MSPA Gold Workshop Returns to Texas

On Saturday, September 10, 2011, the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) is bringing their Mystery Shopper Gold Certification Workshop to Dallas, Texas.

I will again be presenting the Gold Certification Workshop. The workshop includes participation in exercises designed to help shoppers practice their observation and reporting skills. In addition, participants have the opportunity to network with other shoppers and representatives from mystery shopping companies. Following attendance at the workshops, participants must pass an online examination before being awarded Gold Certification. Shoppers must be Silver Certified by the MSPA before registering for the Gold Workshop.
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Why You Should Be MSPA Certified

Have you been thinking about getting a mystery shopper certification from the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA)? The Silver and Gold certifications make you a better educated secret shopper, and can help you to qualify for more and better mystery shopper jobs.

Being certified also demonstrates that you are a pro. Companies want to work with shoppers who understand the mystery shopping industry and are professional, so it is no surprise that many companies prefer to give assignments to MSPA certified shoppers.

Will being certified help you to get more mystery shopping assignments? Qualify for better assignments? Make more money? Why not get the answer directly from executives at mystery shopping companies? Here is what several of them had to say about working with MSPA certified shoppers.
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Gold Certification Workshops – What Should You Expect?

Do you wonder what it is like to attend an MSPA Gold Certification Workshop? More than 100 workshops have taken place across the U.S. and Canada since November, 2002, when the program began and, although live workshops were suspended for a time, they are back. You can view a schedule of upcoming workshops at

As mystery shoppers, we are used to working alone. The certification workshops are an opportunity to meet other secret shoppers and network with them. Mystery shoppers all have stories, and this is your chance to share stories with other people who actually understand what you do as a shopper.

Here is a sneak preview of what you can expect when you attend a mystery shopper certification workshop.Continue Reading

MSPA Live Shopper Certification Workshops Resume

The Mystery Shopping Providers Association will once again hold live, in-person workshops for mystery shoppers who wish to become Gold Certified. The first workshop will be in Irvine, California on Saturday, March 12, 2011. Representatives of some MSPA-member companies will be in attendance, and I will once again be presenting. Additional workshops are planned for other U.S. cities later in 2011.

Gold certified shoppers represent a relatively small percentage of all mystery shoppers, and the gold certification is widely recognized by mystery shopping providers. Many companies recruit gold-certified shoppers first for high-end assignments. The live workshop presents an opportunity for mystery shoppers to get the training for this valuable certification while interacting with others in the industry. The certification test may be completed at the shopper’s convenience after attending the workshop.
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MSPA Mystery Shopper Certification in Burbank

The MSPA is holding a mystery shopper certification workshop in Burbank, California, on Saturday, June 5, 2010. Shoppers will receive training for the Gold certification offered by the MSPA at the workshop. The certification test may be completed at the shopper’s convenience after attending the workshop.

The mystery shopper certification workshop will be hosted by representatives from several mystery shopping companies, including Northwest Loss Prevention, Dynamic Advantage, Coast to Coast Scheduling Services and DSG Associates. These representatives will be on hand to answer questions and share information with the shoppers in attendance. Continue Reading

Professional Shopper “Best Practices”

This is part one of a series of posts on mystery shopping best practices.

businesswoman1Mystery shoppers represent the mystery shopping industry, and the quality and professionalism of our work helps to shape the reputation of the industry. By maintaining the highest standards, we elevate the professionalism and public perception of mystery shopping.

Secret shoppers who complete the MSPA mystery shopper certification program agree to uphold a code of professional standards and ethics. These standards and ethics might be considered “best practices” for mystery shoppers, whether they are MSPA certified or not.

Certified shoppers who fail to operate according to the standards can lose their mystery shopper certification. However, any shopper who is unethical or unprofessional risks losing future mystery shopper jobs, as mystery shopping companies will not work with secret shoppers whom they can not trust.

With the permission of the MSPA, I am using the MSPA Code of Professional Standards and Ethics For Mystery Shoppers as the basis for a series of posts exploring ethical mystery shopper behavior and best practices for professional shoppers.Continue Reading

MSPA Gold Workshop Coming to Miami

The Mystery Shopping Providers Association will hold a Gold Certification workshop for mystery shoppers in Miami, Florida on Saturday, September 27, 2008.

I will once again present the workshop, and I look forward to meeting many of you there. This is a great opportunity to get that Gold Certification you have been thinking about, and to meet other shoppers as well as industry leaders.

Inside Scoop: The MSPA Board will be meeting in Miami on that day, and rumor has it that they may come by the workshop for a Q&A session. Is there something you want to ask the top dogs of MSPA about the mystery shopping industry? This is your chance.

To learn more and to register for the workshop, go to If you can be in Miami on September 27th, you will want to be there.

Can’t make it to Miami? You can still get your certification via DVD. Get all the information at

Mystery Shopper Certification Scams

certificate1.jpgI have been involved with the mystery shopper certification program offered by the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) since its inception, and I recommend MSPA certification to secret shoppers who are serious about their mystery shopping careers. Although it is not necessary to be certified in order to be a mystery shopper, certification can make a shopper stand out in a competitive field and it can definitely repay the time and money invested.

In addition to MSPA certification, other certifications have sprung up. The sponsors suggest that getting certified through them will help shoppers to get more jobs. Although there may be a few legitimate training programs available in addition to the MSPA certifications, many are not worth the paper the certificate is printed on.

One California man was recently indicted by a federal grand jury for offering worthless training and certifications in mystery shopping and bartending. Although the certifications were worthless to the “students” they were not worthless to the scammer. He is believed to have collected at least $6 million from his victims.

Here are some questions you should ask before handing over any money for a training or certification program.Continue Reading

MSPA 2008 Shopper Conference in Pittsburgh

The Mystery Shopping Providers Association will host the 5th Annual Educational Conference for Mystery Shoppers, July 18 – 20, 2008, in Pittsburgh, PA. There will also be a Gold Certification Workshop on Friday, July 18, 2008, before the conference begins.

If you have been to any of the past years’ conferences, you know why you should be there. There are many top shoppers who have attended all four of the previous conferences. They know that the conference is a great opportunity to learn about the industry and network with other shoppers, as well as schedulers, editors, account managers, executives and company owners from many of the top mystery shopping companies. This year, at least 30 MSPA-member companies are expected to be represented. But if you haven’t been to a Mystery Shopper Educational Conference before, here is what you need to know about what you can get out of attending.Continue Reading