Mystery shopping is an excellent way to make extra money. In fact, some people make a full time living doing it.
There are many mystery shopping companies that will pay you to shop, eat at restaurants and take part in focus groups.
A mystery shop consists of getting paid to go into a business without the employee's knowledge and reporting back to the mystery shopping company.
A focus group is when you get paid to sit down with other people who are also getting paid and discuss new products or services.
Mystery shopping jobs and focus groups are easier to find if you live in or near a large metropolitan area.
After you do a mystery shop you answer some questions and file your report with the mystery shopping company. These reports are usually set up as a series of questions and often can be completed quickly.
The reason they have mystery shops and focus groups is so that companies can get feedback on their employees, products and services. That way they can see where there might be problems and make the necessary changes to improve things.
A few years ago I had some free time and I wanted to make some extra money. I took a course, How to Become a Mystery Shopper, at a local community college. After completing the course I registered with a few mystery shopping companies online.
You can do a search on Google for "mystery shopping." Bypass the mystery shopping websites that are trying to sell something. You want to find the mystery shopping websites for the actual mystery shopping companies. These mystery shopping companies will never charge you any type of fee to register or to do mystery shops or focus groups.
Be sure to read all the free mystery shopping information you come across. There is an art to being a good mystery shopper. Basically you are like a reporter. You will never add your feelings or what you think to a mystery shopping report. Your job is to just answer the questions, report the facts and describe what actually happened during your shop.
You never want to give your own recommendations. That is not why you are hired. If the mystery shopping company wants a consultant, they will hire one. All they want you to do is to answer questions with just the facts of your mystery shopping assignment.
Once you find a few mystery shopping companies you can then register with them. They'll contact you by email whenever they have a mystery shopping job in your area. You'll only respond to the emails when you want to do the shop. Otherwise you can just delete the email. You get to pick and choose the shops you want to do.
A couple of years ago I did some apartment shops for the Jancyn Evaluation Company that took me about half an hour to complete. Since they paid $25, I was basically being paid $50 an hour.
You can register with the Jancyn Evaluation Shops Company. They may pay more than $25 today for apartment shops since it has been about two years since I've done an apartment shop for them.
Jancyn also does a lot of shops and surveys for the Ross Dress for Less retail stores. I'm not sure if Jancyn still has a business relationship with Ross, but I once handed out survey forms in one of the local Ross stores here in the Seattle area and made $500 for about 30 hours of work.
Here's the URL for Jancyn if you'd like to register with them to do some shops. http://www.jancyn.com/
Another mystery shopping company that I get a lot of email requests for shops for is the Secret Shopper Company. They seem to specialize in shops for Veterinary Clinics. They pay $15 plus up to $100 payment NOT including tip + $10. The only catch is that you have to own a cat or dog, which I don't, but maybe you do. Here's their URL http://www.secretshopper.com
OK, I've saved the best for last. Fieldwork specializes in setting up focus groups for some of the biggest companies in the US. They pay $50 to $75 for a focus group meeting that usually lasts about an hour.
The last one I did with them was for some research for eBay. They were trying to come up with a name for a new category on their website.
Fieldwork is located throughout the US in major metropolitan areas. You'll have to visit their website to see if they are located near where you live.
It's great if you have children since Fieldwork does a lot of focus groups involving children. Perhaps you can talk your kids into splitting the fee with you. Again, the pay usually works out to be about $50 to $75 an hour.
Unfortunately I have no children, but the next time I get an email for a focus group for children I'll borrow a couple of my neighbor's children.
Here's the link for Fieldwork. http://www.fieldwork.com/
Now you have a basic idea of how the mystery shopping and focus groups work. Start searching for more mystery shopping websites and get paid to shop, eat and taking part in focus groups. It's easy money!
Barry Stein is the owner of aWebBiz.com where he offers cutting-edge tips on all aspects of business. To find more advice, tools and resources to help you succeed in your business, visit: http://www.aWebBiz.com
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