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 How to find Mystery Shops in MY AREA?
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CynthiaH_NC
Apprentice

Charlotte, NC
USA
1 Posts

Posted - 05/15/2003 :  3:01:41 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am new at this. Can you recommend some reliable companies? I am in FILL-IN-YOUR area. Thanks in advance!



ADMIN NOTE:
As newbies post this question all the time, we are leaving this ONE thread for all to post ONLY general answers as to how to find shops in anyone's area.


Always start by looking for jobs here
http://jobs.volition.com/


.ShannonPA
Inactive

PA
USA
415 Posts

Posted - 05/15/2003 :  3:09:23 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
The list of companies you find here ("Mystery Shopping Companies list") is a good place to start. Also PLEASE read through the topics at the old forum before posting. There is a ton of gold in those topics, and it needs to be mined. We all tend to get a bit uppity when people ask questions that have previously been asked and answered.
Also, a lot of people get into MSing, thinking it will be easy. It's not, as far as the amount of time you have to spend applying to companies and searching for work. It can be interesting and unique as far as the things you'll find you can get paid for, but nothing will just drop in your lap. You must discover for yourself which companies shop which stores, b/c it is against contracts we sign to tell such information.
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MarteeC
Star Contributor

Tampa, FL
USA
1352 Posts

Posted - 05/15/2003 :  3:14:33 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Cynthia-Generally we are asked not to post these types of requests. The boards would be cluttered up with "Who shops Where" Questions all the time, but I figured a reminder was in order? Besides you asked so nicely!
Unfortunately the people most likely to even KNOW the companies in your area are people that are working in your area. Most have worked long and hard to establish themselves in a VERY saturated market. DO not be upset if they do not jump out to provide you with leads to their favorite shops. The best advice you will receive is to apply, apply, apply. It is not that people do not wish to assist you, but ...
The other suggestion I can make is to go to the job boards and do a search for your state. If a company had a job in your city in the past, they will likely have them again. Check the list here under the jobs posting section. In the meantime-use the list here and apply, apply, apply. And be patient. Good luck!!
BTW- the link to the MS companies list can be found by using the "JUMP TO" list below-hit the arrow to MS COMPANIES LIST-
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ElaineHN
Star Contributor

Georgia
USA
462 Posts

Posted - 05/16/2003 :  05:55:16 AM  Visit ElaineHN's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hi Cynthia!

Hang in there ... it takes a while to get the hang of things ... for the shops to start rolling in ... and even to get the hang of the boards.

My suggestion would be to apply to as many of the companies on the Volition list as you possibly can. A lot of the forms for application are repetitive, so if your web browser has a function to 'remember' your responses it can make it easier. Also, use a word processing program or even just 'note pad' in windows to do a 'stock' response for the longer questions ... things like 'describe a shopping experience' and 'tell us about your self' and 'what cities/zip codes/area codes, etc. can you shop'. This way you can copy and paste, and customize a bit if needed ... and not have to retype the same paragraphs a dozen times.

Companies that do 'chains', whether they be retail or fastfood or gasoline or cell phones or whatever may have shops all over the country ... or may only have a particular geographic region ... so it's really hard to pin down one company for one state. A few companies that I see listings for all over the US are Shop'n Chek , Service Intelligence, Corporate Research, Feedback Plus and many of the SASSIE companies ... but really you just never know who's going to have what when ...

If you live near a large city you'll most likely find more shops than if you are out in the rural area like me ... I see lots of listings for jobs in Atlanta and at various malls ... but unless either it's a nice fat fee ... or I'm going there anyway, it's just not worth it to me. I love taking a $10-$20 shop for something when I'm already heading to the mall anyway ... or if I'm going to be in Atlanta for the evening anyway ... but it's certainly not worth a 45 minute drive to do a $15 mall shop if I'm not already going there. Now if I can round up several of the 'small' shops on the same day or if I find a 'nice' expensive dinner shop, it might be worth planning a special trip.

