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

Terre Haute, IN
USA
191 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2005 :  11:35:05 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am currently silver certified. I got the certification a few months after it was available. I did not see a huge jump in job offers, but I don't have that much competition in my area it doesn't seem like. I've been doing this for almost 4 years now and have built up an excellent reputation. I think my work history has made a much bigger impact, which is the way I like it. I'm not opposed to getting my Gold certification, but the closest one was 3+ hours away last fall. If one came to a closer location, I would consider it. However, I'm certainly not begging for offers so I don't feel the need to drive that far at this point in my career.

Marcy ~ mystery shopper in western Indiana.
MSPA Silver Shopper certified #ijjaaf
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Keri
Apprentice

Arlington, Texas
USA
3 Posts

Posted - 04/17/2005 :  09:04:45 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
When I was contemplating paying for the Silver Certification, I read the discussion group. So I thought it would be worth it. So I went ahead with it- who would not want more work to come their way.

I have not received any more work. I just have three companies that I get my work from. Very frustrating ; that was just wasted money .

Keri Williams
MSPA Silver Certified
shopping Dallas/Fort Worth area
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Jeff68005
Star Contributor

Bellevue, NE
USA
1171 Posts

Posted - 04/17/2005 :  10:19:24 AM  Send Jeff68005 an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
The education value of MSPA certification depends on what you know going in.

The investment value as a marketing tool was the decision for me. I don't know how many, but there are definately other established shoppers in my service area. There are enough companies that give preference to MSAP certifications that I obtained my MSPA Gold Certification. There are not enough shops to make a living here. I have received a few shops that declare they are being sent to Gold certified only. Some have said certified shoppers only. I know of at least one shop that was supposed to be Gold shoppers only. I decided not to apply for it. It was picked up by someone else who may or may not have been Gold certified.

I do know that when I apply for a shop, I receive a positive response more quickly than before I was Gold certified. Of course, I do NOT get all the shops that I want.

Jeff Hix
Serving metro Omaha, Nebraska including Bellevue, Papillion, La Vista, Ralston, Plattsmouth and Council Bluffs, Iowa.
MSPA Silver Certified - MSPA Gold Certified - NARMS Proficiency Test PASSED
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Shannon Marinelli
Contributor

Canyon Lake, Texas
USA
86 Posts

Posted - 04/17/2005 :  11:25:22 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Well, I have been a bit busy these last few weeks. I still have the silver certification, have applied to more companies, and still forget to add the part about the silver sometimes. I am currently after one of the bus shops that keeps jumping into my in box, but never gets sent my way when I apply. I had a couple of really cools shops that were awarded to me before the silver. I got a really neat real estate thing that has been very educational about the time to alot for those shops I had never done before and the great scheduler that is running that one!
I really do not know if I am getting more shops or not because of it. I am still activly pursuing the shops as I did before and applying to those like before. Mostly to the tune of 1-10 per week right now. In between the grocery shopping, housework, kids and the shopping for the shops I accept I just keep reading and learning. Only more time will tell if I am getting more and better jobs because of it. I want more variety in what I do. I have been constantly working part time for sure. Is the money enough? Depends on how you do it. I took the advice of one of the posters to clump several togehter to do each day as it comes. If you go to a certian area, try to get a shop to help cover your gas costs and for teh business breaks on your taxes.
I am currently working on geting some automotive shops, bus shops, hotel shops and dining or fast food shops. Any oil changes out there would be gratefully accepted!
MSPA Silver Certified rrsqvq, shopping any of the Bexar, Comal, Austin, San Antonio or surrounding areas!

