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Taking The Mystery Out of Mystery Shopping

In my much younger days I worked in retail for quite some years and I remembered wishing I had a job where I could evaluate sales associates on their customer service skills. During one of my shifts, I said to my co-worker, “I would loooove to be a secret shopper.” She totally agreed with me as it seemed like such a cool job… definitely much more exciting than being a sales associate/cashier in the shoe department!

What is Mystery Shopping?

A lot of retailers hire marketing research companies to anonymously evaluate their employees for quality of service. Mystery shoppers are given instructions on what is required for their assignments. This involves going to ABC Store and making a purchase or ordering a particular food item(s). It doesn’t stop there; as part of an assignment, one may have to check the cleanliness of a restroom or the store in general. The mystery shopper will make mental notes and are required to fill out a form to report the experience. Most times the shopper will be reimbursed and can keep the product.

If Mystery Shopping is something you’re interested in pursuing then here are some tips to help you get started:

1. You should never have to pay a for a list of mystery shopping companies. You can find a list for free.

2. Legitimate companies don’t charge an application fee and many accept applications online.

3. You may be required to have the following equipment – scanner, printer or fax machine to submit receipts or payment invoices.

4. Visit the Mystery Shoppers Providers Association (MSPA) at – Here you can search for assignments and mystery shopping companies.

5. It’s known for companies to ask you to fill out a W9 form or issue a 1099 form for income tax purposes, provide your SSN/SSI or bank account/routing number, but don’t give out personal information to anyone unless you know for sure it is a legitimate and reputable company.

6. Make yourself available, but don’t overwhelm yourself with too many assignments.

7. It’s important to submit your reports in a timely manner. Make sure you make accurate reports and be specific.

8. Don’t bring children while you’re working unless it is specified in your assignment. Children can be a distraction and you want to be focused on completing your job as accurately as possible and small details are still important. Remember, it is a job.

9. Check the sites daily for new shop assignments.

10. Mystery shopping is a part-time job and a good extra income earner.

Now that I’ve taken the mystery out of mystery shopping, go out and have fun at your job!

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2 Responses to “Taking The Mystery Out of Mystery Shopping”

  1. Trent Brownrigg Says:
    November 21st, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    Very good information Sophia. I’ve never done mystery shopping but I did consider it way back when I first started my home business. If I would have had information like this I probably would have given it a shot.

  2. workathomespace Says:
    November 22nd, 2007 at 11:09 am

    Thank you, Trent. Waaay back when I came online, I signed up for mystery shopping from an ad I saw in our local paper. I was accepted and approved and given venues of where to perform my duties. Unfortunately, I never found the time to make my trip out…I remembered one of the assignments was to purchased a particular food item and to check out the restroom.

    I think I may have ventured out if I was to evaluate my old stomping ground.

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