Have you heard of mystery shoppers or those mystery shopping companies? I would be surprised if you did not. But on the flip side, I would not be so surprised since it is a mystery; I mean, it is in the name “mystery.” So, I do not expect everyone to know it.
In the past, there were mysteries. These mysteries were only known to a few people. Now welcome to this mystery only known to the few people involved. For today, let me be your guide as you learn of this common but little-known subject.
In this article, you will get to learn about secret shopper jobs. But I will do better than that. I will also pick out from the crowd of scams and legit secret shopper jobs the best mystery shopping companies.
You will also learn the nature of mystery shopping, how much mystery shoppers earn, and the advantages and disadvantages of mystery shopping jobs.
We promise to surprise you with the facts you will be learning from this article. So, sit back, take your position as your “initiator” takes you through the mystery. I am ready when you are.
What is Mystery Shopping?
I guess the first time you heard of the term mystery shopping, you did not know what it was all about. Right? You sure do not have an idea what it is today if you have not come across this article.
I know of some documents that deal with the subject yet not entirely satisfying as they should be. They do not launch any inch higher when you begin your takeoff on the subject.
However, things are likely to change in this article. You will know what mystery shopping is and what it involves only in a few minutes of reading this piece. So, let us begin with what it is. Don’t you agree? Read on!
Mystery shopping is where a company pays you to act like a shopper. It is more like doing some shopping in a store. Only that you usually do not need someone to pay you to do that at the store.
It is important to note that you do not get paid for the product you buy or service you spend on mystery shopping. Instead, the hiring company pays you for the feedback you give on customer experience.
The feedback you give is always helpful in some key elements crucial for a business’s success. What are these elements? They include;
- The type of service offered. This element deals with how the company’s staff or workers serve you when you pose as their customer.
- Customer satisfaction. There is no need for me to expound on this, but I will do it for the sake of understanding. This element deals with how you felt as a customer while being served. Did you leave the place smiling? or did you leave the shop with you, never intending to go back ever?
- Quality improvement. This element deals with the quality of service you receive while in your work area. Through this information, a business will work on the necessary quality adjustments.
- Industry excellence. Now, this element entails the business environment. Is the place clean? What are the health precautions that they exercise? In which areas are there neglect on the same?
I hope you are now beginning to join the dots. The company that pays you can be a marketing company or an organization. They need your services because they are ever careful to know what customers think about different strategies. Also, they want to be aware of the trends in businesses. What customers like and hate.
You are getting paid to give feedback based on the four principles. Now about what to write and how to write your feedback, that is an entirely different story. But worry not, I will have to talk about that too. Otherwise, how then would this article be top of the class, right? So, hang in there.
How Mystery Shopping Works
Now that we have defined mystery shopping, I know you are now asking yourself how in the world secret shopper jobs work. Well, let us clarify that for you.
Well, in mystery shopping, the company may require you to do one of the following;
- Shop for or purchase a specific product. That can be a movie ticket, retail, among others.
- Try out a service like, for instance, carpet cleaning.
- Dine at some casual restaurant.
- Pretend to buy something expensive. It could be at a jewelry store, electronic store, or a car dealership.
- Call a company to test the company’s customer care services.
- Go to an apartment complex.
- Visit a bank.
Remember that our list has not summarized the whole list of tasks the company may assign you. However, to summarize everything, let us say that the company will send you to any place or institution that serves customers. That is quite the thing.
The company hiring your services will require you to pay attention to details. The information you give should reveal the highs and lows in the company’s industry. There is a questionnaire for you to fill to provide the required information.
Some companies make this work simple by making available mobile apps to aid your work.
Once you get the job done, you should be getting your payment in a few weeks. Depending on the company you work with, you may be paid by cash, reimbursement, or both. I suggest that it be better to go for a company that pays for your service.
Not one that only refunds the amount spent on expenses.
And if you decide to go for companies that only refund your money, you better be a good receipt keeper. Because without proof of buying for the services, your credibility hangs on the balance.
Your feedback can be a result of a fabricated story. Moreover, there are minimal chances that you will get your money back.
Depending on the client you work for, you may get freebies. Well, what are these? They are free tickets to theme parks or movies. They also include hotel stays. The services that are likely to earn you such offers include car maintenance, dry cleaners, and beauty salons.
Is Mystery Shopper a Real Job?
Many people often ask whether mystery shopping is a real job or not. So, if that question rings on your mind, you are not alone. In all fairness, you deserve an honest answer to your question.
