Just to put your mind at ease - this information is being
provided by BLT Marketing as a service to our customers. We
do NOT charge for this information in any way nor do we
endorse any particular Mystery Shopping site or program. All
we ask is that you let others know about our website
There are legitimate
mystery shopper jobs. So how do you tell if the one
you are looking at is real or a scam? The Attorney
General's Office advises that you should be
skeptical of any secret shopper, mystery shopper, or
investigative shopper companies that:
for shoppers on the radio, in a newspaper's
classified or "help wanted" section or through
unsolicited email. Legitimate secret shopper
companies generally do not advertise for jobs in
"Guarantee" a job
as a mystery, secret, or investigative shopper.
Charge a fee just
for applying or charge a fee for access to
secret shopping job opportunities. You should
not pay any fee to apply or to obtain job
Appear to be
located in places outside the country, such as
Canada. If the company does not have an
established office nearby that you can visit in
person, be very cautious.
It is always a
good idea to check with the Better Business
Bureau and investigate any business offering
this sort of employment.
Fake cashiers check
scams come in many forms. Generally,
Do not depend on
the funds from a cashier's check from a source
you do not know.
There is usually
no legitimate reason for someone who is giving
you money to ask for money to be wired back or
wired to a third party. Don't do it.
Do not rely on
the fact that the check was accepted for deposit
by their financial institution as evidence of
the check's authenticity. It can take up to a
week or much longer for a financial institution
to determine whether a check is good, especially
if the check is from an institution located
outside the United States.
responsible for the deposited fake check, even
if it was a cashier's check. When the check
bounces, the bank deducts from the consumer's
account the amount that was credited with the
fake check--often with charges added. The bank
will not take the loss.
***End of Scam Alert Section***
EXTENSIVE List of mystery shopping companies
from the jobs database at
Mystery Shopping Solutions!
What is a Mystery Shopper?
A mystery shopper is like an undercover agent. You might receive
assignments to evaluate restaurants, grocery stores, automobile
dealers, retail stores, or amusement parks. Just about any type of
business you can think of could benefit from the services of a
You receive a specific assignment for your shop. For example, you
may be asked to describe the cleanliness, friendliness of the staff,
and your total wait time at a restaurant, among other items.
Your job is not to spy on employees, or try to find things wrong or
right. Your job is simply to follow the script that comes with your
assignment and provide an impartial evaluation.
You are the
link that keeps the owners of these firms informed. For a business
to be successful, it must maintain customer satisfaction. Businesses
can better please their customers if they understand how the
customer is really being treated and if their product is being sold
as they intended it to be.
You will be able to work around
your schedule, which can be beneficial for a housewife, mother or
part time worker. Some places may want you to go to their
establishment only during certain hours, i.e. happy hour, early bird
specials, moonlight madness sales, etc. You may be able to request
certain hours of the day that are best for you, such as early
mornings for mom’s with small children in preschool or late
afternoons-early evenings for those who already hold down a part
Mystery shopping is big business, so don't limit yourself by
applying only to companies that are physically located near you.
Remember, most mystery shopping companies are nationwide. Their
clients and stores are nationwide. Just because a company has its
offices in New York does not mean you can not work for them because
you live in Texas. These Mystery Shopping companies contract with
retail and restaurant chains all over the country.
Never feel pressured into a job. It will not be held against you if
you are unable or unwilling to take a particular assignment. Just
don't accept one and then not complete it!
Should I pay for mystery shopping information?
Mystery shopping jobs offer short hours, and a fun and interesting
work environment. The work usually consists of visiting a store,
restaurant or other facility, making predetermined purchases, and
evaluating the customer service received. You normally then fill out
a report on this information, usually online.
Beware though - You are likely to find hundreds of websites claiming
to help you get daily work ...... but they want to charge you for
this information. Many of these websites have only one intention -
making money for themselves by taking your hard-earned cash. Be
aware of what you are getting for your money, and ask questions if
you don't know!
There are plenty of legitimate companies who
don't want to TAKE your money - they will PAY you money instead!
We've assembled a list of some of these companies on this page.
Please peruse them and sign up with the ones you find most
appealing. Be aware that some of these companies are area-specific,
so please check before you apply.
Mystery Shopping - What it Actually Is!
