Mystery Shopping


Some of my extra income comes from Mystery Shopping. I started 3 years ago and I love it. My husband and I get to try new restaurants, products, stores, and salons, and I get paid for it! I must say though it can be a lot of work and one screwup and you may not get reimbursed for the shop.


What is Mystery Shopping?

Mystery Shopping is the practice of using shoppers who have been specially briefed to anonymously evaluate customer service, operations, merchandising, product quality, and in special cases, employee integrity.

Mystery Shopping goes by many names:
Secret Shopping
Mystery Customers
Anonymous Audits
Virtual Customers
Employee Evaluations
Performance Audits
Telephone Checks

Let me first tell you how it works:

First you sign up for the Mystery Shopping Company (I will list them below the ones that I have successfully completed a shop and received payment for it.) Never EVER EVER EVER pay for a site that wants you to pay for the information to become a Mystery Shopper. All the information is out there free, you just have to find it, but it is a good thing I compliled this list for you!

Next, you receive emails about new shops or you can check out the companies website.

Once you request a shop, you wait until you hear from a scheduler via email whether or not you are accepted for the shop. Some companies let you self-assign yourself a shop, but it is rare and you have to already have a relationship with the company.

When you are accepted you follow the directions in the shop email and then return back to the company website to submit your survey. Some mystery shop surveys are easy and quick while others can be long and tedious. I have had to type essay length answers for some questions and then I still get an email from the scheduler saying I was not descriptive enough on something.

Once you do a few shops for a few different companies you will quickly get the hang of it and see what works for you. Like I said earlier it is nice to try out new places or products. I have shopped upscale salons, high end restaurants, fast food, casual restaurants, banks, retail stores, oil change locations, car dealerships, gas stations, casinos, bowling alleys, and more…..

You do have to have access to your own computer and have a digital camera or a scanner, and usually you have to pay for the item/service and then the computer reimburses you in a specified amount of time. Oh also, some companies pay you a shop fee and reimburse you which means you get $X dollars to complete the job and they reimburse you a certain amount and other companies just reimburse you. But either way you get something for free!

Mystery Shopping could be a full time job if you let it, but I think it is more fun to do here and there when you need something or want to try something new. For example, I cannot remember the last time I paid for an oil change or getting my hair highlighted, I just wait for a shop to become available and then submit for it. Also, about half the jobs specifically say no children so that could be a problem for you stay at home moms, unless your like me and you can get a family member/friend to babysit so you can go out!

As I said I have been doing this for 3 years, not so much now that I have 2 kids, but you can always ask me any questions if you need help!

Mystery Shop Companies:


Finally, I have received payment and continuously work for the companies listed above; however, I have signed up for every company out there because it doesn’t hurt to get their emails and then delete if I don’t like their shops. So check out when you are ready to sign up for more companies or to just read up about mystery shopping.

See this article from ABC NEWS:

ABC News: Make Extra $$ as a Mystery Shopper

Speak Your Mind



  1. I started one doing theater checks lately. That is my favorite so far.

  2. Lana simanovicki says:

    This looks fun and exciting

  3. Mystery shopping is cool, i enjoyed this article

  4. Mystery Shopping is the best

  5. Kenya Lassiter says:

    I always wanted to try mystery shopping. There are so many mystery shopping companies. I wasn’t sure what companies to trust or try. Thank you for sharing! I can’t wait to apply!

  6. Wow, thanks! I used to mystery shop years ago after a co-worker referred me. I liked it a lot, but I got dropped from the list and stopped getting assignments after I didn’t know where a shop was since I was new to the area. I would love to get in to mystery shopping again. Thanks for the list. I see mystery shopping advertised but the advertisements all look like scams. Thanks for the list. I’ll bechecking them out.

    • No problem! Definitely get back into it. Thanks for the reminder too, I really need to write an updated post as I still mystery shop!

  7. I have always been interested in this, so I really appreciate this great information. I had a few cases in my life of being defrauded, so it is out there and everyone needs to be careful.

  8. Gail Williams says:

    A very nice list of companies to work with to do this! Easy article to understand. Thanks.

  9. Carol Nine says:

    Thanks so much for the info. I have always wanted to be a mystery shopper but didn’t know which companies were legit.

  10. Thanks for the info, I know these posts are old but I will definitely check these websites out.

  11. Night Owl Mama says:

    I love Best Mark Especially around xmas time. THe only thing I don’t like about Mystery shopping is the little pay for driving time, and report time. Otherwise if you can find shops all clumped together it can be a great source of income.

  12. DiPaola Momma says:

    FYI .. shopn’chek (my personal fav for over 6 years.. I’ve made tons with them) is now market force. They have several companies under that umbrella that now include things like stocking, merchandising and movie marque “shops”