Mystery shopping a good fit for stay-at-home moms

Here is what you need to know about mystery shopping and why it could be great for you and your family.

As a stay-at-home mom, you already have an easy way to bring in extra income. Here is the lowdown on mystery shopping and why it could be great for you and your family:

"The places where mystery shopping can take place are widespread."

What is mystery shopping?
Mystery shopping is the process of posing as a customer while shopping to observe the store, the employees, the environment and the overall customer service. The businesses where mystery shopping can take place are widespread. One day you could be given an assignment at a restaurant and another day it could be your local department store. Your job is to remain undercover and observe the place of business. Most times, you are given an alias and mission while acting as a customer.

For example, you could be assigned to mystery shop at a grocery store with an objective to report on the cleanliness and service of the deli counter. You are usually given guidelines from the company you work for. This can include asking certain questions, making note of specific areas of the store and purchasing particular items (in which you are reimbursed for). Some instructions are very detail-oriented, while others are not. The logistics are very dependent on your employee and what they choose to assign. 

Let's talk time
As a stay-at-home mom, mystery shopping provides you with options: For one, you make your own schedule. This allows for extreme flexibility so you're able to balance all of your responsibilities at home and while at work. Most mystery shopping assignments don't require an enormous time commitment like other part-time jobs. Usually jobs only take three to four hours, at the most. After, you will need to write a report, but you are given an allotted amount of time to complete that. The length of these reports or questionnaires can vary. However, larger jobs tend to require more details. The good news? Filling out these reports can be done at home. That means you could squeeze them in the morning after your kids go to school, during naptime or even at night after they're tucked into bed.

Stay at home moms can benefit from the flexibility of secret shopping.Stay-at-home moms can benefit from the flexibility of secret shopping.

In addition to flexibility on projects, most of the hours for mystery shopping take place during the day. That way, work hours won't cut into after-school hours. If you have kids who are not yet in school, don't fret. Kids can be brought along for the job as long as your work doesn't get affected. Mystery shopping could even increase family time. Because some assignments may include eating at a specific restaurant, you might have to multitask. Your entire family can eat out together while you're earning income and some of the bill can even be discounted. The more you mystery shop, the better you will get at it. If you know you'll be headed to a certain store or restaurant anyway, you can squeeze in your assignment then. This job will also expose you to new places and areas to shop. That way, you are getting the most of your time and money.

About the money
Payment can be confusing to a lot of first-time secret shoppers. Assignments are usually paid hourly, however, the amount can vary depending on the project. Some payments may come in free services, but most come through a traditional hourly wage. The more experience you get as a mystery shopper, the more you can increase your chances of receiving larger assignments. For example, a relatively new secret shopper's assignments may include fast food restaurants, car auto shops or grocery stores. However, experienced shoppers can work their way up to receiving free trips for the whole family.