I'm in Georgia, so we aren't in competition ... because of the IC agreements, I of course can't/won't give exact details on what companies have what clients ... but feel free to e-mail me if you want to just 'chat' or if you have specific questions about any of the shops you've seen. I was new once too ... and I remember how discouraging it was to not feel like I had a place to ask a simple question and get a simple answer ... but sadly, sometimes there just isn't a simple answer *LOL*

Have a SUPER day!
Elaine

~*~ Shopping West Georgia (Carrollton, Douglasville, Newnan, etc.) & Metro Atlanta ~*~
MSPA Gold Certified Shopper
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SaraDDLee
Trainee

Corvallis, OR
USA
5 Posts

Posted - 05/16/2003 :  09:03:18 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I live in an area where very few jobs are advertised. A good resource for me was www.mysteryshop.org. I did a search for my state, then signed up with any company that was advertising, whether it was near me or not.
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DeneiseSims
Apprentice

Louisburg, NC
USA
1 Posts

Posted - 05/28/2003 :  9:01:12 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Cynthia,
No one actually helped much did they? I can highly reccommend a couple or three companies. EPMS Online, Checkmarkinc, and David Sparks and Associates. After that, apply, apply, apply!

Denny :)
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Julie_WA_Writer
Star Contributor

Western, Washington
USA
1889 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2003 :  01:34:54 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Cynthia,

Service Intelligence is a good place to get your feet wet. They offer a lot of training, and they have excellent and patient schedulers . Their contact info is in the MS companies list.

You might also want to sign up for the various egroups for shoppers at http://groups.yahoo.com . Do a search there for "mystery shop" and "[your state name]".

You might also want to do a search on the old forum for moneyandshopping.com . There are pros and cons to paying for information, and you could do all the research yourself. But many are pleased with Angela's service. Do read the old thread on it.

I second the recommendation to EPMS. They are easy to work with. Check this forum daily for jobs. They are often ones that a scheduler's regulars haven't picked up. If you pick up a hard to fill shop, hopefully the scheduler will remember you. At the very least, you'll then be on their email list.

Have fun! It *IS* work, but it's also a lot of enjoyment and you'll really get to know your community.

“Great empires are not maintained by timidity.” Tacitus
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LisaDee
Contributor

Chapel Hill, NC
USA
74 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2003 :  9:50:26 PM  Send LisaDee an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
It took a long time but I kept looking everywhere and now I have enough to keep me very busy but I initially had to take several crummy jobs I didn't really want to do. I know that's not particularly helpful but just keep looking. Stuff will show up.


Lisa
--
MSPA Gold Certified
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Arlene_HI
Star Contributor

Lawai, HI
USA
676 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2003 :  11:46:52 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hi Cynthia,

You should apply to as many companies on the volition list as you can and note whether they have job boards or will email you. If you don't have time to apply to all, set up a routine of adding a few everyday or each weekend or whatever you can. Applying to a couple won't get you far; you'll need 50+ to see results and 100+ is better. You will need to check the job boards daily and start applying for assignments. Depending on your area, expect it to take 3+ months to start rolling.

MSing isn't for everyone, but if it works for you - it can be a fun, flexible way to earn money. But make no mistake, it is work and searching for assignments is a part of the process.
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AudreyParkerFl
Member

Pompano Beach, FL
USA
10 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2003 :  12:09:44 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
My advice would be to use the MSPA website (www.mysteryshop.org) to search for ms companies that do shops in your state.
Also apply to all the companies listed on the Volition site. Also check the boards for jobs.
Off the top of my head, some companies that I would recommend because they seem to have jobs all over the US:
EPMS for apartment shops
FeedbackPlus for a variety of shops
Maritz
Corporate Research International
Service Evaluation Concepts (SEC)

Just keep applying. One or two companies isn't enough. Take a Saturday and apply to as many companies from the list as you can. I regularly do shops for about 50 companies, but there are at least 100 more that I applied to (and have never heard from.) But you don't know which companies will have shops in your area - so, as everyone else has said, apply, apply, apply....
Good luck!

Audrey in S Florida
MSPA Gold Certification #hcgbr7
Shopping Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties in Sunny Florida
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MaureenLu
Star Contributor

Dallas, TX
USA
283 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2003 :  1:17:39 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Cynthia,

A good company to start with is Shop'n Chek . They have kind of an involved application process, but worth it after you get started. The downside is they have some very low fee (or no fee) shops, that many of us don't do anymore. The upside - they seem to have quite a bit listed in your area. Plus their reports are easier than most and they pay by direct deposit. So far - they have not been incorrect in payment (for me) and have always paid me on the day they say they will.

