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 Is being MSPA Silver or Gold Certified Worth It?
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LyndaShops
Contributor

hutto, TX
USA
51 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2005 :  2:25:37 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Being gold has made it possible for me to receive jobs before they are posted for everyone. I am getting more assignments now since I have gone gold.
Happy shopping and Good Luck.

Lynda
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ChrisT
Star Contributor

USA
1513 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2006 :  09:42:35 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hmm...that's interesting that several people have posted in the new thread about tips to make the Gold workshop better, that there were no reps or very few at their workshop and that they weren't notified ahead of time. Appears like it's close to false advertising when you look at the website for the workshop and it says: "Another highlight of most Gold Workshops will be meeting Mystery Shopping company owners and/or staff members in the cities where they are based."

Of course it does say MOST, which CTA, but I'm pretty sure the MSPA knows that the main reason shoppers are going there is to network. They should at least let shoppers know if any, and what, shopper companies have signed up for the workshop.

ChrisT
Deliriously Happy Shopping Uncertifiable
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JoyB
Valued Contributor

Cherry Hill, NJ
USA
212 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2006 :  1:46:32 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
When I went to the gold over 2 years ago I believe there were 2 companies with reps at the workshop. I met with both but neither garnered me any extra work. One even advertised for a job shortly thereafter which I applied for and reminded the rep of our meeting at the Gold and received no response. One rep sent me a lovely thank you note for introducing myself but since the company is self assign that meant nothing also as it did not give me any better access to the jobs posted.

Gold Certified Shopper in South Jersey - Cherry Hill, Marlton, Voorhees, Moorestown, Mt. Laurel, Berlin, Medford and other neighboring towns.
joy.bennett@verizon.net
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Paula Kutka
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1671 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2006 :  2:52:07 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have two experiences as a result of when I attended the Gold.

I met a shopper from Volition who had just turned scheduler with a scheduling company. I have been offered shops, done some and even had to turn some down since I'm pretty booked up.

Another shopper I initially met at that same Gold workshop just became a scheduler in the past few months. It sure was nice to get a $396.00 check for two days of shops which I was offered in October as a result of knowing her and her recommendation. Naturally I had to follow through with the shops and do a good job. I never would of received the shops, though if I had not attended and done a little networking with her at that first initial Gold Workshop.

So for those that don't get anything off of Gold Workshop attendance, there are those that do. That's how life works in general. Here's to wishing your connections happen. Remember to follow up after the workshop, not just once but perhaps several months down the road. It's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.

Paula
Gold Certified shopping the Houston/Galveston area and IAH Airport since 2002
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Debra
Star Contributor

Colorado Springs, CO
USA
629 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2006 :  2:55:23 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have a question for those who think being certified IS beneficial (I already know the answer from those who don't ), or if any MS company representatives could answer, that would be awesome!

Is it any more beneficial to obtain multiple certifications?

I wouldn't think so......but when I went Gold, I met a gentleman who was something like "Triple-Gold Certified" (or more!). I asked him what that meant, and he said he had went to multiple Gold workshops and I believe he had multiple certification numbers ??? (not sure about that). He seemed to think it was very important. (I don't recall our entire conversation, it was a while ago!)

Debra

Shopping the Rockies
MSPA Gold Certified #cdgxel
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ArtemisPub
Contributor

West Palm Beach, FL
USA
152 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2006 :  6:26:41 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I've been silver certified for about nine months and receive shop offers from the better MSCs. However, I believe it is the quality/scores of my survey reports that attracts more shops and higher fees, not the MSPA certification. AFAIK, MSPA certified shoppers are NOT offered higher fees, just the first chance at shop selection.

I would not bother getting gold certified unless the shops paid higher fees. On the basis of meritocracy, the best shoppers should earn higher fees because they know how to do the job and get their survey reports in on time. Since these skills and reliability are important to MSCs and their clients, they should be taken into account when assigning shops. I'm presuming that shopper history and scores are taken into consideration by schedulers when assigning shops, although location and survey date may be critical as well. Bonuses are nice, but are not reliable.

Artemis Smith
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CarolineJ
Apprentice

Calgary, Alberta
Canada
2 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2006 :  8:15:08 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Just wondering if anyone in Canada has found the certification worthwhile?
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Elizabeth36
Star Contributor

Greenville, NC
USA
566 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2006 :  8:16:58 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am just gonna sit back and eat popcorn and enjoy the show!!!

