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According to MSPA (Mystery Shopper Providers Association) data, there are currently over 60,000 independent contractors working as mystery shoppers. These secret shopper jobs are crucial to businesses, providing valuable feedback on products and services.
This can be a great way to get paid to shop, but it is crucial to find legit opportunities. So, here we’ll delve into mystery shopper jobs and how you can find a gig.
What is a Mystery Shopper?
You may have heard of mystery shopper jobs, but you don’t know much about how this process works. A mystery shopper is paid to act like any other shopper and present feedback based on their shopping experience.
Most companies that provide mystery shopping services give their workers a list of tasks that they need to complete such as asking staff questions on products and services. Once this set of tasks have been completed they provide feedback on their experience including factors, such as: employee helpfulness, store cleanliness, speed or service and more.
For example, the company may ask you to complete an order at McDonalds. You’ll be expected to monitor the time it takes for your order to arrive using a stopwatch. In return for a free lunch, you’ll just need to complete a questionnaire detailing your customer experience.
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How Much Money Can You Make as a Mystery Shopper?
A mystery shopping trip can vary in earnings depending on how much work is involved, but a typical assignment could be worth $5-$25.
In most cases the mystery shopper will pay for this service but they will often reimburse the shopper for any purchases and/or expenses they incurred during their visit.
How Do You Become a Legitimate Mystery Shopper?
- Research: It is crucial to choose legit platforms for mystery shopper jobs. The platforms I’ve listed below are certainly legit. But, it is worth checking the terms and conditions to ensure that you are comfortable before starting work.
- Be Honest: Many mystery shopper jobs rely on demographic information to match shoppers and gigs. Although it may be tempting to try and game the system to get more jobs, this is counterproductive. Companies are looking for honest opinions, so if you are caught lying you’ll be penalized.
- Be Prompt: Most mystery shopper gigs require completion within a certain time frame. So, it is important to be prompt. Demonstrating your reliability will help you to secure more work.
- Read the Instructions Carefully: Finally, be sure to read through all the instructions carefully to ensure that you get paid and the client is happy.
30 Best Mystery Shopper Jobs
Marketforce was formerly known as Retail Eyes. It’s one of the best known mystery shopping platforms with almost 300,000 members.
Marketforce is one of the best legit mystery shopper jobs because there is always a huge range of jobs to choose. Anyone is likely to find mystery shopping jobs in their local area and it’s easy to make a little extra money when you’re out shopping anyway.
The only real downside to using Marketforce is that they are not very responsive to member concerns. With average earnings of $5- $10 per in-store visit, the rate of pay is quite low. In some cases you only receive reimbursement for any products you purchased.
2. iShopFor Ipsos
Ipsos is widely regarded as one of the largest consumer panels with a large number of assignments. There are no lengthy applications to complete, simply register on the site and click the green button to get started.
This company is a little different to other mystery shopping platforms because the reporting process can be very time consuming. However, the extra effort is worth it because Ipsos does pay well compared to the competition. You can earn $10+ per shop.
3. National Consumer Panel
The National Consumer Panel or NCP is a well established market research company that pays its users to take part in product testing, barcode scanning and taking online surveys.
Acceptance into NCP is not automatic. They are only interested in certain demographic groups and this can limit your earning potential. So, it’s important to complete an accurate demographic profile to get the best matches for work.
NCP users earn points for various tasks that you can exchange for gift cards from participating brands, including:
When you work with NCP you can also earn points towards retail vouchers and entries into sweepstakes.
4. Best Mark
BestMark is a leading mystery shopping company and they have been in business since 1986. They offer around 10,000 secret shopper jobs each month at hotels, restaurants and resorts.
The rate of pay varies a great deal depending on the type of assignments you choose and their complexity.
It’s easy to join. Click the “Sign Up Now” button, fill in your information and create a unique password.
Take some time to read the contractor agreement and guidelines and then submit your information. Then you can search for in-person or phone and/or web mystery shopping gigs. You can expect to earn up to $20 per hour.
5. Sinclair Customer Metrics
Sinclair Customer Metrics has been in business since 1987. They have helped many businesses to improve their customer services. Sinclair offers a wide variety of tasks for users, including: phone, video and in-person mystery shopping.
