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 How to find Mystery Shops in MY AREA?
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Julie_WA_Writer
Star Contributor

Western, Washington
USA
1889 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2011 :  11:52:59 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LisaOV

Also, let's not forgot that if you KNOW the other shoppers in your area they will pass along info to you if they aren't able to do the work themselves.

Exactly! I think networking is something many people forget. In addition to referrals, networking can help you set up boundaries -- "I would really appreciate your letting me have first dibs on [x] shop every month, and I promise to notify you when [y] shop shows up." Additionally, it helps identify those 10' pole shops in your area, and lets you know which schedulers are honest and upfront about shop fees and requirements.

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

Western, Washington
USA
1889 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2011 :  12:06:21 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LisaSTL

Pam, I'm talking about the biggies here and I didn't claim even they were making a fortune. If they weren't doing well they wouldn't have bought other companies over the last few years. Besides lowered shop fees most of us have also seen a reduction in their staff, so again, someone is making money somewhere.

In all honesty, it's pervasive and goes way beyond our industry. In my lifetime I have never seen such a huge gap between the working and upper classes and it does not bode well. There are some companies whose corporate climate totally flies in the face of this and continually prove that they can compete and treat employees fairly. Before a hostile takeover, supported by some of the wealthiest people in this country, St. Louis was home to just such a corporation. Workers fought to just get a foot in the door and once there didn't leave. The owners were some of the most wealthy and were raised to believe in noblesse oblige, something that is actually quite common around here. We have some of the best public institutions in the country, most of which are still free or reasonably priced because of those people and corporations.


There's no such thing as "free", Lisa. They're from the goodwill of the corporation you referenced or taxpayer-supported -- and those taxes comes from those who generate wealth.

It is not greed for a company to want to get the lowest priced contract they can; it's good business sense. If shoppers want to get paid more, they need to refuse to consistently take the bottom-of-the-barrel shops.

There's nothing wrong with accumulating wealth. Let's not demonize those who find themselves with the ability, brains, and circumstances to do so.

“Great empires are not maintained by timidity.” Tacitus
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Jennifer Cassada
Valued Contributor

Rio Grande, NJ
USA
193 Posts

Posted - 02/22/2011 :  7:41:50 PM  Send Jennifer Cassada an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
This may be slightly off topic, but it seems to fit here best. I've moved around the past few years but have always had the same base to do shops...Philly, Harrisburg, SJ Shore and when I recently relocated back to the shore, I found the motherload of shops down here. Well, I'm planning another move and can not for the life of me find any shops to the area I'm looking at. It's a huge college town, so I figured it would be easy. I'm just wondering how easy it is to change your "territory" or is it kind of like starting from scratch all over again.

Shopping the South Jersey Shore
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MelissaSiet
Contributor

Granger, IN
USA
70 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2011 :  2:52:28 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have to say that I moved 2 years from Ohio to Indiana, and it was easy to get back into the grove, the pain was just having to update all the information. And hope that your approved numbers are noticed when schedulers are sending out the information. I have been really busy the last week or two, which is a great thing:)

Melissa
Certified Gold :)
Serving Indiana-South Bend, Mishawaka and some surrounding areas
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SandiA
Star Contributor

USA
495 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2011 :  11:54:15 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LisaOV

Also, let's not forgot that if you KNOW the other shoppers in your area they will pass along info to you if they aren't able to do the work themselves.



Not in my area! It's saturated with shoppers and networking doesn't exist. Recently while doing a trailer check, another checker's husband made threatening gestures towards me while I was auditing promo materials! I've been mindful of a couple of shoppers that I know live close to some high-paying audit jobs and I've passed on them, yet they take the jobs in my area first!

SandiA
Celebrating 14 Years in the Biz!
MSPA Gold Certified since 2003
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MelissaSiet
Contributor

Granger, IN
USA
70 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2011 :  1:55:04 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
SandiA
that is terrible!

Melissa
Certified Gold :)
Serving Indiana-South Bend, Mishawaka and some surrounding areas
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Jennifer Cassada
Valued Contributor

Rio Grande, NJ
USA
193 Posts

Posted - 03/01/2011 :  6:15:11 PM  Send Jennifer Cassada an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Thanks Melissa!

Sandi, that is just completely ridiculous! I would think about reporting that situation.

Shopping the South Jersey Shore
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Raymond E
Valued Contributor

Gilbert, AZ
USA
159 Posts

Posted - 03/01/2011 :  6:35:39 PM  Visit Raymond E's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jennifer Cassada

Thanks Melissa!

Sandi, that is just completely ridiculous! I would think about reporting that situation.




Who would you report it to? I mean both are private individuals that independently contract. Sure Sandi was representing the company on the assignment. But the husband of the other shopper was not. By all means i'm not saying it was right. But I would be hard pressed to find a way it could be corrected. Bad people are bad people.