So, is mystery shopping a real job, or are secret shopper jobs just another way to survive earth’s harsh realities?
Well, it depends on what you would want mystery shopping to be for you. I mean, many people look at it as just some side hustle. They see it to earn that extra dollar as they look for something meaningful to do with their lives.
On the other hand, you have a group of people who earn their living and support themselves out of secret shopper jobs. That means that they depend on it to find for their families, pay bills and take care of other things in life without struggle.
You may be wondering how two parties can use the same platform yet earn differently. Well, if you stick in this industry long enough, you will get to learn how that even happens. However, I should tell you about the trick.
You see the success in any business or investment depends on the player. How much effort are you putting into the job? How different or unique is your service?
Because in a world where there is a lot of competition, you should incorporate a lot of impressive stuff to spice up what you are offering your clients.
You probably may want to know how to spice up your job. However, since there are many tips, let me give you a principle worth your time. And the logic is that you should never let your client know your limits, instead let them guess. You will only get to show what you can do with the results you provide.
When you step out of the noisy crowd, you make a lot of difference. And that is how you can use secret shopper jobs to succeed or fail. It is all about your efforts on the job. Did you get my point right?
Now that we have seen that mystery shopping is a job, I should add this fact also. Now get this well; tons of sites on the internet promise seekers a lot of fortune.
While the offers you may get on the display may seem tempting, run away from such sites. That is because such sites are just a scam. However, we will look into that later. Stay with me.
What Mystery Shoppers Do
We have talked about what secret shopper jobs entail. But what do mystery shoppers do? That is one question many people ask a lot. So, I want to make it quite clear.
Anyway, it will not hurt to know what the hiring companies expect from mystery shoppers. Who knows? You might decide to be one by the time you conclude this article.
So, what do Mystery shoppers do? Mystery shoppers eat at restaurants, purchase, or return items, make inquiries.
Companies do not hire them to get their opinion on different services. Instead, what they do is assess businesses and employees.
Mystery shoppers report “normal” observations, but the client may also want answers to specific questions. These include;
- The number of employees on duty upon the Mystery shopper’s arrival
- Whether there was etiquette. That includes greeting. The mystery shopper gives information on who welcomed them and the kind of greeting. And most importantly, the impression they get from the greeting.
- The names of the mystery shoppers with whom they interacted or were observed.
- The products the employees showed the mystery shopper and the sales pitch.
- Invitation. Whether the mystery shoppers got invited to go back again the next time.
- The speed at which the mystery shoppers, posing as a typical customer, got served.
All this information is very critical. Therefore, you should be very clear and accurate in your submissions. Also, since you have this at your disposal, you are better off when out there. You will know what to do and how to do it.
Mystery Shopper from Home
Today, people are developing this love for working from their homes. And that is because, for parents, they can take part in their children’s development stages. Other people find working from home to be more productive since they can pay attention to other things. Well, thanks to secret shopper jobs, people can enjoy this blessing.
One of the mystery shopping jobs you can do without leaving your house is working as a telephone mystery shopper. In case you are wondering what the job entails, it is the same, in nature, as other mystery shopping jobs.
They evaluate calls and collect the pricing data from different companies. I would recommend this job since it is one of the steadiest jobs.
You can get yourself a contract because working as a telephone mystery shopper.
Also, telephone mystery shoppers get to enjoy exciting rates. That is because they get to enjoy hourly payments of up to $17.
However, just like other mystery shopping jobs, this job can only help as a side hustle and not a full-time job. Its offers may be great but be sure to look for other means to support you.
Mystery Shopper Advantages and Disadvantages
It’s time we now look at the advantages and disadvantages that come with mystery shoppers. We already know that mystery shoppers get some gain from the job.
But what do the businesses pocket out of the deal? In the following paragraphs, you will get to learn about that. Continue reading.
Through mystery shoppers, businesses can now get customer feedback. From this, they learn the establishment’s atmosphere, the services customers benefit from, and the place’s hygienic conditions and staff/ employee presentation.
Companies get to check on the status of their competitors. That is good because the companies then create an atmosphere for healthy competition. A company can make a strategy based on the weaknesses of its competitors.
Reinforcement and policy verification. Once a company develops some policies, they want the workers to enforce them. That is where mystery shoppers come in.
Based on the company’s submission, the leadership can keep tabs on policy verification and reinforcement.
