10 Reasons Why You Should Become a Mystery Shopper

Yes, there is a Mystery Shopper. There are thousands, in fact, and they travel about every day, continuing to make glad (hopefully) the hearts of employers with reports of great service, attractive stores and excellent products. And if you’re reliable, with an eye for detail and a certain knack for, well, subterfuge, mystery shopping may be a great way for you to earn some extra money, and have fun doing it! After all, mystery shopping offers…

1. Flexible Hours

As a mystery shopper, you’re an independent contractor who will work from home. You get to decide which assignments to accept. Now, when you do choose one, you’ll have to complete it within the given time frame; however, you don’t have to choose work which conflicts with your personal schedule. This gives you a measure of independence, and the ability to fit your work into your life, instead of the other way ‘round.

2. Helping Business Owners Succeed

On the face of it, mystery shopping may seem like a frivolous enterprise–you “get paid for shopping,” right? However, what you’re really doing is providing a quality control measurement. The clothing store owner who notices her business falling off might never attribute it to an unpleasant staff member if your report didn’t point it out, for example. And the chicken franchise manager who learns that his food doesn’t meet the temperature requirements can make the necessary changes before the health department inspection, or before someone becomes ill. It can be hard for business people to see the flaws in their establishments. Mystery shopping services help bring these to light before they prove fatal.


Related Stories:

Mystery Shopping: Can You Really Get Paid to Shop?

Insider Tips for Finding Reputable Mystery Shopping Companies

What You Should Know About Mystery Shopper Certification

10 Valuable Tips to Spot Mystery Shopping Scams


3.  Advocating for Consumers

The flip side of this is, of course that, as a mystery shopper, you’re also working for the consumer. Customers want friendly service. They want clean bathrooms, good selection, helpful staff and safe parking lots. They don’t always get them, and sometimes their complaints can be overlooked. But you, as a representative of the mystery shopping company, have greater credibility. Your evaluations can make shopping a more pleasurable, even healthy, experience for everyone.

4. Perks!

Mystery shopping doesn’t offer benefits like insurance or retirement savings… but it does have some perks. You’re reimbursed for purchases, meaning that, while your pay per “mission” may be small, you do end up with some freebies. And who doesn’t love free stuff? And, if you have mystery shopper certification, you  may land some gigs with luxurious perks. Imagine, you may never pay full price at a classy restaurant again! [Read more…]

10 Valuable Tips to Spot Mystery Shopping Scams

The idea of “being my own boss” is appealing to many people. Whether you’re a mother, a student, senior citizen, or just someone who likes to have control over her working life, the notion that you can have flexible hours and an income directly tied to your own money making ideas is attractive. Unfortunately, the self-employment / work-at-home field is filled with people who make their money by scamming others. Mystery shopping is no exception.

First, remember: mystery shopping itself is not a scam! Every day, thousands of people visit stores, restaurants, hotels, apartment complexes, and other businesses and get paid to shop by filing detailed reports on the quality of their experience. Companies use this information to improve their customer service. Mystery shopping is not a highly-compensated job; most people earn a little extra money and some “treats,” such as free restaurant meals. Getting started is fairly straightforward. However, to do so, you may need to dodge a minefield of scams. Here’s how to spot them…

1.  Be Skeptical

Ironically, one of the reasons why scammers continue to be successful is that, most people are fundamentally honest. They would never try to take someone else’s money under false pretenses, and so they can’t imagine anyone would do this to them. But they will. [Read more…]

What You Should Know About Mystery Shopper Certification

Do you think mystery shopping as one of the money making ideas that will work for you? Or have you already started, but looking for ways to improve your skills and take on better assignments?  Then consider earning your Mystery Shopper Certification. Simple, convenient, and affordable, the Mystery Shopping Providers Association’s two certifications programs will give you what you need to take your mystery shopping income to the next level.

Why Should I Obtain My Certification?

As occupations develop, they tend to professionalize, and mystery shopping is no exception. The Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) was founded in an effort to establish ethics and standards for this growing industry. Currently, they have over 400 member companies worldwide, all of whom are looking for trained, reliable personnel. When you go to the effort (and minimal expense) required to earn your certification, you’re sending a signal to your chosen agencies that you’re serious about making quality judgments that will be valuable to their clients. Your credentials say that you’re reliable, dedicated, and intelligent; mystery shopping is more than just one of the money making ideas to you–and you take it seriously. This in turn makes them take you seriously.

While certification is not currently required to be a mystery shopper, it’s one qualification that will make you stand out in a crowd of applicants. All other things being equal, a certified shopper will be more likely to land an assignment (and an assignment of higher quality) than one who is not certified.

How Much Does It Cost?

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Insider Tips for Finding Reputable Mystery Shopping Companies

One of the best things about working as a mystery shopper is that you can get paid to shop. You decide when you work, where you work and, to some extent, how you work. Of course one of the worst things about being a mystery shopper is that you run your own show. You don’t go into the office every day to find a list of shopping assignments waiting for you. As boss, secretary, and employee of You, Inc., you’ve got to come up with those opportunities yourself. Fortunately, there are some reliable sources out there which can lead you to the shopping opportunities you’re looking for, insuring that your money making ideas work for you.

The MSPA Website

The Mystery Shopping Providers’ Association (MSPA) was established to bring professional standards to the mystery shopping business. It currently represents over 400 companies worldwide, hosts industry conventions, has implemented a shopper training and certification program, and dedicates itself to helping mystery shopping become an ethical occupation which provides clients with reliable information on how to improve their customer service. For shoppers themselves, MSPA provides online forums, a resource page, and a list of job assignments under the sobriquet, jobslinger.  If you would like to look up company websites that are MSPA members, they also have a list of members.

Online Mystery Shopping Blogs

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Mystery Shopping: Can You Really Get Paid to Shop?

Part fun, part spying – mystery shopping has held its allure on the masses since the 1940’s. What started as a means for companies to keep tabs on employee integrity has evolved into a $600 million dollar industry in the US alone. If you would like to explore one of the most intriguing money making ideas where you can get paid to shop, then this series of articles is for you. In this first segment, we will help you determine if you are cut out to be a mystery shopper. If you think this is the right option for you, then check out the other articles in the mystery shopping category to learn more about avoiding scams, finding legitimate companies and much more.


If you really want to become a mystery shopper, you’ll find these qualities advantageous as you build your reputation –

  • The ability to manage your time, money, and records effectively
  • The ability to write clear, grammatically correct reports, using correct spelling.
  • The ambition necessary to seek out shopping assignments, rather than waiting for them to come to you
  • People skills
  • A good memory; you can’t take notes during a mystery shopping trip
  • A credit card; although you can usually pay for your purchases with cash or check, some (particularly those in higher-paying jobs) may be expensive. As you may have to wait a couple of weeks for your company to reimburse you, a credit card could prove useful.
  • A computer, or easy access to one
  • A cellphone or watch with a stopwatch function, to time transactions when required
  • Silver or Gold certification from the MSPA (Mystery Shopping Providers’ Assoc.). Again, this is not essential, but it will give you the advantage when it comes to landing assignments
  • Clothing that will allow you to “fit in” at the places you shop
  • The ability to give an honest, accurate assessment of your transaction, without worrying that you’ll hurt someone’s feelings.
  • The ability, on occasion, to pretend to be someone you’re not
  • Patience and perseverance: it takes time and experience to work up to those posh shops
  • A PayPal account

Initial Investment

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