A button camera is a hidden camera very similar to the cameras police offices wear. The button is simply a means to hide it in your person . To do this shop, unless the MSC loans them out, you will need to purchase a camera and recorder (roughly $300) and a shirt which you can doctor so as to allow for the camera. This is the "go-to" camera set up for video shopping.
@ Jul 5, 2017 2:11:04 AM
- HI im new. The first thing i picked-- which ive had my eye on for weeks a secret shop at the dentist... requires a hidden button camera! What is that?
I wouldn't suggest paying for any courses to mystery shop.... Everything you need can be found through free courses - often found on the websites for various MSC's or other forums like this one. If you want to know how to do something better than you are now, I would suggest simply opening a thread and asking the question. You are certain to get a few answers.
I haven't seen many grammatical errors in the directions on iSS. However, I have some pretty extreme blunders for a couple of other companies that use different platforms - sometimes to the point that guidelines are very difficult to comprehend. I tend not to worry about it much, but, when I get a comment from the editors of the MSC with error-ridden guidelines that I had grammar errors, I tend to raise my eyebrows a bit. But, as long as they pay me, I figure it's not my business. They can do with my report what they wish once I pass it on to them.
Keep in mind that only a small fraction of mystery shopping companies use iSS. Outside of this platform, I'm with about 90 companies. There are another 100-200 that I will likely join in time. I've done about 75 shops so far this year - about five of which were through iSS. As stated above, if you want to make much, you will need to be willing to go more than a few miles from home.
Here is why I disagree:
Many MSC's have their own training and tests that they use to make sure that shoppers are prepared for their shops. Notice that iSS, though not an MSC, has its own training modules for free. Moreover, the quality of a shopper is not going to be judged on whether or not they have taking a training course. Rather, we are going to be judged by the quality of our work and our reliability. Once you have done five, ten, fifty shops for a particular company, they will know you by your work.
I've been doing this a while as a side job and have yet to pay for training, though I have taken quite a bit of the free training offered. Enough schedulers call me with regularity that I know they are happy with my work - and I frequently am able to request higher pay than what is offered. If you read the guidelines and take the required training, the MSC tells you everything you need to know. The exception would be if you need to improve your ability to write or if you need some help starting out with video equipment.
You are correct that not all information in a forum is accurate. However, it's not generally hard, in an active forum to discern fact from fiction.
The courses you've found on iSS will give you what you need to be successful on the assignments advertised here. However, if you explore shopping outside of the iSS platform, you'll find that you can sign up for hundreds of companies. I do a lot of work for a company called EPMS. They have six or seven training videos specifically geared towards how they want their video shops done. These videos are found linked on your shopper interface to their page - and are completely free so long as you are registered with the company which, of course, is free.
I am with two companies that do new home video shops. One had a required three hour training which led me through everything they require their video shoppers to do. (I will not name the companies as, I believe, they prefer to recruit video shoppers once they have experience.) They pay from that company more than makes up for the long required training.
I would, honestly, start out with a forum.. This one is fine, but not particularly active. The "MysteryShopForum" is extremely active and, if you ask a legitimate question, you will likely get multiple answers within a couple of hours. There are folks that haunt that forum that have been shopping for better than 20 years. You will also find an entire section of that forum with information specifically designed for new shoppers. It covers all sorts of issues from finding new companies, avoiding scams, dealing with taxes and more.. Participating on that forum has been the single most helpful education that I have had about mystery shopping. Note: it is a public forum and they do not limit participation, so some of the threads can get interesting... They also have quite a few company owners and schedulers who participate actively.
I would add that, though I have not attended on, the conferences could be useful. Yes, they would have decent training (most of which you can get for free). However, they also would give you a chance to meet representatives from many mystery shopping companies and really learn what is available. I have not gone for a couple of reasons: I am not up to traveling 1,000 miles and leaving my family at home for a few days for a conference and I am too cheap to spend money on that. I'm satisfied with what I make as it is and am continuing to do better.
You can usually do multiple shops of the same sort. However, it is common for a client to have limits on the number you can do in a given time frame. Such limits are usually written in the shop guidelines. If you want to do, say, a dozen shops at different Costco stores, apply. The worst that can happen is that you are told "no." Of course, only apply if you are ready to do all of them.