What I Know About Mystery Shopping

What is mystery shopping?

Mystery shopping is a a way for companies to evaluate employees for specific criteria from the customer's perspective. It lets employers know how employees are performing when they are not being supervised by management. Mystery shoppers have a very specific list of criteria to use in evaluating employees for a client.

Usually mystery shoppers do not work directly for the store they are evaluating. They work for a mystery shopping company. Mystery shopping companies have clients who want specific criteria evaluated. The mystery shopping companies contract with shoppers to perform the shop and report on the performance of the employees at the client's site. The shopper submits his report, which the mystery shopping company reviews and then submits to the client.

What Mystery Shopping is not.

Mystery shopping is not a get rich quick opportunity. The pay for most jobs is not extremely high, and you have a report to fill out after you complete the shop. Some shops have no pay at all except for the reimbursement for your purchases. Others pay a fee and may or may not reimburse you for your purchases.

Mystery shopping employers do not give you hundreds of dollars to go to the mall and spend anyway you please in exchange for a report about your opinions about your experience. Mystery shopping companies do not pick up the tab for a cruise for shoppers who have never shopped a fast food store or a retail outlet. Mystery shopping is not an opportunity for you to rant about the service you received.

Mystery shopping is definitely not an attempt to catch employees doing something wrong. The shopper's life is much easier if the employees do everything right. There is less narrative and fewer questions if the shopper never has to answer "no"

If the pay is low, why do you do it?

The primary attraction for me is flexibility. Mystery shoppers are independent contractors. That means that I am free to accept or reject any job that I am offered. I do not have to accept jobs that will interfere with my day job or personal life. I am not trying to support myself by mystery shopping, I just want to make enough money to pay to host my websites and to keep my yarn addiction (I am a knitter) satisfied. I can net about a hundred dollars a month if I take two or three good jobs a week.

Being an independent contractor means that you are not entitled to any benefits like insurance, workman's comp, or even a guarantee of minimum wage. In addition, you are responsible for remitting income and social security taxes.

What qualifications do I need?

The love of shopping is not a good reason to become a mystery shopper. A successful mystery shopper is a detail oriented person, who can:

So what do I need to be a mystery shopper?