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If you're looking for an easy-to-understand, helpful introduction into all things mystery shopping, you'll love AboutFace. From the very first "Become a Mystery Shopper" page, they make it very clear what to expect, from your Independent Contractor Agreement to the steps of their assignment process.
Don't get bogged down by all the words on that page, though. Click on the links in the upper right-hand side of the page (or the three horizontal bars, if you're on a mobile device) to see why AboutFace is the name to know. For example, in the Shop with Us section, you'll find links for why you should partner with them: their A+ rating with the BBB, toll-free number for any questions you may have, and a description of other benefits are all there. Also, according to that page, AboutFace offers more than mystery shopping - you can also take advantage of opportunities in field research, focus groups, even product demonstrations.
You also want to check out the Resources tab. Whether you decide to work with AboutFace or through a different mystery shopping provider, the information AboutFace offers can help you be successful. From how to use mobile devices to choose available shopping opportunities or submit reports, to the basic steps for how to have a successful evaluation, you'll go into the working relationship knowing exactly what's expected of you. They don't want there to be any "mystery" involved when it comes to turning in your work, so they give their shoppers clear expectations from the start.
And, of course, the Shopper FAQ page is the best resource for any other questions that prospective mystery shoppers tend to have. On that page, you'll see how often and in what method to expect payment (45 days after you submit your shop and via PayPal, by the way), as well as links to AboutFace's social media accounts. We strongly recommend you give those a click even before signing up; according to the FAQ, AboutFace uses those channels to let their shoppers know in advance about any upcoming projects that might be of interest.
AboutFace has a great reputation among mystery shoppers for high-quality shops, excellent shopper support, and on-time payments. Combined with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, those marks of success mean that AboutFace should be at the top of your list when deciding which mystery shopping provider to choose as your partner.
Based out of Ann Arbor, MI, Second To None has been in business since 1989 and has worked with leading brands in the US and Canada to improve their customer experience.
On Second To None's main mystery shopper page, you'll find a general overview of what makes a successful mystery shopper and the benefits of doing this type of work. We found most of the information to be too generic to be useful; most people interested in mystery shopping already know that it allows them to earn extra income according to their own schedule, and that they're expected to have excellent skills with respect to observation, writing, and speaking. We would have liked to see more specifics about Second To None's approach to secret shopping: do they use an app for job notifications and evaluations? What does the shopper portal look like? How often do they pay their contractors? None of these questions are answered on the shoppers' info page.
While you can enter fake details to create an account if you'd like to see what the signup process includes, along with the independent contractor agreement, you are required to click on a link that is sent in a verification email. So, at the very least, you'll want to provide an accurate email address to see what STN has to offer. Fortunately, in creating that "placeholder' account, you will not have to include a Social Security Number.
We would have loved to rank Second To None higher, because we found many positive comments from current and previous mystery shoppers. But, in comparison with other secret shopping providers, this company has much less information to help a prospective contractor make the decision. We'd easily move them up in the rankings if their site included more in-depth details, such as a video showing the shopper dashboard or an FAQ page explaining their payment schedule/process, any use of mobile devices for their shops, or even access to a live list of shops in a person's area.
To help you find the Best Mystery Shopping, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of About Face and Second To None.
Who wouldn't love to get paid to shop, eat out, or go to the movies? That may sound too good to be true, but thousands of mystery shoppers across the US and Canada are doing just that: getting paid to visit restaurants, retail stores, and even theme parks in order to provide a customer's perspective on the cleanliness, service, and overall experience at the location.
How does mystery shopping work? Most "secret shoppers", as they are also known, are hired by third-party companies that specialize in helping businesses evaluate their performance. These third-party providers maintain a database of all of the current opportunities in your area, allowing you to apply for the jobs you'd like to do.
Sometimes, if there's a high-priority shop near you, you may even receive a direct invitation to do the assignment. Of course, in order to be eligible, you'll likely have to fill out an application to be accepted as a mystery shopper for each provider that interests you.
Payment varies by company; some mystery shops pay you for your time, while others reimburse you for making a purchase that you get to keep. In either case, you'll be expected to fill out some kind of survey or evaluation regarding your experience in order to get paid. Most mystery shopping companies make payments via PayPal, though some still use traditional paper checks for their contractors.
No matter which mystery shopping company you choose, however, you should never have to pay to be a secret shopper: though you can opt for shopper training and certification to increase your chances of being selected for certain jobs, joining a reputable company's shopper database shouldn't cost you anything.
