Shortly I found www.volition.com
and discovered a whole list of companys that I could just click and be taken straight to their sign-up page and I started down their list. I split my time between applying to every company I could find and reading everything I could find. There was not much out there then and nobody was really speaking up about what you should be doing, like what you should be saving for taxes, or that it was not good to ask Who Shops XYZ questions, and the only forums available were the ones schedulers used to post jobs.
In the mean time lots of companies were switching from pen and paper to internet and discovering they had to train the people they were finding and since I lived in the middle of NOWHERE I got a LOT of calls giving me GREAT on the job training!! Back then all the list owners were happy to take your name and phone number along with the area you lived in and provide it to the companies for FREE, so my name was everywhere. Soon I had lots of people calling to see if I would be willing to go to this town or that.....back then I was paid 55.00 to drive 1.5 hours each way just to ship a package - 85.00 to go about the same distance to buy a combo meal in 2 different places in that town. I soon learned who had shops in what areas and started grouping my shops. Which was a good thing because as companies quit taking 10-16 weeks to pay other people started getting interested, and as other people were getting interested bonuses quickly dropped, followed by some of the fees. Along with the MSing I was having companies call me to ask if I would do an audit, or a reset, or go count people at the movies? I did the same thing - I asked the schedulers EXACTLY what I was suppose to do and they would walk me through it and it gone done - often with travel bonuses too.
The piece of advice I give out the most - What are the things I do to keep me a consistant shopper? I only take on ONE new company at a time. And if they want me to do a whole bunch of shops for them I take the closest one to my house and work it all the way through so there are no surprises when I go out for a day of shopping. (Whole LOTS easier to re-do ONE job, close to home, than it is to go back out to re-do a whole day!!) I try to finish their batch of jobs before I start another NEW company - because every new company is going to be different - and if you go through everything while it is fresh you are less likely to mess up and you are more likely to plant it in your mind how they want everything done. The few times I have messed up I have always offered to re-do the shop at my expense - I just look at it as on the job training - and I have not ever had to re-do anything for the same company twice.
One question I am often asked - Have I ever found a company I would never shop for again? Yes....but they are a good company that pays when they say they will - we just did not mesh. And just about every shopper out there has found at least one that they just can not seem to get along with. So when you see a post that so-and-so company is bad, please unless you see where they are not paying 100+ shoppers, take it for what it is worth - ONE SHOPPER out of THOUSANDS! And most of the time if the company discovers the post and shares their side of the story you will find that the shopper did NOT do what they were suppose to.
The next most popular question is - How much money can I make doing this? That is going to depend on your area, how many shoppers are already there, and how hard you plan on working. I have always found that you are only going to get out of this business what you put into it. So if you only want to apply to 20 companies, you are probably only going to get work from 2-3. Keeping in mind that most companies only have a small amount of shops in any one geographical area, and most of the time they are going to have to rotate shoppers, you are not going to get much work. But if you apply to every company you can find and try to make a great first impression with every company no matter if the shop pays 5.00 or 100.00 - if you take it you do the best you can - then you will soon find your shop AVERAGE climb from about 10.00 to 15.00 and sometimes even more.
Happy Shopping......:~} Martha
< Message edited by MarthaJB -- 7/10/2003 9:51:58 PM >
At least 5 years ago I was goofing around on the computer and put something in the search that brought up a MSing site. I thought that really looked interesting and did a real search using mystery+shopping and came up with THOUSANDS of hits - and the FUN began.