Many mystery shopping assignments require that you submit a receipt. The receipt verifies that you were at the location and when you were there, as well as how much you spent.
The mystery shopping company will state in the shop guidelines how they prefer to have receipts submitted to them. These days, most prefer to receive them electronically. They may ask that you upload an image of the receipt when you complete your report, or that you send the image as an email attachment.
Of course, you should always follow any guidelines you are given by the mystery shopping company. If they say to use certain settings when you scan a receipt, or to keep the file size below a specified limit, do so. Also follow their guidelines regarding how they prefer to receive receipts and other documentation. Here are some general guidelines and tips for submitting receipts.
General – Put your name on the receipt, or attach it to a piece of paper with your name on it. This is especially important if you are mailing or faxing your receipt. Or you can attach your business card.
Keep your original receipt for at least 60 – 90 days, in case the mystery shopping company requests it. Keep the digital copy as long as you keep other tax records and receipts.
If you must send the original receipt to the mystery shopping company, always keep a copy, either a photocopy or a scan.
Scanning receipts – When you scan a receipt, set the resolution to 150 – 300 dpi. The receipt may have to be printed, and a lower resolution may not give the quality needed to make a readable printout of the receipt.
When the printing on the receipt is light, you may be able to make adjustments to the image to make it easier to read. Your scanner may have software that allows you to adjust the contrast, or you can use image editing software. I like IrfanView, which is free image editing software.
Cropping the image may reduce the file size. A larger file not only takes longer to send, it takes up more space on your hard drive.
Give the file a name that makes sense. Do not name it receipt.jpg. A better way is to name it with the client name and location, and the date. bigbox_jacksonms_021609.jpg. That is a long, but descriptive, file name that tells exactly what is in the file.
When you email receipts, do it as soon as you have submitted your report. Do not wait even 24 hours. Do it immediately.
Digital photos – Another way to create a digital image of a receipt is to take a digital photo of it. The suggestions for scanning apply here as well.
When taking the photo, keep the receipt as flat as you can. Avoid using the flash, if possible, as it may cause glare that will make the receipt hard to read.
Faxing receipts – Always tape cash register receipts to a piece of paper before faxing. Narrow receipts can get jammed in the fax machine and destroyed.
Mailing receipts – If you have no way of submitting receipts electronically, the mystery shopping company may accept a mailed receipt. You will also have to mail receipts if the company requires that you submit the original.
Always mail receipts promptly. They can not bill the client or pay you until they have the receipt.
Your mystery shopping assignment is not complete until you have submitted all required documentation including, in most cases, a receipt.