Love the Unusual and Unexpected?
If the unusual and unexpected has always appealed to you, a
mystery shopping job could be just up your street. Going
under cover, you will act like any ordinary shopper while
assessing customer service, value and quality for your
employers. There can be wonderful perks to a mystery
shopping job, but perhaps the best thing of all that no two
assignments are alike.
You'll always be able to look forward to something fresh and
unexpected every time you leave home. If you love shopping
(as most of us do), imagine actually getting paid to do what
you have always loved best. A mystery shopping job is a
dream come true for many of us.
You may hear a mystery shopping job described in different
terms. You could be a mystery shopper, a secret shopper, a
virtual customer or even a customer service evaluator.
Whatever name your company uses to describe the job, the
work is basically the same; acting like any average customer
to evaluate all aspects of service.
There are many things you can-and should-research to make
the likelihood of being accepted for your mystery shopping
job greater. To begin with, identify experience that you
already have that will qualify you for work of this type.
Imagine, being a shopaholic is actually a plus here! List
important skills that will give you an advantage over other
applicants. You can even get certified as a mystery shopper
to give you a permanent advantage in getting hired for a
mystery shopping job.
Top 10 Tips for Mystery Shoppers
1. Maintain Anonymity.
You should remain anonymous at all times during a mystery shop. Do
not take any forms or papers with you (especially reports you need
to fill out for the company!). Try not to take notes or do anything
that would identify you as a mystery shopper. Pretend that you are
an ordinary shopper, just as you would if you were actually shopping
or dining for yourself.
2. Read your instructions.
Read all of the instructions AND the report form that you will fill
out later. Know ahead of time exactly where you are going and what
kinds of things to keep an eye out for.
3. Fill out ALL paper work in a timely manner.
Complete and return any reports, audits or forms within 24 hours of
performing the mystery shop. This way things are fresh in your mind.
Also many companies do have a time limit for shoppers to fill out
4. Details, details, details...
As a mystery shopper you should try to remember and relate as many
details and facts of the shop as you can. Being observant is very
Names of managers and employees are also especially important. Look
at badges, sales receipts, etc. for names of employees. If you
cannot get a name try to provide a good physical description such as
sex, age, height, weight, and hair / eye color. For example: "we
were served by a young man in his 20's with bright red hair and
5. Report, don't comment.
Your job as a mystery shopper is to report facts and details, not
offer suggestions on fixing or improving company policies. Companies
will use your reports to examine their own internal policies and
work systems. It's very important to let them draw their own
conclusions on such.
6. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Try to give balance observations. You should try to approach every
mystery shop with a sense of neutrality. Try to offer your
observations not your opinions. Providing an excessively negative or
positive report may imply that you did not carefully observe
everything during your mystery shopping experience. Although this
does not mean that you should not report a very positive or negative
report, rather that your report should not be completely positive or
7. Neatness counts.
Always try to neatly print or type your reports so that they are
legible. Be sure to read the instructions as some mystery shops may
REQUIRE that you attach a typed sheet to the report.
8. Be committed.
Remember when you accept an assignment to mystery shop you are
committing yourself to the job. Do not miss your shop date or
perform it late. Fill out your report as soon as possible after the
9. Enjoy yourself.
Remember it may be work, but it can be fun too! Try to pretend that
you are doing your mystery shop just as you would had you walked
into the establishment to shop or dine for yourself.
10. Shop 'till you drop!
Mystery shopping can be a great way to make a second income or just
provide a little extra spending cash. Have fun with it. Perform as
many mystery shops as you can to make the most of this exciting job
Mystery shopping is an excellent way to make extra money. In
fact, some people make a full time living doing it. There are
many mystery shopping companies that will pay you to shop, eat
at restaurants and take part in focus groups.
A mystery shop consists of getting paid to go into a
business without the employee's knowledge and reporting back
to the mystery shopping company.
A focus group is when you get paid to sit down with other
people who are also getting paid and discuss new products or
shopping jobs and focus groups are easier to find if you
live in or near a large metropolitan area.
After you do a mystery shop you answer some questions and
file your report with the mystery shopping company. These
reports are usually set up as a series of questions and
often can be completed quickly.