Personal bias. The information that the mystery shoppers give can always be biased at times. That is because the mood present at the time of their arrival may vary.
Disturbed employees. It is one thing to catch people unawares. It is another to hire someone to check on your employees. That naturally makes them quite anxious.
How Much Do Mystery Shoppers Make?
Like I said earlier, the much that the average mystery shopper earns is not entirely encouraging. That is why most people will not consider secret mystery jobs when looking for alternative ways to get cash.
However, I do not mean that it is the wrong choice. Like I said earlier, your success depends on your effort.
If you give it a different look, you are getting your money back and getting products for free, free meals and services. However, combine the cash you receive from the job with the reimbursements. The average mystery shopper will earn about $5 to $25.
However, that pay is for simple assignments. If the work requires more effort, then there is a chance you may earn up to $100.
But if you try to calculate the amount you earn per hour, then that is quite some tasks altogether. And that is because the activities revolving around the job consume time.
For instance, you must drive or walk to different destinations. Reporting the observations also consumes time. The bottom line is that Mystery shoppers do not earn per hour. Instead, clients pay per job done.
Another way to earn more is through the jobs you accept or go for in your search. You will make a high income only when you go for significant challenges. One of these challenges is pretending to buy a car at the car dealership.
That kind of job requires a lot of work when submitting your report. That translates to some more greens.
However, you will need some experience in this sector for most clients to pick you for this job. But that should not frighten you. “Experience” does not fall from the sky. So that means that you have all the time in the world to ensure you qualify.
Making the Most from Mystery Shopping
Hey, let us be honest. It is one thing to work for money. It is another to earn and get more from your job. Since the reality is that secret shopper jobs cannot make you wealthy, you ought to be wise.
Ensure that you get more from the little at hand. What do I mean? Follow on.
To get more cash means working more. And while that is good, remember you must treat your body right, else you will live to regret it.
It would be best if you worked smart more than you work hard. Are you still hanging? Well, I will make it simple for you.
You see, too much work tends to make us lose contact with our loved ones. That is because we hardly ever have time for them. You even have to sleep late in the night while giving yourself a boost with the surveys.
Here are some tips that will make your job more human and exciting;
- Take on the services you need. Imagine mystery shopping for a service essential to you. Boom! Two birds, one shot. The product your mystery shopped is yours. And you get your money back from the payment you receive. It is not easy, but I have not said it is impossible.
- Go out on a date night. Imagine going undercover yet enjoying your time with your loved one. Isn’t that amazing? The client tells you the amount you will spend at the restaurant. Enjoy yourself and get your money back. You can painlessly say the bill is on you.
- Time consciousness. You have a life to live. That means you have schedules and other stuff. So, why not use the job as an opportunity to save your money? Scheduling your shop during your free time is one way. That way, your life runs smoothly.
How about merging your job with your everyday life? It would help if you tried the tips to make your life more enjoyable. Honestly, it is something. You get the chance to never spend on anything. If you are lucky to get a client who pays for the efforts as they refund your cash, you will soon be living the American dream.
Which Mystery Shopper Jobs Are Legitimate?
Today people are so sensitive. Following the scamming era, people spend their money and time working long hours to earn some cash yet getting nothing.
As a result, people have developed this mentality that nothing is real anymore. People are throwing away lifetime opportunities by branding legit services as a scam.
While it is good to be careful, it is not good to be so insecure. This insecurity has been the cause of many people losing great opportunities.
You see, I agree that there are scams and that we should run away from them. But that does not mean that we should lock ourselves out of a world of daily openings and opportunities.
In business, it is a common principle that every transaction bears a risk. For you to make any move, you ought to test the waters.
But how will you do that if you do not risk it? It is impossible. So, you will have to take risks, or you get nothing. You never know when luck will finally smile at you.
On the other hand, do not throw your money away, hoping some decent guy will turn up. Rather be careful. Below are some tips that will help you survive the scam invasion. Read on;
- Do not pay for a mystery shopping job. The companies working with mystery shoppers will pay or reimburse you for the job you do. You do not have to spend a dime while looking for jobs.
- Never deposit checks into your bank account.
- Ensure the company is registered under the MSPA.
- Do not accept jobs sent by personal mails since companies will only communicate via their business email.
- Run from companies that will want to charge you for certification.
Ensure you follow these guidelines to the teeth. Otherwise, you will leave yourself vulnerable to ruthless scammers. Good luck.