When considering the many different companies that specialize in hiring mystery shoppers, there are several aspects to keep in mind. Some of these include:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best mystery shopping providers available today. We hope this free information gets you on the road to your secret shopping experience right away!
Benefits of Mystery Shopping
If you're thinking of becoming a mystery shopper, there are a number of benefits awaiting you. In addition to terrific hours, the convenience of taking a family vacation without asking the boss and having more fun at any job than most people will ever dream of having, you will enjoy the potential for a decent income at a job that offers plenty of free perks. Below are just a handful of detailed benefits for mystery shoppers.
Flexible work schedule. When you get a job as a mystery shopper, you receive paperwork necessary for your evaluation and you will enjoy being able to arrive at work according to your own schedule. Once you have completed your assessment, you simply fill out the evaluation and submit it to the company that hired you. Being able to set your own hours and work as much or as little as you want are two of the greatest benefits to being a mystery shopper.
Variety. Instead of sitting in the same old office and staring out the same old window every day, mystery shopping offers a literal change in scenery. One day you may be evaluating a retail store, the next a fine restaurant and the next a movie theater. Can you imagine being paid to watch a movie or dine out? If you would enjoy getting out of a career slump, mystery shopping may be the boost that you need.
Income potential. Whether you want to participate in mystery shopping as a way to earn a few extra bucks or you want to turn it into a part or full-time career, the choice is yours. The more mystery shopping companies that you sign up with, the more income you may receive. As is the case with anything, your reward(s) that you receive will largely be determined by your efforts.
Be in business for yourself. The fact is that you are the best boss that you will ever have. When you work for yourself as a mystery shopper, you are working on your schedule, according to your hours and have more control over your income. Self-employed individuals receive tax advantages, receive higher rates of pay and are much more likely to enjoy their work.
Free stuff. When you are a mystery shopper, you are assigned a job that requires you to evaluate either a product or service. You will be given specific instructions as to what items, if any, are required to be purchased in accordance with your evaluation. Whether it is a slice of pizza or a pair of sunglasses, you will almost always be reimbursed for the cost of these items by the company who hires you as a mystery shopper. What this means for you is, in addition to being compensated financially for your job, you will also often enjoy the benefits of freebies.
Interesting work. At the end of the day, which side of the customer counter would you prefer to be on? Would you rather be the cashier ringing up the purchase or would you rather be shopping and getting paid for it? If you are like most, the latter is the most appealing option. When you are a mystery shopper, your work is never boring because it varies from one day to the next. You can never get bored by seeing the same people every day or doing the same activities. Mystery shopping will keep you stepping high and well over any slumps that a traditional job may offer.
Mystery Shopping In The News
There are a lot of reasons to be wary of mystery shopper opportunities. Let's dissect an actual example shared by a couple of our astute readers who called to see if this was just a scam and if so, to ...
Published: Thu, 15 Nov 2018 04:00:00 GMT
This week, a man reached out to our 11 Call for Action team when he was tricked into thinking he landed a new job as a mystery shopper. It turns out it was just a scam, and he lost hundreds of ...
Published: Sun, 04 Nov 2018 12:40:00 GMT
A shopper was left mystified after a UFO appeared in the sky above Exeter's Ikea store. Steve Shaw saw the glowing sight moving through sky at around 4.30pm on Wednesday. Perplexed at what it might be ...
Published: Thu, 15 Nov 2018 04:34:00 GMT
Mr Nguyen was hit by an unknown car on the evening of May 24, 2016, while walking home from Inala Shopping Centre. Van Phuc Nguyen, 50, was captured buying groceries at the Inala Woolworths prior to h...
Published: Thu, 15 Nov 2018 03:55:00 GMT
On Veterans Day, the 86-year-old Korean War veteran, who still works, was shopping for a new wood-burning ... Springdale on Sunday (Nov. 11) when the mystery man paid for the wood-burning stove ...
Published: Tue, 13 Nov 2018 17:44:00 GMT
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) --A man thought he landed a new job as a mystery shopper. It turns out it was just a scam, and he lost hundreds of dollars. Katie Pelton explains what to watch for in th...
Published: Thu, 01 Nov 2018 13:09:00 GMT
Yet after three weeks, residents are left with a terrifying mystery that goes beyond the shocking deaths ... social media accounts show. She adores shopping and Starbucks Frappuccinos, her aunt, Jenni...
Published: Mon, 05 Nov 2018 23:27:00 GMT
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