I’VE BEEN DELIBERATELY AVOIDING ASKING PAM ABOUT THE REIMBURSEMENTS, BECAUSE THAT IS THE SAVINGS”ASPECT OF MYSTERY SHOPPING. SO LET’S TRANSITION NOW INTO OUR SAVE MORE SEGMENT OF THE SHOW.
SO, PAM, EXPLAIN TO PEOPLE WHY YOU ARE EVEN MORE EXCITED ABOUT THE REIMBURSEMENTS YOU GET THAN THE MONEY YOU MAKE.
My reimbursements for the year are about double my payments. And reimbursements aren’t taxable income, which makes them even more valuable than my actual payments. This is the point that needs to be brought out. It’s not about how much money you make but what you keep. I haven’t spent my own money on groceries since 2000. I do 4 to 8 grocery mystery shopping trips a week. I get a $12 reimbursement per location. The biggest thing is learning to buy smaller portions. If we want rib eye I will buy one at this store, one at the other. It takes some time to figure out how to do it.
WHAT ARE SOME OTHER EXAMPLES OF HOW YOU HAVE SAVED MONEY THROUGH REIMBURSEMENTS?
Often it is stuff I would have to spend money on anyway. Oil changes, car washes, clothes. When we go to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse that is a $160 or $180 reimbursement. We wanted to go to San Francisco. I found a hotel mystery job. They reimbursed me $440 for the nightly fee and paid me $50 on top of it to write the report. WHAT DOES YOUR FAMILY THINK OF YOUR MYSTERY SHOPPING CAREER? A while back my husband said can we just go somewhere and not mystery shop?
It took him a while to understand that the reimbursements really add up!
But now he gets it. My family gets to do things we could not normally afford to do. My daughter had the luxury of a mom who was always home. WELL, AT THIS POINT, YOU’VE GOT PEOPLE’S ATTENTION AND MANY ARE GOING TO WANT TO TRY MYSTERY SHOPPING THEMSELVES. WHAT ARE SOME RESOURCES FOR PEOPLE TO GET STARTED?
We operate several Facebook groups where we share information with each other. These are closed groups, but people can request access and I will grant it.
Connecting mystery shoppers, schedulers, editors and mystery shopping company owners:
IMSC Job postings for mystery shopping:
Website main page:
Becoming a mystery shopper:
Online training and resources:
MEANWHILE, YOU ALSO PUT ON MYSTERY SHOPPING CONFERENCES. ARE NEWBIES WELCOME AT THOSE?
In 2009 the MSPA, which used to do shopper conferences, decided it wasn’t beneficial to have shoppers there so they canceled their conferences. So mystery shoppers decided to do their own conference. I held my first conference six months later in Las Vegas. Ended up at Greek Isles. Off the strip but we had over 135 shoppers and over 60 companies. This told me there was a need for this. I continued on. I’ve had at least one conference every year. Sometimes two or three. Now we get 150 – 300 people at each conference.
AND, DON’T BE SHY, TELL US ABOUT YOUR “HOW TO” BOOK ON MYSTERY SHOPPING
I wrote a book on it. The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping. When things would happen. It took me years. I started writing down everything that happened and going back in and putting down notes on how to fix it. Everywhere I went people said “how do I do that?” I got so tired of telling people, I was like, let’s put this in a book.
AND YOU’VE GOT ONE VERY SPECIFIC WORD FROM THE WISE ABOUT HOW TO ACCEPT PAYMENT FOR YOUR MYSTERY SHOPPING WORK.
Some companies pay every week or two but other companies pay 30, 60 or 90 days out. You don’t want to go broke doing $200 dinners and not getting paid back for a long time. So insist on being paid more frequently.
*Elisabeth’s note: Be sure to read the Episode 8 “Make More” blog for details of how much money mystery shoppers make and how to get into the business.