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Keeping Track of Mystery Shops – What You Need to Know January 7, 2009

Posted by Ann Michaels & Associates in Uncategorized.
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Organization will be your best friend as a mystery shopper. Knowing what information to keep track of and how to do it in an easy, convenient manner will make all the difference in your career.


Using Excel

A basic Excel spreadsheet should suffice. Below are some basic things you will want to keep in one file that is readily available:

1. A list of the Mystery Shopping Companies that you have registered with. This should include:

  • The name of the company and their website address
  • Your username/password for that company (Roboform can also be useful for this task)
  • The company’s payment schedule (they pay shoppers every two weeks, the 15th of each month, etc)

This is a great quick-reference guide if you’re ever in need of locating company information, and will also help you remember which companies you are registered with. The payment schedule will be a huge help in determining when you will be paid for your work. It is a good idea to highlight the companies you currently work for as an additional guide.

If you’re not an Excel person, you can also use other programs to create a table or spreadsheet. However, Excel is the easiest format for this information. There is also a product on the market, The Mystery Shopping Bible, which will generate the spreadsheets for you. There is a low cost associated with this program, but it will save you time in your record keeping. I’ve heard from many shoppers who have used this and are pleased with it.

2. A list of the shops that you have scheduled for the current month. The easiest way to do this is to keep a master Excel file and create a new sheet for each month. List the following for each entry:

  • The shop you are doing (ie, McDonald’s drive-thru)
  • The mystery shopping company you are doing the shop for
  • Date/s the shops are due and the time frame you can shop
  • The shop fee and reimbursements expected

As an added measure, so you don’t forget or miss shops, add the shop information to your planner or calendar.

Keep documentation handy

In addition to your Excel file, you will want to invest in a file folder or accordion style folder with 12 folders, one for each month. What will you use these for?

1. Once you complete a shop, you will want to staple together the notes you took for the shop, any receipts/business cards that were collected, as well as a sheet describing the shop details (company, client, date). If a narrative was required, writing it in Word and saving it to your computer is also a great idea. Some shoppers will print the acceptance email or the details from their shop log as a reference point. Any emails in relation to shops can be filed in your email – create a folder for each company you work with for easy access.

2. File this information in the appropriate month’s folder. This way, should you have payment issues or the mystery shopping company contacts you for additional details about your shop, you will be prepared. The last post discussed reasons why you will need to keep details of your mystery shop reports handy.

As you complete each shop, you can go back to your Excel file and update the shop information. You can highlight it to show it was completed, or you can add a column at the end of the line to check off when a shop is done.

Additionally, it is a good idea to update your reimbursement amounts when applicable. For example, a shop may reimburse up to $25.00, but you only spend $13.00. You will want to document the actual amount spent in this column. Finally, as you are paid for each shop, you can denote this on the spreadsheet.

Some of this may sound tedious and time consuming. Rest assured that it will become second nature as you gain experience, and it will prove invaluable as a resource for your business. If you have other ideas or tips on record keeping, please feel free to comment to share your thoughts!

Until next time…happy shopping!

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1. Nabil - May 31, 2009

Great article. I’ve always wanted to know how to track my jobs along with the payments and dates. Right now I’m using my Google calendar for dates and notes, and an excel sheet to keep track of companies I’ve applied with and ones who conduct shops in my area an ones who don’t.

I’ll try this soon!!


mysteryshoppinglearningcenter - July 2, 2009

I’m glad you found this useful! There are so many companies and a lot to keep track of, so we hope that this helps you and others stay organized! It can be overwhelming, especially when you first start out in the industry. The more organized you can be, the more time you can spend doing shops!

Have a great day!

2. Happy New Year 2010! « Welcome to the Mystery Shopping Learning Center Blog - January 4, 2010

[…] shopping – welcome!  As you are starting out, I invite you to browse through past topics on getting organized, how to get your first shops, and tips on learning your way around the […]

3. How to Manage Working With Multiple Mystery Shopping Companies « Welcome to the Mystery Shopping Learning Center Blog - February 14, 2010

[…] to remember what shops you’re doing for which company. In the past we’ve shared some good record keeping tips to help new shoppers increase their workload and manage it all easily and […]

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