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 Making a Full Time Income From Mystery Shopping
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.Beth C
Inactive

Hagerstown, MD
USA
13 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2004 :  11:12:04 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am or should I say was a close to full-time, experienced evaluator (I receive mostly tens and excellents on evals) who has thrown in the towel...low pay...ever increasing demands...last minute cancellations, ever increasing volume of newbies who will take jobs at ever lower rates...checks that take weeks or months to arrive finally did me in. I have to work 3 times as hard now as I did even a year ago to make the same money. I ended up figuring out that I was making less than minimum wage.

Got hooked up with an Internet marketing company and made $500.00 my first week with immediate payment within days...As much as I love being a professional evaluator it doesn't pay like it used to and there are so many other types of contract work that pay alot more. I still will pick up a few higher paying apartment and car dealer shops but no more low paying ones.

What is ya'lls experience....

MSMatty
Member

Toledo, Ohio
USA
25 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2004 :  12:29:22 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have come to the same conclusion. We are having ridiculous demands placed on us: compensation only jobs, embarrassing scenarios, incomplete or confusing directions, low pay and presumption of MS companies that we are defrauding them (and frequent harassing follow up emails and calls).
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Paula Kutka
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1671 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2004 :  12:38:04 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Well for part time work it's been a lifesaver for me. Yes there are demands and some of them strange but I have demands on me at my other jobs that are strange. The one thing that I do find annoying is waiting 90 days for the money. That drives me nuts but I have been paid all of it.
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.Beth C
Inactive

Hagerstown, MD
USA
13 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2004 :  1:17:59 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Paula...I hear ya...

I certainly have appreciated the living that I made in the past from this industry....and there are a few companies that pay well enough and fast enough that I'll stay with...but I just can't put up with a three month wait...you have to consider the "opportunity cost" of money. Basically, I look at it like this. Mystery shop companies who don't pay quickly are not only asking me service their clients but to bankroll their business also...Banks get interest. Last time I checked there was no interest added into my checks that came in weeks later...Just my two cents.
Beth C.
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Kimmme
Star Contributor

Costa Mesa, CA
USA
399 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2004 :  1:26:54 PM  Send Kimmme an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
A lifesaver for me as well, as long as it's part time and only a salary "enhancer" as I have to consider it money I'm not counting on until I receive it. So far there have only been 2 companies that have lost or not sent out checks when they were supposed to, both Sassie. Both in December. (ugh) But for the most part, it has been the solution to my evergrowing problem. I'm supporting 2 people on 1 measly income. I had no idea how I could make more money yet not have to be away from my son until I found this. Rent goes up, the cost of living goes up but salaries don't match the rise.

If I was to do it full time, I'd go crazy! I can't live on money that may or may not come in before or after 90 days...

All in all, I'm being patient; it's been a Godsend. Hey, that ole "missing" check from a month ago might actually show up when I'm sure I'll need it... I love these trickling checks as long as I don't count the days and depend on them to arrive on a specified date.

Kim
MSPA Gold 8/2004
Shopping in Orange County, CA
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Paula Kutka
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1671 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2004 :  2:27:54 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Well I can understand what you are saying. I do three different things as an IC and work full time. I don't think I could make it moneywise as a full time mystery shopper. Everyone has to choose what works best for them and for me it's part time mystery shopper only. I enjoy the extras it provides.
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MPresley
Valued Contributor

Lake Mary, FL
USA
155 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2004 :  2:39:05 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'm thrilled with my part time income from MSing. Finding a part-time job that pays me on average $100 per week and that allows me the flexibility that this does just wouldn't happen otherwise. My money all goes into an account for my daughter's education. I expect to put away $4000 this year for that just from Msing and I'm not sure if it would even be possible to chase scholarships (in my spare time) and come up with nearly that much $$$ and I know I could be spending hours upon frustrating hours filling out scholarship apps for zilch. So I consider this a guaranteed scholarship. But full time....No thanks..!!!

GOLD Certificate hxxy4v shopping Orlando, Winter Park, Sanford, Lake Mary, Orange City, Deltona, Deland, Oviedo, Altamonte Springs, FL
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TeddCherry
Trainee

Porterfield, WI
USA
6 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2004 :  3:55:42 PM  Send TeddCherry an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am a senior in High school, I find it very nice to be able to work after school to do the shops, and I get paid all I need between Demoing and mystery shopping! Its great!

