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 Is being MSPA Silver or Gold Certified Worth It?
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RuthHallows
Valued Contributor

Mesa, AZ
USA
117 Posts

Posted - 10/17/2006 :  9:11:28 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I believe Gold Certification is worth both the time and the money.

It is not difficult to achieve. The questions on both the Silver and Gold test are straightforward and easy to answer correctly, even if you didn't attend the training. The workshop was an entertaining review of things I already knew and, yes, a chance to network with other shoppers and with schedulers.

I don't think the point is to make it hard or keep anyone out. If I had a Mystery Shopping company, I would prefer to assign shoppers willing forgo one day and a $99 tax deductible expense to get certified; it's about a shopper's level of commitment.

Since I achieved Gold, I received several notices about my *favorite* shops twice. It took me a while to realize the notices posted to Gold shoppers first, then to the general shopping 'public' . . .

I have also received more direct offers; personal emails from schedulers: a good benefit.

MSPA Gold Certified
Serving Mesa, Tempe, and Gilbert, AZ
Shopping Since 2001
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JenniferJohnson
Member

AZ
USA
11 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2006 :  02:23:14 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
2 days after I went Gold, I found a VERY nice hotel job...I don't think I could have viewed and self-assigned this if I was not Gold Certified. Just my

Jennifer
MSPA Gold Certified! #flzujc
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Sue Br.
Star Contributor

Oklahoma
USA
661 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2006 :  04:40:18 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
OK, I'm giving certification a try. I get plenty of work, more than I can do sometimes. I've always been curious whether or not it really gets you better jobs. We'll see.

Funny thing is, the company I work for most and pays the best doesn't care if I'm certified.


Sue
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CoreyF
Member

Jeffersonville, PA
USA
25 Posts

Posted - 10/29/2006 :  12:19:58 PM  Visit CoreyF's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Just took the Gold certification class yesterday. In my opinion the speaker was excellent and passed on a lot of great tips and methods. Well worth the !

MSPA Gold Certified tL7nth
- Shopping in Southeastern PA
- Owner & Designer - The Mystery Shop Stop
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Sue Br.
Star Contributor

Oklahoma
USA
661 Posts

Posted - 11/04/2006 :  10:54:26 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Here's an update. I seem to have more work right now than I can get done. I don't know if it's because I'm certified although I did some jobs from a company that alerts certified shoppers first. I have more than made back the small fee charged to take the test, which by the way is very easy.

Go for it people, it seems to be worth the effort.


Sue
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Mike Krieger
Star Contributor

USA
294 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2006 :  6:40:04 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Well, from time to time, it gives me more priority. So, it depends on what you do.

It gives you better chances to get good shops. Like, one company that I've been trying to find is American Skiing Company (they own Sunday River, Attitash, Killington, Mount Snow, and Sugarbush). If anyone knows that this company is shopped, let me know.

I betcha the gold shoppers get it if they do have a shopper program, but who knows.
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523Kristy
Trainee

USA
5 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2006 :  7:46:40 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
For what it's worth, the silver certification seems to be worth it to me. I've gotten phone calls from schedulers that I had never gotten before. Maybe there's no connection, but I never got called before I got certified.

MSPA Silver Certified
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ChrisT
Star Contributor

USA
1513 Posts

Posted - 11/09/2006 :  8:06:40 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sue Br.

Here's an update. I seem to have more work right now than I can get done.
That may or may not be because of the certification; it's definitely faulty logical reasoning. I have plenty of work without certification and would do more except I have a regular ft job. (You also failed to mention what you meant by 'more work than you can get done'. This can mean different things to people in different situations).

ChrisT
Deliriously Happy Shopping Uncertifiable
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Sue Br.
Star Contributor

Oklahoma
USA
661 Posts

Posted - 11/10/2006 :  03:46:21 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
What I mean by more than I can get done is, I have done 55 shops already this month and I am booked for a total of 88, and it's only the 10th.

I may just top my past highest earnings this month.

I would be much more efficient if I'd stop taking short cuts and getting lost.

Sue
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.KimSVision
Star Contributor

Orange County, CA
USA
1383 Posts

Posted - 11/10/2006 :  08:52:46 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I think it depends on how much competition you have in your area. If there are only a few shoppers, then you'll be needed by the companies, Gold or not.

If you are in an area over-run with shoppers, then you may want to be Gold to stand out. Then again, if there are thousands of Gold certs in your area, you have that competition all over again!