Now that you have learned how to avoid scams, we now look at trusted and proven legitimate companies. More than that, we will also list the best mystery shopping companies. Read on.
A Closer Look
We begin our list of the best mystery shopping companies with A Closer Look. A Closer Look has been on the mystery shopper’s scene for some time now. Registered with the MSPA, A Closer Look has been behind many employments.
Also, the mystery shopper company has been receiving awards from the association. Some of the awards include the “Elite Company” award of 2018. In 2019, the company received the Shopper’s Choice awards.
The company recruits’ shoppers to assess restaurants, entertainment, hotels, senior living, health clubs, among others.
A Closer Look also recruits work-at-home schedulers and editors. Now that is amazing. I know you are probably itching to see the amount of money they pay for the services.
The company’s pay is estimated to be below the minimum wage. Now that would depend on the state you reside in as you read this article. For instance, if you happen to live in New York, the minimum wage rate would be $12.50. So they pay a little below that rate.
The payment is always through reimbursement. However, the pay cannot keep you going for long. So you’ve got to be wise. You can visit the A Closer Look website at acloserlook.com.
AboutFace makes it second on our list of legitimate secret shopper jobs. AboutFace has been in the industry for about 20 years now. It is a member of the MSPA. Like its counterparts,
AboutFace has been using mystery shoppers’ services while the shoppers enjoy its pay.
The MSPA certified company recruits mystery shoppers to assess a variety of industries. These are food and beverage, trades and installers, the pharma, and women’s lifestyle.
The company enjoys good A+ ratings from its users. That makes it the people’s favorite. One of the advantages that make it stand out is that the company hired freelancers from all the states.
The company claims to offer payment of 15% more. That is not much, but it is better than the usual pay. I would doubt the offer if it were not a member of the MSPA family.
However, the company rates are not entirely clear at the same time.
However, some sources claim that the company pays about $25 to $45. That is quite something, considering the low rates typical in the industry. Moreover, you get paid 45 days after you visit the shop assigned.
Would you love to work with AboutFace? Well, you can begin by visiting aboutfacecorp.com.
Some titles are amazing. Don’t you think? Well, Amusement Advantage is all about what the name implies. The company hires shoppers to assess amusement parks, zoos, alleys, aquariums, and a host of other amusement sites.
This company stands out because they will pay you via free admission into the amusement place to do your assignment. You can even get tickets for free after the job.
But that is not all. If you can afford to make your submission by 10 am, you can get some extra $5.
Is the company a member of MSPA? It sure is. Therefore, you can make use of the advantages. If you want to invite your friends and relatives to enjoy this part-time opportunity, you can do so. There is a fantastic offer of $20 for references.
Now, concerning the time they pay, that is quite tricky. The company may take up to 45 days to pay you for the completed job. Now that is not entirely encouraging. But if you think of it, it is worth the wait.
If you wish to try their services out, you can visit the company’s website at amusementadvantage.com.
Talk about the big corps. Well, BestMark is one of the largest mystery shopping companies. Born in 1986, the company has been a source of help to thousands of freelancers every month.
And that is because of the approximately more than 10,000 mystery job opportunities.
The company hires mystery shoppers to assess resorts, restaurants, and hotels. It would be of help and peace of mind if you knew that the company is MSPA accredited. Therefore, you are free from scams.
The much that the company pays is not much in the open. Maybe that is because different jobs demand different payment rates. But whatever it is, I doubt it is much. That is because of the trend followed by these companies. You can join the team of mystery shoppers for BestMark at bestmark.com.
Confero is another mystery shopping company worth your time. It recruits workers who assess opportunities like retail, food service, automotive, healthcare, movie theaters, tourist attractions, and theme parks.
The company is also a member of the MSPA. Furthermore, it is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. That is enough evidence that it is no scam. You can therefore use its offers to give yourself a financial boost.
Remember when I told you of work-at-home mystery shopping jobs? Well, if I got you interested in the idea, Confero will make that desire fulfilled. That is because they offer such opportunities.
One thing that interests me with Confero is that they pay you a month after your submission. Even better, they pay you $12 together with reimbursement. Now that is a killer rate.
Do you feel like this is the company you would want to work with? There is more. Even so, you can visit their website at conferoinc.com.
Intellishop is one of the few companies offering a wide variety of secret shopper jobs. You can imagine they are recruiting shoppers for 50 plus industries. That is something because there is hope that you will work in your field of expertise. That is what every mystery shopper dreams of doing.
