Ever wondered if mystery shopping jobs were really legitimate? After all, the idea of someone paying me to be a secret shopper seems kinda crazy. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s definitely a legit way to make some extra money. Retail stores, restaurants, and banks want to get honest feedback from secret shoppers so they can improve customer service, product placement, and overall processes.
As with most things online, you have to be careful to avoid the scams and only stick with the mystery shopping companies that have a strong track record. I did the research, asked around, and found several legit mystery shopping companies that are completely above-board and worth looking at. So if you’ve ever considered being a secret shopper, you’ve found the right article.
First of All, What is Mystery Shopping?
Mystery shopping, also known as “secret shopping”, is when a company pays you to enter their store or restaurant to help them out anonymously. Could be to check on customer service, employee friendliness and product knowledge, or maybe check on product placements and displays. Typically, you’ll get a specific assignment along with questions to answer via a report once you finish your secret shopping. Get good at it, have terrific details in your reports, and your services will be in high demand.
Here are the legit mystery shopping companies worth your time, and more importantly, guaranteed to pay you for your time. You won’t get rich with these, but they provide a fairly easy way to earn some extra bucks every month. Heck, many people have a lot of fun being a secret shopper, especially when they know they’ll be reimbursed for part, or all, of their purchases.
The team at BestMark.com offer a wide range of legit secret shopper jobs worth checking out. Here’s the skinny.
- You gotta be at least 19 years old, have reliable transportation, good written communication skills, and have full internet access (at home or work).
- BestMark specializes Fortune and Global 500 companies including restaurants, retail stores, casinos, financial institutions, hotels, and resorts.
- They claim to have 10,000+ mystery shop assignments every month.
- They have current job openings in almost every state in the U.S. including Puerto Rico and Canada.
- How much money can you make with BestMark? $7-$20 per job for newbies. Experienced, well regarded, secret shoppers can earn substantially more.
Find their online job application here.
Sinclair Customer Metrics
Sinclair Customer Metrics is one of oldest mystery shopping programs around, dating all the way back to 1987. Here’s what you need to know to apply.
- After you sign-up and are approved you’ll get access to the jobs in your area.
- Specifically, go to the “Available Shops” section of your account and see what shops are available in your area.
- The jobs range wildly and include retail shops, restaurants, and banks.
- Sinclair will also give you a partial to full reimbursement on whatever items you buy.
- They’ll also provide short video tutorials for the shops you’ve selected so you know what is required of you.
- How much money can you make with Sinclair? You’ll start out around $6-$12 per shop, some of which only require 15-20 minutes to complete.
It’s also worth noting that their schedulers seem to be really easy to work and are always there to help you complete your mystery shops.
Another mystery shopping company worth pursing is Market Force, who’s been around since 1972. They’re still one of the biggest companies right now and have a strong reputation. Here’s the skinny.
- From their site, secret shopper jobs include “gasoline stations, fast food establishments, sit-down restaurants, grocery stores, drug stores, wireless telephone providers, and fashion brands”.
- Payment methods: You’ll receive a shopper payment and/or a reimbursement for free purchases or meals.
- Market Force has stepped up their game recently and now offer a mobile app (iOS, Android) which allows shoppers to complete shops on the go.
- Before you apply, you must be at least 18 years old with a high school education. You also need excellent observational skills and must be detail oriented.
- Also, gotta have a computer with high-speed access Internet. For higher paying audit-type assignments you’ll need a digital camera.
- How much money can you make with MarketForce? The amount per job varies wildly from $5 to $50 per shop. It really depends on the time required to complete the shop. It’s save to assume that your hourly salary will be in the $10-$20 range.
I really like what the folks at IntelliShop are offering secret shoppers in terms of available jobs, guidance, and training. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
- Minimum requirements include a high school education, good writing skills, reliable transportation, and a decent computer and Internet access.
- Once your application is accepted, work hard, have a high shopper rating, don’t have any “Flake” or “Cancel” citations, and you’ll greatly improve your chances of getting more “shops”.
- You’ll get paid via PayPal 30 days after the last day of the month in which your shops were completed.
- Also, be aware that they’ll ask for your social security number when signing up because they’ll send you a 1099-Form if you earn over $600/year.
- How much money can you make with IntelliShop? Your secret shopper “shops” will typically reimburse you for any expenditures required to complete the shop, plus a $8-$15 fee.
When you’re ready to start, you can apply with IntelliShop here.
Pinnacle Mystery Shopper
For over 20 years, Pinnacle has been hiring secret shoppers in order to assist banks, retail joints, service providers, and restaurants. Here’s the scoop.
- Minimum requirements include a high school diploma, good writing skills, reliable transportation, and a decent computer and Internet access.
- Be sure to take the time to create a thorough profile so they can line you up with shops that you’ll succeed with.
- Once registered, they’ll email you new potential shops in your local area. Also, be sure to check the job board daily for new offers posted by their schedulers.
- How much money can you make with Pinnacle? Typical pay is between $4 ‐ $75 per shop depending on the assignment type.
Find their mystery shop application here.
Do a Quick Google Search
Also, don’t underestimate the power of Google when looking for legitimate mystery shopper jobs directly advertised by a company. Here’s one that I found quickly:
- Love’s Travel Centers – Love’s is looking for a “Customer Service Evaluator (Mystery Shopper)” who will “travel to stores throughout a multi-state region and mystery shop Love’s stores to observe, evaluate and report store operations from a customer’s point-of-view. The Field Customer Service Evaluator position may present the opportunity for career advancement into store management.”
What tools do you use to find legit secret shopper jobs? Let me know in the comments section, thanks.
Scams To Be Aware Of…
- If you have to pay money or a fee to become a mystery or secret shopper, it’s always a scam.
- If the company wants a bunch of info from you like your bank and credit card info, it’s also a scam. Stay away.
- You’ll also never need to be “certified” to become a mystery shopper. If you’re told you do, run for the hills.
- Never deal with individuals, only with the reputable mystery shopper companies, or the actual companies themselves.
Ask the Reader: Have you ever found a legit mystery shopper job that panned out and earned you some extra money? Let me know about it in the comments.
By Kyle James
Photo credit to Dana Voss.