“Self-Assign” Mystery Shopper Scheduling

Although many of the secret shop assignments you receive will come through a scheduler, some companies allow you to directlyclaim the shops you want without going through a scheduler. This is known as “self-assigning” or “self-scheduling.”

When you register with a mystery shopping company, they will explain how mystery shops are awarded. Companies that use self-assigning may offer only some of their shops this way, or may use self-assigning for almost all of their assignments.

Here is how self-assigning works, and what you need to know about getting assignments this way.

Assignments are posted to the company’s web site. They may post the majority of assignments at one time, or put shops for the upcoming month up over a week or so. Shops may also be posted at almost random times as new shops are added, or secret shoppers “flake” on shops they claimed.

Companies may tell you what dates the site will list new shops, or they may send e-mail to let you know that new shops have been added.

When you view the available shop assignments, you will learn the specifics of the shop, such as the deadline, the client or type of shop, the fee and any reimbursement to be paid. You may also be able to review all guidelines and forms associated with the shop before you choose to accept it. You will want to know the specifics before you claim a shop, but keep in mind that while you are reviewing the shop details someone else may claim the shop.

Self-assignments are usually first-come, first- served, so you if you get an email about shops being released you should check the site right away to claim shops. However, self-assigning is not as random as it may appear. Experienced or Certified shoppers may receive notice of new shops before others, or notices may be sent first to shoppers nearest the client location.

Most companies that use self-assigning have a screening mechanism in place. When you log in to the web site you will see only the shops for which you are eligible. If there are special requirements, such as demographic requirements or experience level, you will only see the shop as available if you meet those requirements. For example, many shops have rotation requirements. This might mean that the same shopper can only visit that location once every 90 days. If you were assigned that location last month, you would not be eligible and the shop would not appear on your available shop list.

The trend in the mystery shopping industry is toward more automation, and you will see more companies using self-assignment in the future. As technology becomes more advanced it is possible to select shoppers with greater precision using such automated systems. Some companies may allow experienced and/or certified shoppers to self-assign certain mystery shopping assignments, while other shoppers must apply and be assigned by a scheduler.

Self-assignment can help secret shopping companies operate more efficiently, and it offers several advantages to shoppers, too. When you claim a self-assigned shop you know instantly if you got it or not. There is no waiting for a scheduler to review applications and make the assignment. It also makes it easier to create a route of shops, or to schedule shops outside of your usual area, such as when you are looking for assignments to do while traveling.


  1. crawdaddydoo92 says

    The majoity of companies go in one direction or another but there are some, take Certified Field Associates for example, that do mainly self assign and some request. Cathy, What do schedulers have to say about these self assign systems, since they are going to eventually limit the need for schedulers.

  2. Cathy Stucker says

    Self-assignment has limitations. More use of self-assignment would mean less need for schedulers, but there will always be mystery shopping companies and clients that want hands-on scheduling for their shops. Even companies that use self-assign for most of their shops hire schedulers to handle some shops, and to take care of the assignments that are not picked up by anyone.

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