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Tuesday, July 27

How to Make a Lot of Money Mystery Shopping

Is it possible to earn a full-time living by mystery shopping? How do I make a lot of money mystery shopping?

These are the questions I am asked most often. Let's take a look at my earnings for the first half of the year and then discuss:

2010 YTD Mystery Shopping Earnings
  • January: $926
  • February: $1,510
  • March: $3,294
  • April: $3,632
  • May: $2,136
  • June: $2,090
Total over 6 months: $13,588

I would have made more in January and February but I was also working a full-time job. Something else to consider is that this represents the fees I was paid. I track reimbursements separately. These reimbursements can be valuable. Free gas, groceries, office supplies and restaurant meals are a nice bonus on top of the fee I am paid.

So how do I do it?

  1. If I can justify the fee, I take the shop. I don't discriminate. Sure, there are shops I like more than others. For example, I'm not really crazy about fast food shops. I'm already battling a weight problem, but I also don't like the amount of time they require. I can earn the same amount of money shopping a gas station, which takes 10 minutes, as I can a fast food establishment, which may take 30 minutes to complete.
  2. I set standards and hold myself accountable. My goal is to earn $20 per hour of shopping. This includes travel time. I will take less as needed. If there aren't many shops available or if the reimbursed purchase has value, I will go lower. I keep a daily log to track my activity. It keeps me focused and also helps me spot outstanding payment issues.
  3. I sign up for any company that may have shops in my area. I didn't do this all at once: over time I have discovered new companies to shop. Sure, I have my trusty few that have several national clients. But I also have some that I may only do 1 or 2 shops a month.
  4. I'm not afraid to ask for more. Fee, that is. This works especially well at the end of the month when mystery shopping companies are trying to make their deadlines. I regularly am paid $25-$30 for fast food shops that start at under $10.
Chances are that I will earn around $30,000 in mystery shopping fees this year. This is more like $40,000 in wage income due to the favorable tax treatment of shopping (deductions mean I pay little to no taxes on the income). Add to this the fact that I only pay at fraction of what other people pay for gas, food and household supplies. So yes, you can make a decent income by mystery shopping. You probably won't get rich, but you can certainly do okay.

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