This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase through one of my links I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Don’t worry, I only recommend things that I truly believe in! Thank you for supporting this blog! For more information, check out my disclaimer.
So you want to become a mystery shopper. There is a lot you need to know about mystery shopping in order to make an informed decision.
Mystery shopper jobs are easy to find, you just have to do the research. With that being said, mystery shopping is not for everyone.
If you’re completely clueless when it comes to mystery shopping, allow me to fill you in.
After reading this article, you will know if mystery shopping is right for you.
Defining Mystery Shopping
Mystery shopping has been around for a long time. Many are not aware of this side hustle opportunity.
Mystery shopping is when a company hires independent contractors to call or visit a business and observe them.
To become a mystery shopper, you must have a good eye. You will be required to look for certain things. Such as how helpful the employees were, what the store or business looked like, the atmosphere, level of cleanliness, friendliness of the employees, etc.
Anything that will help businesses to understand where there is a need for more training and direction. And also help them to see what their business is doing right.
So basically, mystery shoppers are sent to businesses to see what areas they excel in and what areas could use more work.
A good example of a mystery shopping assignment is McDonald’s. Everybody loves McDonalds, right? But what about those rude workers, unclean stores, and maybe even a couple of fall hazards.
When you take on a shopping assignment, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your visit.
Not all mystery shopping assignments will require you to purchase something. There are phone mystery shopping jobs that you can find as well.
What most people want to know is if you can really make money from mystery shopping.
Mystery shopping is not discussed often as far as I can tell. But I have experience with mystery shopping and have known about this side hustle for years. Now, I want to share it with you.
To answer your question as to whether you can make money as a mystery shopper the answer is yes.
They say the proof is in the puddin’ and I whole-heartedly agree. So, when doing my research and due diligence, I came across a Forbes article where this lady made $14,000 a year mystery shopping.
If that ain’t enough proof and puddin’ then I just don’t know how to convince you.
You probably want to know how much mystery shoppers get paid. While not a difficult question at all, the answer isn’t straightforward.
For starters, mystery shoppers are paid by the assignment or job, not by the hour.
The price range on each assignment can really vary. Some assignments pay between $8 and $10 while others pay upwards of $20, $50, or even $100.
On the other hand, some secret shopper assignments do not pay. But they reimburse you for money you may have spent in order to complete the assignment.
This may sound like a bad deal but if you like helping others and have some time to spare this could be a great opportunity for you to earn some extra cash.
Avoid Mystery Shopping Scams
Scams are everywhere. Somebody always trying to play games. This is especially true when it comes to finding jobs and making money.
Mystery shopping is no exception. There are people scamming and lying about having secret shopper jobs that they are hiring for.
Never pay to become a mystery shopper. There are some jobs where you must pay for training or something similar.
However, I believe mystery shopping is an exception in this area.
Never pay anyone to become a mystery shopper.
If someone is asking for money before “hiring” for a secret shopper job, you should do your due diligence and research this company.
I don’t doubt that there are some legit companies that may require you to pay for something. For example, you know how we talked about reimbursement earlier.
This is an entirely different situation.
If you accept a secret shopping assignment and they send you to Burger King and tell you that you must make a purchase.
You buy a whopper for $5 ( I don’t really know how much whoppers are.) the company should at the least, offer you your $5 back.
So that’s different because while you’re not making any money, by being reimbursed you aren’t really out of any money either.
Basically, you just got a free burger and who doesn’t love free food?!
How to Become a Mystery Shopper
For starters, one of the things you have to do to become a mystery shopper is…shop! But you knew that though.
If you are one of those type of people that love to hate shopping then this ain’t the side hustle for ya. Sorry.
On the other hand, if you love shopping, trying new things, visiting new places this is a great opportunity for you.
There are a few things you need to be a successful mystery shopper.
This is a requirement only if you are going to be visiting stores to complete assignments.
There is a such thing as phone mystery shopping but I believe those are few and far between.
To be for certain, I’m going to do some research on the best mystery shopping companies to work for, so stay tuned!
To become a mystery shopper that does in-person assignments you need reliable transportation.
It would be unrealistic to accept several shopping assignments across the town without having a way to get there.
Come on, now. Don’t do that.
If you don’t have reliable transportation there are plenty of jobs you can do right from home.
I have a post coming soon on legitimate jobs you can do from home so keep coming back!
However, if mystery shopping is something you really would like to do there are ways around not having your own transportation.
First off, you could look for phone mystery shopping jobs.
On another note, you could have someone you know, who is reliable to take you around to your assignments.
