Thursday, July 1, 2010

Learning Process

I've been continuing to do a gazillion mystery shops. I have so many scheduled right now that it's getting a bit difficult to keep track of. It's very important to have a good way to know what you're supposed to be doing and when. If you're just going to casually do one here and there, no biggie. But if you're trying to create a regular source of extra income like I am, it can get complicated. Dozens of companies with different jobs in different areas. Am I supposed to be at the restaurant on this side of town today? Or the other one I signed up for over on the other side of town? Very important to keep track. I use a spreadsheet.

Another thing that you want to focus on as you start to do mystery shops, if you're new to it and kind of excited, you're probably applying for everything under the sun. That's fine to start with. There's a lot to learn. The important thing is to figure out what kind of mystery shops you enjoy doing. Personally, I'm a bit uncomfortable having to make returns. So as a general rule, I don't accept a shop that requires it. There are exceptions. If the pay is right, I'll suck it up and do the return. The other big thing is to be sure to check the out of pocket expense. Yeah, it's nice to do a restaurant shop and get a free meal. But you have to pay for it up front. Then it takes sixty days to get your money back. It isn't always in my budget. I would love to do some of these big upscale restaurant shops. The ones that reimburse your meal for you and a guest up to $130. But I don't want to part with my $130 for sixty days.

Then on the other hand, some of the ones with reimbursements are worth it. For example, it's time to get the oil changed in my car anyway. So rather than just taking it in and getting it done, I'll schedule the mystery shop to do it. Yeah, I still have to put out the $20 to get it done. But it's something I would be paying for anyway. So I might as well get reimbursed for it.