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Mystery Shopping Jobs: Is It For You? - Articles Surfing

According to conventional wisdom "There's no such thing as a free lunch". That's generally true BUT...there is a way to really have a free lunch and also get paid for it! This is so awesome that people can hardly believe it! They are skeptical at first but they are so glad after they give it a try.

Most of us don't know it but we can earn money for many of the activities we do everyday: eating in restaurants, shopping in stores, enjoying a movie at your local theater or playing golf!

In the U.S. over 700,000 people are paid every day for such "jobs". It is called Mystery Shopping.

What is Mystery Shopping?

Simply put, mystery shopping is very much like everyday shopping, but for money! You just need to be attentive to some details during your shopping trip and to report them to the mystery shopping company that hires you. Doing so, you can get paid for eating out at first-class restaurants, shopping at the mall, staying at hotels, and even going to the movies.

A fast growing industry

Mystery shopping is a prospering business and more and more companies are relying on shoppers' anonymous feedback to determine how they can improve customer service.

In an article entitled "Spies like us; Mystery shoppers keep eye on customer service" (The Washington Times, July 2004) we can learn that mystery shopping has become a "critical marketing tool" used by companies to develop customer loyalty:

"Consumers have more choices than ever before. The smart companies realize they can compete by creating an optimized customer experience.'

More companies are relying on shoppers' anonymous feedback to determine how they can improve customer service, which plays an important role in business transactions.

'If the customer has had a bad experience, they're going to go somewhere else,' said Jeff Marr, Vice President of Walker Information, which provides research on customer loyalty. 'When it comes to retailing, you're only as good as your last interaction.'

The mystery shopping industry has grown over the past decade as more companies - from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies - have tried to focus more heavily on customer service, officials say. Companies such as McDonald's, Starbucks, Home Depot, Kinko's and Giant Food are just a handful of the companies that use mystery shoppers.

The industry has expanded from typical service-oriented clients - such as restaurants, retailers and hotels - to industries such as banks, insurance companies, car dealerships, funeral homes and apartment buildings.

"This is a critical marketing tool," said Jeff Hall, who is CEO of a mystery shopping company in Michigan. "Companies need to connect with their customers - not just with a fake smile."

"Mystery shopping is nothing more than receiving feedback from anonymous customers," said Paige Hall, President and CEO of a mystery shopping company in Atlanta.

A great opportunity to make money from home

What is your income potential with mystery shopping jobs? To answer this question, let's consider the income generated by two mystery shoppers:

Mystery shopper #1: Max Jakeman (Alexandria, WA)

Max Jakeman works as a mystery shopper during his spare time. His story was featured in the article 'Spies like us', published in the Washington Times:

Max Jakeman is an undercover agent - for a pizza chain. He has also spied on fast-food chains, upscale restaurants, movie theaters, bowling alleys and golf courses.

The Alexandria resident is one of the thousands of mystery shoppers who get paid to give feedback on their overall customer experience.

Mr. Jakeman, who is in the Army, mystery shops between three and four times a week, usually on weekends and evenings. He calls his answering machine at home and leaves notes about his experience so he doesn't forget details before he has to write the report.

Mr. Jakeman thinks his job helps make a difference.

"I'm a consumer and I've been places where I've been treated badly," Mr. Jakeman said. "With mystery shopping you feel like you're making an impact."

The shoppers get paid different amounts for their work, depending on the industry and degree of difficulty. For instance, grocery stores pay $10 to $25, movie theaters pay $10 to $50 and florists pay $45 to $100 per assignment.

Mr. Jakeman brings home $300 to $400 a month in cash, in addition to about $1,000 in perks including free movies, free oil changes, free pizza and free rounds of golf."

Mystery shopper #2: Jennifer Voitle (Baldwin, NY)

The Wall Street Journal has recently featured an article on earning huge money with mystery shopping assignments. It explains how Jennifer Voitle, a mystery shopper living in Baldwin - N.Y., makes about $7000 per month from her various assignments. Here is an excerpt of this article:

"Jennifer Voitle has mastered the Freebie Economy. A former investment-bank employee who was laid off two years ago, Ms. Voitle has found a new career in the arcane world of dining deals, gift certificates and "mystery shopping," where companies pay her to test their products and services. She gets paid to shop, eat at restaurants, drink at bars, travel and even play golf. Last month, she made nearly $7,000 from her various freebie adventures. By the end of the year, she could be making more than she did in investment banking, not counting her steady supply of handouts.

She gets free gas, free groceries and free clothes. When her car breaks down, she gets paid to have it repaired. She can make $75 for test-driving a Land Rover, $20 for drinking at a bar and $25 for playing arcade games (she keeps any winnings). Golfing is her latest passion, and in addition to playing on courses around the country free of charge, she gets free food and drinks and gifts from the pro shop.'

Jennifer came to mystery shopping after she lost her job. Trolling the Internet, she discovered an ad for mystery shopping. "I thought, 'this looks too good to be true,' " she says. Mystery shoppers get paid to sample a company's service or products and write a report on their experience. For companies, mystery shopping is popular way of checking on quality. For Ms. Voitle, it was a quick source of cash and freebies.

Her first assignment was a Pathmark grocery store, where she received free groceries and $10 for a quick report. She worked her way up to gas stations, clothing stores and restaurants. She quickly discovered that the best-paying mystery shopping jobs were for upscale businesses like banks and high-end car dealers. She earns $75 for test-driving a Land Rover, compared with about $30 for a Ford.

Volume is critical. On any given day, she will mystery shop gas stations, grocery stores, golf courses, clothing stores, casinos, hotels, insurance companies and restaurants. She even gets paid to shop for apartments and interview for jobs. She can make as much as $50 for applying for a job at a major company, and reporting back on the performance of the people who do the hiring.'

Bottom line:

Working during his spare time, Mr. Jakeman brings home $300 to $400 a month in cash, in addition to about $1,000 in perks. Working full-time, Jennifer Voitle makes up to $7,000 from her various assignments. The income generated by these real life people indicates the income range you can expect as a mystery shopper. Your income will depend on the time you devote to this job. It's up to you to work as much or as little as you wish.

Mystery shoppers are in high demand all over the U.S. and Canada. If you love shopping, it's a great way to combine business with pleasure.

Submitted by:

S. Parker

http://www.maximumpaidsurveys.com/mysteryshoppers.htmlSam Parker is a managing partner at Maximum Paid Surveys, a premium database of mystery shopping jobs, paid surveys and other home-based opportunities.http://MaximumPaidSurveys.com



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