Are you looking for the best mystery shopping companies and the best secret shopper jobs? I have mystery shopped a lot over the years so that I could make extra money. It didn’t make me rich, but it gave me some extra cash. I first heard about being a secret shopper when I worked at…
Are you looking for the best mystery shopping companies and the best secret shopper jobs?
I have mystery shopped a lot over the years so that I could make extra money. It didn’t make me rich, but it gave me some extra cash.
I first heard about being a secret shopper when I worked at a store. Mystery shoppers would come in to check how we were doing. We never knew who they were, but we could read their report later.
I found it fascinating that people were getting paid to shop! Soon after learning about it, I figured out how to become a mystery shopper and became one myself.
I used to make about $150 to $200 each month from mystery shopping. On top of that, I got free things like $100 for restaurants (where I had to give them a grade), makeup, and other stuff.
If you want to become a mystery shopper, then you’ve come to the right article.
There are many mystery shopping companies out there, but they’re not all the same. Picking the best one is important for being able to work from home on your own time. The top-rated companies not only give you real chances but also make it easy to start, pay you fairly, and have lots of different secret shop assignments to pick from.
Recommended reading: How To Become A Mystery Shopper
- Businesses use mystery shopping to check on customer service and the overall experience.
- Find companies with an easy start, clear payments, and many different assignments to choose from.
- My favorite mystery shopping company that I have personally used is BestMark.
What Is Mystery Shopping?
Businesses use mystery shopping to check and improve their customer service, products, and overall experience. They hire mystery shoppers to act like regular customers, visit their places, and give detailed feedback.
Your job is to watch, engage, and share your thoughts on the whole experience. This helps businesses find ways to get better and keep customers happy.
Why mystery shopping is helpful
Mystery shopping is a useful tool for businesses to check on customer service and operations. It helps companies stay competitive by finding areas to improve and making necessary changes.
As a mystery shopper, your feedback tells businesses how well their employees are doing, if customers are happy, and if any operational problems need fixing.
You are evaluating the whole customer experience when you are completing mystery shopping gigs.
How much can I earn as a mystery shopper?
When you’re learning to be a mystery shopper, it’s important to understand how you get paid and what the usual mystery shopper’s salary is. Usually, there are three common ways secret shoppers are paid for mystery shopping:
- Cash and reimbursement (you’ll get paid to do the mystery shop, plus get the service/product for free).
- Cash payment (an example would be a phone call mystery shop when you don’t buy anything).
- Reimbursement (an example would be a restaurant secret shop – these typically don’t pay any money except for receiving free food).
Normally, you get paid for secret shopper jobs through direct deposit, a check, PayPal, or a gift card. This usually happens about 2 to 4 weeks after you finish the mystery shop.
Mystery shoppers’ earnings vary based on factors like assignment complexity, the company, and location. Generally, mystery shoppers can make $10 to $50 per assignment.
It’s important to remember that mystery shopping opportunities usually come as independent contractor positions. This means your income might not be steady, and there could be times with fewer assignments.
Best Mystery Shopping Companies
Below are the best mystery shopping companies.
BestMark is one of the biggest mystery shopping companies with a great reputation, and they have many different kinds of mystery shopping jobs available.
This is my favorite mystery shopping company, and actually, the one that I used for all of the mystery shopping that I have done. I have done over 50 mystery shops with this company!
All you need to do is sign up to become a mystery shopper here. To apply for a secret shop, click on one of the listings, pick an available date, and click “Request.”
The mystery shopping company will respond quite quickly to let you know if you can do the mystery shop. In my experience, I was almost always accepted because there are plenty of mystery shops available, and they really need more reliable mystery shoppers.
On BestMark, there are mystery shopping jobs for places like:
- Beauty stores and salons
- Clothing stores
- Electronic stores (such as Best Buy)
- Car dealerships
- Movie theaters
- Retail stores
- Phone calls (to survey the person who answers the phone and their knowledge of the store or restaurant)
- Entertainment attractions and amusement parks, like go-kart tracks, aquariums, and theme parks
- Credit unions and banks
And more! Now, the places available to you will depend on where you live because it depends on what stores are in your local area.
Ath Power Consulting
Ath Power Consulting (also known as APC) is a mystery shopping company that has over 500,000 secret shoppers in North America and South America. They complete over 10,000 mystery shops each month, and they work with many popular companies.
APC specializes in the financial and banking industry (such as banks and credit union mystery shops), offering unique mystery shopping opportunities for those interested in this sector. This focus makes them a dependable choice for assignments in these areas.
For example, you may be asked to do a Bank Teller mystery shop. A Teller shop involves going into a bank and conducting a transaction at the teller counter.
IntelliShop has a range of mystery shopping assignments in various industries. They have a user-friendly platform for shoppers, and ensuring client satisfaction is one of their top priorities.
The amount of money you can earn will depend on your shopper rating. You can increase your rating by doing things like answering with a lot of details in your secret shop assignment reports, accepting a lot of secret shop assignments, following the rules for the secret shop you have signed up for, and being on time.
This mystery shopping company pays through PayPal only.
Market Force Information
Market Force is a popular mystery shopping company where you can get paid to mystery shop at places like restaurants, gas stations, banks, movie theaters, call centers, and more. They even have website and mobile app mystery shops, which you can do right from home.
Market Force has been a member of the Mystery Shopping Provider’s Association (MSPA) for over a decade.
They have over 400,000 mystery shoppers and are always on the lookout for more.
iSecretShop is a site that will pay you to shop, dine out, share your thoughts, and more. They have over 1,000,000 registered secret shoppers and panelists.
iSecretShop is a software platform and a job board. They don’t pay shoppers directly; their clients, who offer the secret shop jobs, handle payments.
