This post may contain links from our sponsors. See our disclosure for more information.
These days legit mystery shopping jobs and companies are starting to become harder to come by. So you have to be careful. To that point, I decided to do some research because this opportunity has been on my radar for a while now.
I know people who rave about secret shopping and have seen some nice income from it. To the tune of thousands of dollars per month. Which is not too shabby.
So here’s what I’ve learned about this unique opportunity and some legit companies/jobs and apps to help you make some money.
Table of Contents
What is Mystery Shopping
Mystery shopping, also known as secret shopper is a method conducted by market research companies, watchdog groups, or even companies looking to audit themselves to analyze quality of service, get feedback, or for compliance purposes.
Mystery shoppers often visit the target locations and pretend to be customers. They will make notes and record things based on how their individual experiences.
The recorded data is then presented to the mystery shopping company which then analyzes to come up with final reports. Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) represents the mystery shopping industry in America.
How to Make Money With Mystery Shopping
Apart from being a great way of ensuring customers get the best experience, mystery shopping is also a good way of making extra money. It is usually recommended for freelancers and those who like side hustles to supplement their income.
As a mystery shopper, you are paid to conduct the audit. In case of any purchase made during the research, you will be reimbursed partially or fully based on the terms.
How to Become a Mystery Shopper
It’s simple to become a mystery shopper. To get started, you have to sign up with a reputable mystery shopping company.
The company will let you choose the assignments and tasks to do before starting your shopping. If you want to make good money, then it is advisable to select those companies with more opportunities.
There are several mystery shopping companies that you can work with. However, not all are legit. In case you want to consider mystery shopping to make some extra income, then below are the top 10 legit companies that will surely pay.
10 Legitimate Mystery Shopper Jobs and Companies
1. Market Force
Market Force does mystery shopping for restaurants, stores, and banks. They give feedback on things such as product selection, cleanliness of the facility, customer services, and more. The company seeks to provide information that can help businesses grow. So far, the company has won many awards for being the best for three years consecutively.
To join Market Force, you need to create an account by entering your email, name, ZIP code and a password. There is a section that requires you to provide your history. You also must accept their terms of service and sign up. When done, you can access your portal and can accept mystery shopping tasks.
2. Secret Shopper
This is another well-established mystery shopping company that has been in the industry since 1993. They’ve also won several awards like MSPA Elite and more.
It is free to join Secret Shopper provided you are above 18 years. The requirements include your name, email address, and age.
The company also conducts a certification test to evaluate your competency in doing the research. When you pass the test, then you will be assigned an ID and a password.
Job notifications will be sent to you through your email. The amount you can make with Secret Shopper depends on the number of jobs you complete. Their rates vary from $12-$25 per hour. Their payments are made through PayPal 20th of every month.
Pinnacle was established two decades ago. They focus on helping financial institutions like banks and credit unions to provide better services to customers.
It is easy to join Pinnacle. Signing up is free and requires your email address, your bank account details, and other basic personal information.
There are demographic questions that you will answer to help them find jobs that best match your profile.
This company is found in more than 105 countries. It also boasts of over 400,000 mystery shoppers. Anyone can become a mystery shopper with GBW.
It is the best company to work with in case you can keep an eye or critically analyze stuff. The company has managed to organize more than 14 million mystery shops.
Registering with GBW is absolutely free and there are no fees charged. To register, just click on the ecome Shopper’ link then select your country.
The basic information required is your email address, date of birth and phone number.
5. A Closer Look
This company works with more than eight different industries involved in mystery shopping. They recently won an MSPA reward for being an Elite Company in 2018.
A Closer Look performs mystery shopping in retail shops, health and wellness centers, hotels, restaurants and many more. The company is a quality-oriented.
As a mystery shopper, you are provided with criteria to follow when doing your shopping. For you to join them, you need to apply. The application doesn’t guarantee your qualification.
The company selects applicants based on various factors like location and more. Their rates range from $10-$25 though some shops may pay you more. Visit their website to register for free.
