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

CA
USA
150 Posts

Posted - 03/14/2008 :  7:32:42 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Pam, aren't you worried the answer to your comment will cast aspersions on the whole process? ;-)
-Tim


Timothy
MSPA GOLD Certified
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 03/14/2008 :  8:13:57 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Congratulations to you too Tim! I see the signature now has "Gold" in it. As for worrying, no not me....

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

Oklahoma
USA
255 Posts

Posted - 03/14/2008 :  8:32:19 PM  Visit CarolynV's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Congrats Tim! But I think I may want to hold off for a few weeks from buying that Mercedes I thought I could afford once I became gold certified! ROFLMAO (NOT!)

Carolyn
Gold certified MSPA shopper in Oklahoma
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Betsy E
Valued Contributor

Birmingham, AL
USA
170 Posts

Posted - 04/01/2008 :  12:53:30 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Since last year (2007) I noted that it would be the year I would figure out if gold v. silver was worth it, here's the update for those following the whole thread:

I'm silver but needed to know if $99 was worth it. I say no. Here's why:

Never went gold, never lacked for work during the year. Schedulers call several times a week asking for my help, but I am too busy with non-MS stuff to help most of the time.

I still got lovely resort, hotel and fine dining shops. Perhaps there were some I never saw because of my mere silver cert., but I haven't noticed anything.

Since I am in Birmingham, AL, a pretty small city MS-wise, I don't compete at a cut-throat capacity with other shoppers. I have competition, but not as large a quantity as other cities. Most of the time the rotation requirements on some of the higher-end shops allow for us to all get our turns.

So, the moral of the story for me is that Silver certified undeniably got me in the door but now that I am there, the Gold cert. has not been needed.

Best of luck out there everyone.
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.KimSVision
Star Contributor

Orange County, CA
USA
1383 Posts

Posted - 04/01/2008 :  2:35:27 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Betsy E

Since last year (2007) I noted that it would be the year I would figure out if gold v. silver was worth it, here's the update for those following the whole thread:...
Which proves my point...... If you are in an area without lots of competition, the Silver certificate is enough.

If you are in an area, saturated with too many Gold shoppers, you are no better off than you were as a non-certified shopper.
Way too many shoppers here in O.C., CA.

I used to be known by many companies as a good shopper........got called to pick up last minute-bonused shops. It's been a few years...

~ Kim -Gold since 8/04
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DeborahW
Star Contributor

Bellevue, WA
USA
779 Posts

Posted - 05/13/2008 :  1:38:35 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I recently got my Gold and have seen no difference at all in what I am offered.

MSPA Gold Certified
Specializing in hotel, restaurant and bar shops in Seattle and the Eastside since 2004
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Marcia1154
Member

MI
USA
41 Posts

Posted - 05/17/2008 :  1:50:52 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Just earned my Silver Certification today.

Marcia
Silver certified in Michigan
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Frederick_W
Contributor

Allentown, PA
USA
67 Posts

Posted - 05/17/2008 :  8:26:20 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I just got my gold certifcation. Was a fairly straight forward test, and I beleive it is worth it!

Frederick
MSPA Gold Certified
Allentown Pa and Surrounding Areas
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PamInCa
Star Contributor

CA
USA
6557 Posts

Posted - 05/17/2008 :  8:39:51 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Woo hoo! On a roll now.... Congratulations to you too! Did you do the DVD or an in person workshop?

PamInCa
Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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.Dee Shops
Inactive

HI
USA
153 Posts

Posted - 05/18/2008 :  03:16:43 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Did I think the Silver training was "worth it"? No, not at all - it was all rather common sense and rather silly to pay for it. As an academic, I expected more rigor. Do I think it got me a couple of feet in the door? Yes, for sure it did allow me to get some shops that I wanted that required I have it. That's why I did it. So it paid for itself. Will I get the Gold? Not sure. I have already completed 45 shops this month on top of a FT teaching job. I am in a city that is not a super-saturated market, and it isn't hurting me not to have it. I don't venture more than 5 miles for a shop, and rarely more than a mile and a half! Except for the occasional HI resort FD on another part of the island, or if I have to go to a store in another part of the island, I will see if I can do a shop while there. However, the Gold might help me get some shops I want that I don't see now, or maybe they just don't exist here...Its unclear. So I am sitting on the idea. We'll see.

Dee
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Frederick_W
Contributor

Allentown, PA
USA
67 Posts

Posted - 05/19/2008 :  6:50:14 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by PamInCa

Woo hoo! On a roll now.... Congratulations to you too! Did you do the DVD or an in person workshop?
I got the DVD program, and I think it is well worth it!

Frederick
MSPA Gold Certified
Allentown Pa and Surrounding Areas
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Cilla
Star Contributor

MD
USA
1433 Posts

Posted - 06/07/2008 :  12:31:29 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I regularly get invitations by email for shops that are not posted on the MSC's assignment boards. The emails say that they are being offered to MSPA certified shoppers first and will only go on the board if they are not taken by the invitees.

In addition, I have been told by several schedulers and trainers at video shopping companies that they strongly prefer Gold Certified shoppers because we tend to be much more reliable than the "average." But, they also add that they have some top shoppers who have no certifications.

