If you are a working carer seeking a new job with less hours, or need to find more flexible work options, becoming a mystery shopper or undertaking paid survey work could provide a great solution.
A mystery shopper is someone who visits a local shop assigned to them, and acts like a regular customer to observe and evaluate things like store presentation, customer service, selling skills and the quality of a product.
As a secret shopper, you will be part actor and part undercover spy. If someone passes you in the aisle, they will never guess you are being paid to shop.
It seems plenty of companies are prepared to pay for your opinion – in fact, your opinion as a customer is gold.
The skills you need are an eye for detail, accuracy and attention to detail, excellent written communication skills, a great memory, flexibility, your own transport and the ability to complete jobs and submit reports on time. You must have a computer and be able to connect to the internet.
There are many companies who hire mystery shoppers to do market research. Just Google the term and a fair few come up. We have done the hard work for you, so check out our list of potential employers below. Obviously, you need to find a company looking to hire in your particular location.
While living in a metropolitan area is a plus, there is plenty of mystery shopper work available in bigger regional centres as well, especially for example with The Realise Group (see link below).
Another option is doing paid online surveys – and it doesn’t matter where you live for that.
Check out the listings on the Australian Free Paid Surveys website www.australianfreepaidsurveys.com which show many job openings for people who want to do paid surveys.
Organisations that conduct paid surveys are looking for consumer opinions on a number of products. They rely heavily on focus groups and online surveys for unbiased responses.
Make sure you set up a separate email address for each online survey site. You can get a lot of notifications which will fill your inbox. Also, it is easy to get confused about which company is sending you which survey.
Be aware you are not going to make a full-time income filling out surveys or being a mystery shopper. The hourly rate is typically pretty low and it can be slow.
If you are just going to try and dabble in it for the first time, treat it as ‘pocket money’, a way to reduce the financial pressure of Christmas, or as a way to save for a holiday or other extras. However, if you list yourself as available with multiple organisations, you can actually make quite a decent living.
As a mystery shopper you can expect anything from $8 to $30 for the average short shopping assignment and report. But as you prove yourself and get selected for the more complex jobs, you can expect to get up to $100 for doing your shopping research and report writing.
Different companies operate in different ways, but commonly, you choose how many jobs you take on per day or week.
You need to be online to view and register your interest in each listed assignment in your local area and it is quite competitive. You have to put your hand up to take the job fairly quickly. You can expect anything from one to 10 assignments a month. Some will take just a few minutes and others may take an hour or two. You can also take on jobs out of your usual area – for example if you are travelling.
You might find yourself shopping for fashion, food, hardware, white goods, electronic goods and more.
You generally don’t have to purchase anything – you are just window shopping and talking to store staff as if you WERE about to buy.
The work is perfect for those who want to earn a little bit of extra money and fit the work in around other duties. It suits carers, retirees, Uni students and self-employed people, as well as those already working who need to earn a bit extra in their spare time.
Most mystery shoppers work as an independent contractor with an ABN (or, you can simply fill out a Statement by Supplier Form if you don’t have an ABN).
As a contractor, you are not an employee of the organisation, and you are not paid holiday pay, sick leave, superannuation, workers compensation, or other employee entitlements.
Payments are usually made via EFT (electronic funds transfer) to your nominated bank account. An annual Statement of Earnings or Group Certificate is NOT provided at the end of the financial year. As a contractor, it is your responsibility to keep records of all work you carry out.
Here are some other organisations worth checking out on the internet. They all hire Australians to become paid mystery shoppers or do paid survey work:
- The Realise Group
- Say What Now
- Farron Research
- Stable soapbox
- Market agent
- GBW Solutions
- What Do You Think?