The reason they have mystery shops and focus groups is so
that companies can get feedback on their employees, products
and services. That way they can see where there might be
problems and make the necessary changes to improve things.
A few years ago I had some free time and I wanted to make
some extra money. I took a course, How to Become a Mystery
Shopper, at a local community college. After completing the
course I registered with a few mystery shopping companies
You can do
a search on Google for "mystery shopping." Bypass the
mystery shopping websites that are trying to sell something.
You want to find the mystery shopping websites for the
actual mystery shopping companies. These mystery shopping
companies will never charge you any type of fee to register
or to do mystery shops or focus groups.
Be sure to read all the free mystery shopping information
you come across. There is an art to being a good mystery
shopper. Basically you are like a reporter. You will never
add your feelings or what you think to a mystery shopping
report. Your job is to just answer the questions, report the
facts and describe what actually happened during your shop.
You never want to give your own recommendations. That is not
why you are hired. If the mystery shopping company wants a
consultant, they will hire one. All they want you to do is
to answer questions with just the facts of your mystery
Once you find a few mystery shopping companies you can then
register with them. They'll contact you by email whenever
they have a mystery shopping job in your area. You'll only
respond to the emails when you want to do the shop.
Otherwise you can just delete the email. You get to pick and
choose the shops you want to do.
A couple of years ago I did some apartment shops for the
Jancyn Evaluation Company that took me about half an hour to
complete. Since they paid $25, I was basically being paid
$50 an hour.
can register with the Jancyn Evaluation Shops Company. They
may pay more than $25 today for apartment shops since it has
been about two years since I've done an apartment shop for
does a lot of shops and surveys for the Ross Dress for Less
retail stores. I'm not sure if Jancyn still has a business
relationship with Ross, but I once handed out survey forms
in one of the local Ross stores here in the Seattle area and
made $500 for about 30 hours of work.
Here's the URL for Jancyn if you'd like to register with
them to do some shops.
Another mystery shopping company that I get a lot of email
requests for shops for is the Secret Shopper Company. They
seem to specialize in shops for Veterinary Clinics. They pay
$15 plus up to $100 payment NOT including tip + $10. The
only catch is that you have to own a cat or dog, which I
don't, but maybe you do. Here's their URL
OK, I've saved the best for last. Fieldwork specializes in
setting up focus groups for some of the biggest companies in
the US. They pay $50 to $75 for a focus group meeting that
usually lasts about an hour.
The last one I did with them was for some research for eBay.
They were trying to come up with a name for a new category
on their website.
Fieldwork is located throughout the US in major metropolitan
areas. You'll have to visit their website to see if they are
located near where you live.
It's great if you have children since Fieldwork does a lot
of focus groups involving children. Perhaps you can talk
your kids into splitting the fee with you. Again, the pay
usually works out to be about $50 to $75 an hour.
Unfortunately I have no children, but the next time I get an
email for a focus group for children I'll borrow a couple of
my neighbor's children.
Here's the link for Fieldwork.
Now you have a basic idea of how the mystery shopping and
focus groups work. Start searching for more mystery shopping
websites and get paid to shop, eat and taking part in focus
groups. It's easy money!
Barry Stein is the owner of aWebBiz.com where he offers
cutting-edge tips on all aspects of business. To find
more advice, tools and resources to help you succeed in
your business, visit:
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Count On Us
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Ellis Property Management Services - EPMS
Focus on Service
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Graymark Security Group
Green & Associates
Hill Dunlap Enterprises
JC & Associates
Ken-Rich Retail Group
Le Blanc & Associates
Melinda Brody and Company
Michelson & Associates
Mosaic Info Force
Mystery Guest, Inc.
National Shopping Service Network
Northwest Loss Prevention Consultants
Pacific Research Group
Pat Henry Group
Premier Service Consulting
Promotion Network, Inc.
Quality Assurance Consulting
Quality Service Inspections Specialists
Quality Works Associates
Quest for Best
Reality Check Mystery Shoppers
Rickie Kruh Research and Marketing Group
Rocky Mountain Merchandising
Second to None
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Service Evaluations Concepts
Service Performance Group
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Service Research Corporation
Shop N' Chek
Shoppers' Critique International
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Spies in Disguise
The Solomon Group
Texas Shoppers Network