Should you pay for a work at home job?

Dear WAHFAQ, I’ve been going through the application pipeline of a company that (potentially) hires people to do customer service from home. I’ve had one phone interview, and it looks promising, but now they want me to pay fees for a background check? Is this legit? Should I be worried? Should I pay? I tend to think that the general rule of thumb when it comes to work at home jobs is, “If you have to pay…stay away!” but even that phrase needs some clarification, as it’s a bit simplified within the complexities of the work-at-home industry. If you follow Read More…

What is an Apartment Shop?

Dear WAHFAQ, I heard that apartment buildings get shopped.  Is that true?  Would I actually have to rent an apartment?  That just seems weird, plus I don’t have the best credit, so I would probably be denied anyway.  I don’t really understand how they would work. Apartment shops are actually my favorite shops to do!  You do NOT need to rent an apartment, fill out an application, or leave a deposit to do an apartment shop.  It’s pretty simple: You call up the apartment building and talk to a leasing agent over the phone, setting an appointment to view the Read More…

Customer Service Job Ad: Is it real or a scam?

Dear WAHFAQ, I’ve been looking for a customer service job, and I saw this online. It seems a little too good to be true. $18/hr is pretty high in my area. What do you think?   I am willing to bet that this ad is marketing a MLM/Direct Sales opportunity. Let’s explore some of the language in this ad: “The work involves, fun, laid-back presentations with our customers, either face-to-face or done virtually….” This reminds me all too well of my time selling Rainbows. The company would NEVER say that we were doing sales, it was always “presentations” with customers. Read More…

Mall Surveyor Job Ad: Is it real or a scam?

Dear WAHFAQ, Is this a legitimate job post? You mention surveying in your Mystery Shopping book, is that what this is? Mystery Shopping and market research companies conduct spot checks and exit interviews where you’re placed at a particular location and required to count people. You may see these for movie theatres where someone is stationed outside of a particular theatre with a little clicker counting the number of people going to see a particular movie on a particular day. In this case, a surveyor is required to count the number of people going on a train at a mall! Read More…

What is a Retail Mystery Shop?

Dear WAHFAQ, What is a retail shop?  Do you have to buy something?  Do you have to spend your money, or will they give you some?  Are you supposed to keep the merchandise or send it to the company? Retail shops vary by company and assignment.  Here are the main points you need to know: 1)   You generally will NOT receive money from the mystery shopping company to buy anything.  You’ll have to use your own if a purchase is required. 2)   If a purchase is required, they may have something specific for you to buy. 3)   If a purchase Read More…

What to Expect on a Virtual Job Interview

Dear WAHFAQ, After applying to several companies for work at home jobs, I finally got my first virtual interview! Is there anything special I should plan for? What should I expect? Virtual interviews are not that different from regular in-person interviews, other than they’re conducted remotely via phone, Facetime, or Skype. Because you won’t have in-person interaction with your potential employer there are a few things to keep in mind for a successful virtual interview: Set aside time in a quiet environment. It should go without saying that you should make sure your dogs and cats and kids and other Read More…

The Difference Between Work at Home Opportunities and Work at Home Jobs

Dear WAHFAQ, I’ve been looking online for work at home jobs, and it seems like every one wants me to pay money. Are they all just scams? While you’re surfing online for “work at home” jobs, you’ll see many ads from companies that require fees to get started. Keep in mind that these types of offers aren’t necessarily scams. The company wants you to buy into an opportunity, as opposed to get hired for a job.  Granted, the company may be advertising in the wrong section…they should be under “Business Opportunities” instead of “Help Wanted” but they chose to post Read More…

Is this a real job offer or scam? (Mystery Shopping WalMart)

Dear WAHFAQ, I got this email the other day, and I was wondering…is it a real job or a scam?  I know you like Mystery Shopping, and I just wanted to get your professional opinion~ Thanks! One of  America’s largest, discount departmental outlet is re-branding. The Retail Industry is a competitive world, with each retailer vying for the attention of consumers in an increasingly clustered market. We do not want to rely on proprietary data collection processes and technology alone, we need appraisers to collect specific data about their experience and opinions when they visit this any of our outlets, Read More…

Do I have to buy something?

Dear WAHFAQ, I’m really interested in this mystery shopping thing, but I was wondering if I had to buy stuff when I shopped.  Isn’t that I just would get money back for the money I spent? And what if I spend more than what the assignment paid me?  It doesn’t seem like a good way to actually make money. Each assignment really depends on the mystery shopping company’s guidelines as well as the requirements from the client.  For restaurant shops, yes, you do actually have to purchase a meal.  Sometimes the MS company will reimburse you for the meal as Read More…

Are you an independent contractor or employee?

Dear WAHFAQ, I recently started working with a company, and they told me that paying taxes is 100% my responsibility. They said I’m considered an “Independent Contractor.” I’m a bit confused as to what this actually means and what I have to do for taxes. When you enter into the “random job” world, you may find that not only can you get traditional employee work, but you might also score a few “independent contractor” gigs as well. It’s important to know the difference when it comes to keeping track of your business. The IRS website has three different Common Law Read More…

Mystery Shopping FAQ

Interested in Mystery Shopping? Great! Here’s a list of common FAQ’s compiled to save my poor hands from carpal tunnel in answering questions one at a time: (If you’re looking for other random jobs, check out the Work at Home FAQ) What is Mystery Shopping? 
Mystery Shopping is an aspect of Market Research. Mystery Shoppers are needed to go into establishments to give honest and objective evaluations on products and services they receive. The businesses then use this information to improve productivity, gauge competition, provide training, and reward employees. Watch our video on Mystery Shopping basics below: Who hires Mystery Read More…