Raymond
MPSA Silver Certified
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SandiA
Star Contributor

USA
495 Posts

Posted - 03/01/2011 :  7:36:30 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Who would you report it to? I mean both are private individuals that independently contract. Sure Sandi was representing the company on the assignment. But the husband of the other shopper was not. By all means i'm not saying it was right. But I would be hard pressed to find a way it could be corrected. Bad people are bad people.
That's what I thought for a few weeks afterward, but then one day, while talking to a scheduler at one of the MSCs that I do checks for, I mentioned it. She confirmed that they had another woman working there that day, but since I had no witnesses, proof of the incident or a manager's complaint/statement/security video, they had no recourse. (I can however describe the couple!) She told me to get some documentation if it ever happened again. The other MSC said that they didn't think they had anyone in that day.

SandiA
Celebrating 14 Years in the Biz!
MSPA Gold Certified since 2003
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ShilaF
Member

Charlotte, NC
USA
18 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2011 :  7:13:51 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
It has been a very long time since I have posted here - most of the time I don't feel that I have much to contribute - everyone else on here is so knowledgeable and experienced! I posted a few times last year, when I first started, about 'making a full time income'. I was on a quest to support myself and my small son with my MS income.

I am happy to say that I have been doing that for the past year and a half, thanks to the wonderful people who emailed me personally with leads and help. I attended the IMSC conference last year in Vegas and got video certified as well. It hasn't been an easy journey, that's for sure, but I have settled out around $1200-$1500 per month. Barely enough to make ends meet, but I still get to be a full time mom, for which I am extremely grateful.

I recently moved to Charlotte to be near family and get some additional support so that has taken a lot of the pressure off, but I am having a difficult time getting going here in this area. Most of the companies I used to work for don't have much in this area, and my lack of familiarity with the geography, traffic patterns and logistics here mean that it takes twice as long to put together a route or a day's work.

I feel like I have been doing this the hard way and I am wondering how to be the 'go to' shopper for schedulers or how to get regular routes or projects versus piecing together 10 $7 shops every day. I pretty much rely on the emails that are sent out as I simply don't have time to check 100 shop boards each day. I can't help but feel I am missing something. (Like maybe I am still too much of a loner, trying to do this all myself and even avoiding communicating with the schedulers unless I have a real problem, thus not building relationships that might turn out to be very beneficial) I have yet to discover any banking shops here whereas before, I was earning several hundred dollars a month with regular, quick and easy bank jobs.

I am grateful for the video work as that has given me regular high-paying jobs and it has allowed me to continue to work with the schedulers I worked with before moving.

I had an interesting time reading this thread and seeing how things have changed (not for the better it seems!) over the years. I love the work, it suits me and I love the flexibility and the ability to determine my own schedule. I am looking forward to figuring out how to create a 'groove' here in Charlotte and it was helpful to read the ideas about how to find work - just like I did when I was starting in Portland.

Shila F.
Charlotte, NC
MSPA Silver Certified
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LisaOV
Star Contributor

MN
USA
2659 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2011 :  11:45:04 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hi ShilaF! I do understand what you are going through...in my experience when I've had trouble getting work (due to whatever reason) I tend to go try something else for a while (a seasonal job maybe, a temp job, merchandising, etc) and that has helped me get work, plus learn my way around. You won't make much money until you can tie shops together, so why not do some merchandising jobs until you can fit some shops into there. Or a temp job and shop during your lunch or on your way home. I know it sounds silly, but get busy doing something else and learning your way around town and you'll find more jobs once you know what is out there.....23 years ago when I moved to the Twin Cities that's exactly what I did.

Don't forget to network with other shoppers and keep signing up for work (in fact, try to get a really boring temp job and use their computer). ALSO don't forget to look in the phone book - the yellow pages under mystery shopping....a lot of corp offices are located in big cities. They like working with people in their own area - I have found a lot of work that way!!

Good luck!
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LisaOV
Star Contributor

MN
USA
2659 Posts

Posted - 09/06/2011 :  11:58:55 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Not to argue about this but I meant shoppers you were friends with...you still might want to start a group and get people talking to each other. Then once you actually KNOW each other then they'd be more likely to help you and you help them.....just my opinion of course but I know a LOT of shoppers in the Twin Cities and even WI and we have been very nice about passing stuff around. Trailer check people might not be your best and most professional people around (not that there is anything wrong with trailer checks, LOL) but if you find people doing the professional work you'll find people with more professional behavior.
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SandiA
Star Contributor

USA
495 Posts

Posted - 09/08/2011 :  09:52:13 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
That may be true of simple trailer check jobs, but the audit jobs I referred to are quite professional and high-paying. When I attended the MSPA gold certification workshop in my area, I met several shoppers and got contact information. I sent e-mails and made phone calls to try and get everyone together for lunch. Everyone was nice, but all declined. At the conference in my area a few years later, I saw several of them and suggested getting together. I got a lot of "Oh, sure. If I can make it" responses. Oh well.