MSPA Gold Certified
Shopping the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex
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.StephanieA
Inactive

Redmond, WA
USA
1816 Posts

Posted - 08/01/2003 :  11:11:51 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Apply, apply, and apply. Read the shops on this site and then look for more. Try "Google.com" and search under mystery shops and see what you can find.

Shopping WA especially, Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, Woodinville and from Tukwila to Lynnwood.
MSPA Gold
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SusyM
Member

TX
USA
33 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2003 :  5:15:01 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Just a short note - and others in shopper-saturated areas would be the experts on this - I'd guess that in a saturated area MSPA Gold or Silver Certification would be almost crucial in order to be competitive. You might want to seriously look into Silver certification soon since you can do it online. It would be hard to break into an already saturated area if your competition is both experienced and MSPA certified.

MSPA Gold cxzsxu
Shopping San Antonio to Round Rock, TX, and all points in between!
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MarteeC
Star Contributor

Tampa, FL
USA
1352 Posts

Posted - 11/24/2003 :  03:41:58 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Connie-I know how you feel and with it being from a potential competitor makes it even more bitter pill to swallow. I know I cringed when Angel posted specific companies to register with because I have numerous friends that shop that area with THOSE companies. While I know her intentions were sincere, I understand your side as well. But take heart. Since Cynthia has not posted since this original request back in May, she probably gave up when she realized how much work was involved. I believe the reason it was left here is because this is a question that is asked literally daily but deleted before most can respond and since this was when this new forum was being built, needed to be addressed here. And if someone finds there way here, that shows a bit of effort right.
I do agree with you though. We have worked hard to garner our knowledge and I for one refuse to "hand it over" that easily.
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KathyCA
Contributor

CA
USA
56 Posts

Posted - 11/24/2003 :  07:12:24 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am a newbie as well. However, I must say that I have spent countless nights simply applying to as many companies I could. Applying is only the first step - finding jobs is the harder process. It takes time and a lot of tenacity and can be accomplished only by the person seeking the jobs. I am a mother, working full time, and happy to say that I have a full load of shops as well.

Additionally, I am a firm believer that you get what you put into whatever it is that you are doing. We all have access to the same resources, the difference is the amount of time one is willing to invest.

Kathy
MSPA Gold Certified
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Kanga
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
250 Posts

Posted - 11/24/2003 :  09:14:38 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Cynthia,

I just wanted to reinforce what everyone else is trying to tell you. There just aren't any shortcuts to finding mystery shopping jobs. Every assignment you get is the result of many hours of hard work applying to many more companies than you will ever hear back from, oftentimes even after being interviewed and taking lots of qualifying tests. Some tests are from the mystery shopping company and other mystery shopping companies require you to study and take certification exams for each client they represent before you would even be considered to apply for any assignment for one of their clients. You can even go through considerable effort, energy and time studying and taking qualifying exams only to be very surprised when you find you still never hear back from that company again. Some companies you can self-assign assignments if you are good at keeping up with those websites and you are faster than the others you are competing against in your shopping area and you have the ability to check those websites very often. You have to realize that there can easily be hundreds of other shoppers competing for the same job if you shop near a large city. Also, if you aren’t certified MSPA silver or gold, your chances of getting assignments are greatly reduced if there is a large pool of silver and gold MSPA certified shoppers in your area.

No one can do it for you, Cynthia. There are jobs out there but you have to work really hard to find them, and you have to realize that there are many many others that are working just as hard or harder than you are competing for those same jobs.

You will find mystery shopping to be a lot of fun and very rewarding, but you can expect to work very hard for the money you make.

MSPA Gold Certified #xixazy
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Nancy1953
Valued Contributor

Drexel Hill, PA
USA
100 Posts

Posted - 11/28/2003 :  10:14:21 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Starting Shoppers:

1. apply apply apply and keep applying! u never know when a new company will have found that 'gem' of a shop that you can do over and over at different locations that you love!
2. find a few companies that you ALWAYS check. I kept a log of when I ck'd, when I found jobs, and the % of jobs I got. Have to say, it really helped me out to know which self assigns would give you the shops you apply for. nothing i hate more than applying for a dozen plus shops with a company every month and rarely getting one! There is one company out there that does this to me all the time. I finally stopped bothering to apply. I guess thay already have plenty of shoppers in the area and most of the shops they offered were a pain anyway! <g> but good for a beginner.
3. get at least a silver cert. I know the cost of the gold is high for someone just starting out, but the cost of the silver is manageable for most shoppers and its worth it.
4. reliable companies are everywhere, its the unreliable ones you'll find out about and want to avoid! they are the timewasters!
5. Network. The most valuable tool for any shopper!
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Howie
Trainee

Lake Mary, FL
USA
7 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2004 :  12:25:22 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Does any company work in one area specifically?

