Make Money Mystery Shopping

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When I introduced 50 part time jobs, one job I did not mention was mystery shopping.  Mystery shopping sounds like a reasonable way to make some extra money.  In addition, it sounds like fun.  In this post we’ll find out how to become a mystery shopper.

The following post is an email interview I did with Shelia.  You can visit her blogs at If you are interested in submitting an article for me to publish, you can read my guest posting policy.

How to Become A Mystery Shopper

1.  What is mystery shopping?

Mystery shopping is a way that marketing researchers monitor customer service and/or gather certain information about products and services usually for the retailer.

A mystery shopper poses as a customer, sometimes making small purchases and asking specific questions concerning customer service. There is usually a specific activity required and there are questions that need to be answered after the visit, reporting it online.

mall shopping

2.  How can you become a mystery shopper?

When I became a mystery shopper, I simply Googled it and there were many companies that came up. You fill out the application and let them know when you are available and if you fit the demographic that they need they will contact you either by phone or email.

You normally have to have training which usually requires some reading and an online question and answer sheet. Basically, you read and take a test which you must pass before you are given an assignment. This is to assure that you understand the requirement of the job.

3.  How do you get paid as a mystery shopper and what is the earning potential?

At the time when I was a mystery shopper they would send you a check. Most companies pay on a monthly basis so you may work a while before receiving your first check. Mystery shopping is not a means to replace a job. It’s something that you do on the side part time along with your primary job, unless you don’t have to work.

The first company I worked for was called Bestmark. I did several shops in a shopping mall. It was a lot of work, but I received a check for 80.00 the first time. The guy really needed my help so he paid me more than normal.

I’ve done supermarkets for 22.00 per store. But a lot of shops don’t pay that much, but the more you do, the more you get paid. It’s up to you how much money you want to make and it also depends on where you live. At the time I lived in New York City so there was plenty of work.

Also right before I stopped mystery shopping a lot of companies started using PayPal instead of check, so having a PayPal account is helpful.

4.  Could you explain some of the advantages and disadvantages of being a mystery shopper?

The advantage of mystery shopping is that you never go into an office. You are working in the field and you are an independent contractor. This makes the work more flexible. The disadvantage is that you won’t make a lot of money, but it’s good for extra cash on the side.

5.  What suggestions would you give to someone interested in becoming a mystery shopper?

If you want to mystery shop, I would suggest that you sign up with as many companies as possible. The more companies, the more chances of getting work.

6.  Anything else you would like to add?

If you have an attention to detail and are observant, this might be a good side income. But it’s not for a lazy person. Mystery shopping is real work and you are not just going to go into a store and come home and answer three questions. You work for the money just like on any other job, but with this you have more flexibility.

Also, never pay for mystery shopping or information about how to become one. It’s easy to find work on your own. Just Google it.

Finally,  there is certification that you can receive as a mystery shopper and I understand it helps for those who want to do this long term.

Here are two companies that I have worked for and recommend:

For information on certification, check out this site:

This site has a listing of almost all companies:

Photo by LancerE.

Has anyone else tried mystery shopping?  What was your experience?


  1. says

    I went to the bestmark website and began to fill out the app to be a mystery shopper. I didn’t complete the application. However, hours later I got an e-mail saying they’d accepted me as a mystery shopper and that they needed my social security number to employ me. Is this a scam. I did not give them my SS#.

    • says

      You can check on the BBB website to be sure, but this is not unusual. Anyone who employs someone (pays them) does need to have a valid SS# on file. It is interesting that you didn’t complete the form. Perhaps you could give them all call. I know the author who I interviewed is legitimate.

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