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What are the most common types of shops you will see as a mystery shopper?

There are many types of shops available for mystery shoppers but there are a few that you will encounter most often.

Here are the different varieties of mystery shops you may encounter:

Traditional : (no purchase shop) $10.00 & up

These types of shops usually involves evaluating the place of business to which you are assigned.

For example, you may be evaluating the cleanliness of the place of business, the customer service provided to you, or in some cases, you will be given a scenario to act out, for instance, shopping around for a computer.

In a case such as this, you may be asked to note whether specific products or specials are offered to you.

Many of these may not require a purchase (and if they do it will be a $1-2.00 item that you will be reimbursed for), however, they may require that you pick up a business card or somehow take a cell phone picture of the outside of the establishment in order to provide proof of your visit.

Purchase or Purchase/Return: $10-15.00 & up

Some shops may require you to make a purchase.Some of these types of shops will be reimbursed and others will not, so read the shop guidelines carefully to make sure you are fully aware of all the payment details.

Some shops may require for you to make a purchase and then return the merchandise to the store within 24-48 hours, so don't lose your receipt!

Apartment shops: $25.00 & up

Apartment shops will have you visiting apartment communities as a potential customer.

Many companies may have you call the apartment community first to inquire about prices, floor plans, and location.

Some of these types of shops will request that you try to get a specific leasing agent on the phone (and then specifically ask for this person when you go to the apartment complex) but you cannot ask for this person by name when you make your first phone call to the leasing office.

That may mean that you will need to try calling back throughout the day until you reach the specific person named on the shop assignment details . You will know that the shop instructions require this if the assignment details say (telephone/onsite visit/specific person).

Other apartment shops will not require this and will allow you to speak to any one of the leasing agents.

You will know it is this type of shop if the assignment details say: telephone/onsite/anyone.

While on the phone with the leasing agent, you should set up an appointment to visit the apartment complex within the next 24 hours.

Then, you will take a tour of the facility and write a report about your experience.

One tip: many mystery shop companies will want to make sure you have proof that you visited the complex so be sure to write your report as quickly as possible after your shop is done and while the information is still fresh in your mind. One off the wall question you may have to answer? The leasing agent's eye color! Make a mental note of this, because it would be a shame to not get paid for your shop over something as minor as not remembering the agent's eye color!

Phone shops: $3-$65

Phone shops may be the easiest mystery shops that you will ever do.

It may not seem worth it at $3.00-$5.00 a pop but if you can line up more than a few of them to do in an hour's time, it may be worth your while. (And by the way, yes, I have really done a $65.00 phone shop, they are out there!)

An example of a phone shop may be calling a car dealership and inquiring about a specific make and model of a car; or calling a retail store and inquiring about a particular product.

To make good use of your time, I recommend filling out your shop report while on the phone and while the information is still fresh in your mind. I can typically complete a phone shop (including the report) within 15 minutes tops.

"Bonus Added" shops: Payment for shop + an additional $2-$10.00

You may typically see these types of shops offered at the end of the month. This is because mystery shop schedulers are usually desperate to get these shops completed by month end and so they may add a bonus to shops that shoppers have flaked on or have not applied for.

Some other reasons that a bonus may be added to a mystery shop:

The shop does not pay enough for the amount of work you will be doing.

The task itself is ridiculous or not realistic.

The location is not desirable (too far or not in a great part of town).

Of course, it simply may be that the scheduler is just trying to do all he/she can to get the shop submitted on time

Another benefit you may see if you take on these types of shops?

Sometimes, completing these shops for the scheduler may get your foot in the door for similar, better paying shops in the future!

Audio/Video shops: $25.00 and up

Audio/video shops may be combined with any of the above types of shops, however, many times you will see them being offered with apartment shops.

Audio/video shops will pay a little more than your typical mystery shop. The shop company will send you the equipment you need (usually a tiny camera or audio device that you can clip on to an item of your clothing). Many times, you can avoid a written report since you will be video-taping your mystery shop.

Hotel shops: (Free overnight at a hotel or casino)

These types of shops are very popular but difficult to get assigned to.It may take some time before you are offered a hotel shop but may be worth it once you are.

Typically, you will not get paid for a hotel shop, instead you will get an overnight stay, all meals and amenities, (such as movies in your room) paid for. If this sounds wonderful, it is.

It can serve as a great getaway for you and your significant other, just remember, it is a "working" vacation , as you will be asked to write a report about virtually everything you encounter.

Restaurant shops: Free meal

lSimilar to a hotel shop, restaurant shops do not pay you but instead will reimburse you for your meal which can range from $5-$10 for a fast food restaurant to $125 and up for a high end restaurant.

As with any other shop, you can expect that for these types of shops you will be writing a detailed report on your entire experience. Be sure to keep your receipt as you will need it in order to be reimbursed, which will make the entire meal free!

Speaking of reports, visit my page on how to write great mystery reports by simply clicking here !

Audits $20-100

With audits, you may be asked to visit a store or any place of business and jot down prices for hundreds of items.

Some times, the store is alerted in advance about the audit and so you can speak to the manager before you begin to let him/her know that you will be the one performing the audit.

Other times, the mystery shop company requires that you perform the audit without being discovered, which can be quite challenging.

One tip to keep your mystery shop a secret is to take your cell phone with you and either call yourself at home (and leave yourself a voice-mail) with all the prices or call your significant other or a friend and tell them the prices, which they can then jot down for you. That way, you will be giving the appearance of simply being on the phone while in reality, you are performing your mystery shop!

Want to know which mystery shopping companies I recommend? 

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