Author Topic: Mystery Shopping: not worth it, or am I doing it wrong?  (Read 4818 times)

Lanthiriel

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Mystery Shopping: not worth it, or am I doing it wrong?
« on: September 12, 2015, 04:04:28 PM »
About a month ago, I decided to sign up with some mystery shopping websites to try to make some spare cash, particularly on the weekends. Here's a summary of my experience so far:

1. Petsmart. I went in, had to pretend I had a sick cat, was recommended a brand, took a picture of the bag, done. Easy $10. And the store was located right next to the locally owned pet food store where I needed to pick up my dog's next bag of food, so it wasn't a wasted trip.
2. Costco. I signed up for the wrong Costco, had to drive way out of my way, had a TOTALLY FAKE AND AWKWARD conversation with the mobile phone sales guy where I came across as insane. the questionnaire when I go to fill it out is insane and I make half of it up because it was too many things to notice at once. Awkward, terrible, and additional costs for going out of my way. I probably netted way under the $15.
3. Best Buy. Similar experience to Costco, but luckily on my commute home. I decide that since I don't really consume or know anything about electronics, maybe these aren't the shops for me. $14 in my pocket.
4. USPS. I had to ship something anyway, and the questionnaire was easy. $15.
5. USPS. They REQUIRED me to send an oversized box using an expensive service, and I didn't realize until I got there that my reimbursement wouldn't cover the whole thing. Plus the wait was horrendous. I only did this one because it was worth $30, but after covering the rest of my shipping costs, and the time I waited in line, it just wasn't worth it. Net: $22.

Summary: I probably have about 4 hours into my mystery shopping career, which is paying me about $19/hr, well under the rate I make at my 9-5. I'm up about $80, but here's another kicker: a lot of these companies only pay the 20th of the month AFTER you completed the shop. So I'm out $40 on my latest USPS shop for about 5 weeks.

Does anyone else in MMMland mystery shop? Can you tell me if there are any secrets behind it that might make it a little more lucrative? Or should I give it up in favor of a better side gig? (I'm thinking of advertising to write and edit resumes and cover letters.)

lhamo

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Re: Mystery Shopping: not worth it, or am I doing it wrong?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2015, 04:38:14 PM »
$19/hour for things that don't take a lot of thought/planning and that you can generally fit into your daily routine seems good to me!  But if you are trying to do it around a full-time job that earns you more, maybe not. 

How does the reimbursement for the goods and services purchased work?  Can you put them on a points-earning credit card to get a bit extra out of it?  That would also allow you to utilize the float on the card while you wait for reimbursement.


Argyle

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Re: Mystery Shopping: not worth it, or am I doing it wrong?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2015, 04:41:20 PM »
If you can increase your hours at your 9-5 job, then that's a better deal.  But many outside gigs don't pay as well as the primary gig.  $19 an hour sounds like a great rate to me, because otherwise I'd just be goofing off.  Can you reveal how you got this mystery-shopper job?

It does sound as if you're squeeze for time, so maybe this isn't the job for you, time-wise.  But otherwise it seems like a good deal to me.

geekette

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Re: Mystery Shopping: not worth it, or am I doing it wrong?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2015, 05:01:55 PM »
As someone with a bit of time on her hands, I'd love to sign up!

Lanthiriel

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Re: Mystery Shopping: not worth it, or am I doing it wrong?
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2015, 06:33:11 PM »
I'm salary at my 9-5 and just got a promotion, so while I do regularly work more than 40 hours/week, OT doesn't translate directly to money.

You're all right that the awesome thing about mystery shopping is that it is 100% flexible. You choose the jobs you sign up for and get information on the amount they're paying and the location beforehand. There's no pressure to meet a minimum or anything like that. Maybe I'll just keep doing it and see if it becomes more comfortable/if I can improve the time it takes to make it more profitable.

For those who are interested, these are the three sites I use. There are more, and some may be better for your area than others. I signed up for five, but these are the three that seem to have the most jobs available:
http://www.intelli-shop.com/
https://www.bareinternational.com/
http://www.bestmark.com/

Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

Lanthiriel

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Re: Mystery Shopping: not worth it, or am I doing it wrong?
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2015, 06:34:54 PM »
PS, I'm definitely not trying to turn it into a full-time job. It's more about trying to be productive with my downtime.

Seppia

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Mystery Shopping: not worth it, or am I doing it wrong?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2015, 07:16:58 PM »
Following.
I signed up for best mark a few weeks ago, I live downtown NYC.
Filled up a very long questionnaire where they ask you stuff about you.
They specifically ask if you have a car (I don't).
First week, ALL jobs they recommend me are about.... Visiting car repair shops, buying car oil, car wash, WTF?
Then for the following weeks all but one job were in NJ, which I would obviously never do because the trip alone would cost me too much.
Unsubscribed out of frustration a couple days ago, following another "we have a great job for you go visit Chevy dealership and perform an oil change".

Maybe I was just unlucky, but this has in my experience been almost (almost) as bad as the survey sites, where out of approximately 40 surveys I took, all but one disqualified me, often after having responded to 20+ questions already.
I would rather spend my time banging my head on a concrete wall than try the survey thing again

mozar

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Re: Mystery Shopping: not worth it, or am I doing it wrong?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2015, 08:52:40 PM »
My mom did this for a year maybe. She got into a groove after a few months where it became less awkward. But it was never very profitable.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Mystery Shopping: not worth it, or am I doing it wrong?
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2015, 07:21:50 AM »
Used to do it a lot, but it got to be cheaper pay and altogether too much trouble.

Back in the day I had a $125 shop at an auto parts store: ask the questions they wanted, and buy a part for that amount (bought a pricey come-along), paid $15. Not bad for an hour's work.

But it was an hour commute from the house (would be even farther now), so really...never made a ton of money.

When I lived in town I could do the (8) Starbucks, but they were idiots: "what color was the cashier's hair?"

"Blue, green, with streaks of black"

"Shop rejected: you can only have one color for hair".

Which was stupid: don't ask me to observe and report if you don't want accurate answers.

When I used to do them, one month I tried accepting all the ones they offered: made under $400.

Currently I do one which pays $15 and a bag of grain free dog cookies. My dogs are happy about it.

A MUCH better gig is liquor demos. 3-4 hours of "would you like to try this lovely zin?" and it pays $30 an hour, some even pay $35.

MsPeacock

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Re: Mystery Shopping: not worth it, or am I doing it wrong?
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2015, 03:12:22 PM »
I signed up at several websites. Never ended up doing any of the shops. I am extremely busy and my time is important to me. I also usually have a very long list of errands and tasks on the weekends. All the "shops" seemed to involve driving somewhere an hour away and futzing around and getting $15. Just not worth it to me.