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WAHM > Stay at Home Mom Work Ideas > Selling a Service> Mystery Shopping Company

Start a Mystery Shopping Company  - Questions & Answers

These questions and answers are provided by Shari Joseph of The Business of Mystery Shopping.

1. Q : Please clarify the difference between being a mystery shopper and owning a mystery shopping business.

Let me answer by giving the definition for mystery shopping. Mystery shopping services are utilized by just about every type of retail establishment to: 1) Monitor how the customer is being treated by employees, 2) Make sure the company/store procedures are being followed by employees.

The store hires a mystery shopping business to provide them with mystery shopping reports. The mystery shopping business then hires mystery shoppers to actually go into their client’s stores and then fill out a questionnaire on their experience. That completed questionnaire then goes back to the mystery shopping business, who in turns gives the report to their client store.

If a shopper wants to obtain their own clients (instead of working for other mystery shopping services), they then become a mystery shopping “business”. However, one can start a mystery shopping business without first being a shopper.

2. Q: How can anyone succeed competing with all the large mystery shopping companies that exist today?

Going toe to toe with the large mystery shopping companies and trying to go after large chain retail-hospitality companies might not be the way to go, at least to start. The good news is that large mystery shopping companies won’t be looking in your backyard for clients. You can easily meet and greet potential clients through local business groups or the Chamber of Commerce.

3. Q: Is there a difference in trying to get clients in the local market as opposed to going national?

The process of trying to get clients locally is initially different than national accounts. To try to get local clients, we suggest going to your local business organizations and getting involved (we have more detailed specific recommendations in our book). After you have enticed a potential client, you need to get a package into their hands with sample reports and offer to do a trial shop.

To get national clients, we recommend involvement in large retail associations. Then the process is similar to getting local clients.

The methods thus far are where you initiate contact. If you build a web site, which is necessary for national accounts, then potential clients might contact you. However, realize if they are contacting you, then they are contacting other companies. With competition like this, it is much harder to secure an account. However, keep in mind, you can win over the competition; have a better product, have a better price, and offer really good customer service.

4. Q: Would you be able to compete with the Big Boys - large shopping companies - and still stay a home based operation?

At a certain point, you may decide it’s time to go for national accounts (companies who have chain stores or franchisors with many locations). At that point you can still work out of your home if you wish. Your store front would then be your web site.

5. Q: What about starting a business in the current economy?

The economy will always fluctuate. The good news about mystery shopping is that it deals with many different TYPES of industries. A down turn in the economy might effect some industries while not others. Mystery shopping allows you to diversify - you can pick and choose the industries you want to approach with your business; from car dealerships, to grocery stores, hotels, restaurants, the list is endless!

What Next?

New Earn Extra Money as a Mystery Shopper - If you love to shop, we'll show you how to legitimately make extra money with mystery shopping.



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