P.S. The companies that I work with most often are more interested in my 11 years of shopping experience, than they are with my Gold cert.
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Sara D
Valued Contributor

South Hadley, MA
USA
163 Posts

Posted - 11/10/2006 :  9:15:55 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
So far, the difference for me has been pretty modest. I became Gold Certified in August of this year, and know that I've gotten at least a couple of advanced notices for Gold shoppers, but can't say that they were particularly impressive and desireable shops. I also know that there are a few companies out there where I wouldn't have been able to get any shops if I hadn't at least been Silver certified (e.g., Goodwin & Associates seems to require that you either have experience as a restaurant employee or that you are certified before you can see most of their jobs). However, it's hardly been a windfall of new and great jobs! Most of the stuff I'm getting is the same stuff I've been getting and/or the new and better stuff seems to be coming from the years of experience rather than the certificate.

But, hey, it sure doesn't hurt.

-Sara

Sara A Davidow,
MSPA Gold Certified shopper #aziwc5
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JenniferWilcox
Star Contributor

Oklahoma City, OK
USA
314 Posts

Posted - 11/10/2006 :  9:18:02 PM  Send JenniferWilcox an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I haven't gotten certified yet, but I'm getting more than enough shops to keep me busy. If it ever slows down, I might try getting certified, but I just haven't seen the need for it yet.
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PaulL
Member

USA
42 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2006 :  3:27:46 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sara D

I also know that there are a few companies out there where I wouldn't have been able to get any shops if I hadn't at least been Silver certified (e.g., Goodwin & Associates seems to require that you either have experience as a restaurant employee or that you are certified before you can see most of their jobs). -Sara



Finally an objective look at this issue. I'm neither certified or have restaurant experience. Today on G&A's website, I see 68 shops. How many more do you see with your certification?
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HeidiS
Valued Contributor

Toledo, OH
USA
143 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2006 :  7:13:27 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I've definitely considered getting the silver but right now, I am at a point where I have to turn down jobs and I am not certified at all. I have often wondered if there are really good jobs offered to certified people but then thought those jobs are probably offered to good standing workers. I would think (now this is just my opinion) that a company would offer a harder, better job to an independent contractor that is in good standing with the company and has proven themselves over a new person with that is certified. I figured if you prove yourself to them by doing your jobs correctly, you'd be preferred over a new person, certified or not. My theory anyway.

I have only been doing this for about 2 months though. When I started, jobs were hard to find. Now I have to decline them because I am being offered more then I can handle. I like sticking with a few companies rather then spread out to a ton. I am more then willing to try a new company but like to stick with the one's I have experience with first.

Heidi, No longer new but always willing to learn more!
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2006 :  7:32:57 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I would prefer no one else in my state gets certified. There are far too many shoppers in these larger cities. I guess it would not matter if I lived in a smaller town as some have cited. But, here, I could not do without it. I also think if you only work for self assign companies, it really doesn't matter much. Schedulers seem to care more than the self assign companies, who obviously will let any warm body sign up for one of their jobs, well at least once. I prefer to work mostly for MSPA companies, such as Trendsource, SG Marketing, etc. and it benefits me to have the certification with these companies.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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ChrisT
Star Contributor

USA
1513 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2006 :  7:59:31 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hmmm..Pam interesting, you say self assign companies don't care about certification, but then you say that you'll stick with Trendsource, which happens to have virtually all of their jobs self assign for their proven shoppers (no MSPA cert required to self assign with them). I've even gotten big pad's from them.

ChrisT
Deliriously Happy Shopping Uncertifiable
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2006 :  8:32:09 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Only "certain shops" are self assign with Trendsource and even that is not for all shoppers. And, as I stated, you may assign yourself once, but if you don't follow through, you are done with them, or should I say they are done with you. They are a large supporter of the certification as well as the MSPA. I found out recently that I had completed over 700 shops for them.I met the reps from Trendsource at a Gold workshop and that is how I signed up with them.

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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Sara D
Valued Contributor

South Hadley, MA
USA
163 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2006 :  03:49:20 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
PaulL:

On Goodwin & Associates Hospitality Services I actually don't see any shops at all at the moment. :) All I can say about it is that, for my area, I *never* saw any restaurant or event shops at all but kept getting e-mails about ones being available. When I finally e-mailed them asking if there was something wrong with my account and also notifying them that I had just become Silver Certified, I was told that I wouldn't have ever been able to see them without significant restaurant experience or becoming certified. After becoming silver certified, I started seeing those types of shops fairly frequently, though there aren't a ton of them in my area.

-S

Sara A Davidow,
MSPA Gold Certified shopper #aziwc5
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TerryInTulsa
Star Contributor

Tulsa, OK
USA
349 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2006 :  12:07:08 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Becoming certified is strictly up to the shopper but there are some companies who assign shops based on certification status. Certification is not necessary (especially in rural areas) but it can help get better assignments.
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Sue Br.
Star Contributor

Oklahoma
USA
661 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2006 :  3:00:14 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am certainly glad I got certified. I do get emails from companies who say they write to certified shoppers first. I have passed 1K this month. I can't believe it and I swear I'm not lying. It took 131 shops and some of those were padded but I did it. I doubt I'll ever do as well again but I'm walking tall right now

Sue
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