Top 5 perks of mystery shopping

Most people think mystery shopping is too good to be true and steer clear of what could be a rewarding and fulfilling job.

Most people think mystery shopping is too good to be true and steer clear of what could be a rewarding and fulfilling job. If consumers are concerned about empty promises and companies making fraudulent offers, they can turn to a credible network such as the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) of North America to find legitimate mystery shopping companies that offer assignments regularly.

The MSPA has more than 300 member companies worldwide from which mystery shoppers can choose to start their exciting position. Once they begin, shoppers will realize a number of benefits that come with the job, including:

1. Getting paid to go shopping

This may be the perk that most consumers consider first when they think about pursuing the position, since mystery shoppers receive compensation for visiting a variety of stores that they might already frequent. People who enjoy shopping on a regular basis may find this to be the perfect position.

2. Flexible scheduling

Another primary benefit that attracts shoppers is the promise of a flexible schedule, according to mystery shopper advice blog, The Mystery Shop Maven. This job can accommodate people who want to earn money, but have to navigate busy schedules or daytime responsibilities that prevent them from taking on a position that requires fixed schedules.

Stay-at-home parents, college students, retirees or part-time workers that want to make extra money during their spare time might find this job to be a good fit, the source reports. The role offers flexible scheduling in terms of hours - workers can go on assignments when they have free time, before or after dropping kids off at school or getting out of class, but they can also pick up shifts one week, and not take any the next if they go on vacation or have no time.

3. Being your own boss

Mystery shoppers are considered independent contractors instead of employees, which means they are self-employed. As an independent contractor, they are not guaranteed rights to benefits employers usually extend to workers, such as minimum wage and overtime, but they instead get to enjoy much more freedom while on-the-job.

According to the Department of Labor, independent contractors are not usually required to wear a uniform at work and get more control over their hours. Additionally, this classification gives shoppers the freedom to advertise with other companies and take jobs with a number of agencies so they can make as much money as possible.

Mystery shoppers can also benefit from a number of tax deductions, the source explains, such as business miles traveled to and from assignments and even for home office expenses. These deductions can make the job even more lucrative.

4. Receiving free merchandise, meals out and entertainment

When mystery shoppers go out on assignments, they will be asked to make purchase as a measure of the customer service, whether it be an item of clothing, a movie, food or beverage. While they have to pay for the item up-front, the company will reimburse them for the charge when they receive compensation for the mystery shopping report.

Depending on the assignments a shopper takes, they might be able to receive reimbursements for items they usually buy, or benefit from free gas, groceries and entertainment, the new source reports.

5. The variety of prospects

Another benefit of the job is the variety of tasks. Unlike most positions, mystery shopping offers workers something new everyday, according to Street Directory. Since they can select the assignments they want to take, shoppers can sign up for retail shops one day, and restaurants, drug stores, movie theaters and coffee shops the next.

Mystery shopping might not be the best job for everyone. It requires dedication, attention to detail and self-motivation, but those who have flexible schedules and want to make extra money may find it's the perfect fit.