MYSTERY SHOPPPER

Earn Money As A MYSTERY SHOPPER Around Town
(In America In 2018)

By Michael Wong | October 24, 2018.

Earn Money As A Mystery Shopper

Would you like to get paid to:

  • go shopping?
  • have dinner at a nice restaurant?
  • stay overnight at a hotel?
  • fly to another city?

Yes you can, as a "Mystery Shopper." If the concept sounds interesting, read on...

How To Become A Mystery Shopper

What Is A Mystery Shopper?

A "Mystery Shopper" (also known as a "Secret Shopper") is someone hired by a company to pose as a regular customer and provide feedback on the service they received to the company.

Companies hire mystery shoppers to:

  • help assess the performance of staff to improve customer service
  • gather price info to identify opportunities to increase margins or gain market share
  • monitor compliance that can put a business at risk
  • compare the competition

Mystery shoppers are asked to report facts, not give their opinion.

Typical Mystery Shopper Questions

Here are some questions from a sample mystery shop:

  • Number of employees at deli.
  • Numbers of customers at deli.
  • How long did you wait before being helped?
  • Did employee wear a name tag?
  • Did employee greet you properly?
  • Was employee friendly?
  • Brief description of employee.
  • Were deli counters clean?
  • Were cold cut display windows clean?
  • Please describe your deli shop. Include explanations for all NO answers. You must write at least 2 paragraphs (1,500 characters minimum).

How Much Do Mystery Shoppers Earn?

I spoke with a number of mystery shopping companies and here are the compensation rates for each type of shop (assignment):

  • A typical shop: $5 to $20+
  • High end dining shops: $100-150+
  • Casino or hotel shops: Up to $500

According to one mystery shopping company:

  • many mystery shoppers earn $200 to $300 per week, part-time
  • full-time mystery shoppers can earn $20,000 to $30,000 or more, a year

You may usually paid by direct deposit to your bank account, check, or PayPal.

Success Story: How I Made $14,000 A Year Mystery Shopping

If you are skeptical about mystery shopping, check out this success story published in Forbes, "How I Made $14,000 A Year Mystery Shopping" (http://c1ick.us/forbes-howimade14000ayear).

The article tells the story of how the author earned about $14,000 in a year, doing mystery shopping as a side job, 6 days a week, for 75 companies.

The author had a full-time job as an intellectual property assistant at a law firm. He wanted earn some extra money because he owed about $45,000 from two years of law school and was only earning just enough to live on.

Virgin Australia Mystery Shopping Breaks

Mystery shopping can be fun! Here is an example of a rare but wonderful mystery shop.

When Virgin Australia first arrived in Australia, they offered "Mystery Breaks" around Australia and even Bali, that included airfares, transfers, accommodation and baggage allowance. Nice!

You can read all about it in TripAdvisor forum chat, "Virgin Australia Mystery Breaks?" (http://c1ick.us/tripadvisor-virginaustralia).

Mystery Shop Compensation

If you are asked to purchase a particular item or service, you are either reimbursed, or the cost of the purchase is already calculated into the shop payment you receive.

For some shops, such as a restaurant, the payment may be to reimburse you for the cost of a meal for two. So basically you get a free meal. Nothing more.

Mystery Shopper Requirements

You do not need previous experience to be a mystery shopper. Training is usually available.

But you must:

  • have good observation skills and a good memory because you are required to write about specific details in your report have good written communication skills
  • have online access to submit shop reports
  • have a mobile phone with a camera, digital camera, or scanner to scan the required proof of shop, which is typically a receipt or business card
  • be dependable and able to meet deadlines
  • be at least 18 years old (21+ for places that sell alcohol)

Mystery Shopper Jobs In Nevada

Mystery shopper jobs are available in all 50 US states. However, in Nevada mystery shopping falls within the definition of a private investigator.

Hence, an individual or business in Nevada must be licensed as such before they can perform any services as a mystery shopper. A mystery shopper must be employed by a licensed private investigator (no independent contractors).

Does It Cost Money To Become A Mystery Shopper?

