Wouldn’t it be amazing to earn money doing something as simple as eating at a restaurant and providing feedback? Such a job exists and requires almost no prior experience and pays an average of $18 an hour. I’m talking about the mystery shopper job!
A mystery shopper, also known as a secret shopper, visits establishments to inspect their services and experiences and provides feedback. It’s called a mystery shopper job because you would be doing these anonymously.
The role of the mystery shopper is to see what it’s like to shop at an establishment for any given customer. Since the staff wouldn’t know that the mystery shopper is reporting their experience, they will treat you how they usually would others. This anonymity assures you’re not treated differently and that you can provide a review of what the shop is really like.
You will be asked to review everything about your experience. This includes store cleanliness, staff friendliness, and product quality. You then provide this feedback, and the store can then make adjustments based on it. It’s a valuable job because it gives businesses authentic feedback and lets them know what they can improve on.
There are specific agencies that recruit and contract mystery shoppers. You will have to apply to these agencies to try getting a mystery shopper job. Thankfully, there aren’t many hard skills required to apply to become a mystery shopper. At most, you’ll need a high school diploma and maybe a car for transportation. If you have those, you’re ready to apply to a mystery shopper company. Here are five of the most reputable ones you should consider:
BestMark is one of the largest mystery shopping companies and a great place to start looking. Not only do they pay you in money, but also through free meals or services. You can even refer friends and get a bonus if it works out for you!
This company is another reputable mystery shopping company. Their website has a clear and concise application process to follow. IntelliShop uses a rating system, where you’ll be scored based on how well you follow instructions. The best jobs are reserved for those with the highest ratings, so work hard!
Market Force gives you more choices for mystery shopper jobs. This company allows you to pick what kind of industry you want to shop in. Most options are in the food industry, so they’re great if you want to score a free meal.
Secret Shopper has provided businesses with secret shopping services for over 25 years. If your application is accepted, this company will pay you $15-25 per job. Receiving a wage for shopping contrasts with other companies just paying you in reimbursements.
If you don’t think you can do in-person shopping, you might want to apply to Sinclair. Aside from in-person secret shopping, they also provide phone and video mystery shopping services.
A word of caution, the job of a mystery shopper is legit, but there are scams. Only apply to reputable mystery job companies, like the ones listed above. If a company asks you to pay upfront to be a shopper, it’s likely a scam.
There are quite a few reasons why you should consider getting a mystery shopper job. Here are five:
Depending on which company you work for, you can get a flexible mystery shopper job. Sometimes, you don’t have to go during a specific time of day, and you can fit it into your schedule.
Think of mystery shoppers as independent contractors or freelancers. When you have a job as a mystery shopper, you get more money based on how much work you do. The more jobs you take, the more money you make!
Bouncing off the last point, you can make quite a bit of change as a mystery shopper. One person even made $14,000(!) in a year as a mystery shopper!
In addition to being compensated with cash, you may also get reimbursed for your purchases! You might get tasked to buy a specific item, which you get to keep after submitting your feedback. Depending on the industry, you could get a free item, meal, or even spa treatment.
The mystery shopper job is perfect for people with a lot of social energy. As a mystery shopper, you’ll have to talk to several staff members across multiple different establishments. If you don’t mind going out a lot, this could be a great side-hustle for you.
But if you need some other side-hustle ideas, be sure to check out my article here.
There are a few caveats to having a mystery shopper job, though. These are what mystery shopper job companies don’t want you to know. Here’s what they are:
As alluded to previously, some companies will only pay you in reimbursements. While it’s fun getting free stuff, sometimes you’ll want to earn a bit more.
If you want more reliable sources of income, check out my article on the best stay-at-home jobs.
Hidden costs can make or break the job of a mystery shopper. Most jobs pay enough to reimburse purchasing an item or service. However, this doesn’t account for transportation costs, like a bus ticket or a cab fare. Calculate the costs to see if mystery shopping is actually profitable for you.
A great way to cut some costs is to use coupons and cashback codes! Here’s my list of some of the best coupon websites.
Mystery shopping means the staff or anyone affiliated with the establishment you’re reviewing can’t know you’re a mystery shopper. Some staff members will already know what mystery shoppers are and will be on the lookout for certain behaviors. If you do end up taking a mystery shopper job, you might want some acting classes.
Between transit time and spending time in the establishment, you’ll be sinking a lot of hours into mystery shopping. Remember that there is always an opportunity cost where you could be using that time for something else. But if you enjoy mystery shopping and don’t mind spending time on it, you should go for it!
Do you know what doesn’t take a lot of time, though? Signing up for my financial fam! As a member, you’ll receive personal finance tips and insider information from me. Occasionally, I’ll send freebies, too! The best part? Signing up is completely free!
Follow Me on the Gram
Dollars Makes Cents by Shaquana, Financial Coach and Wealth Expert, resources helps professional millennial women of color with the tools and skills they need to eliminate their debt, amplify their savings, and build generational wealth — without having to compromise their lifestyle.
2022+ Copyright, Dollars Makes Cents