How far would you drive for a Mystery Shop?

How far would you drive for a mystery shop

Image courtesy of and Pakorn

Hi Bethany,

I’ve read your book on mystery shopping, very informative. I was wondering what was the maximum number of miles you would drive for a retail shop?

-Driving Daisy


Hi Daisy!

Well, as with all things mystery shopping: it depends. These are the factors you’ll need to consider for any shop, to make sure it’s worth your time and gas money:

1) How much does it pay? If it’s a $10 retail shop, I wouldn’t go very far. Unless…

2) Am I already going there? Of course, if the shop is for something that I already need like gas or groceries at a store that was nearby or that I usually frequent, I’d perhaps take a $10 or $15 shop. Especially if…

3) Can I group it with other assignments? A lot of times with retail shops, a Mystery Shopping company will have several locations that need to be completed. If they’re nearby, I would be ok with cranking out some of the lower paying shops if I can complete them all within a short time frame. Or, if other companies have shops in the same area and I can group them that way. For example, I’d be ok with going 30 miles for a series of 10, $15 assignments. I could probably get all those done ($150) within 6-7 hours, which makes the driving distance worth it. Unless…

4) Is the form obnoxious? The nice thing about lower-paying shops is generally they have short forms that don’t have a lot of commentary. Sometimes they’re just a series of yes/no questions with one sentence answers. If the form is long and the price is low, I wouldn’t go very far. I generally would pass on that shop altogether. The tricky thing is that you don’t get to see the form before you accept the shop. But in the description, it should tell you if it has narratives or just short yes/no questions. Or, you could just ask your scheduler.

For me personally, my general shopping radius is around 20-30 miles…if the price is right, of course. Since I live in Seattle, I have a fairly dense area with plenty of shops within that radius. However, I have shopped border to border (Vancouver, BC to Portland, OR) when it was possible to pick up shops along the way and make it worth the trip.

The main thing is to get out there and get started! You’ll never figure out what will work for you, unless you actually start completing some shops and decide what is worth your own time.

Good luck and happy shopping!

 Think about all the extra money you could make by being a mystery shopper, starting your own business, or working from home for a legitimate company.  Take control of your income and check out our LEARN page for a list of classes, books, and more!

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