No. Legitimate mystery shopping companies never charge a fee to sign up. If a company asks for a sign up or membership fee, leave it alone.

Warning: One Mystery Shopper Per Household

Some mystery shopping companies seem to only allow one mystery shopper per household or IP address.

One forum thread I read said the company terminated her and her husband's account, without warning or explanation.

Another person said he and his roommate both had their accounts deactivated overnight without warning.

If more than one person in your household wants to sign up to a company, I would recommend you ask the company if they are okay with that.

How To Check Whether A Mystery Shopping Company Is Legitimate

The best way to find out whether a mystery shopping company is legitimate is to check whether they are a member of "MSPA Americas," the trade association representing the customer experience industry in North America.

MSPA Americas member companies go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that they are legitimate firms.

Among the requirements for MSPA membership are that:

  • a company may not charge shoppers for access to shopping opportunities
  • members must agree to adhere to a code of ethics that includes agreeing to pay shoppers in a timely manner and not to withhold pay simply because the company has not been paid

MSPA Americas do not intervene on behalf of shoppers in disputes with a company. But it can, and has taken action in cases when it learns a company makes a regular practice of failing to pay shoppers or paying late.

Visit the MSPA Americas website for their list of 142 member companies and contact details (http://c1ick.us/mspa-membercompanies).

Three Ways To Find Genuine Mystery Shopper Jobs

Here are three ways to find genuine mystery shopper jobs:

  1. My top mystery shopper companies:
    • Sign up to my top mystery shopper companies in the "Mystery Shopper Companies" section further down this page.
    • I only included MSPA member companies that I have verified and felt offer the best job opportunities.
  2. MSPA Americas Member Companies:
    1. Visit the MSPA Americas "Member Companies" webpage (http://c1ick.us/mspa-membercompanies)
    2. Visit the mystery shopping websites listed on that page.
    3. On the mystery shopping website, find the link that says, "Become A Shopper," "Shopper," or something similar.
    4. Read the description to find out whether the company covers your area and offers the type of jobs you are interested in.
    5. If you like what you read, sign up.
  3. MSPA Americas Opportunity Board:
    1. Visit the MSPA Americas Opportunity Board (http://c1ick.us/mspa- opportunityboard).
    2. Log in or become a member (free) to get access.
    3. Enter your zip code and select how far you are willing to travel for a job.
    4. Browse the job listings and apply for jobs that interest you.
  4. When I selected "US" and "Mystery Shop", it returned almost 8,000 jobs. That sounds like a lot of jobs but they were spread out across the United States.

    When I entered a zip code like 10036 (Times Square) and 10 miles (travel max), it only returned 76 job listings, which still is not bad.

Mystery Shopper SCAMS

Mystery shopping companies often display a scam alert warning on their website potential mystery shoppers because there have been numerous mystery shopping scams.

Here is how the mystery shopper scam works:

  1. You are solicited by email, mail or from a website that appears to be from an official mystery shopping company inviting you to become a mystery shopper.
  2. You receive a package containing a form and a cashier's check or money order.
  3. You are asked to:
    1. cash the check or money order
    2. wire the majority of the funds via MoneyGram or Western Union to the company
    3. keep the rest as your "payment" for the assignment

Sadly, vulnerable people have fallen for these scams.

Do NOT:

  • cash the check or money order
  • transfer any funds because the check will not clear
  • respond in anyway, such as email the company or call the number listed

Do:

  • delete the email
  • throw away the letter

Do not be fooled by these scams. By the time you discover that the check is not real, you'll have lost the money you sent and also be held accountable for the bounced check by your bank.

Mystery Shopper Mobile SCAMS

Another mystery shopper scam involves unsolicited text messages sent to mobile phones claiming to be from a legitimate mystery shopping company and asking for either money or personal information.

If you receive such a message, just delete it.

Legitimate mystery shopping companies never send unsolicited text messages to individuals.

Mystery Shopper Companies

Earn money with my top 7 genuine mystery shopper companies in America. I vetted all 142 member companies (http://c1ick.us/mspa-membercompanies) listed in the MSPA Americas website.

