One of the questions I get a lot is how to become a secret shopper. What is the best way to get started and get your first mystery shopping assignments—without getting scammed along the way? There is a lot of information available online and elsewhere, but not all of it is accurate or trustworthy.
Set up an email address for your mystery shopping email. You will get lots of job notices and other email, so you might want to have an email account you use exclusively for shopper email. One good option is to set up a free account with Gmail.
If you would like to get MSPA Certified, this is a good time to do so. Certification is not required by any mystery shopping company, but it can give you an edge. Not sure about certification? You can do it at any time. The main advantage to getting certified before you start applying is that you can put your certification code in when you apply, and you will not have to go back to all of the company web sites to add certification to your profiles.
Prepare the information you will need for your applications. Many applications will ask for the same kind of information as traditional job applications, such as education and work experience. List your employers for the last five to ten years, the dates you worked there, and your job titles.
They may also ask for writing samples, so prepare those now. The most common writing samples asked for are an example of good customer service, an example of poor customer service, and why you think you would make a good mystery shopper. Prepare a sample for each of these of about 75 – 100 words. Make sure your spelling, grammar and punctuation are flawless, then save the samples in a text editor, such as Notepad. Be careful about saving them in Microsoft Word or other word processors. You may find that when you copy text from Word to a web form, odd codes and formatting show up.
Choose the companies to which you will apply. Never pay a fee to apply. There are links to nearly 200 legitimate mystery shopping companies here. Make your applications accurate and complete.
Watch for available assignments and apply for the ones you want. When you get an assignment, do a great job. That will help you get your next assignments.
This is a simplified version of the Quick Start Plan detailed in The Mystery Shopper’s Manual. Get your copy here.
Copyright Cathy Stucker. All rights reserved.