New shoppers are often disappointed and frustrated when they look for assignments and find only low-paying, not-very-exciting shops. “Is that all there is to mystery shopping?” they wonder.
Absolutely not! There are lots of high-paying and interesting mystery shopper jobs out there. In this article, I explain why you are not seeing those better jobs, where they are hiding and how you can uncover them.
First of all, keep in mind that when you log in to a job board (whether for self-assigned jobs or shops assigned by a scheduler) you are seeing what is available at that moment in time. These are the leftovers. The mystery shopper jobs you see on a job board today do not represent all of the assignments available from that company, just the ones that are open right now. Where are the rest?
Some of them have not been posted yet. Most companies do not publish all of their available shops at once. You may see that around the 20th of the month assignments for the following month may start to appear. However, they will be posted over the course of days, and some assignments for next month will show up well into the next month.
Many of the shops have been claimed. In the case of self-assign shops, the best assignments will get snapped up soon after they are posted. Some will be available only for a few hours or even a few minutes before they are taken. Even shops assigned by schedulers may not be on the job board for long. A scheduler will often leave an assignment open for a few days so they have a good group of shoppers from which to choose. However, if one of their best shoppers applies, they may simply assign the shop to them and remove it from the job board.
Here is the thing many shoppers do not realize: The best assignments may never be posted to a job board.
When a scheduler has a truly great shop, they may simply offer it to one of their top shoppers, or send an offer to a small group of shoppers with whom they have worked. One of these coveted shops may be awarded to a shopper who stepped in and helped the scheduler with some last-minute shops when other shoppers flaked. Or a mystery shopper who handled a group of hard-to-fill shops.
High-end shops are used as rewards for shoppers who have done an outstanding job on other mystery shops and perhaps gone above and beyond to help out. But there is another reason that companies want these shoppers to handle the high-end assignments.
Many of the most coveted assignments include a large reimbursement. For example, one mystery shopping company owner told me about resort shops where the reimbursed expenses would run thousands of dollars for airfare, lodging, meals, activities, etc. He was very careful when choosing shoppers for these assignments because he did not want a shopper to turn a report that would not be accepted by the client. If that happened, he would not be paid by the client for that report and would not able to reimburse the shopper. It is bad enough when that happens on a $40 restaurant shop—it would be horrible on a $4000 trip.
So how can you get one of these plum assignments?
Most importantly, by doing a lot of shops and doing a great job. Do the shops and reports on time. Turn in reports that do not require a lot of editing. Make your reports complete, clear and consistent so that editors do not have to contact you for clarification. Have a good track record on even the small jobs, and you will be considered for better assignments.
Build relationships with your schedulers. If they know they can count on you to do your shops, and they can also call on you when they are in a bind, they will remember that. Let them know that you can help them when they have a last-minute cancellation or re-shop, or when they have a hard time filling a shop. This doesn’t mean that you have to blindly do anything they ask, but be reasonable and help out when you can. They will remember.
By doing a great job and building relationships with schedulers, you will be the go-to shopper they think of when they have those plum assignments.