Mystery Shopping – just my advice

 I first started Mystery Shopping almost 10 years ago when I was on maternity leave with my first son. I wanted to make a little extra money and found a couple of sites online. I registered and next thing you know, I was receiving e-mails from them with lists of stores where assignments were available and they were all in my area. I haven’t done any shops in the past year but I do still receive the available assignments. The information below is based on my personal experience doing mystery shops (on and off) for over 8 years.

6 Rs of Mystery Shopping

1. Receive e-mail with list of shops available
2. Respond to scheduler with your availability
3. Review e-mail and/or documents detailing the requirement of the shop and a copy of the report that needs to be completed
4. Remember to take notes immediately after visiting the establishment. Details are very important.
5. Report your findings by completing and submitting the required form/s (this should generally be done within 24 hours)
6. Receive payment – This is usually received 6 weeks after the assignment is completed.

What Type of Establishments Use Mystery Shopping?

The possibilities here are really endless. I personally do work for two separate Mystery Shopping companies and below are some examples of the types of assignments I receive on a regular basis.
Clothing Retailers:
Theses assignments include large well known department store as well as some smaller franchise shops.Shoe Stores:
These include high end specialty stores as well as discount outlets

Vehicle Maintenance
Never pay for an oil change or inspection again! There are many assignments available just to observe the work being done on your vehicle

Sporting Events
These assignments are usually for the retailers inside the stadium or arena but since you have to get inside to shop there, these assignments will cover the ticket price and parking. Many of these assignments will cover the cost of 2 tickets.

Whether it be fast food, fine dining and everything in between there are assignments available which will reimburse the cost of food ( there is usually a maximum they will cover). Many of these assignments however will pay enough for you and a friend.

Car Dealers
Now don’t get too excited, you can’t keep the car! However there are assignments that pay very well and all you have to do is take the car for a test drive and then negotiate a price.

Specialty Stores
Toy stores, Optical Stores, Video Game stores. As I mentioned before, the possibilities of what you might get are endless.


Take a look at what is expected for each shop. Although the car dealer shops pay well and sound fun, if you are not comfortable negotiating then don’t take the assignment. In order to be offered better assignments and higher pay you need to consistently provide quality reports.

Things to Consider Before Accepting an Assignment.

Once you have registered yourself with a Mystery Shopping company you can expect to receive a list of available assignments approximately once per week. There are companies that send out more assignments and other that won’t send anything for a few weeks. When you receive these messages you should review them quickly but thoroughly. The reason you need to review them quickly is that many assignments are allocated on a first come first serve basis. You must however make sure you understand the requirements of each shop before you apply to complete it. Here is what you should be looking for:1. Location, Location, Location!
What is the address of the establishment you have to visit?2. Size Does Matter!
If it is a clothing retailer; what is the specific demographic you need to fit? Usually this will include a particular age range as well as a size range.

3. “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days!”
What day of the week and on which dates do you need to complete the assignment?

4. Money, Money, Money:
How much does this shop pay?

5. Déjàvu?
Have you shopped at the same location recently? If you have completed a Mystery Shop at the same location please double check yoru Mystery Shopping companies’ policy on how often you can complete a report for the same establishment. Most companies I have worked with have a 90 day rotation policy were shoppers cannot revisit a location within 90 days.

Once you have answered the above questions and you are sure you fit the shop requirements and are comfortable with the pay, only then should you apply to have that shop assigned to you.


Some shops can pay as little as $8.00 which may not be worth it for you if you have to travel far from home to do it. However many times there will be multiple shops available at the same mall or plaza. Apply for all the shops you qualify for at the same general location and watch your earnings grow.


Legitimate Mystery Shopping companies will not ask you for money or any financial information. Both the companies below pay via Paypal.


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