If you’ve ever liked the thought of being a mystery shopper, but never knew how to go about it, then TrendSource might be a company worth considering.
TrendSource hires folks in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom to become mystery or secret shoppers.
As a mystery shopper the company is interested in your experience as a shopper. The information you provide them is gathered together, made sense of, and then they use it to come up with strategies designed to meet the goals of their clients.
Your shopping experience may extend beyond a store and can also require you to visit and order at a restaurant or even stay at a hotel.
In order for you to complete jobs for the company you have to follow a specific set of instructions and provide feedback on your customer experience.
Not only are companies interested in your customer experience, but they are also willing to pay you for it.
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What is TrendSource?
TrendSource, previously known as MSI Services, is a US based company that specialize in a wide range of market research products and services, designed to gather information and insight from the marketplace and implement solutions learned from that research.
The company has been operating for a number of years and apart from mystery shopping, they also perform other market research like online surveys, focus groups, mobile research, audits and competitor research.
TrendSource helps businesses to reduce risk, drive decisions and positively impact their future, according to their website.
They discuss strategies with clients to help them meet their goals, often that means they need to collect data from the market place to help in the decision making process.
If you work for the company as a Mystery Shopper you will be known as a Field Agent.
TrendSource has a separate website dedicated to field agents located at https://www.thesourceagents.com/
This is a website for field agents to login and search for projects to complete in their area.
Who uses TrendSource?
TrendSource is quite a large company, but for the focus of this review, I am limiting the scope to the Field Agents arm of the company.
And in that respect, there are clearly two groups of users.
The first group are the companies who want to gain insight from the marketplace and then develop a strategic plan that they can implement to improve their customers experience, based on that insight.
The second group of people are the mystery shoppers (field agents) who are employed to gather this information based on a specific criteria, on behalf of the company.
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How To Join TrendSource
In order to become a field agent you simply have to fill out the application form on their website.
You will find the process to be fairly intuitive and includes the usual things like filling in your first name, last name, birth date, street address, postal code, etc.
You will be an Independent contractor and therefore an EIN (employee identification number) is essential for you to work for the company. An EIN is used for the purpose of reporting employment taxes.
An EIN can be obtained online easily enough, and can be sourced from your countries Inland Revenue Service website. It usually entails you filling out an online form.
You will also need to provide them with photo ID.
Once you’ve completed the application process, you will gain access to their database of field agent projects, where you can choose what projects you want to complete.
This opportunity is only open for people in certain countries which include the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
How Does TrendSource Work?
As a TrendSource Field Agent, you are essentially an independent contractor who is paid to complete an evaluation of a business or service based on the criteria they set for you.
As mentioned earlier, field agents are known as “Mystery Shoppers or “Secret Shoppers” and in some instances can reveal the role they play in the shopping experience before, after or even not at all, depending on whether the projects are a “revealed or “unrevealed” project.
As a field agent your main focus is on jobs within your physical location, however, you can also request to pick up projects outside your area, if you’re traveling.
From reading comments from other field agents, you may be compensated for travel in some instances, but otherwise, you will have to pay your own travel expenses. If you are only paid $10 to complete the project then this may not be worthwhile.
Once you gain access to a database of projects available for you to undertake in your location, you will be given a set of specific criteria to work with.
Once you complete a project you then upload the results to the company.
They may come back and ask for clarity on some of the information, and I understand that providing this clarity is paramount to completing a job on time.
TrendSource Field Agent App
The company has also developed an app that will give you access to different projects available to you in your area.
They use GPS technology to help you find projects that are available in your current location, which can be helpful, and may also offer you an opportunity to make money when you’re out and about.
This application has had some mixed feedback from users.
Some users say that the app was unusable, that it freezes up sometimes when opening evaluations, and some even said that they were unable to sign up.
Contrary to this, others are saying that the app works well, is easy to use, and great for “on-the-go” last minute reporting.
How Do You Make Money With TrendSource?
Apart from being a mystery shopper, there are three other ways you can make money as a field agent, but I will discuss how all four work in helping you to make money.
This, being the primary focus of this review, is a fairly simple process. It requires you to visit a store, buying something, and reporting back on how the store performs.
Obviously, you’ll get a set of specific criteria of what to look for etc, but in general that is what your job would be.
For this task, you simply visit a store and take pictures of the items on the shelves, and report back on problems you may find with them.
