Congratulations in taking the first steps in becoming a mystery shopper. One thing you must understand about mystery shopping is a large amount of time must be spent in the beginning applying to companies, but this is a necessary step if you want to work.
Step 1: Get an email address dedicated solely to mystery shopping.
When choosing your email address, remember to present yourself as a professional. Don’t chose a name like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Your name is always a good choice. For instance I might use Candace.Anderson@gmail.com. I recommend Gmail because not only is it reliable, it is extremely easy to stay organized. One of my favorite features is the labels. The labels allow you to color code your email into different categories. You also have a task link that is connected to your Google calendar. If you don’t already use Google Calendar, I recommend it as well. Best of all, it works seamlessly with your email and task list.
Step 2: Prepare Answers to Commonly Asked Questions.
Before you start to apply to the companies, spend time writing answers to some of the common questions the companies ask on applications. You will save yourself a lot of time and avoid double work by preparing (and saving!) your answers. Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct, your words are succinct, and your thoughts clearly stated. Use your thesaurus and be creative in your descriptions. I have included samples of text I have written for my own personal applications. You may not use these (because I already have!) but you may use them as a guide. Open a word processing document and fine tune answers to the following commonly asked questions:
1. Mystery shopping requires you to describe and detail your shopping experience. Please provide a minimum of two full paragraphs describing your last casual or fine dining restaurant experience. Sample
2. Describe your best and your worst customer service experience.
3. Make a list of near by cities to which you are willing to travel.
4. Make a list of zip codes to which you are willing to travel. (I used the map at the front of the phone book for this.)
5. Why would you like to become a Mystery Shopper. (or Why do you think you’d make a good Mystery Shopper?) Sample
These are just some of the more common questions. When you apply at a company that asks you a specific question, compose it in word processing document and save it so you can use it again if you should come across the same question again.
Step 3: Apply to all of the mystery shopping companies on my list.
Frugal Mom’s A to Z Mystery Shopping Companies List
As you apply, write down the name of the companies and how they contact you for jobs. You need to know this information because some companies email you jobs and others post jobs on their websites. If you are familiar with Excel, considering setting up a spreadsheet to keep track of your applications.
This question has just come to my attention so I will address it – I remember when I began applying I had the same concern! Someone has asked about giving out your social security number on the online application form. Now this is just my opinion but I don’t feel comfortable doing it. If the site is secure then I will. But if the site isn’t secure I will type in “not secure.” You always have the option to call the company over the telephone and give your social security number. You are not actually working for the mystery shopping companies – you are an independent contractor. If your income goes over $600.00 in a year then will report your earnings to the IRS. For that reason they need your Social Security Number.
Click here to be taken to a web page with a full listing of Mystery Shopping Companies. As I come across more companies I will add them to the list.
As you apply to the mystery shopping companies, keep track of your usernames and passwords. Download a free copy of Passkeeper to keep track of all your information!
Step 4: Begin looking for jobs.
Some of the Mystery Shopping companies post their job leads on their web site and you will need to check their boards frequently.
I prepared a Word document that I keep on my desktop titled “MS Daily Check Sheet.” On this sheet I have links to the mystery shop companies that post their jobs on their websites. I check these sites at least 3 times per day.
As you can see, staying organized is a very important part of being a successful shopper.
Warning: Do not ever pay a company for leads, or pay to be added to their database. This is not how real mystery shopping companies operate.