It's getting good now that people are attacking one another!!!

All kidding aside...

For those who don't believe in the workshop.. Great!.. Don't go... Don't spend your money.. Tell folks on here that you think it is a bunch of crap... I also find it interesting that so far (and I may be wrong but don't feel like reading all 10 pages of posts to be sure)noone that has actually gone to one has come on here and said it wasn't worth it...

But really, you actually have no idea what happens at the workshop or how people benefit if you have never gone to one so isn't a little unreasonable to start calling people liars (which someone did..) or to start attacking those who found it beneficial????

I thought there was an age limit to be on here??!?!!??

Elizabeth
Shopping Greenville NC and surrounding areas!
I WANT MORE MERCHANDISING WORK! Call me, ok?
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Twila
Star Contributor

TX
USA
2695 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2006 :  8:18:11 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have to agree with Mimi, Quinn is one of the smartest gentlemen I have ever met on Volition and seems to do just fine , thank you in making money without your advice Honey! Mimi is also correct in the fact that a certificate does diddly squat for helping get shops. Just get online and grab em as they come is my motto and Honey I make good money on shopping as well as holding down a full time job.
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Nora
Star Contributor

PA
USA
6341 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2006 :  8:28:58 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Ahh, but Elizabeth, you do need to read the whole 10 pages! Remember, also, that the attacks ran both ways. Be glad that it is only 10 pages;this thread, in its previous incarnation, was even lengthier and much feedback was mistakenly deleted forever by a moderator. At any rate, HeatherN very graciously outlined the "syllabus"; perhaps that one post will help you.
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ChrisT
Star Contributor

USA
1513 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2006 :  10:45:51 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Elizabeth34
I also find it interesting that so far (and I may be wrong but don't feel like reading all 10 pages of posts to be sure)noone that has actually gone to one has come on here and said it wasn't worth it...
I'm not about to go read all the post either Liz , but I do remember that there have been several people who have said 'the educational value' was nil. The syllabus posted supports this. Most say they gained more from the networking or went mainly for that.

ChrisT
Deliriously Happy Shopping Uncertifiable
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GVargas
Valued Contributor

WA
USA
163 Posts

Posted - 01/10/2006 :  12:38:45 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
There's a fine-dining restaurant that is shopped by two MSCs that I've been trying to get. Both MSCs only sent out invitations to Silver certified members. The first company just let's you sign up for the shop and then they decide whether you get it or not. I've been trying for months and haven't been chosen. The second company asked for a writing sample to be considered for the shop. After I sent in my sample, I got a call from the scheduler who told me she loved my writing sample and thought I would be great for the shop. She even implied that if I did a good job, I might be put on rotation for the shop in the future.

So, this just goes to show that certification is not enough in and of itself -- you still have to do a good job. Those on the "anti-certification" side could argue that the second MSC shouldn't have bothered to put the restriction of only inviting Silver ceritifed members to apply since they were doing a thorough screening of candidates, but for whatever reason they did. Certification was my foot in the door, a good writing sample is what ultimately got me the job, and a good report (wish me luck, I'm doing the shop tomorrow) will hopefully allow me to continue with this client.
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Andi
Star Contributor

FL
USA
740 Posts

Posted - 01/10/2006 :  05:02:02 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mimi
It's pretty insulting to hear you can make lots of money by spending money on some sort of certificate.
I agree that mystery shopping is not exactly rocket science, but I did not buy my certificate. I sat through a day-long seminar and then had to pass a test, thank you very much!

Andi
MSPA Gold Certified
Shopping Central Eastern Florida
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CathyK16
Apprentice

Los Angeles, CA
USA
3 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2006 :  3:35:19 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I just attended the Gold Workshop in San Diego yesterday, so I cannot tell you whether or not it will "pay off" for me financially. What I can tell you is that I truly enjoyed every single minute. The Workshop was conducted very professionally from start to finish. I actually wished that it was longer!

It was great getting to network and finally meet "live human beings" as opposed to mystery people on the internet. All of the guest speakers and attendees were friendly and approachable. I am also now highly considering attending the Chicago educational in July.

Thanks MSPA.

