Want to stop paying for oil changes on your vehicle? I never pay for oil changes on my cars but I get them regularly.
I don’t have a relative or friend that does it for me either. Regular automotive businesses perform the oil changes. For free.
How? I spend 15-30 minutes completing a questionnaire about my experience.
I’m talking about mystery shopping.
Don’t worry, this isn’t my car! That wouldn’t be a very frugal choice.
What is Mystery Shopping?
Mystery shopping is actually a legitimate thing, although I didn’t realize that until about a year ago. I assumed it was just a scam. While there are some mystery shopping scams, they usually ask you to pay money in some way. Don’t do that. Legitimate mystery shopping companies do not require you to pay any fees to be a shopper.
Businesses contract with mystery shopping companies to evaluate their employees, facilities and overall customer experience. The mystery shopping companies have a pool of mystery shoppers who have signed up with them that they notify of the available shop opportunities. Then shoppers request or self assign shop assignments they want to do.
It’s Easy to Start Mystery Shopping
Each company has different requirements to become a shopper with them, but they’re pretty similar. Getting set up takes a little time, but once it’s completed, you’re done. They’ll ask for your name, address, email, phone and sometimes demographic information. They will sometimes request a copy of a photo id and tax id so they can report your earnings to the IRS if you make over a certain amount. You will also have to sign a contract with them, as you are essentially an independent contractor with the mystery shopping company.
You never know which company will get a contract to do a shop you want, like oil changes, so I recommend signing up with several. I am a shopper with 9-10 different companies.
Here are my favorite mystery shopping companies. There are lots of others out there, but these are the ones I recommend. I work with all of them and they pay every time. A couple of these are affiliate links.
Getting the Free Oil Changes
You will start receiving emails of available shops you can complete after approval by the company. Set the distance you are willing to travel so you’re not getting emails about shops three states away. You can also just check their site occasionally to see what mystery shops are available if you want to opt out of the emails. Hopefully, some for oil changes will show up. Choose which shop location you want to do and the date you can do it.
After you get a shop assigned to you, read the instructions available. The first couple times I did a mystery shop it took me a little longer to figure things out, but now I can complete and submit a report in 10-15 minutes. The reports are questionnaires with sometimes a little narrative to complete telling about your experience.
Mystery shop companies will tell you exactly how much they reimburse and if there is an additional shop fee they pay. Submit a copy of your invoice or receipt and anything else required. Be sure to read the instructions carefully. You may have to wait 40-60 days for payment after you submit everything and it is accepted. Look for their payment schedule on their website.
Most companies pay via PayPal and some will only pay that way, therefore, make sure you have a PayPal account set up or find out if they will pay by check before you complete any work for them.
Other Mystery Shops
Of course, you can do other types of mystery shops, too. You can even use it to make a little extra money on the side. I evaluate restaurants, convenience stores, furniture stores, banks and home improvement stores for money.
If you’d like to never pay for another oil change, then start doing mystery shops! I think you’ll be glad you did.
What do you think? Would you try mystery shopping to get free oil changes? Let me know in the comments!