I struck off companies that no longer seemed to be in business, or did not give me a good feeling about the company.

Here are my top 7 companies that I liked the look of. But please do not just take my word as a recommendation. They are not. Do your own due diligence. Only sign up with companies you like what you see.

I do suggest you sign up with as many companies as possible to improve your chances of getting jobs. Most companies will only have a limited number of jobs close to you and you are competing with lots of people for the same jobs.

If you have earned money with any of the other 135 MSPA Americas member companies not listed below, and would recommend them, please let me know.

Visit each website for more information:

BestMark screenshot

1. BestMark (http://c1ick.me/bestmark):

  • Earn money:
    • with 10,000+ mystery shops in over 15 industries each month
    • doing customer experience exit interviewees, gathering info from retail customers exiting a store
    • referring friends to BestMark - up to $25, depending on their location and shops they complete
  • Requirements:
    • reliable transportation
    • good written communication skills
    • able to focus on details
    • full internet access (at home or at work)
  • BestMark offer free training:
    • with the specifics that each client is looking for, and how to properly complete the survey.
    • on what they expect from you, such as communication, timeliness, thoroughness, etc.
  • Stats:
    • 1 million+ evaluations conducted annually
    • 500,000+ mystery shoppers and auditors
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • BestMark was acquired by Generation Growth Capital, Inc., a private equity fund with $85.2 million under management, in 2017.
  • Employees: 51+ (est. 1986) (http://c1ick.us/bestmark-lkd)
  • BBB accredited rating: A+ (http://c1ick.us/bestmark-bbb)
  • Minimum age: 19+
  • Countries: USA, Canada.
  • Free to join: Yes
ACE Mystery Shopping screenshot

2. ACE Mystery Shopping (http://c1ick.me/acemysteryshopping):

  • Earn money doing mystery shopping jobs for restaurants, retail, automotive, lodging, bars, vapor ecig stores and dispensaries.
  • Sign up to their affiliate program and you will receive a link you can use to promote ACE Mystery Shopping on social media, your blog, etc.
    • Earn $1 each time your referral completes a shop.
    • If your referral signs up for the affiliate program, you will earn $0.25 each time one of their referrals complete a shop.
  • Earnings paid by check each month for shops completed the prior month.
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 11-50 (est. 2001) (http://c1ick.us/acemysteryshopping-lkd)
  • Minimum age: 18+
  • Countries: USA
  • Free to join: Yes
Amusement Advantage screenshot

3. Amusement Advantage (http://c1ick.me/amusementadvantage):

  • Earn money mystery shopping in theme parks, amusement parks, water parks, and family entertainment centers.
  • Earn $5 Early Return Bonus, if you submit all results, receipts and pictures due by 10 a.m. the morning following your visit.
  • Refer new mystery shoppers by submit referrals on their website and will get paid $20 after they complete their first shop.
  • Earnings paid by check, PayQuicker or PayPal, within 21 to 28 days of submitting all required information, such as results and receipts. Other forms of compensation include gift certificates, coupons and free passes.
  • Shopper support: project managers are available 7 days a week via email, phone (9:00 a.m. to midnight, EST), and live chat during
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 2-10 (est. 1996) (http://c1ick.us/amusementadvantage-lkd)
  • Minimum age: 18+
  • Countries: USA, Canada.
  • Free to join: Yes
MSI Mystery Shopping screenshot

4. MSI Mystery Shopping (http://c1ick.me/msimysteryshopping):

  • Earn money with mystery shopping jobs for restaurants, bars, movie theaters, salons, retailers, etc.
  • Refer a friend and earn $10 after they complete one of the shops in the Hot Shops list.
  • Earnings paid by check within 45 days of the day you went on your shop.
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes (Mercantile Systems, Inc.)
  • Employees: 11-50 (est. 1954) (http://c1ick.us/mercantile-lkd)
  • Minimum age: 18+
  • Countries: USA
  • Free to join: Yes
Baird Group screenshot

