There are lots of ways to organize your mystery shopping business, and the best way will depend on how you like to work. Some shoppers use a paper filing system or calendar, others use spreadsheets or other computer programs, and some use apps on a phone or tablet. Include mystery shopping tasks in your daily routine, so that you are checking job boards and applying for shop assignments regularly.
It is important is that you know what shops you have coming up, what you need to do and when you need to do it. You never want to forget a shop! Put every shop on your calendar. Don’t forget to schedule other shop-related tasks, such as making a required appointment or reservation prior to the shop visit.
You also need to keep track of your cash flow. What expenses did you pay, what money is due to you and when are you to be paid?
Keep track of expenses by snapping an image of each receipt immediately after the shop. It is also a good idea to keep envelopes in your car so that you can put receipts and other shop documents all in one place. Jot small expenses for which you do not receive a receipt (such as tolls and parking meters) on the outside of the envelope. This is especially important if you do route shops where you do several assignments in one day. It is easy to stuff a receipt in your purse, a business card in your pocket and by the end of the day you can’t locate something you need in order to get paid, or you have forgotten a deductible expense.
Have a credit or debit card you use only for mystery shopping. That can make tracking your expenses easier. Use it to make purchases on mystery shops, and to buy supplies (such as toner) for your business. If you use a credit card, pay it off every month. You do not want to pay interest on your mystery shopping expenses.
Set up a mystery-shopping-only email address. You can easily filter all of your mystery shopper emails into one email inbox and you won’t miss a great assignment or important reminder. You can also ignore notifications about available assignments when you need to take a break from mystery shopping.
Be sure to keep copies of any shop-related emails. What fee and reimbursement were offered? When you asked the scheduler for clarification of the guidelines, what did she tell you? It is always good to have things in writing in case there is any question about what was agreed to. One good way to do this is to use a Gmail address for mystery shopping. You get a HUGE amount of storage, so you can keep emails for years (or maybe forever) without running out of storage space. Plus, the emails are online so you can access them from anywhere, and you won’t lose them if you have a computer crash.
Stay on top of your mystery shopping business so that you can keep things running smoothly and profitably!