Cathy

Cathy
MSPA Gold certified
Shopping Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura Counties
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RochelleP
Member

Cheyenne, WY
USA
11 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2006 :  11:33:31 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I got my silver certification this month. I went in and updated this information with the MS companies I am signed up with. A couple of the companies that I have never heard from before have since contacted me with shop offers. They may have contacted me anyway...but it just seems funny that the first time I hear from them is just after I put in my silver information. In my mind the $15 I paid for the silver certification has been worth it.

MSPA Silver Certified
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Roswitha
Star Contributor

Pinellas Park, FL
USA
445 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2006 :  07:52:40 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Well, I decided it was worth my time and money to attend the Gold workshop in Tampa.

Both newspapers in our Metro area had a reporter present and they interviewed Cathy Stucker and the shoppers attending the seminar. I found one of the articles in the Sunday paper. It talked about the MSPA and mentioned that some of the shoppers generated a monthly income of anywhere between $300 and $1000.

Cathy S. gave a well rounded, professional presentation but I was a little disappointed to find Kern was the only company that sent a rep., Mary G., who candidly answered many questions.
I was also a bit surprised at the mix of shoppers because there were several that had been shopping 8 years or more and about a third were newbies with limited or no experience.
Thank goodness out of the 50 or so attendees there were only 4 shopping in my area and of those only one likes doing my favorite banking/financial shops. All the newbies wanted were restaurant/FF and entertainment shops. So as far as competition I don't see any impact there.
Less than half the shoppers had heard of volition and at lunch (which was excellent, I am a foodie and appreciated the nice spread) I made it a point to let all the newbies know about the forum and the company list.
I went home with a couple of networking contacts and the hope that the Gold will give me an edge on future shops. Time will tell.

Roswitha
MSPA Gold Shopping sunny Florida Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo .....
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ShawnaL
Star Contributor

USA
492 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2006 :  09:22:13 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I went Gold recently and have found that I am receiving notification of job offers earlier than before. There are several companies that post opportunities for Gold shoppers a few days before anybody else. I think this has to do with the % of dropped shops from Gold shoppers being much lower than with non-certified shoppers. The presentation at the workshop was not boring. I did get annoyed at some of the questions shoppers were asking and how nitpicky some people really are. Come on, one person grilled the staff over paying $3 for parking..like the schedulers had a choice in the matter...gimme a break! My favorite part was lunch, the food was not the best, but I loved meeting shoppers and found that several had only been shopping for a few months. I was happy to share my experiences and met a lot of great people. It was surprising that about 40% were males and there were people of all ages there. This sort of event may not be for everyone, but it made me feel a little better about mystery shopping and got me a bit more motivated.

I will also say that I did not learn much new information from the speaker. She was very nice and upbeat, but I have been shopping for a few years, so have fine tuned how I go about assignments. I did contribute quite a bit and feel that my tips may have helped some newbies.

Shawna
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MarshaDavis
Member

Ohio
USA
16 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2006 :  4:12:43 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I started MSing without any certification and did get some O.K. jobs. I passed the Silver Test and updated all of my applications. I am now getting the better shops with bigger bonuses. I think that if you are trying to earn some extra cash that the $15 fee is a great investment.

Marsha
Silver Certified
Shopping & Auditing Central and Southwest Ohio
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SarahAnn
Member

Saint Paul, Minnesota
USA
37 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2006 :  8:38:01 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
How do I get silver certified? Where do I take the test?
thanks,
Sarah

Sarah Wenthold - Silver Certified
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Ruthie
Member

New York
USA
18 Posts

Posted - 03/23/2006 :  11:08:07 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I preformed my first mystery shop five and a half weeks ago. As I was, (and still am) applying to MS companies, I came across more and more companies that ask if you have an MSPA certification. I figured that it would be worth looking into. After I researched it, I decided the fee would be worth it, so I certified. Four days later I got some assignments that interested me. I cannot say for sure if the silver certification was the thrust that got the shops coming to me. However, why would so many MS companies ask if you carry a certification if it didn't matter one way or the other? I will mention, as others have already, that I applied to MS companies and did not hear from them. After I updated my profiles to silver certified, I got emails containing shop offers from those companies. I feel that I invested the $15.00 wisely. If the opportunity to become gold certified comes to my area, I'll be there.[wave]

MSPA Silver Certified
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