Shannon M
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CMilton
Star Contributor

North Haledon, NJ
USA
379 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2005 :  2:41:48 PM  Visit CMilton's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
I got my silver certification before I even started to apply for jobs. I can't say that getting my gold in October has made a noticeable difference. I enjoyed the process, and it was fun to meet other shoppers, but really, I think the location thing is key, as is doing the work on time, writing well, and being flexible in picking up dropped shops.

c

celia milton
Gold Certified 2004, nzcy0k
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KateLynn
Member

Tampa, FL
USA
37 Posts

Posted - 05/23/2005 :  6:36:01 PM  Send KateLynn an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have been mystery shopping for over 4 years, and can say without a doubt that getting certified has been better for me. I got silver certified about 2 years ago, and my job offers picked up a little right away. I decided last year to go ahead and get gold certified, and I started getting a lot better paying and a lot more job offers after updating my certificate status. It has been worth the money for me.

KateLynn
MSPA Gold Certified Shopper
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JonBinSD
Member

Carlsbad, CA
USA
40 Posts

Posted - 06/06/2005 :  5:02:15 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have only been shopping for a little over a month now and got my silver right away. A couple companies I shop for allow for self-assigning if you are gold and then approval if you are silver. I know I have missed out on these. I have also noticed that I have applied for a shop on the day it hit, seen it on the board for another 3-5 days, and then get the "closed" email. I don't know if this is because I still am building shops with companies and schedulers have their preferences, or if it is because of my MSPA certification.

Is there a way to get Gold certified without attending a workshop?

Jon

Jonny B Good
San Diego Co, Boarder on the Border with your special order
Silver Certified
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JAngler64
Valued Contributor

Philadelphia, PA
USA
112 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2005 :  04:02:26 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I started shopping last year, and was getting what I considered OK pay for shops when I first started. The jobs I used to do (prior to certification) , plus setting up the routes, making multiple stops per day, were giving me OK money.

I then went and got my Silver certification. Immediately after updating my profile with some of the companies, some higher paying shops got offered to me. I then updated all the profiles where I signed up previously. I get enough work for myself now, and I even see some companies send me opportunities before they get posted or emailed out in bulk. Normally now I find myself with higher paying reports, fewer jobs to complete per week, less mileage on my vehicle, and a higher net weekly income.

Is the reason the Silver? My overall work quality? Or a little of both? Whatever the reason, I feel it was the BEST $15 I ever spent.

I am now considering moving up to the Gold, but will hold off until the fall.

Jeff
MSPA Gold Certified aacxgi
Shopping Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, NY to Washington, DC
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.DawnRuthers
Inactive

Atlanta, GA
USA
8 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2005 :  12:19:20 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Can someone please tell me what qualifies you for silver and what qualifies you for gold? I am thinking about getting certified and would like to know what you learn at the Gold certification seminars? Do you get anything out of it besides networking with other MS'ers?

Dawn Ruthers
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VickieM
Valued Contributor

Crane, TX
USA
161 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2005 :  4:26:02 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I can not say yet if it will make a difference for me, but I got my Silver today

Vickie
MSPA Silver Certified wpdtls
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Toni-Girl
Valued Contributor

Ohio
USA
145 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2005 :  6:58:10 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I went Gold in Cleveland on May 21st.
I went and entered my Gold status on every site I used and the very next day, I was moved from *requesting* assignments with one company to being able to self assign.

I'm signed up with a couple places that keep your name on file for MS companies to contact if they have need of shoppers in certain areas and for the first time, I got an email from one of them last week offering a totally fantastic hotel job! (That was SO cool, I'm hoping to get many more like that one! lol)
Was this particular job due to the Gold status or was it just a fluke? I don't know and probably won't ever know.

Sure, it's only been a couple weeks since I got Gold Certified and nothing else has changed but I'm hoping that it'll bring me more and better jobs too!

Shopping extreme NW Ohio
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.DonnaMorehouse in CA
Inactive

Sacramento, CA
USA
287 Posts

Posted - 06/08/2005 :  09:58:08 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Since I became silver certified it seems like I am getting better jobs and now some companies that I applied with but never heard anything from are contacting me. I don't know if this is a coincidence or shows companies that I am a serious shopper. I am waiting for the Gold to come around in my area again. I was finishing up school and missed it. I am sure getting the Gold will make a difference as well. I have only had my silver since the end of April but I am getting a positive response and some e-mails just for gold and silver shoppers.
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Angela Burton
Valued Contributor

Schererville, IN
USA
197 Posts

Posted - 06/08/2005 :  2:08:32 PM  Send Angela Burton an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I became gold certified in Orlando last July (which kind of defeated the purpose of networking with your fellow local shoppers). There have been 2 gold workshops in the Chicagoland area. I still find a great benefit to my certification, even though there must be many gold shoppers in the area. One company that uses sassie requires a certain grade in order to do some shops for them. I had not done any assignments for them so I could not apply for the better assignments. After I was gold, I not only was able to apply but received a nice shop from them.