Signed,
Lone Wolf

SandiA
Celebrating 14 Years in the Biz!
MSPA Gold Certified since 2003
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KariK
Contributor

Minneapolis, MN
USA
86 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2011 :  6:17:16 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LisaOV

Not to argue about this but I meant shoppers you were friends with...you still might want to start a group and get people talking to each other. Then once you actually KNOW each other then they'd be more likely to help you and you help them.....just my opinion of course but I know a LOT of shoppers in the Twin Cities and even WI and we have been very nice about passing stuff around. Trailer check people might not be your best and most professional people around (not that there is anything wrong with trailer checks, LOL) but if you find people doing the professional work you'll find people with more professional behavior.

Can I get in your group?
I was doing a lot last month (20 shops a week) and now it's 4-5 a week. I don't know if it's because of the upcoming holiday or what. Very frustrating.
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Sandi G
Star Contributor

Tallahassee, FL
USA
918 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2011 :  06:37:50 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
It's super slow around here right now, too. I'm at about half usual work load, and most of that has been merchandising work. December is usually a bit slower, and some of what I did last Dec just got done in Nov this year, so I'm really hoping for some surprises to pop up.

--Sandi
traditional & video shopping FL and GA
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Cindy152
Apprentice

Lebanon, IN
USA
2 Posts

Posted - 05/09/2012 :  6:38:35 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
My oh my I didnt realize what a can of worms I opened up on this subject. I have read so much about being a mystery shopper and for the past month been busy researching and actually doing a lot of shops. It was never my intention to take over routes. In fact was quite the opposite. I wanted to know where others were shopping so I WOULD NOT be shopping in their areas. My actual question was to help me not sign up for every single company so that I didn't waste their time or mine. I see through my research that most companies are too wide spread with opportunities all over the country that trying to guess or know which companies to sign up for is impossible.
I started my shopping experiences with EMPS and by far they are my favorite to work with. It takes quite a bit of time to do their surveys but I appreciate the compensation for the work.
I have enjoyed my first month of shopping and will continue to be a mystery shopper.
Also I did read the posting rules so hopefully not more can of worms.
Thanks to all that were supportive on this website and thanks for the advice from the not so supportive.

Cindy
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KelliT
Apprentice

Hamilton, Ohio
USA
1 Posts

Posted - 11/19/2012 :  2:46:25 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Cynthia,

I have been mystery shopping for over 7 years. I agree with everyone else, it does take a lot of time and dedication, especially in the beginning. However, it does get easier. At least it did for me. You have to be the one that applies to companies and even sometimes has to apply for a shop ( and wait to hear if you have it or not). Over the past 7 years, I have been able to weed out the companies that do not pay well, make you jump through hoops to perform a shop for them, or simply don't have shops in my area. Having said all that, Several of the people have give you some good websites to visit. I would also try this mystery shopping company, www.strategicreflections.com . They have shops all over the country. They pay well and they pay on time. The shops are fun and easy to perform---with a wide variety to choose from. You can self schedule the shops so you don't have to wait to hear back from a scheduler if you have the job or not. I have been shopping for them for 7 years and have never had any problems what so ever with them! Good Luck and Happy Shopping! :)

Kelli

Kelli Torbeck
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Sue Br.
Star Contributor

Oklahoma
USA
661 Posts

Posted - 11/19/2012 :  5:02:35 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I live in an area where I know there are other shoppers. There are pizza shops that are snapped up immediately, usually by me. If the other shoppers don't get the shops I am sorry for them but I certainly don't turn down shops so another shopper can have them. This is a business to me and businesses don't make money telling their customers to go next door so the other merchant can have some of the business. I don't mean to sound callus but it is a first come first served business and I do get my share. You have to be vigilant and watch those shop boards.

Sue
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CrystalAnn
Contributor

Michigan
USA
54 Posts

Posted - 04/08/2013 :  11:54:25 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I feel the same way about shopping. To me it is my business and I need the income to support my family. I am not going to turn down or not apply for a shop just to be polite to someone else in the area. I am a route shopper and tend to just go straight to the schedulers to get what I want, sometimes even before jobs are posted to the regular shop boards. Not every company will do this, but some will. It took a lot of research, training, reading message boards, etc. to figure out who had what. Also just watching each shop board every single day for several months to learn exactly when certain shops are released. Basically you need to put in the hard work on your own because most shoppers will not hand the info to their competition.

Now that said, I have informed close friends of mine about shops that I'm either ineligible for, or I don't want to drive the distance to. I got burnt by a friend who lived near me and she literally undercut my pay and took a whole route of shops from me. So, I make it a general rule to not reveal info to anyone who lives near me. Your best bet, if you want a "buddy" so to speak, is to network with people who do not live in your area but ask them to alert you when they see jobs in your area, and do the same for them. However, this still isnt' a good way to get regular work. Sure you might get thrown a bone here or there, but getting jobs is what happens when you put in your own hard work.

-Crystal
Gold Certified Shopper - Undercover Video Specialist
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TinaMarie
Star Contributor

USA
1811 Posts

Posted - 04/08/2013 :  4:37:03 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have networked with someone who lives 2 hours from me and she would not take "my" territory. However, she told a friend about ms'ing and her friend lives in my area, so I ended up losing shops. Moral of the story for me, is to not tell anyone, no matter where they live, because they have friends and relatives those people have friends and relatives.

~*~TinaMarie~*~
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