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Friday, March 19

Making Money Mystery Shopping: Streamlining

Mystery shopping means you get to be your own boss. I'm not a loner, but I'm not a social butterfly, either. I have no problem working autonomously. I'm not the best team player: In high school when I was assigned to a group project, I was the kid that always ended up doing the majority of the work... I'm sure some of you can relate. With mystery shopping, my success is completely in my hands.

To be successful you have to avoid burnout. I do this by streamlining as many of the mundane things as I can. For example, if I simply followed the instructions I was given, I would print about 400 pages of paper every week for forms and instructions. Instead I have created templates for the shops I do regularly. For my gas stations (I shop or audit nearly all the major brands) , I created Excel templates that enable me to jot down notes for 8 shops on a single sheet of paper (16 by using both sides of the paper). I labeled my rows with all the pertinent information so that I forget nothing.

I also have found that having duplicate (or even triplicate) directions is worth the cost. I have a GPS unit in my car, another on my phone, and often I will print directions from the Internet. Getting lost is always a possibility for me, especially since some of the more lucrative jobs I do tend to be in isolated areas. In this line of work, time is money and losing 30 minutes to a wrong turn will kill my productivity.

I continue to look for ways to be more efficient. For example, I tried using a broadband card in my laptop so that I could enter shops from my car wherever I am. Unfortunately, I wasn't happy with the connection speed and found that actually took longer than just entering everything at the end of the day. Another issue is finding a really good portable scanner (for receipts and other paperwork that has to be uploaded). I've tried a couple that just plug into the laptop via a USB cord, but was disappointed by the quality.


  1. Hi,

    I am reading most of your posts because I am interested in trying Mystery Shopping. Have you thought about using an IPAD as a scanner? I think it has these capabilities. I'm pretty sure for receipts at least.

    Also, a bit of topic...what do you think of MSPA?

  2. would you consider putting a link to your excel form? I do a number of gas shops myself and streamlining is always a good thing..