystery Shopping: A Good Way To Make Extra Cash"Mystery Shopping" is a worldwide industry that provides opportunities to make part-time cash simply by evaluating the customer service of various businesses. As a bonus, you can also get free stuff.
Many mystery shopping jobs are available online, thanks to the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) at www.mysteryshop.org. This organization requires that its member companies meet a strict code of ethics, which includes treating their shoppers fairly, and paying them on time.
More than 260 member companies worldwide use the service, which includes marketing research and merchandising companies, private investigation firms and training organizations.
Jobs are posted on the mysteryshop.org website, and you can easily search for opportunities that are available in your local area. According to the MSPA, it may take some patience at first to get shopping assignments, but the key is to be persistent and convince the companies that you're reliable.
Jobs usually require you to visit a particular business to evaluate customer service. If you're required to make a purchase, this cost is reimbursed, and you often get to keep the product. Depending on what's legal in that state or province, mystery shoppers are sometimes also asked to take digital photos, videos, or record conversations with hidden recorders.
Payment rates vary according to the difficulty of the job, but the amount being offered is clear up front, so you can decide if you want to accept the job or not. The average job pays $10 to $20. Some very complex assignments may pay up to $100. A $10 job may only take 10 minutes.
Doing this type of "independent contract" work requires good organizational skills and a little computer knowledge. There are hundreds of shopping companies offering work, but you must register for them separately, and they each have different guidelines and instructions.
Once they approve you as a shopper, you'll begin getting emails detailing jobs that are available in your area.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Mystery Shopping Providers Association (www.mysteryshop.org).
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