Cilla
MSPA Gold Certified 2005
IMSC Certified 2009
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AmyK
Star Contributor

Marin County, CA
USA
426 Posts

Posted - 06/08/2008 :  7:08:24 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I had not returned to Volition when this topic was actively discussed. I sent off for my Gold DVD in March and finally got around to it mid-April. I received my results in about 3 hours after submission. Was it worth the money? Yeah, it was. Up until recently I was a sporadic shopper and I did learn some new things, espcially how to do the split timings using a DVR. It was useful because I never would have done seminar if I had to sit in a classroom all day--I completed the course in two 2 hour shifts. It has paid for itself because I started receiving multiple invitations to join other companies. I could have taken the time to sign up myself, but this passive invitation speeded up the process. Once I updated all the individual MS websites, and I'm still finding more, I started receiving emails targeted to MSPA certified shoppers. I have no idea if I get approved more or can self-assign more often because of this status because I have nothing to compare it to.

In life, I have always believed that the more credentials you have, especially for a woman, the better. Not that this makes me any better than anyone else. It certainly does not. Our society [usually] places a higher value on people with credentials even though the person who doesn't have them may be better qualified. I call it hedging my bet.

In the future, the gold status may take on a greater significance, and if so, I'll be ready. Conversely, with current state of the economy, I am beginning to wonder if MS companies are going to go the route of those companies that only pay between $4-7 a shop. Eventually those companies will get what they pay for.

Amy
Gold in SF Bay Area
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MartinBetchy
Contributor

Clairton, PA
USA
68 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2008 :  8:41:54 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have to wonder that same thing myself. I am now silver certified and I don't receive any e mails for certified shoppers, maybe they are just for gold certs. But my point is how can I justify the $99 when no one wants to pay more than $5-$10 per shop??? I'm doing well being silver, but no one can tell me with certainty that I will do so much better in Pittsburgh, PA getting gold. Just my .

Marty
MSPA Silver Certified in Pittsburgh, PA
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Aileen M.
Star Contributor

Naperville, IL
USA
410 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2008 :  9:29:38 PM  Visit Aileen M.'s Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
There's definitely companies that pay more than $5.00 to $10.00 per shop. If I lived in Pittsburgh (where the MSPA seminar is taking place this weekend), I would have definitely attended and gotten gold certified. The $99 is not a lot to spend to further your education. Plus, it could be written off at tax time, lowering your profits, which is always a big benefit.

I noticed a definite shop increase when I became Silver and I do intend on becoming Gold certified in the future.

Aileen Mullee
General Manager
Ann Michaels and Associates
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Madge Shawver
Star Contributor

PA
USA
299 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2008 :  9:38:32 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Since I do this very part time, I'm not wasting my money to get certified. I don't live in a large metro area and I get enough jobs right now to give me some extra $$$. I've had some very nice paying jobs with no certification, so I'll stay where I am. Plus I have no intentions of doing video shops, so that's another reason I'm satisfied where I am.

Madge
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KellyBer
Member

Glen Allen, VA
USA
25 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2008 :  05:24:06 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'm very new to shopping and I think it helped me a lot to get certified immediately. I did see some different jobs show up on some sites after I input my certification number. I've gotten opportunities with a lot of companies for non self-assign jobs and calls from schedulers on others. I think that the fact that I took the initiative to learn as much as I could from Volition and get certified has definitely helped in my case. I have seen some emails that specifically state that they're for certified shoppers.

I can't say that there was a direct correlation to the certification, but it definitely has not hurt. I also learned a lot from the Gold certification video. It was worthwhile to me.

Kelly - central VA
MSPA Gold Certified
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MichaelinNH
Star Contributor

New Hampshire
USA
488 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2008 :  04:15:21 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have had my Gold for over a year. I have not seen any change in shop availability. I did do the training for a day at a hotel, the DVD did not come out until later.

The companies that have always been good to me still are and the companies that are still in a frenzy to get one more shopper for the $3 shop are. Every once in a while I get an e-mail that says..."this goes to Gold Shoppers first.." but I suspect at the original fee offered, most Gold Shoppers pass and wait for the fee to become more realistic.

MSPA Gold 8/9/2006 MSPA Silver 6/23/2007
Video Shopper Certified 6/9/2011 NV Workcard R-061144. Shopping 50 States, Puerto Rico & Canada.
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MaryMoney
Member

Timonium, MD
USA
15 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2008 :  8:35:55 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I went to Pittsburgh, attended my first MSPA Meeting, went a day early to take the Gold Workshop and loved every minute of it. I passed the certifying exam a few days later, and I feel relieved. I don't know if it is going to make any more money for me, and I know I am not any smarter than I was before, but it tells the schedulers who don't know me that I have put the time and effort into this. I haven't suffered from a lack of work, but I want to make sure I am getting notified at the earliest possible moment of good shops. In Pittsburgh every MS company said they pay attention to the certifications and notify the certified shoppers first. A few said they notify Gold first, then they notify Silver. then they notify everyone else. I will continue to take everything that appeals to me while I am waiting for my Gold ship to come in.

Mary~~Gold Certified
Shopping the Metropolitan Baltimore Area and Central Maryland
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PamBam
Star Contributor

Schaumburg, IL
USA
317 Posts

Posted - 08/10/2008 :  3:03:29 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'm silver but think I'd like to go gold - if they really teach you how to do split timings on a DVR, count me in! But I think I'd rather do a live course. I so rarely meet another mystery shopper that it would be fun to chat with others who know this life. But it doesn't appear that they will be scheduling many more live courses so I may have to go the DVD route.

MSPA Gold Certified
Shopping domestic and international locations since 2003
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