How To Become A Secret Shopper

Becoming a secret shopper is as easy as applying to companies looking for secret shoppers. Learn all about no fee mystery shopping and how to find the right mystery shopper job board. A great option for those looking for stay at home mom income.

This mystery shopping section has several pages with valuable secret shopper info. Other pages include information on what mystery shopping is all about, a secret shopper checklist, warnings on current mystery shopping scams, as well as information on how to make more money mystery shopping.

Companies Looking for Secret Shoppers

The first thing you’ll need to do when becoming a secret shopper is to apply to companies looking for secret shoppers. This will take you several hours and possibly a few days to complete.

Start at the best no fee mystery shopping job board.

Go through the free list of companies looking for secret shoppers and apply to every single company that indicates that they hire in your area.

While on this great no fee mystery shopping site, check out the other free resources available.

There is a mystery shopper job board and forums for new and experienced secret shoppers, as well as information about similar forms of supplemental income.

Volition was my first stop when I decided to become a mystery shopper several years ago.

Many, many unethical companies have copied their extensive mystery shopping companies list and have sold that list for $30 to unsuspecting newbies. 

Just remember: when becoming a secret shopper, you will need to apply for each of the companies looking for secret shoppers individually. This can be confusing, as many of the different companies use the same software system to capture your information.

The software does not share with each company, so even if it looks like you have applied to a particular company before, it is likely that you did not. Just keep a running list so you don’t get confused.

Mystery Shopper Job Board

Most companies looking for secret shoppers work one of two ways: they either offer a shop to a specific shopper individually, or they post the shop on an email list or mystery shopper job board and let dozens (possibly hundreds) of shoppers apply for it. Once you start doing more shops and build a solid reputation, you may be offered the personalized shops.

One way that you can strengthen your odds at getting selected as a shopper is to join the MSPA’s Silver or Gold Accreditation Program. The MSPA is a trusted, professional company that exists to help the industry in general and especially those interested in becoming a secret shopper. They have lists of companies, a mystery shopper job board, and current mystery shopping scam information as well.

Becoming a Secret Shopper

After you are accepted to do a shop, the mystery shopping company will send you a list of instructions and a questionnaire. It is extremely important that you follow the instructions exactly. The instructions will often tell you such things as the date you are to do your shop, the time range, what kind of clothing you are to wear, if you need to be alone while shopping, what scenario you will be portraying, etc.

The questionnaire will ask you a series of questions about your experience. These questions are either yes/no questions, narratives, or both. The yes/no are self explanatory, but make sure with your narrative questions you write detailed responses. You need to spell-check, and grammar check all of your narratives in order to continue to receive mystery shop assignments.

After reading through your instructions, and memorizing your questions, you are ready to do your shop. Many companies looking for mystery shoppers will require you take a quiz proving that you have read through the instructions and questionnaire and thoroughly understand the shop before you are allowed to go out and perform your mystery shop.

This is all part of becoming a secret shopper. Failure to take this quiz this before conducting your secret shop could cause the company to refuse your shop and deny you payment. Not good for becoming a secret shopper.

Conducting a Mystery Shop

When becoming a secret shopper, you should wear a wristwatch that has a second hand, as most shops require you to record how long you stand in line or how long it takes for an employee to assist you to the second.

While on your shop, make sure that you leave your questions in your car; at no time should the employees suspect that you are a mystery shopper! You will need to pay attention to detail and remember not only the employee’s description but their name as well. Sometimes I take notes in a bathroom stall.

If you do mess up, and alert the employees to your job as a secret shopper, the scheduling company may not pay or reimburse you for your shop. Your payments may also be withheld if you shop on the wrong day or time, or fail to follow the instructions completely. Not a great way to earn stay at home mom income. You will need to pay for any required purchases out of pocket, to later be reimbursed by the company. Make sure that you understand the purchase requirements before accepting the shop.

The purchase requirements can be as small as a pack of gum, or as large as a $300 upscale meal. Keep in mind that you could be out of that money for 30-90 days.

Once your mystery shop is done, go to your car and fill out your questionnaire while the information is fresh in your mind. This way, if you have forgotten to get a vital piece of information, you are still close enough to the establishment to go back and get it. When you return home, you will need to submit your questionnaire immediately online to your scheduling company. If a purchase was made, you will need to fax your receipt to the company.

Some shops will require you to return the item you purchased as part of your shop. This is done for one of two reasons: either the company would like for you to evaluate the store’s return customer service, or they do not wish to reimburse you for your purchase. In either case, it is important to follow the instructions if they ask you to return your purchase. After you are all done you wait for your stay at home mom income check! Generally, most mystery shopping companies pay within 30-90 days.

Independent Contractor

When becoming a secret shopper, you are not an employee of the companies looking for secret shoppers, but are an independent contractor. This is generally a good arrangement.

Since you are not an employee, you are allowed to perform mystery shops with as many mystery shopping scheduling companies as you wish. You are not limited to work with just one company. As an independent contractor, you will need to keep track of your expenses for things such as mileage, purchases that are not reimbursed, faxes, and various fees you may be required to incur. You will also be responsible for paying your own taxes.

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