5. Baird Group (http://c1ick.me/bairdgroup):

  • Earn money with medical mystery shopping jobs:
    • phone call shops: $8
    • walkthrough visit shops: $50+
    • patient visit shops: $150+
  • Amazon gift cards for:
    • Shopper of the Month: $20
    • Shopper of the Year: $100
  • You must be located within 90 miles of the shop location. There are a limited number of locations, with new locations are added regularly - Shop location at the time of writing:
    • Central MD
    • Central WV
    • Long Island NY
    • Northeast OH
    • Southeast TX
  • Requirements:
    • 30 minute Baird Group Phone Certification video and survey.
    • 75 minute On-site Certification pays $5.
    • Background check: Baird Group reimburse any out-of-pocket office fees
  • Refer a friend and you will receive:
    • $10, after they complete their telephone Certification and one telephone shop
    • $15, after they complete their On-site Certification (pending background check clearance) and one on-site shop
  • Earnings paid by PayPal, on the 5th of each month for shops completed the previous month.
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 11-50 (est. 1994) (http://c1ick.us/bairdgroup-lkd)
  • BBB accredited rating: A+ (http://c1ick.us/bairdgroup-bbb)
  • Minimum age: 18+
  • Countries: USA
  • Free to join: Yes
Confero screenshot

6. Confero (http://c1ick.me/confero):

  • Earn money doing:
    • mystery shopping
    • on-site audits
    • on the spot prize incentive mystery shops
    • telephone mystery shops (sometimes recorded)
    • compliance audits
    • price checks
  • Thousands of shops each month in:
    • retail and online stores
    • banking
    • food service
    • real estate
    • grocery stores
    • shopping centers
    • automotive services
    • healthcare
    • airports
    • movie theaters, tourist attractions, and theme parks
  • Refer a friend in select cities (240+ cities at the time of writing), and if they complete a mystery shop within 60 days of signing up, you earn $5.
  • Earnings paid by PayPal or direct deposit to your bank account (USA only).
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 51+ (est. 1986) (http://c1ick.us/confero-lkd)
  • BBB accredited rating: A+ (http://c1ick.us/confero-bbb)
  • Minimum age: 21+
  • Countries: USA, Canada, Mexico, South America.
  • Free to join: Yes
Shoppers' View screenshot

7. Shoppers' View (http://c1ick.me/shoppersview):

  • Earn $10 to $40, or more, doing on-site and telephone (work from home) mystery shopping jobs for banks, restaurants, auto dealerships, insurance providers, retailers, etc.
  • Many mystery shoppers working part-time earn $200 to $300 a week, while full-time mystery shoppers can earn $20,000 or more a year, according to Shoppers' View.
  • Refer a friend and earn $5, if they:
    • register with the email address you give to Shoppers' View
    • complete a shop within 60 days of the referral
  • Earnings paid by PayPal.
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 11-50 (est. 1993) (http://c1ick.us/shoppersview-lkd)
  • BBB accredited rating: A+ (http://c1ick.us/shoppersview-bbb)
  • Minimum age: 18+
  • Countries: USA, Canada.
  • Free to join: Yes
Market Force screenshot

8. Market Force (http://c1ick.me/marketforce):

  • Earn money:
    • mystery shopping at gasoline stations, fast food establishments, sit-down restaurants, grocery stores, drug stores, wireless telephone providers, fashion brands, etc.
    • as a Theater Checker in movie theaters
  • 100,000+ mystery shops per month.
  • Earnings paid by direct deposit to your bank account, or check.
  • Mobile app ratings:
    • Android: 3.2 (700+ reviews / 10,000+ downloads)
    • iOS: 2.7 (25+ ratings)
  • 400,000 mystery shoppers.
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Minimum age: 18+
  • Countries: USA, Canada, France, Spain, UK.
  • Free to join: Yes
Mintel screenshot

