What is a scheduling company, and how is it different from a mystery shopping company?
Scheduling companies, as the name implies, perform scheduling services for mystery shopping companies. That means that they assign shoppers on behalf of mystery shopping companies.
Why would a mystery shopping company use a scheduling service?
There are several reasons a company may choose to outsource scheduling. They may not have a staff of schedulers, the scheduling company may have a more extensive shopper data base, or their regular schedulers may not be able to handle a large special project.
A mystery shopping company may outsource all of their scheduling, or may use an outside scheduling service only for certain client accounts or certain geographic regions.
When a scheduling company assigns me, am I working for them or for the mystery shopping company?
Usually, you are actually working for the mystery shopping company. However, the scheduling company is responsible for assigning the shop and making sure it is completed so most or all of your interaction will be with the scheduler. (In some cases they may also edit the report, but that is not typical.)
You will probably enter the report on the mystery shopping company’s web site, and payment will almost always come from the mystery shopping company, not the scheduling company.
Should I apply directly to scheduling companies?
YES! Scheduling companies may recruit and schedule for many different mystery shopping companies, so being in their shopper data bases will make you eligible for many assignments. On more than one occasion, my first assignment for a company was obtained through a scheduling service, although I later did many jobs that were scheduled directly by the mystery shopping provider. Two of my favorite scheduling companies are:
Cathy Stucker is the author of The Mystery Shopper’s Manual.