For this job, you will be required to ensure products are being displayed correctly. Take pictures of any problems you find and or don’t find and report back.
You will be required to interview customers who visit a store, gather information and send it back.
What Tools Do You Need?
Like all jobs, it’s important that you have the tools of the trade in order for you to complete your task in a timely manner, and as a field agent this is no different.
Having a high quality mobile phone is not necessary, but, would probably suffice in terms of capturing and dispatching most data required by the company, as it can take pictures and submit information instantly via an Internet data connection.
But, there are some instances where a mobile phone is not enough and where some projects require specific tools.
There are some projects that require you take digital photos with a digital camera. I’m not sure how they determine the difference between an image captured on a mobile phone or a digital camera, since most smart phones can take high quality photos, but I guess it has something to do with the quality and maybe resolution of the picture.
They say that some projects require a digital camera and so having a digital camera maybe helpful in expanding your project opportunities.
A scanner is a piece of equipment you don’t often hear about these days, they sort of died with the fax machine, but most all-in-one digital printers and photo copy machines have the ability to scan items.
So having access to a scanner can also open up more project opportunities for you.
Access To Internet
Since you’re reading this review, I know that you have access to the Internet. So you should be good to go here.
One thing they do mention is that in some cases they may require clarity on some of the information you provide them, and the information is time-sensitive. Therefore, being able to provide clarity in a timely manner is paramount. So having a mobile phone that is email capable will help you to send information as you receive it.
Also, the app I mentioned above may help to facilitate this.
How Does TrendSource Pay?
All field agents are paid out twice per month.
I have reviewed a number of mystery shopping websites that only pay out once per month. So getting access to funds twice a month is a breath of fresh air.
The method in which they pay you depends on where you live.
If you’re a US citizen, they will pay you by direct deposit or by check, and for other countries, you will be paid via Paypal.
What Are Others Saying On The Web?
When I scoured the Internet looking for what others have to say about TrendSource, there appears to be an underlying theme from many of the Field Agents.
The main complaint seems to be the low pay for the work they do.
In fact, it appears that they may not pay as well as other mystery shopping companies for similar work.
But, every company tends to have their own pros and cons in this area, and some companies offer bonuses and benefits that may go some way to compensating for this discrepancy.
What I Like about TrendSource
- I like that they pay you twice per month by direct deposit or check if you live in the United States or by Paypal, if you live outside the United States.
- If you’re traveling, I like the fact that you can pickup projects outside of the place you live, which means that you have more opportunities to make money.
- I like that fact that you can set your own schedule as to when you work. If you’re a stay at home mom or dad or student, it means you can schedule in a project that fits your schedule.
- I like that the company doesn’t stop you from being able to be a mystery shopper for any other company. Some mystery shopping companies expect you to work for them exclusively.
- There is a low entry point to becoming a field agent in terms of equipment, and experience. Most people would already possess the majority of tools and skills, needed to fulfill the requirements of a project.
What I Don’t Like about TrendSource
- I don’t like the fact that the opportunity to be a mystery shopper with the company is only available to people living in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
- At best, being a mystery shopper for TrendSource is only a part-time way for you to make money. You may earn money some weeks and not on others depending on the projects available in your area.
Do I Recommend TrendSource?
TrendSource is definitely a legitimate company and The Source arm of the business that provides work for field agents, is legit too.
I do like that, once you’re hired as a field agent you can gain access to a database of projects available in your area.
Field agents are able to pick and choose when and what projects they want to complete which has advantages for busy stay at home moms, dads, students and retirees who want to earn extra income for their families in their spare time.
The company also has an app that will help you to gain access to projects, which may come in handy if you’re in a different location to where you reside, as it could help you find easy projects to complete while “on-the-road”.
However, because this opportunity is only available to people who live in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, it means that many “would-be” field agents miss out on this opportunity.
Therefore, weighing up the pros and cons, I would say that the company offers a good way to people to make money as a Mystery Shopper. However, just be aware that if you select a job, you may not always be compensated for the products you purchase or travel expenses.
You will just need to make sure you weigh up the pros and cons when selecting jobs to complete, as some jobs, may not be worth your while.
If you want to make money and earn a full-time income working part-time, then I recommend you check out this review.
If you have an experience as a field agent with TrendSource, both, good or bad, I’d really like to hear about it. Just leave a comment in the section below.