Each company has its own payment policy, and some jobs pay within days, while others follow a monthly schedule. All payment policies are available for you to review before agreeing to any work.
Secret Shopper is one of the best mystery shopper companies, with over 30 years of experience.
They are looking for mystery shoppers around the world and have a variety of phone, in person, and online shops for you to choose from.
Client payments vary, starting at $15 for basic shops and going into the hundreds for more extensive ones. In certain cases, like restaurant shops, the client payment might cover the cost of a meal for two people.
Pinnacle Mystery Shopping (also known as Pinnacle Financial Strategies) is a company that focuses on mystery shopping opportunities within financial institutions. Their targeted approach allows them to provide valuable insights for clients in the banking industry.
Some in-person shops can be as quick as 2 to 3 minutes, while others may last an hour or longer. If you prefer working from home, they also have telephone and internet shops as options.
Sinclair Customer Metrics
Sinclair Customer Metrics is a reputable mystery shopping company with over 30 years of experience in the industry and an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. They have assignments in fields such as restaurants, stores, healthcare, banks, car dealerships, and more.
A Closer Look
A Closer Look is a mystery shopping company that will pay you to shop at stores, eat at restaurants, get takeout, and try out new businesses. They are a market research company that is definitely hiring secret shoppers.
They are looking for mystery shoppers in the United States or Canada.
Evaluating Mystery Shopping Companies
Here are some things to think about when choosing a mystery shopping company.
When searching for the best mystery shopping companies, check the application process. Trustworthy companies usually have a simple online form and basic qualifications. See if the company is accredited by organizations like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and check their reports for feedback, positive or negative.
How mystery shoppers get paid
As a mystery shopper, it’s important to pick a company that pays fairly and on time. Check the payment methods they use, like direct deposit, check, or gift cards. Also, find out how often they pay – whether it’s monthly, biweekly, or per shop – to see if it fits your preferences.
Secret Shopping Scams To Avoid
Unfortunately, the mystery shopper world has a lot of scams, and that’s because many people are looking for an easy way to make extra money.
Mystery shopping can be fun – but you’re not just getting paid to shop. You will actually have to do work as well – such as by answering questions and evaluating stores.
Here are some tips to avoid mystery shopping scams:
- Never pay to work as a mystery shopper. Legitimate companies pay you for your services, not the other way around. If a company asks for payment for certification, training, or guarantees a job, then I would be careful and think twice.
- When researching companies, be cautious of negative reviews and reports online. Search for the company’s name along with terms like “scam” or “reviews.” If many people have been scammed by a particular company, you’re probably going to find information on the internet.
- Beware of scams involving fake checks or gift cards. Scammers pretend to be real companies, asking you to deposit a check or buy gift cards, promising reimbursement later. This almost always results in losing money without any real mystery shopping job. You should always be skeptical of mystery shopping companies that ask you to buy large amounts of gift cards or deposit checks from unknown sources.
You should always trust your instincts and thoroughly research any mystery shopping opportunity. If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is!
Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Mystery Shopping Companies
Below are answers to common questions about the best mystery shopping companies.
What are the top paying mystery shopper companies?
The best mystery shopping company that I recommend is BestMark.
What secret shopper company pays the most?
BestMark and Market Force are known for having some of the highest-paying mystery shopping assignments in the industry.
How can I find legitimate mystery shopper jobs?
To find real mystery shopper jobs, look at the companies mentioned above to see what I recommend. The mystery shopping services above are all hiring!
What is a disadvantage of being a mystery shopper?
One disadvantage of secret shopping is that it is not a full-time income. Instead, it is a way to make some extra side money. Also, sometimes the survey questions after you shop can be tedious to answer because there may be many questions.
Do you have to pay tax on mystery shopping?
Yes, you have to pay taxes on mystery shopping income. As an independent contractor, you are responsible for reporting your earnings and paying appropriate taxes to the government.
Do mystery shoppers keep what they buy?
In most secret shop assignments, mystery shoppers are reimbursed for their purchases, and depending on the specific assignment and company, you might also be allowed to keep the items you buy. However, in some cases, you may need to return the items after completing the evaluation. For all of the secret shops I have ever done, I have been allowed to keep the items that I buy.
What’s the difference between a mystery shopper and a secret shopper?
A mystery shopper and a secret shopper are the same thing.
How many hours a week do mystery shoppers work?
The hours that a mystery shopper works each week can vary a lot based on factors like the number of assignments available, your availability, and the time it takes for evaluations and reports. For most mystery shoppers, it is just a side gig where you may work a few hours a month.
How do I become a successful mystery shopper?
To succeed as a mystery shopper, focus on improving your observational and communication skills – these are vital for evaluating places and writing detailed reports. Stay organized, meet deadlines, actively seek new assignments, and consider joining multiple companies to expand your opportunities and maintain a steady flow of assignments.
The Best Mystery Shopping Companies – Summary
I hope you enjoyed this article on the best mystery shopping companies.
If you are wondering if a mystery shopping company is real, then I highly recommend checking out the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), reading reviews on the Better Business Bureau, and also keeping in mind that if something seems too good to be true, you should be more cautious and probably decline the job.
Mystery shopping, after all, is not a full-time job. Instead, it’s a way to make a little bit of extra money and get stuff for free.
I have been a mystery shopper for years and have loved it – all the free stuff is nice to get!
Do you want to become a mystery shopper? What do you think is the best mystery shopping company?