When you’re looking for a little extra cash, mystery shopping can seem like a fun side hustle. You get to shop at local stores and report back on your findings. Sometimes, the company even pays for you to make a purchase. All in all, that can seem like a great deal.
But, unless you’ve done one of these shops before, you may be wondering: is mystery shopping worth it? This is especially true if you have to make an out-of-pocket purchase and wait for a reimbursement.
Additionally, you might not know what a mystery shop involves until you give one a try. Luckily, most mystery shops aren’t too complicated.
What Happens on a Mystery Shop?
While each mystery shop will be a bit different, the basic principles are the same. Usually, you’ll get a job offer that requires you to evaluate a store in a particular way.
For example, you may need to head to a specific retailer and examine a particular display. Then, you report your findings according to their instructions.
Another possibility is you may need to speak with a customer service representative and tell the organization about the interaction.
Purchase processes, return procedures, store layouts, and many other features can be part of a mystery shop. This means, before you accept a job offer, you need to review the requirements and make sure you want to participate in the task.
You also want to review what documents you need to provide the company. If you have to make a purchase, you’ll usually need to give them a copy of your receipt. You might also need to complete surveys or forms and detail your experience.
Is Mystery Shopping Worth It?
If you enjoy shopping and live in an area with a lot of stores, mystery shopping can be a fun way to make money. However, a lot of the job offers you get in the beginning won’t involve a high level of compensation.
Additionally, it can be hard to land mystery shop job offers. In some cases, you may even need to be certified if you want some of the better opportunities.
Also, you need to vet the mystery shop company before signing up. There are a lot of mystery shopping scams out there, so due diligence is a necessity. You should also learn about red flags, like any job that asks you to cash a money order or check and then wire money, so you can spot scams quickly. If a mystery shopping company asks for money up front, that’s also a troubling sign.
Most mystery shops require you to meet performance standards, too. If you don’t measure up, you won’t get paid. This means you need to be absolutely certain that you have the time to do it right. Otherwise, it will all be for naught.
Ultimately, mystery shopping can be a fun side hustle. Just make sure you are up to the task before you accept the job and are establish your reputation over time to access better opportunities.
Have you ever been a mystery shopper? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Looking for more money-making opportunities? Check out these articles:
- 6 Businesses You Can Start for Almost Nothing
- My 5 Best Tips to Make Money Blogging
- Earning Extra Money by Trading in Your Spare Time
Tamila McDonald has worked as a Financial Advisor for the military for past 13 years. She has taught Personal Financial classes on every subject from credit, to life insurance, as well as all other aspects of financial management. Mrs. McDonald is an AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor and has helped her clients to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals.