One of the things I love about mystery shopping is that you can control how much you earn. As you gain experience, improve your skills and build relationships with schedulers, you will have many opportunities to do more and better shops. Here are some ideas about how to dramatically increase your income (perhaps even double it) no matter what stage of your mystery shopper career you are in.
Of course, one way to double your income is to do twice as many shops. If you are a fairly new mystery shopper, you may only be doing a few shops a week and not earning much yet. Doubling your income by adding shops would be pretty easy. But let’s look at some other ways you can increase your income no matter how much it is right now, including lots of ways to double your income without doubling your workload.
Apply to more companies. The more companies that have you in their databases, the more opportunities you will have. I have seen that some of the companies to which I applied have seldom (or never) offered assignments. Others send emails everyday with new assignments. The problem is that you won’t know which companies are which until you apply and start watching for jobs. The other part of this is that the companies with clients in your area will change as clients begin new mystery shopping programs or move from one provider to another. Apply to lots of companies and you will have more (and better) chances to shop. By applying to more companies you not only get more offers, you may get better offers that you would not have known about if you hadn’t signed up with those companies.
Determine how much income you need. Maybe you don’t need to double your income, but you need to make more than you are now. Does that mean $2000? $1000? $500? Know your number. That doesn’t mean that you can’t or won’t earn more than that some months, but have a goal in mind.
Decide how you will define income. Many mystery shopping assignments include reimbursement for required purchases. Will you count that as part of your income? My thoughts on that are that if the reimbursement is for something you would have had to pay for anyway (e.g., an oil change) then the reimbursement is valuable. It may also be considered valuable if it pays for an “extra” that you enjoy, such as dinner out or a massage. But reimbursement for three fast food meals in one day, when you didn’t even want one of them, doesn’t have a lot of value.
Be willing to drive a little farther and do route shops. Some shoppers put together routes of shops to maximize their income. It is probably not worth it to drive 30 miles to do one bank shop, but if you are doing a number of shops along the way that can make for a very profitable day.
Establish relationships with schedulers. If you are known as a go-to shopper who can be depended on to do your assignments and do them right, schedulers will love you. Be dependable, and let schedulers know you are looking for a lot of assignments so you can make a living. They need to assign every shop they have, so if they can count on you to help them get shops done, they will assign as many as they can to you.
Build a base income with related jobs that are not mystery shopping. Many shoppers do things such as audits and merchandising. Most mystery shops are not assigned to the same person month after month, but audits and merchandising jobs may be. You could have a regular group of accounts that you work every month, giving you a base income that you can build on with mystery shopping. You can get these jobs from some of the same companies for which you are already mystery shopping as well as others. To learn more, go to https://www.retailworldalliance.com/.
Go for bonuses. Over time you will notice which shops always seem to be left at the end of the month, and which ones then offer hefty bonuses. Doing bonused shops can make a big difference in your pay. With the right bonuses, even those fast food shops with the food you don’t want to eat may be worth your time.
Learn to negotiate. If you see there is a shop that is going undone, make an offer to the scheduler. Ask for a bonus or ask if they will help you put together a route that includes that shop. They may say yes, they may say no, but you never know until you ask. After all, you don’t have to do that shop, but they must find someone to do it. Unless there are other shoppers willing to do it for less, you are in the driver’s seat.
Be willing to do types of shops you haven’t done before. Shop some banks or apartment communities, or other types of shops that may have higher pay than the ones you have been doing.
Become a video mystery shopper. Video shops typically pay more than standard mystery shops. They require a different skill set, but with a little training and practice, you can learn how to do them.
Find ways to work more efficiently. If you take less time to complete your tasks, your hourly rate goes up and you have more time to take on additional assignments (or just to kick back and relax). Keep your paperwork and emails organized, have folders for receipts and other documentation and establish a routine for searching job boards and emails, planning your days and completing your shops and reports.
Mystery shopping can be an enjoyable way to make a little extra cash, or it can be (at least for some people) a way to make a living. Treat mystery shopping as a business and go about getting the jobs you want to earn the money you want or need.