9. Mintel (http://c1ick.me/mintel):

  • Earn money:
    • going into shops and buying products
    • mystery shopping in local stores and restaurants
    • doing in-store audits and capturing information from the shelf
    • collecting and forwarding on emails and direct mail that was sent to you
  • Get paid twice a month.
  • Phone support: 1-877-447-1234 (Chicago, IL)
  • Stats:
    • 30,000+ mystery shoppers/field associates.
    • 13 offices worldwide.
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 501+ (est. 1972) (http://c1ick.us/mintel-lkd)
  • Minimum age: 18+
  • Countries: USA, worldwide.
  • Free to join: Yes
GBW screenshot

10. GBW (Formerly GAPbuster Worldwide) (http://c1ick.me/gbwmysteryshopping):

  • GBW offer mystery shopping and auditor jobs in industries, such as automotive, banking and financial services, convenience stores, entertainment, cinemas, grocery, restaurants, retail, and telecom.
  • The best mystery shoppers may become Auditors. They undergo training, assessment and certification.
  • Earnings paid monthly by direct deposit to your bank account.
  • Stats:
    • 14 million+ mystery shops completed
    • 400,000+ mystery shoppers and auditors
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 201+ (est. 1994) (http://c1ick.us/gbw-lkd)
  • Minimum age: 18+
  • Countries: USA, worldwide.
  • Free to join: Yes

11. Bare International (http://c1ick.me/bareinternational):

  • Earn money mystery shopping in industries, such as automotive, education, electronics, financial, hospitality, health & wellness, luxury, restaurant, and retail.
  • 50,000 evaluations completed worldwide, each month.
  • Earnings payout:
    • USA/Canada: Earnings paid by paper check or electronic payment (maximum $500).
    • Rest of the world: Earnings paid by bank transfer or other method (whichever is deemed to be the most cost effective and efficient method).
  • Stats:
    • 500,000 evaluators worldwide.
    • 12 offices around the world.
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 201+ (est. 1987) (http://c1ick.us/bareinternational-lkd)
  • Minimum age: 21+ (USA), 18+ (Rest of the world).
  • Countries: USA, worldwide.
  • Free to join: Yes

12. International Service Check (http://c1ick.me/intlservicecheck):

  • Earn money doing mystery shopping and auditing in hospitality, retail, financial services and automative.
  • 1 million+ evaluators.
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 201+ (est. 1996) (http://c1ick.us/internationalservicecheck-lkd)
  • Minimum age: 18+
  • Countries: USA, China, worldwide.
  • Free to join: Yes

13. Alta360 Research (http://c1ick.me/alta360research):

  • Earn money with on-site, phone and online mystery shops, quality audits, customer intercepts/interviews, and installs or audits of promotional materials like credit card application displays and signage.
  • Sample jobs:
    • Ice inventory (count pallets of ice) audit in Effingham, IL: $15 for 15 minutes of work.
    • Mystery shops at a regional grocery store: $11 + $2/10 reimbursement.
    • Carry out pizza shop: $18 + reimbursed for the 2 items purchased.
  • Like or follow the Alta360 Research Facebook page for the latest casting calls (http://c1ick.us/alta360research-fbk)
  • 300,000 site visits a year.
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 51+ (est. 1974) (http://c1ick.us/alta360research-lkd)
  • BBB accredited rating: A+ (http://c1ick.us/alta360research-bbb)
  • Minimum age: 18+
  • Countries: USA, Canada, China.
  • Free to join: Yes

14. IntelliShop (http://c1ick.me/intellishop):

  • Earn money with in-store, telephone and online mystery shopping jobs.
  • Earnings paid by PayPal on the 20th of the month.
  • 900,000+ mystery shoppers.
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 51+ (est. 1999) (http://c1ick.us/intellishop-lkd)
  • BBB accredited rating: A+ (http://c1ick.us/intellishop-bbb)
  • Minimum age: 18+
  • Countries: USA
  • Free to join: Yes

15. ath Power Consulting (http://c1ick.me/athpowerconsulting):

