Can I Mystery Shop Full Time?

Question from a mystery shopper:

Is it possible to make $300-$400 a week as a full-time mystery shopper? My husband wants me to get a job, but I would rather be a full time mystery shopper. Can you help me convince my husband this can work?

Although most people only mystery shop part time or spare time, it is possible to be a full-time mystery shopper. One big question is how much you need to earn. $300 to $400 a week is do-able for many secret shoppers.

Location is part of it–are there enough jobs to keep you busy, within an area to which you are willing to travel? If you live in or regularly travel to a large metropolitan area or anywhere there are lots of businesses that get mystery shopped, you will find it easier to get enough assignments to hit your target income.

Beyond that, there are a few more factors:

You have to juggle a lot of assignments from a lot of companies to stay busy full time. Can you keep it all organized and not let anything fall through the cracks?

Choosing the right assignments is important. If a lot of the shops you take are reimbursement-only, they had better be for things you need. Look for assignments that are fee-based, rather than mostly reimbursement.

Getting the better-paying assignments makes a difference. It takes a lot of $7 fees to get to $300. It takes fewer $20 or $40 fees. Build relationships with schedulers so they know they can rely on you. They will reward you with better opportunities. MSPA Certification (Silver, but especially Gold) is also helpful, as some high-end shops are offered first to Certified shoppers.

Volume is important. Set up routes where you do a number of shops in the same area to save time and gas. Again, relationships with schedulers will help. When they know they can count on you, they may give you more assignments. Jobslinger can also help you find which companies have assignments available in the areas you frequent.

Consider going beyond mystery shopping. Many shoppers also do merchandising, surveys and audits. Not only does this expand the number of jobs for which you are eligible, some of these types of assignments are more consistent. You may, for example, have a merchandising route that you do every two weeks. Or audits that you do every month. Most mystery shopping assignments must be rotated among other shoppers, so the work is not as steady. Merchandising, surveys, audits, demos and other types of work may be available through many of the same companies that give you mystery shopping assignments. For more information, see the Retail World Alliance web site.

It is possible to be a full-time mystery shopper, but it is not easy. The first step is to convince your husband to let you give it a try. You might agree on a time frame, where if you are not earning at least a certain amount within two months (or whatever time you agree on) you will look for a “real job.”

Good luck!

Have questions? I’ve got answers. Submit your mystery shopping questions to me at cathy (at) idealady (dot) com.

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