Mystery shopping happens year round, but there are differences during the holiday season. Some clients reduce or suspend their secret shopper programs. Others add specialized shops that check to see that all locations are prepared for the holiday rush.
Many clients maintain the same schedule they do in other months, but there is one big difference: Schedulers will be eager to get shops done before the holidays hit. They know that, for example, it will be very difficult to get shoppers to complete assignments immediately before or after the holiday. As a result, most schedulers will want to get as many assignments as possible completed in the first half of both November and December.
What does this mean to you?
Many shoppers, like everyone else, take time off around the holidays to make time for their personal holiday shopping, traveling, parties and other festivities. If you can be available to pick up assignments, especially last-minute shops, you can have a good month.
Keep in mind that you probably will not receive pay from these shops before the holidays, but if you run up some bills around the holidays your mystery shopping pay may come in handy to help pay them off.
If you plan to do any mystery shopping in November or December, make yourself as available as possible in the first half of each month. Many shops will have due dates of the 15th or earlier.
But if you can squeeze in some later shops, there may be some available—and they may even be bonused. This is especially true for clients who have multiple shops each month, for example, a restaurant that regularly shops multiple meal periods each month, such as weekday lunch, weekday dinner, late night dinner, dinner at the bar, Sunday brunch, etc.
It is always important that you only accept shops that you truly expect to be able to complete; however, it is even more important this time of year. If you have any reason to think you may not be able to do a shop, do not accept it. It could be especially hard for the scheduler to get a last-minute replacement to do the shop if you flake.
Having a good history with a company makes it easier to get assignments around the holidays. Schedulers may prefer to give assignments to shoppers they know to be reliable, rather than assigning to an unknown shopper who may not follow through, or who may mess up and require the shop to be done again.
A couple of years ago, I saw a mystery shop posted that had a deadline of the Friday several days before Christmas. I couldn’t do it by that date, but I knew that the scheduler was eager to get it done before the holidays. I emailed her saying that if no one was available to do the shop by Friday, I would be glad to do it on Monday. Within minutes, she had emailed back confirming that the shop had been assigned to me with a Monday deadline. She didn’t wait to see if anyone else would do it by Friday, she gave it to a shopper (me) who she knew would do the shop the following Monday and do it right.
Mystery shopping doesn’t stop during the holiday season. By making yourself available and being dependable, you can earn some last-minute holiday cash by helping out your favorite schedulers.