Mystery shopping has been around since the 1940s, but it’s only now starting to become popular with people who want to work from home or at least choose their own hours.
Mystery shoppers are hired by companies that want to know what their customers think of them and how they do business. Mystery shopping is an excellent way for anyone who wants to make money without a job or make a quick $100.
Mystery shoppers are usually sent out on assignments where they have to report back on customer service skills, product quality, store layout, etc., all under the guise of being ordinary customers interested in buying goods or services.
Mystery shopper jobs pay well because some studies have shown that mystery shoppers can lead to higher service performance by catching mistakes before they happen.
Mystery shopper jobs pay well when mystery shoppers take the initiative to report poor customer service and mistakes promptly. Mystery shopping can be an exciting job with high pay if done correctly!
What is Mystery Shopping?
Mystery shopping is a job in which a company pays you a commission for posing as a regular customer. In exchange for your honest feedback, they pay you a fee.
In most cases, you will also be asked to buy something during your mystery shopping trip and then be reimbursed.
Mystery Shopping trips usually include shopping at retail shops, grocery stores, restaurants, convenience stores, and even hotels.
Sometimes you can even find mystery shopping jobs for theme parks, spas, casinos, and concerts!
There are also Telephone Mystery Shopper jobs where shoppers get to evaluate calls from call centers.
How Do I Become a Mystery Shopper?
There are quite a few companies that offer mystery shopping jobs, and a lot of them pay very well! You just need to know where to look and how to know which ones are legitimate and which ones are scams.
Companies that offer mystery shopping jobs typically require you to be at least 18 years old. However, if you will be working for a company that has you shop for alcohol or get served alcohol at bars or restaurants, you will need to be at least 21 years old.
Several companies also require dependable transportation to work for them since you will need to drive from store to store to do your shopping tasks.
As a mystery shopper, you will typically be considered an independent contractor rather than an employee of the mystery shopping companies you work for.
As an independent contractor, you will be solely responsible for withholding your taxes from your paychecks, so this is something to keep in mind.
How Do I Avoid Getting Scammed?
When looking into becoming a mystery shopper, there are a few tell-tale signs that you will want to look out for to avoid getting scammed.
A typical mystery shopping scam would be when a company asks you to deposit a check for “equipment” such as a computer or a phone but will reimburse you. Do not fall for this as a legitimate company will never ask you to pay them any money upfront, and you will not get your money back.
If a mystery shopper company is legitimate, it will use professional email services. For example, a legit company will not use email addresses from AOL, Yahoo, or Gmail.
Another sign of a scam is if a company is contacting you using poor English or unprofessional sounding language.
It will also not conduct business via messaging services such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Telegram.
A great way to find a reputable mystery shopping company is to go with recommendations from reliable sources that you trust.
I’ve also included some of the best mystery shopper jobs below.
What Should I Expect as a Secret Shopper?
Each mystery shopping assignment will be unique, but generally, you’ll be expected to operate just like a typical consumer. You will want to avoid making the employees aware that you are a mystery shopper.
You will often be asked for feedback on facilities such as restrooms to see if they’re clean and have the proper signage. You may also be asked to comment on the quality of customer service that you received.
As a mystery shopper, you will typically be able to choose which assignments you would like to do, which is great if you would love to have a more flexible job.
Once your job is complete, you will be asked to complete a report of your findings to get paid.
How Much Money Can You Get for a Mystery Shopping Job?
According to Indeed.com, the average base salary of mystery shoppers in the United States as of October 2021 is $17.96 per hour.
How much you get paid for mystery shopping depends on the company you are working for.
Check out these top 3 legitimate mystery shopper jobs that you can sign up for today!
This company has been in business since 1990 and is very reputable. They are even a charter member of the Mystery Shopping Provider’s Association.
Secret Shopper pays an average of $15-$25 per job. Sometimes, you may just be reimbursed for what you purchased, essentially getting an item or a meal for free.
To work for Secret Shopper, you need to be at least 18 years old, have a reliable computer and scanner or printer, and be dependable. No previous experience is required.
Become a Certified Field Associate in the movie industry by being a mystery shopper for Market Force Information.
As a certified field associate, you will have the opportunity to watch movies and movie trailers at the theater and get paid!
Part of your job duties may include counting the number of people attending certain movies, hanging up movie posters, etc.
The compensation you receive will depend on the tasks you complete. You’ll also get reimbursed for your movie tickets and concessions on special assignments.
When you work with Shoppers Confidential, you will have the opportunity to mystery shop government agencies and services.
As a shopper with Shoppers Confidential, some of your tasks may include using websites, making phone calls, and visiting municipal, provincial, or federal government offices in the US and Canada.
Mystery shoppers with Shoppers Confidential will typically be paid about $15-$20 per assignment. They will also receive reimbursement for any expenses that they may incur while shopping.
Is Being a Mystery Shopper Worth it?
Working as a mystery shopper is a convenient alternative to a typical part-time job. It is nice because you can typically choose your hours.
Mystery shoppers are expected to take notes on everything from customer service quality to the cleanliness of the restrooms (sometimes even taking photos) and more.
Companies that employ mystery shoppers look for people who are honest, trustworthy, hardworking, detail-oriented, and have strong communication skills. Mystery shopping jobs typically do not require special skills or training.
When mystery shopping, you will typically be paid after completing your assignments. You may receive an hourly sum, payment per task completed, or just reimbursement for items purchased.
Working part-time as a mystery shopper can be a fun way to put a bit of extra cash in your pocket.
Just note that when looking into mystery shopper opportunities, you’ll want to decide if the payment is worth the time it will take you to complete your assigned tasks.
Similar Opportunities to Make Extra Money
If mystery shopping doesn’t seem like a good fit for you, but you still want to find some ways to make a bit of extra money, here are a couple of great opportunities to consider.
DoorDash is currently available in over 7,000 cities in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
Working for DoorDash is an easy way to make some extra cash in your free time. You can work part-time, or you can even work full-time if you like.
Food delivery jobs with DoorDash include the following benefits:
- Flexible hours
- Only pick up the jobs you want to do
- Earn tips
Dashers get paid hourly based on how many orders they decide to take while also earning tips.
As a Dasher, you can be your own boss and enjoy the flexibility of choosing when, where, and how much you earn. All you need is a mode of transportation and a smartphone to start making money. It’s that simple.
Shipt is a company that delivers groceries to your door from local stores, and it’s incredibly easy to start working with Shipt and start earning money!
Experienced Shipt Shoppers can make an average of $22 per hour, and they get paid once per week.
Some other great benefits of working for Shipt include:
- You can be your own boss
- Decide to work part-time or full time and set your hours
- Free Shipt membership
The requirements for working for Shipt are very straightforward. These requirements include:
- You must be at least 18 years old
- A valid driver’s license and auto insurance is required
- You must have a reliable vehicle that is newer than 1997
- Knowledge of the produce section of the grocery store
- The ability to lift at least 40 pounds
- You need to have an iPhone with iOS 10 or newer or an Android with 5.1 or newer
Plus some of these awesome ways to make a few extra bucks:
- Legit Surveys for Cash
- Get Paid to Read Email
- Make Money Without a Job
- How to Make Instant Money
- Ibotta for Travel
- Apps to Sell Photos Online
Is Mystery Shopping Right for You?
If you’re looking for a way to make some extra cash, mystery shopping jobs may be the perfect opportunity. Mystery shopping jobs are often flexible and can be done around your schedule.
Mystery shopper jobs are perfect for students, retirees, stay-at-home moms, or anyone looking for a side gig that pays well.