Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Experiences Being a Secret Shopper, pt 2

So, this weekend I did my second Secret Shopping trip. (The first one I did was about a month ago.) That trip required that I visit a restaurant at lunch time. I was not paid for the visit and report, but my lunch was reimbursed. I invited a friend to go with me and it turned out to be a kind of a fun trip. I had to be on the look out for all of the items on my report, of course, but it still gave us the chance to catch up a little. Plus he was great at helping me keep track of names, times and other details.

For this second visit, I did the same thing, and I brought along a friend to give me a hand. Once again I had a request to Secret Shop a local restaurant, though this time it was sitting in the bar and ordering two drinks and an appetizer. I think two friends being out together makes it far less obvious that one is a shopper. Plus it is actually a lot more fun with two people - and she was awesome at getting the host's name. (It's not always easy. Especially since none of the folks had name tags on, and getting names is required.) She also was able to help me time things and was great at picking out details I might have missed. This particular job should reimburse me up to $15.00 and should pay $10. Not what I would call big money certainly, but still, I enjoy doing it.

I tell you, each time I do one of these I learn something new. So what did I learn on this one? Well, what I didn't realize is that the reports were due within 24 hours. I visited the restaurant on Friday and thought the report was due on Monday. I guess I was thinking it needed to be turned in within one business day - not a straight 24. When I checked my email Monday I had a series of notices reminding me to get my report in - oops! Somehow I missed that Saturday was my deadline. I quick shot off an email to the company letting them know my error and then followed it up with the report.

So far I rather like Secret Shopping. It is a bit of work - it isn't just "paying you to eat and drink" the way you see it advertised sometimes. Like I said, in a restaurant you may have to figure out how to get the names of the servers, the manager and the hosts - without giving yourself away. You also have to remember to pay attention to details since it is a fairly lengthy report. A simple "everything looked good" will not suffice. For myself, once I left the restaurant my friend and I went over some of the details together, then I quickly jotted down a series of notes when I got in my car. That way when I wrote my report I knew I would have all the details.

I don't know how it is across the country. Perhaps in some large cities there are a number of different opportunities. In my area there doesn't seem to be very many, and the ones that I find most offer reimbursements. I don't see this as a viable way of making more that $20-$30 a month, at best. Still, it is a fun way to make a little extra money and who knows? More opportunities may come my way.

Further Reading:

Mystery Shopping as Non Passive Income

Mystery Shopping Feedback

What is Nonpassive Income?


Budgets are Sexy. said...

man, that sounds like an AWESOME adventure! you get to go out and eat some (hopefully) good food, and catch up with friends - i absolutely love it. and you're right, having 2 people there would def. throw off the whole "secret" vibe, good thinkin' :) i'll have to remember that if i ever get into it - my brain is the worst sponge ever for remembering things.

hope you get some more experiences out of it!

Dawn said...

The food was mostly really good. The appetizer needed a little love, but the entree was really good! It's a fun thing to do - I'll keep my eye on your blog and see if you ever try it. :)