  • Earn money doing mystery shopping and compliance auditing jobs, primarily for companies within the financial services industry.
  • 10,000 mystery shops per month.
  • Payment by check, direct deposit to your bank account, or PayPal, twice a month.
  • Live chat and email support.
  • 500,000 mystery shoppers.
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 51+ (est. 1997) (http://c1ick.us/athpowerconsulting-lkd)
  • BBB accredited rating: A+ (http://c1ick.us/athpowerconsulting-bbb)
  • Minimum age: 18+
  • Countries: USA
  • Free to join: Yes

16. Ellis Partners (http://c1ick.me/ellispartners):

  • Earn money doing on-site, telephone and internet mystery shopping jobs.
  • Earnings paid monthly by direct deposit to your bank account.
  • Stats:
    • 8,000+ mystery shops a month
    • 1 million+ mystery shops completed
    • 6 million+ mystery shoppers
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 51+ (est. 1984) (http://c1ick.us/ellis-lkd)
  • Minimum age: 18+
  • Countries: USA, Canada.
  • Free to join: Yes

17. The Source (http://c1ick.me/thesource):

  • Make money with mystery shops, stock audits, shop-alongs, customer intercepts, merchandising audits, competitive pricing audits, CMS compliance audits, and onsite inspections.
  • Jobs available at the time of writing in these sample states:
    • CA: 2,000+
    • MI: 880+
    • TX: 2,300+
  • Earnings paid by direct deposit to your bank account, or check, twice a month.
  • Clients include:
    • Costco
    • Sizzler
    • Starwood Hotels and Resorts
  • 300,000 field agents.
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 51+ (est. 1989) (http://c1ick.us/thesource-lkd)
  • Minimum age: 18+
  • Countries: USA, Canada, UK.
  • Free to join: Yes

18. Reality Based Group (http://c1ick.me/realitybasedgroup):

  • Earn money with on-site and video mystery shopping and auditor jobs in retail, restaurants, banks, automative, hotels, etc.
  • For video mystery shopping jobs, you:
    • must live in the Greater Austin Area
    • get a 6 month, part-time, contract
    • paid travel expenses
    • travel up to five days a week throughout the United States
    • must have a valid driver's license
    • must have liability automobile insurance
    • must be old enough to rent a car
    • must be aged 25+ (for car rental)
    • must have a clean criminal record
    • must have three references
    • must have an understanding of electronics
  • Clients include:
    • Amazon.com, Inc.
    • Hilton Hotels & Resorts‚Äé
    • Allstate Insurance
  • Earnings paid monthly by direct deposit to your bank account, or PayPal.
  • Stats:
    • 2 million+ mystery shops completed
    • 280,000+ mystery shoppers
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 51+ (est. 1992) (http://c1ick.us/realitybasedgroup-lkd)
  • BBB accredited rating: A+ (http://c1ick.us/realitybasedgroup-bbb)
  • Minimum age: 18/25+
  • Countries: USA, Canada.
  • Free to join: Yes

19. Second To None (http://c1ick.me/secondtonone):

  • Earn money with in-store, online, telephone, in-home, video, and social media mystery shopping jobs.
  • 350,000 mystery shoppers.
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 51+ (est. 1989) (http://c1ick.us/secondtonone-lkd)
  • Minimum age: 18+
  • Countries: USA, Canada.
  • Free to join: Yes

20. Person To Person Quality (http://c1ick.me/person2personquality):

  • Earn money with on-site and telephone mystery shopping jobs for banks, restaurants, auto dealerships, insurance providers, retailers, etc.
  • Referral Rewards:
    • Refer a friend and you will earn up to $10 for every assignment they complete within 12 months.
    • Payouts range from $1 for restaurant visits and bar audits, to $10 for Medicare insurance provider assignments.
    • Paid by PayPal each quarter.
    • To qualify for Referral Rewards, you must complete at least one mystery shop.
  • Earnings paid by PayPal.
  • MSPA Americas member: Yes
  • Employees: 11-50 (est. 1994) (http://c1ick.us/persontopersonquality-lkd)
  • BBB accredited rating: A+ (http://c1ick.us/persontopersonquality-bbb) - Person To Person Quality is a division of ADI Compliance Consulting Inc.
  • Minimum age: 18+
  • Countries: USA
  • Free to join: Yes

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