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Mystery shopping in your pajamas: The phone assignment

You've probably heard the familiar saying, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." It's solid advice for anyone who wants mystery shopping to be more than a side job.

Everyone falls into the habit of focusing only on the assignments that pay the most per single job. Sometimes, shoppers forget altogether about the range of their choices. But if you zero in on only one type of job, you might be shorting yourself some income.

There are a lot of jobs that pay a seemingly nominal sum for completion. Before turning any of these assignments down, it's good to consider the skill level required to perform the shop well. Is the ratio of pay to effort a fair one? Can you complete several jobs in a few hours?

Phone shopping can be lucrative
The answer to the last question is yes, if you're willing to consider mystery shopping by phone, suggested Mystery Shopper Magazine.

Phone shops are great for a multitude of reasons, the first of which is that you don't need to leave your house. This is ideal for anyone with small children, said The Mystery Shop Maven. It's possible to make some cash while baby is napping.

Easier time commitments
Your time is valuable to you, and phone shops won't take much of it. Compensation for phone shops isn't so far away from that of on-site shops, if you consider the time it takes to complete each job.

Reports for phone assignments are also quick, usually taking no more than ten minutes. Write-ups require only a description of the conversation. You won't need to devote energy to describing the cleanliness of a store or the difficulty of navigating a parking lot.

Avoid traffic
Working from home also eliminates fuel costs, which are not reimbursed for in-store assignments. Think about how much you normally spend on gas for an assignment, and add that to the pay offered for a phone shop. The reward for a ten-minute phone call might be double what it initially appears to be. If you do the math, factoring in what's saved on gas, a few daily phone assignments can yield a respectable sum.

Practice makes perfect
Making mystery phone calls is a great way for newbies to get their feet wet. It's the only time you you're allowed to have your notes and instruction sheet in plain view, nixing the stress of forgetting key points of the assignment.

You also won't need to worry about facial expressions blowing your cover. You can simply practice your question-asking and note-taking. Think of it as a phone-rehearsal in which you're compensated for time you would have spent practicing anyway. This is another way in which phone shops really do pay.

More to choose
Of all the possible phone call assignments, funeral home assignments are probably the most common. It's completely understandable that cemetery shopping wouldn't be most shoppers' preference. But a variety of other phone assignments exist, including calls to car dealers and hospitals.

For the sake of simplicity
The final reason for taking on phone shopping assignments might seem obvious but it's worth admitting: sometimes, you just want an easy job to balance the difficulty of compliance audits and fine dining evaluations. There's nothing wrong with wanting some down time, but you might as well be paid for it.