Keeping Track of Mystery Shops
As a mystery shopper, you are running a business. A VERY small business but a business nonetheless. Congratulations! You are a small business owner! If you just do mystery shopping on the side occasionally, you may not have a lot of record keeping requirements but if you start doing a lot of shops with several different companies, you are going to need to do some record keeping. You need to keep track of which Jobs you have taken from which companies, when they need to be performed, how much they pay and whether you got paid or not. There are also a bunch of other details you should or would just like to keep track of.
Mystery Shopper Spreadsheet
What most shoppers do is start keeping track of their mystery shops on a spreadsheet. Excel is a popular choice but we here at the Mystery Shoppery used to use Google Sheets – mainly because it’s free while it gets the job done. You can do a Google search and there are all sorts of discussions about mystery shoppers keeping spreadsheets to track their shops, what format they prefer, the calculations and reports they may have put together.
With a spreadsheet, you can enter your shops, how much you expect to be paid, when you got paid and other important details. With this information, you can keep track of slow paying companies and avoid companies that stiff you. Not to name names but its been years and we are still waiting to be paid $50 for doing the shop infamously known by shoppers as ‘The Shop From Hell.‘ Hey, we were young and new and full of hope once long ago but guess who we don’t do shops for anymore. At the end of the year, you have an idea of business miles traveled and can take it and other out-of-pocket expenses as a tax deduction against your mystery shopping earnings. You can also put together some nice reports and figure out your weekly earnings or really crank it to 11 and do fancy things like calculating ‘Rolling 30 Day Average $ Per Shop Per Company.’
This is all fine and good for someone who likes to keep records and has some spreadsheet coding skills. But what about those people who aren’t spreadsheet gurus? What about an app or something? Something nice that someone else has put together and all you have to do is some record keeping.
The Mystery Shopper Job Tracker
Here at the Mystery Shoppery, starting with our own spreadsheet we created a full blown database to keep track of mystery shops and mystery shopping companies. Now we have a Mystery Shopping Database! Its a powerful replace for your spreadsheets. Databases are far more powerful than spreadsheets and once up and running are much easier to update changing information. Its also harder to do things like accidentally delete cells or mess up formulas. We use it to keep track of the shops we have requested, the ones we have scheduled, and the ones we have completed. We track payments outstanding and have been paid as well as reimbursements and expenses. We also keep track of our mileage and out-of-pocket fees associated with a shop. We also use it to identify our favorite ‘go-to’ companies so we can quickly scan for shops.
And now we are making this database available to the mystery shoppers of the world (well, of North America…actually it probably works best for shoppers in the US but Canadians might be able to use it). And most of the features are available for free.
But hey, we are a business too and this website and the database has to be paid for or else they are going to turn off the lights on us. Since this is the Internet which seems to run on advertising, we have a few ads to help keep the lights on but that won’t cut it. So this is what we are going to do. We offer a ‘Free’ mode that exposes a lot of functionality but with some limitations. This should be enough to support the casual shopper. We also offer a paid mode that removes some restrictions and limitations. This should be enough to support the typical shopper. Then we have the full blown ‘Premium’ version for the hard-core shopper who probably does enough shops to easily cover the cost of a fully functional, unrestricted database and could really benefit from those features. But to whet everyone’s appetite, we offer the Premium version to everyone for a 30-day free trial.
Free…there’s that word again. Speaking of free – remember how you are running a small business and you probably started doing this because you needed a few more bucks? And you really need to keep your costs down if you are going to make any money at this. We want everyone to use this tool but we know mystery shopping is not a high dollar enterprise so we are keeping the rates down and are crossing our fingers it’s enough to keep the lights on. Low enough that picking up one extra shop a month will more than cover the cost.
So what do you get?
So click on one of the sign up options in the table above or head on over to our sign up page, noodle around with the application, kick the tires and see what you think.