Best Mystery Shopping Jobs: The Legitimate Companies to Work For

Updated November 6, 2016 by Kyle
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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.

Mystery Shopping Jobs

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.

BestMark

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.

Market Force

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.

IntelliShop

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…

  1. If you have to pay money or a fee to become a mystery or secret shopper, it’s always a scam.
  2. If the company wants a bunch of info from you like your bank and credit card info, it’s also a scam. Stay away.
  3. You’ll also never need to be “certified” to become a mystery shopper. If you’re told you do, run for the hills.
  4. 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.

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matt

Anybody received cheques from Griffith foods for secret shopper assignments? Is it a scam

Sandra L Wight

I just had a company by the name of Delta Tech Industries,LLC out of Ontario,CAL send me a check for $1,900. And no assignment page. I did email the address and waiting for answer. Very strange, as it was advertised as working for Walmart. What do I do? Are they just trying to get my bank info if I deposit the check?

Marie Jewell

Donti it’s a scam they will put a stop on the check

jw scott

Its a scam . My goddaughter did the same thing we took it to bank of amarica the lady we spoke to had been a secret shopper in collage and sad it was a fake the papper and the print set was wrong

Betsy

Its a scam

Adasha Knight

Most legitimate companies are registered with MSPA. Check their site to see their companies they approve of. Also check with the BBB.

Ann Bennett

I received a check from a vendor in the amount of $2400.00 with no assignments attached. Have already deposited the check, have to wait 5 days before I have access to the money. They contacted me by text message and wanted to know if I had deposited the check. When I asked about the assignment they have not responded. They did provide me with the check amount when I inquired about it.

Amanda Marlow

so did you find out if this was a rip off?

Sobina

I recently got contacted by email for a mystery shopping job and they send me money orders totally 2500 for a job at Walmart but thankGod found out on time it was a scam they are using regions as there bank and checkpoint systems inc as company name please beware.

Taqi

How did you find it was a Scam?

Crystal Eggleston

I did too

Brittany

I just received one of their packages.Nora green @ checkpoint systems inc. With assignment and checklist but to purchase gift cards after cashing regions personal money orders.

Cary Neeley

I have one from them too….

Melissa

I just got the same thing in the mail for 2,850.00

Nichole Mitchell

Mark Thompson sent check for a money gram transfer?.

Cheryl

Scam I received most of these All a scam.

Gary

Anyone know anything about “Secret Retail Shopper” it’s registered . Legit or not?

Sheila B.

Yes

 
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