Lots of shoppers ask me what the secret is to getting high-paying, high-end shops—the fine dining, hotels, spas and resorts, and other shops that can bring you great pay, reimbursements for luxury items, and more.
If you have been applying without success for these shops, or do not even see notices for them, you may think that it is impossible to get high-paying mystery shops. It is not impossible, and there are ways you can increase your chances of landing the shops of your dreams.
The secret is . . .
simpler than you might imagine. In this article I will share a few things you can do to get more shops, and also to get those better shops you want.
First of all, apply to a lot of mystery shopping companies. You never know where that great assignment will come from. There are links to nearly 200 legitimate mystery shopping companies on this site. Although you do not have to apply to all of them, make it your goal to register with as many companies as you can. Make your applications perfect—no spelling errors, don’t write it all in caps, etc. Don’t forget about scheduling companies, too.
You have to prove yourself before you get offered the super assignments. You may be the best mystery shopper ever to walk the planet, but until schedulers have seen that for themselves, they are not going to give you the high-end shops. That means accepting some shops and doing a great job on them. Even if it is “only” a fast food shop, do your best work so you will be considered for upscale shops.
Keep in mind that high-end shops are often more complicated than other shops. That means schedulers need to have their very best shoppers doing those assignments. Clients may be more demanding, and if the shopper does not do a good job, the report may not be accepted. That is hard to take when you have spent an hour and $10 in expenses. Imagine if you had a shop rejected after spending hours and $200 or more in expenses.
Make sure your reports are outstanding. That means answering every question accurately and completely, and proofreading so your spelling, grammar and punctuation are flawless. Give solid details, and make your comments thorough, specific and objective.
Proving yourself can also include stepping up to help with a tough situation. Schedulers are responsible for getting all of their assigned shops completed. If some of them are located in Timbuktu, or a shopper flakes on a shop at the last minute, the shop still has to be done. Help out a scheduler who is in a tough spot, and you immediately move up her list of favorite shoppers. (How will you know when a shop is hard to fill? It has a deadline in the next couple of days, or you have seen the same assignment come through five times in the last three days, or the email has a tone of desperation about it: “Can someone PLEEEEEASE do this shop??????”)
Don’t pester schedulers, asking when they are going to give you that great shop, but do form relationships with them. You can do that by making yourself available at the end of the month for last-minute shops, being willing to pick up those out-of-the-way shops, and letting them know when you will be traveling to or through a remote area where they may have hard-to-fill shops. Every scheduler has a group of shoppers he or she adores because they make the scheduler’s life easier.
MSPA certification is not required, but it can help. Some companies offer their best assignments first to Gold Certified shoppers, and others use it as a “tie-breaker” when there are several qualified shoppers vying for the same assignment.
With some effort and experience, you can capture those elusive high-end shops.
Cathy Stucker is the author of The Mystery Shopper’s Manual.