Shopping NW Indiana
MSPA Gold Certified #7cw9pu
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AudreyB
Valued Contributor

West Plains, Missouri
USA
197 Posts

Posted - 06/08/2005 :  2:52:43 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I might sound really corny saying this, but getting my Silver Certification was one of the best things I've every done. Comes right after marrying Hubby and having the kids

I'm a relative newbie to Mystery Shopping and did not find a lot of jobs at first. On the advise of some seasoned MSers, I took the Silver Challenge and, all of a sudden, my inbox was much fuller and the assignments much more interesting. I also noticed an increase in the rate of pay for the assignments I was offered.

Taking the test wasn't all that hard, most questions are common sense and it was really worth it.

*****Audrey
shopping southern Missouri and northern Arkansas

Audrey
happily shopping southern Missouri and northern Arkansas
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VickieM
Valued Contributor

Crane, TX
USA
161 Posts

Posted - 06/09/2005 :  11:30:58 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I think it is definately going to help, I got an offer from a company that had never sent me an email before.

Vickie
MSPA Silver Certified wpdtls
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.TomODell
Inactive

Mesa, AZ
USA
10 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2005 :  12:53:03 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Have noticed no difference after getting silver. Must be related to specific companies or geographical location?? I assume same applies to gold.
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Dee in AZ
Star Contributor

Tucson, AZ
USA
663 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2005 :  1:37:44 PM  Send Dee in AZ an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hi Tom,
Your in a pretty tough area to see much difference with just the silver certification. It should help you get in with some new companies and distinquish you from the masses of uncertified new shoppers but your best bet is to apply with as many companies as you can and do a great job on your reports. There have been at least 2 Gold workshops in the Phoenix area and one last January in the Tucson area so you have a lot of competition. There are also many experienced shoppers in the area that are not certified but have proven themselves with the companies. That doesn't mean you can't find jobs and build up a reputation. Just that you might not notice a big leap after getting your silver. As with anything it doesn't happen real fast but doing a great job and putting the time in finding jobs will pay off in the end. You will find that some companies try to only use certified shoppers but there are others who don't consider it at all.
Good Luck!


Deanna Kessler
Deannna.kessler@seelevelhx.com
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KimG
Star Contributor

Orlando, FL
USA
628 Posts

Posted - 06/23/2005 :  2:24:49 PM  Send KimG an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I silver certified today! I do hope it helps. But I found that a lot of the sites I signed up for, either has no place for certification, or they only have an application online, and nowhere to sign in to change your profile. If there is another seminar down my way, I may try for Gold.

The test was really easy.

Kim
silver certified njtwnf
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Shanna Hageman
Contributor

Orlando, FL
USA
54 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2005 :  07:01:33 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I've been gold certified for 1 1/2 years now. I did not notice any difference right after the conference when I updated all my sassie profiles and other information. I think I have probably been given a few shops that I would not have gotten being silver certified or uncertified, but when it comes down to it, I don't make any more money than I did before. The conference wasn't that expensive and I didn't have to travel to attend, so I think it was worth it. I'd like to hear from some schedulers on their opinion. When you see GOLD do you prefer that shopper over another??

MSPA Gold Certified loidjr
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VernaBailey
Member

Texas
USA
14 Posts

Posted - 06/24/2005 :  09:11:35 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I also am in a highly saturated area. I don't think I would have a fighting chance without my Silver Cert. and am going cross country to get the Gold. I hope this will help out!
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