Mystery Shopping FAQs

Interested in Mystery Shopping?  Great!  Here’s a list of common FAQ’s compiled to save my poor hands from carpal tunnel in answering questions one at a time: (If you’re looking for other random jobs, check out the Work at Home FAQ)

  1. What is Mystery Shopping? 
Mystery Shopping is an aspect of Market Research. Mystery Shoppers are needed to go into establishments to give honest and objective evaluations on products and services they receive. The businesses then use this information to improve productivity, gauge competition, provide training, and reward employees.
  2. Who hires Mystery Shoppers? 
Mystery Shopping Companies hire shoppers. Don’t bother calling up your local stores to see if you can get assignments from them. It’s the Mystery Shopping Companies that hire and pay shoppers.
  3. Are you a Mystery Shopping company? 
Currently, no. I used to have my own clients and hired shoppers, but I found it really was a full time job…I don’t like jobs. I like having random things that give me income, so I can pursue more fun things like puppetry! So, I stopped taking on clients, and I started referring whatever business I got to Mystery Shopping companies that I know do good work, and treat their shoppers fairly.
  4. Are there Mystery Shopping  jobs in my area?  If you live in a fairly metropolitan area, chances are, there are jobs available.  If you live in the middle of nowhere, then you’ll have a harder time finding assignments. Mystery Shopping is mostly for chain establishments: restaurants, retail stores, movie theaters, banks, apartment buildings, health care facilities, storage units, cell phone providers, etc.  If you’re not near these establishments, there won’t be work available to you. You might want to check out my Work at Home books and classes instead.
  5. Isn’t there a lot of competition for Mystery Shopping jobs?  Keep in mind that mystery shopping is done on a rotation basis. You can’t shop the same apartment building each month…they’d recognize you! Also remember that different people are looking for different things. My uncle (who has been shopping since the 1960’s) likes to have “date night” so he just does restaurants and movie theatres. I like to make money, so I stay away from the assignments that require up-front purchases. Some shoppers only can shop during the week, others can only shop on the evenings and weekends. A lot of people start shopping but then don’t realize it’s a real job, and end up flaking on assignments. Sure, there are people trying to be shoppers, but with strict rotations, there are plenty of assignments to go around.
  6. Do I need to be certified to be a Mystery Shopper? No. It’s not required to be certified to get Mystery Shopping jobs. However, if you do opt for certification or training of any sort it will certainly help you in your business. Training and certification, as in any industry, shows your commitment and understanding of your responsibilities.
  7. How much money can I make as a Mystery Shopper?  That’s completely up to you and where you live.  If your nearest town is nearly an hour away, and has only a few stores, you won’t get much work. If you only sign on with one company, you won’t get much work.  The more mystery shopping companies you register with, the more assignment offers you’ll get.  The more assignments you take, the more money you make.  If you do a good job in writing up your form, submit it on time, and make your schedulers happy, they’ll consider you for more work. I tell people when you’re first starting out, you can expect about $300-$600/month.  $300 is doing 15–$20 assignments…which should be very easy to do.  The most I’ve ever made was around $2500/month, but again, I’ve been shopping for over a decade.
  8. I’m not that good with computers and the internet. Can I still shop? Admittedly, it will be a lot harder for you if you don’t have basic computer and email skills. Companies expect you to fill out the forms online, and you’ll be finding your assignments online. Many times you’ll have to upload photos of receipts or brochures to prove you were in the establishment. If you aren’t computer savvy, there may be other work for you.
  9. Can I bring the kids with me?  Read this article for my answer.  Better yet, check out the whole Mystery Shopping category for more detailed questions about assignments.
  10. I saw this job post, is it real? Mystery Shopping companies do not advertise on Craigslist, Monster, CareerBuilder, or any other job site.  They have their own industry-specific message boards where they post assignments.  Also, Mystery Shopping companies do NOT charge for the joy and privilege of working for them.  You’re more likely being lured into a scam.
  11. I was offered a Mystery Shopping Job for $300 on Craigslist! Is it legit? No. This is a very common scam. Mystery Shops do not pay hundreds or thousands of dollars. (Some high-end shops do pay well, but they’re not advertised on Craigslist) Mystery Shopping companies do not pay by Money Order or Cashier’s check. They do not require you to get money orders or do wire transfers through Western Union or Walmart to far off foreign lands. If you receive a job offer like this, run!  They’re trying to con you.
  12. How Do I Become a Mystery Shopper? You sign on with Mystery Shopping companies and they send you assignments as they become available in your area.
  13. Can You Get Me a Job as a Mystery Shopper? 
No. It is up to you to sign on with companies and find your own work. I have done as much as I can with providing a TON of information through my Mystery Shopper Training Program, as well as legitimate companies to work for, I also send out a newsletter to keep you all up to date. But, what it comes down to is you actually getting on the computer to do your own work!
  14. Do you have listings of Mystery Shopping companies? Yep, in my Mystery Shopper Training Program, I provide over 170 companies and resources to get started. But, in reality, a list of mystery shopping companies doesn’t really matter since not all companies shop in all areas. If all you’re looking for is a list of companies, you’re in the wrong place. It would be a huge injustice to give you a list of companies, (who may or may not have assignments in your area) without properly training you on the legalities and logistics of mystery shopping. So, don’t ask…I won’t tell!
  15. Do I have to buy your Training Program to get started in Mystery Shopping?
 No, of course not!  You can Google “Mystery Shopping” to find companies to sign on with and learn about the industry that way. However, if you want to cut down on the learning curve, find out the common scams, learn how to correctly fill out forms, have a list of 170+ companies that hire shoppers and learn from my 15+ years as a shopper, (remember, I’ve been doing this since 1999!) scheduler, editor, and mystery shopping company owner, well, get the program.

 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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