Demonstrating and Msing in North Eastern Wisconsion
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DonnaOhio
Trainee

USA
6 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2004 :  06:15:04 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I don't know if I could make a full-time living doing this. I get tired of doing the reports, not the shops. The pay is lower than it used to be so I have stopped accepting certain shops. I have also stopped accepting shops where I have to buy a computer, phone, or kitchen sink then turn around one hour later and return it. The shop has to have reasonable expectations or I will not do it. I will not do restaurant shops that do not fully reimburse me for the meal. Some companies pay quickly, but I don't like waiting six weeks to get my money for my credit card purchase that was due three weeks earlier. I shop mostly for a little extra income. I have just stopped doing the shops that eat up more time and burn more gas in my car than the money I make.
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VickiA
Star Contributor

Rapid City, SD
USA
845 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2004 :  06:46:18 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I needed a part time income and I found it. I wish there were more jobs that paid a little higher, but everyone has a wish list. I find myself accepting the lower paying shops because that's really all there is in my area. I have yet to make more than $10.00 for a shop fee. The highest reimbursement ever was $25 and that was with no shop fee, so my pickings are a little slim in this area. I can't see doing it full time because I would in no way make that amount of money....ever....

Silver Shopper ID# 3akxzg Shopping Rapid City South Dakota and surrounding areas!
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HollyBee
Member

Portland, OR
USA
19 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2004 :  09:45:17 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have been mystery shopping for the last year and a half. Although it started as a way to make ends meet with a part-time flexible job, it has become much more time consuming and lucrative than I had first ecpected.

I love mystery shopping, and if I find a way to make it a full-time job, I probably will go for it! I truly love the independence it offers, and I scrabble hard seeking the best assignments, which will offer me dignified work, as well as pay me a respectful amount of money.

Don't get me wrong... It is not all gravy. Sometimes I have taken the 10 foot pole jobs, just to find out what is going on with it. Other times, I have been surprised to find out that what sounded like a great job, turned out to be a bizarre exercise in futility.

As far as the money goes, I have finally reached $200-$250 per week from MSing, with the best part being that I am spending the same amount of time 10 jobs as I used to spend on 25. I love that!

My next goal is to be Gold Certified as soon as the workshop comes to Portland, OR. I can't wait to meet everyone.

Holly
MSPA Gold Certified
Whistling as I shop the Portland Metro area & Beyond. . .
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AdAora
Star Contributor

Deep in the heart of, TX
USA
3770 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2004 :  09:55:03 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
As a teacher, I think I have it the best. I do it part-time during the school year, and as "full-time" as I can or want to during all the holidays.
There is no way I would ever consider doing this full-time, unless I am somehow guaranteed a steady income from somewhere - investments, or maybe really rich kids who will support me in my old age.

Gold certified in TX
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AnnieT
Contributor

Raleigh, NC
USA
92 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  08:06:33 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am wondering how many folks on here do mystery shopping full-time?

I don't have a "regular" job and meant for mystery shopping to be a part-time gig to earn some extra money and give me something to do to fill up long boring hours and days, but I have found I am working much harder and longer than "part-time".

Even though I don't have a regular job, my time is still valuable and I refuse to take the low paying jobs. The longer I do this, the pickier I get!

So, how many of you do this "full-time" and how long (hours per day or week or month0 do you spend doing it?
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Paula Kutka
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1671 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  08:14:59 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I responded months ago that I was part time and I'm still part time at it. It's just wonderful. I think it really is meant as a supplemental job. Don't take as many jobs if it is annoying or hard for you. I think it is wonderful though and like the freedom to choice in areas of time and how much I want to make.

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

MD
USA
1168 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  08:21:41 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am also a part-time mystery shopper. I have a full-time job, but this is a nice way to supplement my income. As I do a lot of restaurant shops, it allows me and my husband to go out more than we would otherwise be able to. I couldn't imagine being able to support myself doing this full-time, but just like Paula wrote, I enjoy the freedom and flexibility that mystery shopping offers.

MSPA Gold certified: #5bqyg3
Specializing in hotel, spa, and fine dining evaluations throughout MD, DC, and Northern VA
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KimberSoCA
Valued Contributor

Sherman Oaks, CA
USA
131 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  08:48:12 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I too am a part-time shopper. It is a great way to supplement my income. I am now up to about $200-250 per week. It was also a lifesaver when I was in between jobs. I was able to take on more mystery shop jobs until I found a new full-time job and was able to pay all of my bills. I do notice, however, that more jobs are lower paying than 4 years ago when I started and I have become more picky in the jobs I choose.

