Mystery or secret shoppers contribute to the success of brands worldwide. And most of, if not all, mystery shoppers consider their job easy and fun. While a few may become a mystery shopper part-time or full-time, the majority of people only supplement their income. Even if you make $10-$20 per gig, all the small amount will add up in the long run, and this extra stream of income will make a huge difference in your life. With the right mindset and proper amount of knowledge, you will pave your own route and become a successful mystery shopper. Here comes all that you need to know about mystery shopper jobs, including details of your future tasks, best practices, tricks, and many more.

Learn how to get a mystery shopper job

become a mystery shopper
Mystery shoppers aiming to eat for free should look for gigs in restaurants. Do YOU want to become a mystery shopper who gets to dine at fancy places? Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash.

1. Who is a mystery shopper?

A mystery or secret shopper is a person who helps commercial and other brands to improve their products and services, and anything else that is relevant to a customer. You may call them evaluators as they evaluate (and assess) things. The great news is that anyone can apply for mystery shopper jobs. Although companies may only accept applications from people over a certain age. Stay-at-home parents, retired people, students, freelancers, and even part-time and full-time employees are welcome to become mystery shoppers to be able to increase their savings or pay their bills with more ease at the end of the month. Mystery shoppers are usually not employees but work as independent contractors.

2. What does a mystery shopper do?

To elaborate a bit further on the act of evaluation and assessment, we can add that mystery shoppers gather information on certain things and submit a report on them to the company organizing mystery shops. Certain things may sound vague. The truth is that a great variety of mystery shopping jobs are out there. You may take photos of products on display in stores, give feedback on customer service in designated shops, (buy and) try all kinds of products at home, review online services, etc. Or, for example with HGEM, you would have a few drinks, or eat a three-course meal in a restaurant and also spend a night in a hotel. (The platform will reimburse your expenses, such as the meal, the room and the breakfast later on.) As you can see, you either work from home or on-site.

3. How to get a job as a mystery shopper?

Sign up for companies that are well-established in the industry and/or you’re 100% sure they’re legit. Gain experience with more of them first, to find the ones that satisfy your needs and help you achieve your goals.

Mystery shopping has gained more popularity recently, and the number of people thinking of becoming a mystery shopper is increasing. Imagine it as a steep hill climb with hundreds of other people, and you all want to reach the top. So check your e-mails and/or dashboard (of apps downloaded/websites) regularly to see the gigs available in your city.

3.1. Mystery shopper jobs

If you’re intrigued by the promises of working as a mystery/secret shopper, look for your city on AppJobs and find out what legit companies operate there. Do you need more information on how to become a mystery shopper and start making extra money? The best way to learn about the specificities in particular cities is to ask someone who has the right knowledge. Best of luck with your adventures as a mystery shopper!

4. How do mystery shoppers get paid?

It depends on the actual gig. You may decide to focus on receiving free products you would personally love to use. In this case, the company will send you the items you can keep after job completion. Food aficionados may spend a nice evening in a restaurant eating something delicious, even some high-concept food. They probably pay for the food out of their own pockets, and then get reimbursed later on.

Some companies will either send you gifts, vouchers, or transfer money to you. The most popular payment methods are direct deposit, PayPal or cheques. The average earning per gig is $10-$20. In order for you to have a bigger slice of the cake, you need to work on your reputation. The more popular you are, the better-paid gigs you’ll be asked to do. You may get to travel the world as a mystery shopper. Beginners tend to start in fast-food restaurants and supermarkets. Don’t be picky but show dedication and work your way to the top.

5. How to become a successful mystery shopper?

Mystery shoppers don’t have to have special and/or niche skills but must be detail-oriented, organized, and determined. Know what you’re expected to do, what kind of brochures, pamphlets, booklets you may need to collect or take a photo of. Behave normally, meaning don’t stand out of the crowd but blend in. You should shine when expressing your thoughts on your mystery shopping experience.

Communication skills are a must, and you should be able to convey your messages in a clear and understandable way when submitting your reports – either via phone or electronically. You must follow a guide or a set of instructions given by the company when doing so, so pay attention to what they ask you to do and how to do it.

6. 10 pieces of advice that could make you a better mystery shopper

  1. Decide what kind of mystery shopper you want to be: do you want to focus on getting paid or receiving free stuff?
  2. Treat it as a normal job, especially if you opt for making an income.
  3. Accept the kinds of assignments that fit your personality: are you a tech-savvy or more of an analogue person?
  4. Create a folder for your mystery shopping activity and an excel sheet to keep a record of your assignments; its characteristics such as deadlines, companies, tasks, earnings, expenses, etc.
  5. Use a separate e-mail account to manage your mystery shopper gigs. You’ll receive tons of e-mails from companies notifying you about available mystery shops.
  6. Schedule several assignments for the same day.
  7. Minimize your travel expenses by doing tasks at locations close to each other.
  8. Get up-to-date knowledge on taxation, insurance, retirement schemes, etc. Don’t forget that you’ll be an independent contractor.
  9. Save the receipts.
  10. Get certified.

Become a mystery shopper in New York City, Las Vegas, San Diego, Jacksonville, Seattle, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Portland, Charlotte, London, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Rotterdam, and many other places all over the world.

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Featured Photo by Mark Zamora on Unsplash