Getting started with Sinclair is simple; sign up, read the mystery shopper information, review. You will then need to agree to an independent contractor agreement. Then you can fill out the application, take a new shopper survey challenge and get to work.
You can expect to earn an average of $10 per hour.
6. Ath Power Consulting
Unlike other mystery shopping companies, Ath Power Consulting focuses purely on the financial and banking niche. This means that any jobs you take with Ath will be based on going into a back or other financial institution and reporting back on your experience.
This company is a member of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association or MSPA. This trade body ensures that all members comply with a code of standards. It has been an elite member for 5 years running.
Ath Power Consulting offers over 10,000 jobs each month and they have over 500,000 registered mystery shoppers. Ath only pays out twice per month rather than each time a mystery shopping task is completed.
Some Ath jobs are sensitive in nature. You may need to pass security clearance to work on those.
Intelli-shop has a number of high profile clients in many different industries. So they have a wide variety of mystery shopping jobs available.
There are three main Intelli-shop methods of mystery shopping, they are:
As an Intelli-shop mystery shopper you will be paid approximately 30 days after the last day of the month in which the shopping trips were complete. You can expect to earn an average of $11 per hour.
The usual payout day is the 20th and payments are via Paypal.
If you have Intelli-shop experience, a gold or silver certification and good performance you will get preference for mystery shopping jobs.
8. Second to none
Second to None is an interesting platform for those interested in mystery shopper jobs. At the moment the company has a focus on insurance brokers and associated organizations. So, they have a particular interest in hiring AARP members. But it’s always worth checking their requirements because they are consistently updated.
If you want to become a Second to None mystery shopper, just fill in the contact information. You’ll need to create a login and submit your application for their consideration.
9. Mystery Shopper America
One of the best known companies in this industry is Mystery Shopper America. This is a great way to get paid to shop. You will be an independent contractor and visit various stores and establishments in your area.
The company is a great fit for a variety of people, including:
- College kids,
- Stay at home moms
- Anyone else that wants to make a little cash.
If you’re interested in this kind of work you need to have good attention to detail because the business owners are relying on your feedback. A typical store visit will last around 30 minutes and the rate of pay is in the $10-$20 range depending on the complexity.
BARE is hiring new mystery shoppers to perform phone, in-person, video and customer chat visits.
This is a newer company that received a Shopper’s Choice award in 2019 from the MSPA. This is an award that mystery shoppers vote for themselves so it’s safe to say that they are a popular company to work for.
When you sign up with BARE, you can list five area codes where you would like to do your mystery shopping. This is really useful because you stick to areas that you know well, which saves time and fuel on shopping trips to other areas.
You will need to choose your language, enter your email address, pick the country where you’re shopping and enter your demographic details.
11. Secret Shopper
Secret Shopper has been in business since 1990. They are a charter member of the MSPA. The company pays their mystery shoppers for each job they complete. This is usually in the $15-$25 per shop range.
Some visits to stores or restaurants include a reimbursement of your meal or products purchased. All you need to do is scan your receipt and submit that with your report.
To join secret shopper, you must:
- Be 18 years old
- Have good writing skills to complete your report
- Be a detail oriented person.
Simply visit the Secret Shopper website, sign up, agree to the terms and conditions. You’ll need to complete a certification test and fill in your personal demographic information.
Pinnacle has been operating continuously for the last 20 years. Its focus is to help financial institutions to improve their services.
As a pinnacle mystery shopper you will be working with banks and credit unions. So this is an ideal fit for anyone that enjoys working in the finance industry.
It’s easy to sign up:
- Click the “New Shopper Sign Up” button,
- Enter your email,
- Add your basic information (including bank details to receive payments),
- Answer the demographic questions
- Agree to the terms and conditions.
It is possible to earn up to $75 per shop.
13. Quest for Best
Quest for Best is a mystery shopping company that is operating in more than 40 U.S. States. They are most active in the Midwest and Southwest States.
There are opportunities including:
- Restaurant eating,
- Visiting movie theaters
- And more.
To join, visit the Quest for Best website and click the “Become a Shopper” button. You’ll need to read the agreement, fill out a shopper/demographic profile and check for any jobs in your area.
