I'm an old mystery shopper (been doing this since 2005), but took a break after an injury. Now I'm getting into it again. Does anyone have suggestions on obtaining certifications or food handling certificates? Also, does anyone have experience with body cameras or recording devices used when shopping?
MFJohnston @ Mar 4, 2019 2:44:15 AM
I do a lot of video shopping - using a body-work camera. The PV-500 is the preferred recorder in the industry, when use with a button camera. What questions do you have?
I have no idea where to begin. I do not own any equipment or know costs. Are there companies that will train you and give you equipment or do I purchase it on my own and train myself?
First,.. a new set up for the video equipment is about $400. That would include everything you need at first (DVR, Camera, Microphone, SD Card, Charger) There are several online stores that sell them - and will help you make sure you get the right equipment. (PV-500 w/button camera). I bought my last camera through Greyhawk Video Solutions: https://greyhawkvideosolutions.vpweb.com/. If you talk to the sales rep and/or owner, they can make sure you get what you need. (Just say you are a video shopper.)
Training: Yes, there are several groups that offer training. I suggest starting with Ellis Partners in Management Solutions ("EPMS" - an MSC that specializes in apartments) I also suggest you do several of their apartment shops (which have significant written reports) before you venture into the video shop - just so that you can get acclimated to the flow of an apartment shop before you add the video equipment. EPMS will loan you equipment and has some basic training videos. (You will want to make sure you practice before your first video shop.) This way you can decide if video shopping is for you, before you invest in the equipment.
Unfortunately, Ellis still has really long reports with most of their video shops. However, once you start finding more companies, you'll find that video shop reports are often most shorter (even non-existent) than written shops -- plus they pay more. There is one MSC on iSS (that I know of) that does video shops - Business Observations. If you want to find other companies that offer video, I suggest you check out the MysteryShopForum (another forum like this one) as you can find out about companies, other than the ones that specifically use iSS.
I saved for the purchase... I opened a banking account just for mystery shopping income and gave half of it to my "living expenses." When I had enough to purchase the video equipment, I did. The equipment paid for itself within two weeks of the purchase. It has now done so many times over. If you are looking to maximize income, video is the way to go. Start slow - with EPMS where you can borrow equipment - and see if it is a fit for you. If it is, the work is good.
I found my PV500 Professional on EBAY being sold by a individual. Just be sure to verify their integrity as a seller on EBAY review the experiences other EBAY users have had with the seller and I always make it a point to reach out to the seller by contacting them regarding the item they have posted for sale. Even if they state facts that are important to my decision on whether to buy or not I ask similar questions again and ask for more descriptive details in regards to the the device condition, operation and why they decided to sell it. They pop up here and there you just got to watch for them or create A GOOGLE ALERT to notify you once a new listing has been posted. You will see alot of NEW UNITS but I saved over 300.00 on a like new system.
The cameras themselves are simple You do have to doctor a shirt which involves removing a button and making a hole where the button had been. I have no skills as a tailor, but can do it in ten minutes with a pocket knife. However, my first time, I wasted a shirt trying to figure out which button should be removed for ideal camera placement...... Once the shirt is "prepped" and you know how to use the camera, it can be tricky to mount the camera such that the camera angle is good. You want the camera pointed almost perfectly horizontal. (I prefer to have mine *slightly* higher than horizontal so that I catch the target's head in the video.) It does take some time to learn to mount the camera so that the ideal angle is maintained throughout the shop. You will want to practice with the camera before using it on a shop. I use electrical and/or duct tape to secure the camera in place and angle it properly.