May 4, 2009 5:36 PM
Imagine going to one of your favorite stores and getting paid to shop!
Sound like a dream come true? Believe it or not secret shopping is a growing business. Karin Kilmer is on a secret mission, by day she's a book keeper. But she moonlights as a mystery shopper. "I found out about through a newspaper article," she says.
You've probably heard of them, people who get paid to go undercover, go into a store and shop. Here's how it works-- you register with one of many online companies. They'll email you shopping opportunities, which you can accept or decline. You generally get paid about a month later.
Mike Miller owns a company, Primo Solutions LLC that recruits mystery shoppers for stores that are looking for them. "Customer service is not what it was 20 years ago, and they're trying to get back to that point," he says. If you really work at it they say you can make a few thousand dollars a month more Shoppers we talked to say realistically it's about a hundred bucks a week. "You really can't earn a living, but you can make a lot of money on the side," Miller says.
Jacki Patai took it on as a part time job to supplement her income, and likes going undercover. Most of the time it's checking on customer service. "Are you greeted with a certain period of time? Are you recognized by the customer rep? Did they ask you any questions aobut what you're shopping for," Kilmer says about the common stuff she reports on. She says she likes mystery shopping because it's something different. "This is more variety. You're going to different places and talking to different people."
Experts say you should be careful of any company that's asking for money up front or bank account info. If you're looking to become a mystery shopper, the experts say the mystery shopper providers association is a good place to start.
Again you can earn as much as you can get, jobs generally pay between $10-25.