6. Quest for Best
This company works with clients in more than 40 states in the United States. They offer lots of mobility in their jobs. Application is free and the requirements include a stopwatch, automobile, and other necessary equipment.
Anyone can join Quest for Best even if there is no place to do mystery shopping around you, they store your profile until one is found. It is a legit company that is BBB certified.
To join Quest for Best, visit their website and register. Be sure to complete your profile and you’ll be notified when a new job is available.
7. Sinclair Customer Metrics
Sinclair has been in operation since 1987. The company seeks to improve the customer experience. They offer many services ranging from phone mystery shopping to video secret shopping and more.
To become a member of Sinclair, you have to provide your email and name. You also need to review their mystery shopping guide to understand the requirements. The application is both secure and simple.
Ipsos does mystery shopping for banks, restaurants and gas stations and many more. It seeks to provide solutions for common questions regarding markets, brands, consumers and media and more.
If you’re interested, visit the Ipsos website then scroll to the bottom and click on the Apply link.
9. ARC Consulting
ARC Consulting works with clients in many different countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland, Virgin Islands, UK and Barbados among others.
They provide customer care surveys, telephone mystery shopping, and competitor analysis. For you to work with ARC, you have to go through in-depth training.
10. Call Center QA
With the aim of helping organizations to improve the quality of their services, Call Center QA has become one of the most reputable mystery shopping companies.
Those who have great reading and writing skills, chatting and focus on detail are advised to join the company. Call Center QA only registers US residents.
Here are some other solid companies worth mentioning:
There are tons of companies. Just like anything else you’ll need to do your due diligence. All of these companies that I shared I personally know people who have made money with these. Some others that I missed off the list are:
- Ann Michaels
- Bare Iinternational
- ATH Power
- See Level
- International Service Check
- Merc Systems
Here’s an example of a listing from Merc Systems with some real opportunities.
Mystery Shopping Apps
You can do mystery shopping and earn money by using mystery shopping apps. The apps allow you to shop, audit and do other tasks without making any purchases. Some of these apps include:
1) Presto Insta-Shops
This mystery shopping app was created by the makers of SASSIE, which lets you track jobs close to you. It’s a complete system that lets you fill our surveys right on your device and get paid through PayPal and Tango.
Here’s an example of what the app looks like when looking for jobs:
This is a secret shopping app that is easy to use. With the app, you can complete various tasks within a short period. It also lists your earnings and allows you to choose the audits you want depending on your needs.
The quick turn-around audit time together with easy account setup makes the app very responsive and worth trying. There is no minimum cash out.
This app has been around for a while. It makes auditing and shopping quite easy. The interface is easy to use.
To get a job, you need to apply 24 hours in advance. You’ll then get notified for the jobs you selected.
This is owned by Quri. It allows you to do shopping and complete simple audits. Setting up an account with EasyShift is pretty simple and you can do audits seamlessly. They review your work and pay you through PayPal.
You can audit any place you visit using this app. Points are offered whenever you complete a mission and it gets approved.
The app doesn’t allow you to reserve a mission instead you have to begin it when at the specified store. Although the missions can take time to complete, they offer bonus points, gift cards, and cash rewards.
The amount you can make doing mystery shopping varies depending on the rates paid. Most shops pay a rate ranging from $5 to $25. Payments can take anywhere from 1-2 months though most pay monthly.
Some of the things that can affect your earnings include the level of competition, location, your skills, and experience.
If you’re considering a side hustle to supplement your income, then you should definitely try mystery shopping. It involves getting paid to visit businesses and shops without their employees knowing anything.
For all they know you’re just an ordinary customer. The feedback you provide helps the companies in question improve their service delivery and product quality.
Before signing up, try to find a reputable company or a good mystery shopping app to use. Just like everything, not all companies and jobs are created equal.
Mystery shopping is a real thing. I’ll leave you with a video below that aired on the news (CBS) showing people who are making thousands of dollars doing it. Enjoy!