Mystery Shopper Jobs and Scheduler Emails

Are you fed up with emails about mystery shopper jobs such as this?

Hi! We have a mystery shop available for you. Log in to your account to learn more about this fun shop!

You go to the mystery shopping company website, log in to your account, click on Available Shops and discover that:

  1. the shop location is nowhere near you;
  2. it is a type of shop you do not like to do;
  3. the pay stinks;
  4. you must complete a test before you can even request the shop (with no guarantee you will get it);
  5. all of the above.

My policy? If a scheduler can not give me basic information about the shop in the email, I just delete it. Do it often enough and I will stop the emails or even deactivate myself from their database.

Schedulers, if you want me to work with you, you need to stop wasting my time. Give me a little more to go on.

In my opinion, a shop notification email should include at least:

Shop location. I realize they may not want to give an exact address, but how about a city and a zip code?

Deadline. When does the shop need to be completed?

Type of business to be shopped. Is it fast food? Casual dining? Apartments? A bank? A car dealer? I don’t expect the client name in the email (although I love to see it) but at least give me a hint.

What is required in the shop? Is it dine in, take out, retail no purchase, purchase and return, teller shop, or what? Is there a requirement that the secret shopper spend a certain amount of time there?

Are there special requirements? Does the shop include taking three digital photos? Do you need to have a companion on the shop? Do you have to be male? Female? A certain age?

How much does it pay? Fee? Reimbursement? Both? What purchase requirement is there, if any?

Do I have to qualify to shop this client? Some clients and/or mystery shopping providers require that shoppers review all of the shop information and pass a test before they can even apply.

So a shop notification might say:

We have a Benny’s Burger shop in your area. These are lunch dine-in shops for up to four people–children OK. Maximum reimbursement is $17. You may spend more, but you will be reimbursed up to $17. The client requires that you upload a clear digital photo of your burger, so your party must order at least one burger.

To apply for this shop, log in to your account and go to Available Shops. You must have a current Benny’s Burger certification before you may request this shop. Go to the Shopper Education Center in your account to complete the certification, if you have not done so.

Must shop any day between 7/6 – 7/11
Locations available:
Houston – 77006, 77027, 77098

Is that so hard? Really? I know that schedulers are busy, but so are we. This could easily be set up as a copy-and-paste template that is just modified with the due date and locations.

I always tell mystery shoppers that to get more assignments they must be easy to work with. Make things hard on the schedulers, and they will be less likely to give you future assignments. Well, schedulers, that works both ways. Make us waste our time chasing assignments and you will find it harder to get shoppers to even bother to read your emails.


  1. NEIDA GUERRA says

    Hi Kathy,
    I have the same situation as Kim Corey back in feb. 22, 2012, except I fell for it! They’ve sent me my second assignment recently. I did cash the money orders at my bank , but have not wired it yet (to Phillippines)…What do I do with the money? At this point I.m really scared and don’t know what to do next! Help!!!

  2. Paula says

    I’ve been performing mystery shops about a year now. I find it to be mostly fun & interesting. However, that’s not why I want to do it. I want to supplement my income. I’ve actually had more positive than negative experiences. My main complaint is that after I do the work most companies are soooo slow to pay. I’ve had to wait as long as 90 days to get my shoppers pay & that sucks! Also I’ve actually had some companies that after I submitted the report that was perfect, they seemed to be nit picky so that they didn’t have to pay me. I don’t like this either. Lastly, the hardest shops seem to pay the least amount.For example a ten dollar shop that requires two hours at the store & then three hours filling out the report.Yuk!

    • says

      Paula, it can be frustrating waiting to be paid. You may be paid anywhere from a few days to a couple of months after a shop.

      Companies have to be nitpicky about the shops because clients are nitpicky. If the client doesn’t pay them, they can’t pay the shopper. (One of the reasons some companies are so slow to pay: They are waiting to see that the shop is accepted by the client.)

      As for hard shops paying less: When you are new, you are going to be offered the “leftover” shops that other shoppers don’t want. Those can often be the ones that are low-paying, time-consuming and not very interesting. It may also take you longer to do them because you are inexperienced. But if I had done quite a few shops and ran in to one that took five hours to do and paid $10, it would not be one I would ever do again. In fact, I would probably dump that company.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Jessica says

    Hi – I notice some companies are now requiring EINs instead of just SSN. Should I go through and get an EIN?

  4. Tom Hanna says

    Wow! You read my mind. I’m especially tired of the Sassie emails that go out to the whole state. Sorry, but an 800 mile drive to El Paso is going to cost more than reimbursement for a fast food meal and $4. And if they are going to offer the kind of money a road trip takes, waiting until the day before their real, final drop dead deadline isn’t the time to do it. I would have driven to McAllen for the $400 that was offered on Friday by one company, but they waited until Thursday and I was already committed on a drop dead deadline for another scheduler. I spent four days earlier in the week sitting around watching Netflix and avoiding my “day job.”

    Here’s another one, you might add to the list: Anything under $10 is not even remotely a “HUGE BONUS!” and the schedulers who label every two or three dollar bonus that way should really read the story of the little boy who cried wolf.

    Anyway, thanks for the post. I’m glad to see someone who is a voice in the industry suggesting that the schedulers might want to consider the shoppers point of view.

    • says

      Tom, I understand your frustration, but there are reasons for some of these things. Email offers usually are not sent to shoppers hundreds of miles away, but when a shop has not been claimed, schedulers send to a larger radius around the shop location. Eventually it can get kind of ridiculous.

      Those last-minute offers usually come because one or more shoppers have flaked on the shop, and now the deadline is here and they need it done NOW.

      I absolutely agree about the “huge” bonuses. I know schedulers need to get shops done, but misrepresenting how “fun” a shop is or that there is a “huge” $5 bonus doesn’t do anyone any favors.

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