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Can You Make A Career Of Mystery Shopping?
The reports of money to be made through mystery shopping are wildly divergent. Some people claim to work full-time as mystery shoppers and make as much as $40,000 to $50,000 per year. Some mystery shopping sites indicate that people who sign up with them can expect to be offered as many as 10 opportunities per day. Even the Wall Street Journal apparently published a widely quoted 2004 story about a woman who is a very successful mystery shopper, who had made $7,000 in one month.
What is the average person to make of all that? As the old saw goes, donít quit your day job yet.
Other people who have tried the whole mystery shopping gig, acknowledge that it can be an interesting and profitable sideline or a lucrative addition to something like a retirement income. Two factors to consider before you decide to commit to a mystery shopping career are: how will it play out in my geographic area and what will be involved as far as transportation is concerned.
Larger, urban areas offer more possibilities for mystery shopping. A geographic area with a population of over 100,000, for example, is likely to have several malls, a distribution of independent stores, a business district where shopping is somewhat congregated, and fairly easy access to finding everything.
Small cities with only 30,000 or 40,000 people can be limited by the sheer number of businesses available. Larger metropolitan areas can present their own set of access problems, if the shopper has to travel substantial distances across a city to get to mystery shopping assignments. Public transportation is time consuming, and letís face it, the price of gas is prohibitive.
There are mystery shopping jobs out there and they are obtainable, depending on your skills and circumstances. However, it is important to weight all of the various factors involved in a mystery shopping assignment carefully before agreeing to accept it.
First, make sure that it pays sufficiently to be worth your time. Many mystery shoppers wonít accept an assignment that does not include a fee in addition to the merchandise or service purchased. In other words, you may get a free meal or a free movie, but if you want to get full value for your time, make sure it also pays you a certain amount of real money that will pay for your gas and the time you spend filling out the report. Or, if you have plenty of time on your hands and the potential for seeing a movie for free is payment enough, go for it! After all, value is in the eye of the beholder.
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