Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Supplementing Income Part 2 or The Mystery Shop/ Survey Saga

Well, I am not exactly sure how long it has been since I began mystery shopping and taking surveys but I have definitely made some money. Here are my findings so far.

When I began mystery shopping I signed on with two companies. I quickly found out that I would not find many jobs working for only two companies. I am now signed on with about 6 different agencies and honestly even with that many, if I wanted to make this a full time gig, it would be impossible. As a matter of fact in the time since I began I have completed only two shops and have made a total of $25. This is partly due to working and just not having time to do it as much as I would like. I am going to try to do a lot more in July and I will keep you updated on that.

Pros/Cons of mystery shopping-
It is kind of fun, if you don't mind lying your butt off. Most companies require you to have a "scenario" in mind when you shop. For example, they may have you go in and ask for something you would never buy for yourself and you have to go in and say, "oh, it is for my dad/mom/husband etc. " Also, there are specific things they are checking to see if the clerk offers you like reward programs, asking you to sign up for a credit card, etc. I actually felt bad when a person I shopped told me I could get the item for a better price at another store, and I had to put that in my report complete with his name and description attached.

Another problem can be the amount of money versus the length of the survey. Some companies have relatively simple surveys that take 5 minutes to complete, so ten dollars for that company is easy money. However one of the shops I did was very simple but the survey was 10 pages long and all I got was ten dollars. I didn't feel it was worth the money in the end because of all the time I spent on the report.

Most companies are also very picky about grammar, punctuation, and spelling in the report, so if you aren't very good with writing the narratives can be tough, and they will dock your fee.

On the positive side, you get paid to shop. You do not always have to make a purchase and usually when you do it is reimbursed. Occasionally you may do a shop when in the end you "reveal" yourself in some kind of kooky grand finale and tell the manager all about your waitress and then get your meal comped. Lol, I haven't done one of those yet. Seems just a little too corny.

On to the surveys. I have honestly made about the same amount of money here for what I feel is less work although it can be tedious. And yes, there are companies who pay $5 per survey (although, I am sworn to secrecy now that I am a member, see the links at the bottom for some hints). You cannot make the huge amount that some companies tout. Plus, in order to make that kind of money you would have to be taking five to ten surveys a day and that would really suck. They are not a ton of fun to take, and depending on the pay I do turn some of them down. I will not do a 15 minute survey for $1. It just isn't worth it to me. If you want to make money without doing a lot of work, surveys are the way to go. You won't get rich, but I think I have some great tips on how to make the money add up.

My biggest tip is to open a paypal account if you don't already have one. There is one survey company and one mystery shop company I use that sends actual paper checks, the rest deposit directly to paypal. (and some will NOT do it any other way) I have just been letting the money pile up. Personally I am trying to save up toward a vacation. Obviously it will take a while, but I just let it pile up and I don't even check the balance. (I do check to make sure my mystery shop payments go through, because I do consider that a part time job, but I am not as worried about the survey money).

The greatest tip I have for any reader is to visit the website This is an unbelievable resource for finding mystery shop jobs, merchandising jobs, and survey opportunities. One of my favorite sections is the "Stuff I found" forum. It is a great place to find awesome freebies and this helps me curb my need to shop til I drop. I hope to do a complete article on Volition in the near future! Oh and that is also my hint for the great paying survey company... go play hangman- or check out the forums it shouldn't take too long for you to find it!

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