How to Become a Mystery Shopper (and earn $$)

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How-to-Become-a.-Mystery-ShopperThis is a Guest Post from Nicole’s Nickles- Thanks Nicole!

My blog is about all kinds of money-making and money-saving topics but the one I get the most questions about is mystery shopping. I’m here to remove the mystery from mystery shopping!

I have been mystery shopping for a year and am able to earn approximately $300 per month as a supplement to my income. I accept shops for places I am interested in going or go to already. That is just how I handle all the requests. For example, I have seen a mystery shop recently that involves test driving cars for a fee. I’m just not interested in that so I haven’t done those but I imagine many people would gladly earn some money for looking at and test driving cars. There are mystery shops out there for just about everything! From restaurants to amusement parks to gas stations to grocery stores, it’s out there!<

Your first order of business is to have access to a computer, the Internet, and a scanner to be able to complete your reports and send in your receipt so you can be reimbursed and/or paid your fee.

There are literally hundreds of mystery shopping companies. Many of the legit ones are members of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association and that is a good place to find companies to sign up with. Another good place to look for information is the mystery shopping forum on volition. You should sign up with as many companies as you can since they will not reveal who the clients they shop for are until you’re signed up.

You’ll serve as an Independent Contractor for each mystery shopping company you sign up with. That means that they will send you a 1099 for the income you receive from mystery shopping. This tax reporting requirement is why many companies request your social security number when you apply.

Once you have signed up and been approved as a shopper with a company, look through their open offerings. Each company operates differently – some release shops throughout the month while others release on a certain day or days. You need to get to know the company to know whether you will be notified of new shops by email or if you need to check the site often.

Some of the companies I have shopped with in the past, been paid on time with, and never had an issue with are:

A Closer Look
Shoppers Critique
Service Sleuth
Bare International
Corporate Research International

Once assigned a shop (companies will either let you choose or approve you after you’ve applied for the shop), read the directions and guidelines carefully. Print a copy of the report you’ll need to fill out and study it. Take your time while doing the shop. I like to keep the questionnaire in my car so I can drive a short distance away from the shop and jot down notes while they are fresh in my mind. Enter your report soon after completing the shop and then wait for the editor to send comments or for the shop to approve on the company’s site.

Companies pay either by check or paypal within the time specified in your Agreement. You’ll usually have to front the money and then be reimbursed for your purchases. Sometimes you will also be paid a fee for performing the shop.

Mystery shopping is a great way to supplement your income by doing something we all do anyway – SHOP!

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  1. says

    Mystery shopping is one of the many ways that company’s conduct market research. I’m very familiar with it because it’s something we specialize in at my work (AQ Services International) and to really understand it I did a handful of mystery shops. It’s a great way to make a little bit of extra cash and it can be really fun too! If you like meeting people and you love shopping this is a great combo. Really love your article, thanks for sharing!

  2. Susanne says

    I never made anywhere close to $300 a month in cash but enjoyed some great dinners, some at expensive restaurants, got free oil changes, saw some great movies complete with popcorn, and got some great discounts on things I was going to buy anyway in return for 10-20 minutes filling out a report.

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