Mystery shoppers are independent contractors. A business will hire an outside company to send mystery shoppers to their establishment. The shopper will evaluate the employees and products based on certain criteria.
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Earning Money By Mystery Shopping

Ads for mystery shoppers are on almost every job board. They claim you can earn over $1000 a week. Can you really make this kind of money? Theoretically yes, but don't quit your day job just yet.

Mystery shopping is a legitimate business used by many companies to evaluate their products and services. A business will hire an outside company to send mystery shoppers to their establishment. The shopper will evaluate the employees and products based on certain criteria. Mystery shoppers are not actual employees of either company. They are independent contractors. This gives you the flexibility to work for many different companies.

Becoming a mystery shopper is fairly easy. You fill out an online form with a company and they put you in their database. When they have a job in your area that fits your profile, you are contacted by e-mail or phone. Some companies have a job board where you can choose the assignments yourself. After you complete the job, you usually have 24 hours to submit the paperwork online. You will receive payment in about 4-6 weeks.

Here a few tips to help you become a successful mystery shopper:

1. Be organized - A mystery shopper should have all the items they need when they arrive at the shop. Make sure you have a stopwatch, forms, maps, or anything else that is required. Know when and where you are supposed to be ahead of your scheduled shop.

2. Try to be detailed as possible - Companies like people who can accurately record all the details of the shop. Conveying these details in a coherent manner on the paperwork is also very important.

3. Ability to blend in - You must be able to pass as a normal shopper. Never reveal your intentions to an employee unless you are instructed to do so. Don't bring any paperwork inside the shop with you. You'll definitely blow your cover if the employee sees you taking notes.

4. Be flexible - A company will hire you for more jobs if you can work weekdays and weekends. The ability to take a last minute assignment will also help your reputation with the company.

Making money depends on you and where you live. If you live in a large urban area you will get more assignments. Sign up for as many companies as you can. Try to hit at least 50 companies. This will get you quite a few jobs. The first jobs you get will normally pay you $5-$15. You also get reimbursed for any products you are required to buy. As time goes by, you will eventually get higher paying assignments. You just have to be persistent and prove yourself.

If you work hard and pursue it diligently, you can get several assignments a day. Can you make $1000 a week? Don't count on it. Most people who do it full time average $200-$400 a week. A few make more but this is the exception rather than the rule.

Don't respond to the ads for shoppers on the job boards. These ads are placed by people who only sell you a list of mystery shopping companies. These companies can easily be found on the internet for free. Try it part time at first and see how it goes. This could be the job for you.


The author has been involved in retail since 1984. He has investigated home business ventures for the last two years. Clear Business Horizon

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