If you got to call your grandma, auntie, uncle, or your cousin twice removed, do it!
This one should be a no-brainer but I feel like I have to say this.
No, you do not have to be super smart or a genius to do mystery shopping.
To be honest, it doesn’t take a lot of thinking power to get the assignments done.
However, you will need to have a decent amount of common sense. What do I mean?
You have to use your mind to think of what would be appropriate to reveal to the employees of the business and what wouldn’t.
As a secret shopper, you are supposed to keep your purpose for coming to the store a secret.
An example of not using common sense on a mystery shopping assignment would be stating that you are a secret shopper and you don’t really need anything, but you have to observe them so you can get paid.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “I would never do that.”
Going into a store as an undercover observer can be stressful. And sometimes when people are stressed they begin to babble and say irrelevant and unnecessary things.
But in this case, revealing your reason for visiting the store would be counter-productive.
Look at it this way, if you knew someone was watching you so they could go back and tell your boss, would you do anything to get a bad report? Most likely not.
Some people are rude for no reason to just about everyone they meet. But the majority of rude people are only rude to certain people.
Being rude to a secret or mystery shopper could cause them to lose their job so they are going to be extra sweet if they know.
If they don’t know, they’ll be themselves and be rude.
No, I’m not encouraging you to set anyone up. But when you accept a mystery shopping assignment, to receive payment you must follow the rules.
And one of the rules is that you don’t blow your cover.
Ability to Follow Instructions
This one goes hand in hand with the previous requirement you need to become a mystery shopper, common sense.
Not everyone is cut out for following instructions. For some, directions and them just do not mix.
If this sounds like you then you need to keep searching for a side hustle or gig that fits you better.
Following instructions comes easy to some people. If that’s you, then this is the job for you.
Every assignment you accept will have requirements, rules, and instructions.
These requirements, rules, and instructions aren’t hard to follow but it does mean that you have to understand before saying you’ll do the job.
How to Make the Most Money from Mystery Shopping
When you decide to become a mystery shopper, you are likely doing so with the expectation of making money.
Remember, the lady from Forbes that I talked about earlier? You could very well make $14,000 a year as a secret shopper if you know what you’re doing.
There are a few tips & tricks you can follow to make the most money possible from mystery shopping.
Accept More Assignments
To make the most money from mystery shopping you have to be a regular contributor.
It’s kind of like having a blog. If you aren’t writing a lot of helpful blog posts on the regular, you are less likely to make money.
Or you won’t make as much as you could if you were publishing more often.
There are some mystery shopping companies that only have a few assignments in your area at a time.
Depending on where you live, there are some opportunities that will have numerous secret shopping assignments that you can accept.
Some companies will allow you to take on more than one job at any given tie but others require that you finish the one you started before moving on to the next one.
Which brings us to our next point.
Be Thorough and Work Quickly
I say be thorough because when you tell someone they should try to work quickly it becomes a problem sometimes.
Yes, you need to work as quickly on each assignment as you can while also being very thorough.
Make sure you dot all your I’s and cross all your T’s before moving on.
If you do a poor job, the company will know it and will probably refuse to pay you because you didn’t do it right.
Remember that you 9 times out of 10 will have to fill out a questionnaire about your visit.
This will definitely require you to take enough time to get as much info as you can.
Do not mess up your opportunity to make money by doing a sloppy job.
If you find that at the end of the visit, you can hardly fill out the questionnaire then you have room to improve.
You need to slow down and pay closer attention. You know, be more observant.
In this way, you will make the most money possible.
Apply to Work for Several Companies
A blogger once said, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
I’m sure this blogger wasn’t the first one to say it but this was my first time actually hearing it.
That statement has stuck with me for years and dictates the things I do to make money.
I’m trying not to put all my eggs in one basket so I am working on several streams of income.
To make the most money on mystery shopping jobs, it is important that you apply for several mystery shopping companies.
With many of these companies, it is easy to get hired. So finding 2 or 3 really good companies to work for is key to making the most money.
And if you are feeling really good you could try to join 4+ companies. Thus increasing your income.
Mystery shopping can be a nice side hustle if you are looking to make some extra cash.
No, this isn’t a get rich quick scheme but you can receive a decent income from it.
I wouldn’t suggest making this your only form of income. Like I said, try not to put all your eggs in one basket.
Having several different income streams is the most beneficial.
I hope this article has helped you decide on a really cool side hustle you can do for extra income.
Other Posts You May Like:
Have you ever done mystery shopping? What was your experience with it? Let me know in the comments.
Don’t forget to save for later!