Howie

Howie
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Tracie
Valued Contributor

Oswego, IL
USA
235 Posts

Posted - 03/03/2004 :  6:53:59 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have just started my mystery shopping career, and I spent all weekend trying to find out more information on how I could do my new job better. I stumbled upon this website and was very excited. I thought "who better to learn from than people who KNOW the job well"? I was excited to learn from the pros, so I posted this exact same question yesterday, and it was rejected. I was a little embarrassed, as I moderate a board on a different website. (I guess I should have done a search first) Well, I searched and searched, and could not find the threads that answered my question. Since this question is asked all the time and is so irritating to everyone, couldn't it be answered over in the "FAQ" section?

I was happy to find this new thread started and was disappointed at some of the animosity displayed. Just because this is somebody's first post doesn't mean that they are not dedicated to the field or do not want to "give back" to the community that helped them. Nor does it mean that they want "easy" answers. This is an overwhelming field for people just starting out. I for one, would be thrilled to share tips......as soon as I feel I can contribute something positive. I have to admit that I'm a little disheartened to realize that what I thought would be a great resource for me, is really only for "seasoned" members of the field. :(

Tracie
Silver Certified
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Ray Sola
Volition.com Staff

Prescott, AZ
USA
3099 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2004 :  07:40:34 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tracie

I posted this exact same question yesterday, and it was rejected. I was a little embarrassed, as I moderate a board on a different website. (I guess I should have done a search first)
During the sign up, you are asked 4 times to read the Posting Guidelines before posting a message. At the top of the page where you make a post you are again reminded to do this first and also asked to do a search before starting a new thread.
quote:
Originally posted by Tracie

Since this question is asked all the time and is so irritating to everyone, couldn't it be answered over in the "FAQ" section?
The FAQ is for questions like "How do I edit my profile?" and not specifically for this one forum.
quote:
Originally posted by Tracie

I was happy to find this new thread started and was disappointed at some of the animosity displayed. Just because this is somebody's first post doesn't mean that they are not dedicated to the field or do not want to "give back" to the community that helped them. Nor does it mean that they want "easy" answers. This is an overwhelming field for people just starting out. I for one, would be thrilled to share tips......as soon as I feel I can contribute something positive. I have to admit that I'm a little disheartened to realize that what I thought would be a great resource for me, is really only for "seasoned" members of the field.
That is not the case. What is the problem is the people who make their very first post and it is

"What company has shops in MY_CITY?"
ANSWER: Most firms are national. While there may be a local company in your town, you are better off looking in the phone book for them than asking here. These companies do not advertise here and are probably not online. If there are chains in your city, then they have a national contract with a big MS firm and you might as well just sign up with all of them.

"Who shops XYZ store/restaurant?"
ANSWER: Who shops it today could be different tomorrow. Also the competitor could pay for a shop of XYZ. Also the company stores and franchise stores could use different firms. So, you are best served to just go to the Volition.com Mystery Shopping Companies list and sign up for every firm that appeals to you.

"How do I get started?"
ANSWER: Read the many pages of this forum.

good luck,
Ray
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MarteeC
Star Contributor

Tampa, FL
USA
1352 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2004 :  08:08:08 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Tracie-I guess I just have a different definition of animosity. Yes, there are some posts that are pretty vocal, but I think that the reasoning was explained pretty clearly and the points are valid. I am sorry you feel that you are not welcome here. We all started out in the same position. I just wish I had found Volition when I started out (of course there was no Volition when I started out!)
I sincerely feel that you will not find a place that is able to provide you with information that is correct, current and offered freely than here. Yes, there are ground rules in play, but that is what sets us apart from so many other forums. It is set up to be most useful for most people of ALL levels of expertise...
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