Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Intelli-Shop Mystery Shopping Company

Intelli-Shop is by far my favorite company (makes my top 5) to shop for. They have fun and interesting shops, are very responsive through email, and payment has never been late (or messed up for me). They have a WIDE variety of shops for different clients and seem to care about helping their shoppers in any way that they can.

To sign up with Intelli-Shop click here!

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Using a Smartphone when Mystery Shopping

A smartphone can really make your job mystery shopping easy. I invested in one a few years ago and it has greatly helped me when performing shops. Instead of secretly having to write notes on pieces of paper, you have all of the tools that you need right at your fingertips to perform a good shop. The type of smartphone that I use is an iPhone. With my iPhone I'm able to:
  • Save money on printing shop instructions by saving them to my phone and reviewing before going in to complete a shop
  • Using the phone to take notes while shopping
  • Using the camera on the phone to take photos for shops
  • Being able to record times (with the stop watch function when timing during shops)
  • Using the voice recorder in order to record some interactions to make sure that I'm as accurate as possible when performing shops
  • Begin entering shops (depends on the system-works well with Sassie shops)
  • Use apps that prove that I'm in the location that I say that I am when performing shops
A smartphone(or tablet like iPad which I use as well for some shops) is a great investment that can help you to perform shops and enter them a LOT quicker (which in turn makes your job easier). Some of the specific iPhone apps that I use when mystery shopping are (some of these come standard on the iPhone):
  • The Calendar (I sync it with Google Calendar so that I know each day what shops I will perform)
  • Notepad: I quickly jot down names and descriptions in this app. Everybody nowadays texts so when you're on a shop and begin typing on your phone it easily looks like you're texting.
  • Stopwatch: for recording times
  • Camera: for taking required photos when a time-stamp is not required for the shop photos
  • Voice Recorder: when I need to listen for specific things to be said and want to write a better account of how things happened, I walk in with the voice recorder on
  • Internet Browser: where you can quickly pull up shop information if you have forgotten something while on the shop (again can be passed off as texting)
Again, a smartphone is a really great investment for mystery shopping. Because you are an independent contractor (in most all cases) when mystery shopping, you can write off a portion of your smartphone expenses (consult a tax professional for specifics).
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Saturday, January 5, 2013

When a Mystery Shopping Company Doesn't Pay You (Freeman Group)

 I will be deleting Freeman Group from my list of companies that I shop for. I completed a hotel shop in July of 2011 for the company. Essentially the shop required you to shop a certain chain of hotels using your own money and then when your report was completed they were supposed to reimburse you for the shop within 10 weeks. I have performed these types of shops in the past with no problem (though not with this company) and I've always been paid and/or reimbursed.

In this case, it is now January 2013 and after a ton of unanswered emails and calls I have still not been paid by this company. It is NOT MY PRACTICE TO SPEAK ABOUT MYSTERY SHOPPING COMPANIES IN A DEFAMATORY WAY (nor will you probably ever see anything like this again on this blog) but after just doing a quick search on this company I have read numerous posts about this company doing this to a TON of shoppers.

I am writing this post to tell you that this company will come off of my list of reputable mystery shopping companies and that I will not be doing business with them in the future.

As someone who has shopped since 2005, this is the first time in all of these years that a company has done this to me. Some companies pay slow, yes, but I have never just had one pack up and get out of town. Upon reading posts online, it seems that this is what has happened--rumors that they have gone bankrupt and in turn will not be paying the shoppers who performed these shops is what I've heard. Though there may be no validity to these claims, its seeming to be true because the company itself will not respond.

I wish you all well in your shopping endeavors!

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

EPMS: Ellis Partners in Management Solutions

EPMS is a GREAT company to shop with especially if you want to make $20+ per shop and you like (or want to try) apartment mystery shops. The surveys that you fill out with EPMS are lengthy (as ALL apartment shops usually are) BUT you are more than compensated for the time and effort that you spend shopping for this company.

They also have some great video shops available for premium pay as well.

Click here to sign up with EPMS.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reality Based Group (Game Film Consultants)

I have shopped with Reality Based Group (formally Game Film Consultants) for over 2 years now and I love the shops that they provide. They always pay within 30 days and the shops are fun and easy. The schedulers for this company are great. I cannot disclose which clients they service, but I will say that the restaurants that they serve are well worth signing up for shops with them! Check out shopping for Reality Based Group today!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Keeping track of your Mystery Shopping Earnings

Think of Mystery Shopping as your own business--because it is! You are not employed by shopping companies, you are contracted to do a service for them and report back what you find. For tax purposes you MUST keep track of how much you are earning as a shopper.

One way that I have done this over the years is using a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel. This spreadsheet has all of the items that you need in order to keep track of how much you are earning and spending while you are out shopping. Here are some things to remember:

  • Don't add reimbursements to your income. 
  • Keep track of your mileage and additional expenses when shopping
  • Keep receipts for paper/ink/phone bills etc. as all of these things count as tax write offs
If you are interested in using my spreadsheet, please click here to download the spreadsheet.

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