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Mystery Shopping for the Stay at Home Mom

By Candace Anderson
Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Mystery Shopping is the perfect job for a stay at home mom. Get started today earning money while you shop.
As a stay at home mom who homeschools my 5 children I am not in a position to get a job outside of our home. And honestly, I don't really want to! Instead I have found ways to earn extra income for my family by working from home. One of the most enjoyable things I have found to do is Mystery Shopping. The Perfect Job I have been Mystery Shopping for almost 3 years now and I absolutely love it. What makes Mystery Shopping the ideal job for a stay-at-home mom? You choose how much you work, or how little you work. You are your own boss and that means you set your own hours. You will get out of it what you put into it – your income level is up to you! You can get free stuff! What is Mystery Shopping? The Mystery Shopper program is a technique to help business owners learn how they are doing when it comes to meeting the customers needs. The mystery shopper will visit the business to assess various areas such as first impressions, customer service, and product knowledge of the employees. Business owners know that they will achieve customer satisfaction and retain loyal customers when they exceed what their customers anticipate in a positive way. Mystery shopping can also be used to evaluate a businesses current program, monitor new programs or evaluate training effectiveness. Many companies today are using mystery shoppers in an effort to improve customer service. They understand that in fierce competition customer loyalty is extremely important. Customers, if they are to return for business, must be satisfied with their shopping experience. So many times we decide where to shop or who to do business with based on emotional decisions. How were we treated by the staff, did the employees care that I was there to shop? Is the high-pressure sales tactics of the employees keeping me away, was I ignored while shopping? There are wide assortments of businesses that utilize mystery shoppers. I have done a large diversity of shops that include apartment complexes, fast food restaurants, and large department stores, sit down restaurants, online services, travel agencies, convenience stores, smaller retail stores, gas stations, outlet malls, hotels, and grocery stores. And there are so many more that I haven’t experienced yet. Imagine getting a job as a shopper for a cruise line or an amusement park! Those jobs are out there and as you establish your name in this business they will become available to you.

How to Get Started as a Mystery Shopper One thing you must understand about Mystery Shopping is a large amount of time must be spent in the beginning applying to companies. But please understand - this is a necessary step if you want to work.I have outlined the steps you can take to start working as a Mystery Shopper!

Step #1 - You will need an email address. I suggest setting up an account that you can use just for mystery shopping.

Step #2 - Question Preparation. Before you start to apply to the companies I would suggest you spend some time writing answers to some of the questions that the companies will ask on your application. Open a Word document and fine tune answers to the following commonly asked questions. Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct, your words are succinct and your thoughts clearly stated. Use your thesaurus and be creative in your descriptions.
1. Mystery shopping requires you to describe and detail your shopping experience. Please provide a minimum of two full paragraphs describing your last casual or fine dining restaurant experience.(I have a sample answer to this question on my web page – (
2. Describe your best and your worst customer service experience.
3. Make a list of near by cities to which you are willing to travel.
4. Make a list of zip codes to which you are willing to travel. (I used the map at the front of the phone book for this.
5. Why would you like to become a Mystery Shopper? (Or why do you think you'd make a good Mystery Shopper?)I have a sample of this question on my web page also. Now these are just some of the more common questions. I would suggest that when you are applying at a company that asks you a specific question compose it in Word and save it so you can use it again if you should come across the same question again.

Step #3 -Apply to all of the mystery shopping companies on my list. My list can be found here: ( As you apply write down the name of the companies and how they contact you for jobs. You will need to know this information because some companies email you jobs and others post jobs on their websites.You will also need to keep track of any usernames and passwords that are assigned to you. When I began applying to companies I used 3 x 5 notecards to kept track of all the information.

Step #4 - Begin looking for jobs. Some of the Mystery Shopping companies post their job leads on their web site and you will need to check their boards frequently. Others will email you when they have a job in your area. I prepared a Word document that I keep on my desktop titled "MS Daily Check Sheet." On this sheet I have links to the mystery shop companies that post their jobs on their websites. I check these sites at least 3 times per day. Good luck on your new career as a Mystery Shopper. If you would like more information on Mystery Shopping or other ideas for earning money from home, please visit my website.

About the Author
Candace Anderson is a stay at home homeschooling mother of 5 boys. She is the creator and webmaster of - a site dedicated to helping moms stay home with their children by offering creative ways to earn money from home and save money at home.


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