The company registered with MSPA has been the love of many mystery shoppers. That is why in 2019, Intellishop got the Shoppers’ Choice award. However, there have been complaints from people who claim to be victims of a scam by Intellishop.
I do not know whether they are victims or not. But what I know is that it is a legitimate mystery shopper company.
You should try this company to see whether you will get lucky and give yourself a raise. Visit their website on intellishop.com.
Market Force is another “big one.” I understand that they do not offer a large variety of mystery shopper jobs. However, it is significant because of its impact on mystery shoppers’ lives. Imagine Mystery shoppers voting the company four times in a row. It surely has earned the love of many.
You should know that the company is a member of the MSPA to get the prestigious awards; Therefore, proving its legitimacy. Market Force hires mystery shoppers to access banks, stores, and restaurants. The goal is to give customer service feedback, product selection, and cleanliness.
I am not sure the amount they pay their clients. However, some sources claim that they pay fair rates. Imagine earning $11 hourly. However, that amount is not the exact amount since it is lower or high depending on the work. The company pays you a month after your submission.
Would you like to open an account and work with Market Force? You can open an account on marketforce.com.
The Secret Shopper is one of the companies that have come a long way. Since 1993, Secret shopper has grown to be one of a kind.
Today, it is a well-established company that aims to help its clients get their businesses to match customer expectations. That is through the data they gather with the help of Mystery shoppers.
The company is a member of the MSPA. That makes it one of the legit companies that will not see you waste your money on a scam. In 2018, the company received the MSPA Elite award.
Some people are not entirely happy with the company because they are victims of a scam. However, today you should be careful about bodies who claim to be companies they are not. Follow the guidelines we issued earlier.
You can work with Secret Shopper by visiting their website on secretshopper.com.
Sinclair Customer Metrics
Sinclair Customer Metrics is one of those companies that have been in operation for years. It had its beginnings in 1987. Since then, the company has been at the forefront, helping both businesses and Mystery shoppers alike.
The company recruits workers giving them a variety of jobs. These include phone, in-person mystery shops, and video mystery shopper jobs. Here you can fix yourself somewhere you can be productive.
The company is MSPA registered. Therefore, you do not have to worry about legitimacy issues. If you would like to check them out, you can visit their website on sinclaircustomermetrics.com.
How to Become a Mystery Shopper
Would you like to be a mystery shopper? Well, it is the desire of many. Therefore, there is a lot of competition. But there is some good news. You could earn yourself a nice spot in the industry—more on that in a few. But first, you should learn how to be a mystery shopper.
Like any other job, you should have some know-how on the job you intend to do. So, it would help if you began by doing some homework. Personality plays a significant role in the job too.
Depending on who you are, you can choose to be a “difficult” customer, which involves arguing with salespeople, or you can choose to be a less provocative customer. When you decide, you can apply for a job.
Are There Secret Mystery Job Qualifications?
There is no qualification needed for you to do secret shopper jobs. However, some things will help you a great deal when it comes to getting picked by clients.
You may want to call them your “shout-outs.” You see, when anyone applies for a job, the panel in charge will favor applicants with some specializations.
One of the shout-outs is certification. Yes, you have got that right. Being a certified mystery shopper will make you stand out from the crowd. It is not necessary, but it is an added advantage.
That is because some companies will prefer certified shoppers.
But there is also an advantage to your side. The certifier must ensure you know what is expected of you. When you are therefore certified, you are educated. So that sends a solid argument to the client on your behalf. That is quite an achievement.
You are probably asking how one can obtain that kind of certification. Well, that is easy. The Mystery Shopping Providers Association offers such certificates.
There are two kinds of certification by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. These include;
- Silver Certification. The MSPA offers this certificate to those who apply online.
- Gold Certification. Those who receive this certificate go for a one-day workshop.
Also, some companies offer their certifications. However, the certificate should be free. Meaning the company should not charge you for the offer. Also, a trend has seen the mystery shopping industry suffer; scams.
Some companies offer to issue certificates for a fee. You do not want to be disappointed. So, you want to stay away from such scams.
Mystery shopping is a viable career choice that can put food on your table and much more. Typically, mystery shoppers are paid based on the task given.
That means you can earn between $8 to $10 or more for a simple task. The figure can go from $20 to $100. If this is for you, apply to any of the companies mentioned above.