Kimberly
MSPA Gold Certified
Shopping the Los Angeles area
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Sandi In Mississippi
Star Contributor

MS
USA
1285 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  09:13:31 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I love what I do! After retiring at 50 from 25 yrs with the state, I played with various part-time jobs: selling shoes, Avon, accounting office (part-time during tax season meant billing 90+ hrs per week). This method of making money is fabulous for me as I bank the retirement check and live on MS/Merchandising earnings. But, if I had others dependent upon me and had to consistently count on MShopping earnings to pay every bill it would be different.

About the time I started is when the influx of hobby shoppers hit the internet and got on board. In talking to those who've been at this far longer it becomes evident that working conditions, job offers, and pay have gone down, down, down. If the low-pay trend continues I'll probably turn to something else eventually. Time will tell. So long as $5 shops are snapped up by folks looking for something to fill time, none of us will see any real money. However, I actually enjoy the process of planning, shopping, and reporting. It's demanding and challenging. Yet after completing what you obligated yourself for you can simply say, "I'll pass on that one next time." and be finished with it. Or you can go grab some more! Not like the grind of a day-to-day commitment.

Another thing I like is the 'treasure hunt' aspect of finding something new. There are so many companies who don't shop Mississippi it's exciting when something new moves in (yeah coffee shops)! It's wonderful to simply decide at the start of each month that certain days are not work days and then have the ability to craft my own schedule. Yes, I work 4-5 days a week, but they are the days I choose. It feels good to turn in information which may correct lax management and make a difference in customer service. I've made some good friends and associates through this business. Key to me is 'turning off' those who intend to talk down, mistreat, confuse, or take advantage of me. With the stroke of a pencil or the zap of a computer key they disappear. Where else can you work steady and erase irritations?
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DonnaYarb
Valued Contributor

Bonaire, GA
USA
244 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  10:29:35 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I don't know if I'm a full-timer or not because it is hard to determine how many hours a week I work. I've never worked 8 hours a day for five days a week doing this, but some days I may work 12 hours and not work any the next. When my husband started making noices about wanting me to go back to a normal full time job we sat down and looked at the numbers. As of June I had averaged only $200 less a month than what I had been bringing home as a station manager of three radio stations. When you factor in afterschool costs and holiday/summer daycare, it would cost me more to "go back to work." Last month I made over $1000 more than what my average is, though this month is smaller since I took a vacation.

Donna Yarbrough
MSPA Silver Certification # 4xkrhh
Shopping In Central Georgia
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BlueAbe
Star Contributor

Mid-Central, Ohio
USA
2090 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  12:11:51 PM  Visit BlueAbe's Homepage  Send BlueAbe an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am a full time mystery shopper, and the income was not very good. With gas prices constantly hitting $2 a gallon, and the hotel bills every night (!!), it gets to be very expensive at times. Shop fees do keep going down. I recently dropped my route in another state that I was doing because I wasn't making any money. There's a new route I was offered starting in January but the pay is just not worth it (even if it IS closer to home). As of Sept. 15th I will no longer be mystery shopping full time, I am going to another field where I will actually be paid what I'm worth.

Gold certified since the beginning. Merchandising, Mystery shopping, & Court Research throughout Mid-Central Ohio.
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GRevell
Member

Clermont, FL
USA
18 Posts

Posted - 08/28/2004 :  5:47:37 PM  Send GRevell an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
Reading every ones post from now to over a year ago. I too have dropped a lot of the shops as the fee and/or the time is not worth it. I have picked up several merchandising jobs that pay well. So now when I look for shops I look to see whats available the day I am out doing my merchandising. Next month I have basically picked up enough lunches and gas shops along my route for most of the month.
I looked back and I will continue to be picky and leave the low paying jobs to the newbies.
Also I love fast food so I never have a shortage of jobs in that field.
gail in clermont fl

Gail
Serving Central Florida,Clermont,Leesburg,Mount Dora, Apopka, Windermere, Lake Buena Vista,Ocoee,Winter Garden, Oakland,Eustis, Tavares,and parts of Kissimmee and Orlando
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Marcy
Valued Contributor

Terre Haute, IN
USA
191 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2004 :  06:54:39 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Add me to the list of people who are looking into merchandising more than mystery shopping. I don't think I'll ever give up mystery shopping, but the steady income of merchandising and not having to look for jobs daily has a much better appeal to me at this point. I still can not take on alot of work, since my youngest is only in preschool two days a week, but it's a start

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