If there is no immediate work available the company will keep your profile on file and alert you when an opportunity arises later.
14. Perception Strategies, Inc.
Perception Strategies, Inc has been in business sense 1998. The company has performed over 150,000 mystery shops with a focus on the healthcare sector.
The mystery jobs could be a visit to a health care provider in-person, making a phone call for an appointment or even completing an entire visit.
The feedback that you provide will help these healthcare providers to improve their services and make the patient experiences better.
To join, visit the site, click the “Shopper Application” link, fill out your demographic information and check for a mystery shopping opportunity.
You can expect to earn up to $17 per shop.
ACPVIEW is an acronym for “A Customer’s Point of View”. The company carries out mystery shopping tasks for a wide variety of industries, including:
- Grocery stores,
- Retail outlets,
- Banking, Public transport,
- Fast food diners
AboutFace is a member of the MSPA. They have been in business for 20 years and they have an A+ rating with the BBB.
So, it’s fair to say that they are a legit mystery shopping company with jobs available in every State.
When you’re looking for information on how to become a mystery shopper, one thing that you will notice is the similar rate of pay.
However, AboutFace is a little different and according to their own site they pay around 15% more than the industry.
This adds up to as much as $25 per shop.
17. Mercantile Systems Inc.
Mercantile Systems Inc is also an MSPA member. They offer mystery shopping jobs in a wide range of locations, including;
- Financial services,
- Golf courses,
- Storage facilities
- And many more.
When a mystery shopper receives an assignment, it must be completed within 24 hours. The company pays its mystery shoppers within 45 days of the completion. This is a longer timeframe than most companies in this industry.
Reality BasedGroup or RGB is another MSPA member with high profile clients, including: Cinnabon, Goodwill, SportsClips and Texas Roadhouse.
RGB provides written, phone, video and other types of mystery shopping jobs. There are always plenty of opportunities available in a variety of locations, including banks, bookstores, gyms, restaurants, department stores and more.
With the sheer variety it’s likely that you will always find an interesting mystery shopping job.
You can expect to earn an average of $12 per hour.
iSecretShop is both an app and desktop browser that you can use to complete mystery shopping tasks.
App users can fill in most of the information that you may have to type in on their computers separately.
It’s possible to choose your mystery shopping experience from in-person, phone, web and poll categories.
Once you’ve registered, you can browse the job board to find an opportunity that suits your needs.
Jobs typically pay $5. All payments are through your Paypal account. This may be an interesting way for some people to learn how to shop for free.
20. Shopper’s View
Shopper’s View is an MSPA founding member. They have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and always have interesting mystery shopping jobs available.
Some of the best opportunities are in the retail, food and sporting events sectors.
If you don’t have access to a vehicle or you don’t want to work in-person you can opt for phone based mystery shopping jobs only.
The company claims that with dedication and full time hours, it is possible to earn $20,000+ per year.
SeeLevel has opportunities in the retail, fast food, automotive and financial services industries.
If you like to get free food when you’re working on a mystery shopping job, SeeLevel would be the ideal fit for you.
It’s easy to join SeeLevel,
- Fill in your demographic information,
- Agree with them.
Then you can submit your information and wait for SeeLevel to get back to you.
It is possible to earn up to $200 per day. The company pays all of your earnings via your Paypal account.
22. Amusement Advantage
Amusement Advantage pays people to visit a wide variety of locations, including:
- Amusement Parks
- Bowling alleys
- And other attractions.
This is often more fun than mystery shopping gigs at the grocery store but you still need to be detail oriented.
In certain cases you may get the price of the tickets and admission after you’ve completed the task.
However, you can earn an extra $5 if you complete your assignment by 10am on the day after you received your assignment.
Amusement Advantage also has a referral program where you can earn an extra $20 by recruiting new mystery shoppers.
The only real disadvantage is that it can take up to 45 days to receive your earnings.
Confero has mystery shopping jobs in many industries, including:
- Theme parks,
- Movie theaters,
- Food service,
- And many others.
It’s easy to sign up to the site, type in your email address and select the country where you live and work legally. Then read the Independent Contractor agreement and fill out your contact and demographic details. Then you can choose the area codes where you would like to work and this will filter the opportunities that you receive.
There is the potential to earn up to $100+ per week.
