Question from a secret shopper:
I want to become a mystery shopper. When I search for information, I get a lot of sites that want me to join. Some of them seem to offer free mystery shops, but others charge a monthly fee. Before I start running up a bunch of charges, I need to know if I can make money as a mystery shopper, and which site I should join. Do I need to join more than one? Help!
First of all, yes, you can make money as a mystery shopper. But you do not need to pay anyone to become a mystery shopper or get mystery shopper jobs. Legitimate mystery shopping companies will not charge you to apply to them.
The “mystery shopping sites” that want to charge you range from sites that provide a service (such as notifying you of job postings) to out-and-out scams. Even most of the sites that provide a service, however, are unnecessary and redundant. Just sign up with a few companies and you will soon have lots of notices of mystery shopper jobs in your area.
Start by applying to some of the companies on this list of nearly 200 legitimate mystery shopping companies. You don’t need to apply to all 200, of course. Start by applying to 10 or so, then apply to a few more as you can. There is no magic number of companies you should apply to. Many shoppers have registered with 50, 100 or more mystery shopping companies. Don’t forget to apply to mystery shop scheduling companies. They work with many secret shopping companies and can offer a wide variety of shops. (Just as with legitimate secret shopping companies, mystery shopper schedulers do not charge you to apply to them, either.) This post on how to become a mystery shopper (and the quick start plan in The Mystery Shopper’s Manual) can help you jump start your mystery shopper career. Good luck!