24. Globis Survey
Globis Survey is one of the largest mystery shopping companies with thousands of clients in a wide range of industries.
As a mystery shopper you could earn $10 up to $40 per assignment, depending on the complexity of the task.
Registration is free. You can accept any job that you want and you have no obligation to accept any job that you have no interest in.
However, the more mystery jobs that you accept, the more you will be offered. So it pays to keep busy.
Globis expect high quality work and you will receive assignments via email or you can search the marketplace for opportunities.
GAPbuster has been active since 1994. It has a HQ in Melbourne, Australia and offices in Europe and across Asia. GAPbuster is active in 105 nations and they have 400,000 mystery shoppers.
If you want to work at home, GAPbuster has plenty of opportunities. They provide a number of services for their clients, including: consulting, benchmarking, analytics, audits and surveys.
The hours that you work will depend on the complexity of each assignment. You tend to need to work during regular business hours.
After sign up, you will receive alerts via email and the payments are made to your bank account from the 25th through to the 30th of every month.
26. AQ Services
AQ Services are always looking for new mystery shoppers that are at least 20 years old and have a good eye for detail.
Opportunities may be available in your area and there are many varied and challenging tasks.
An AQ Services mystery shopper receives payment for each visit that they complete successfully. Earnings are paid directly to your bank via a cash deposit.
27. Shoppers Confidential
Shoppers Confidential is a mystery shopping company based in Toronto, Canada. They are a member of the Independent Mystery Shoppers Coalition or IMSC and they provide a wide variety of services to meet their clients needs.
It’s free to join Shoppers Confidential. Support is available 24/7 in the “Shopper Portal” section of the website.
Mystery shoppers can earn $15-$20 per visit plus any expenses that may have been incurred.
Certain stores may “pay” mystery shoppers in reimbursements, for example: a free cruise or a meal.
28. Intouch Insight
Intouch Insight provides mystery shopping services to a wide variety of stores making it easy to find opportunities that match your schedule.
Simply visit the store, evaluate and record your experience and submit a form.
You can expect to earn an average of $15 per hour. The company makes payments to mystery shoppers every 2nd Friday. This includes any visits to stores that you made up to the last day in that weekly pay period.
Payments are set via Paypal by noon on the payment date and you can consult the payment schedule on the website if you’re unsure when it is due.
29. Customer Impact
Customer Impact is a retail merchandising service that operates across the entire nation. They offer third party support for many different types of industries and they have been in business for 25 years.
The platform has built a strong reputation with clients and mystery shoppers alike and there are always opportunities available. The company automatically deposits funds into your Paypal account.
30. Helion Research
Many well known international brands need to measure the quality of their service to their customers. Helion Research is a mystery shopping company that sends it’s shoppers to try out and evaluate the efficiency and quality of services and products. Posing as a regular customer may seem tough, but after a few tries you soon fall into the role of an interested observer.
It’s important to take note of details, ask questions or submit complaints as required to meet the needs of the assignment.
You can earn up to $70 per assignment. Helion Research pays around the 20th of the month after you have completed your evaluation period.
How to Avoid Mystery Shopping Scams?
Every mystery shopping company on our list is a legitimate option but not every company can be trusted. In fact, some are outright scams and it’s very useful to spot and avoid them.
- Only choose mystery shopping companies: When you consider a mystery shopping opportunity on sign up for a company that belongs to trusted sources. Many of the companies on this list belong to the MSPA and you can find a full list of the member companies on their websites. Two other great resources are the Better Business Bureau and TrustPilot and if you cannot find a reputable online footprint they must be avoided.
- Never pay in advance: Every mystery shopping company on our list is free to join for a very good reason. If you even encounter a mystery shopping company that wants you to pay money to join them it will be a scam.
- Don’t wire money: Never, deposit a check in your personal account, withdraw it and then wire it to a third party. Any company that asks you to do this may be sending you a fake check and you will be scammed. Sometimes the check may even appear to have cleared, the money seems to be in your account, but it may take weeks for the bank to discover the fake check.
If your bank discovers a fake check, you will probably be held responsible to pay the deposit amount back to the bank. So, make sure to never deposit a check into your account from someone that you don’t know if they ask you to wire it back.