How to Become a Mystery Shopper

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March 4th, 2016 by schoolbound

You have probably heard of mystery shoppers and perhaps you wondered, “Is that really a thing?” Well, apparently it’s a real job and the Department of Labor just published an article on being a mystery shopper and what to expect.

Mystery shoppers are people who go to different stores and purchase items like a regular customer except they get paid to do it.  Th
ey are often independent contractors who perform this service for market research companies.  The purpose of hiring a mystery shopper is to scope out other businesses and to gain information on the customer experience.

According to the article, mystery shoppers are paid to go to many different places – not just retail stores.  Banks, theme parks, restaurants – all of these establishments are mystery shopped. Companies ask the contractors to keep their identity hidden so that they can discreetly gather information.

In the role of a real customer, mystery shoppers may ask salespeople questions, scan shelves, and purchase items.  Some even take pictures or video! After visiting the business, the mystery shopper evaluates their experience and reports back to the company that hired them.

How much does it pay and how do you become one?

Mystery shoppers are paid by assignment, which can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.  An average assignment pays from $5 to $20.  Depending on the company, you may be able to keep the merchandise that you buy.  So, in order to make a good living at mystery shopping, you have to do a lot of it.  But, if you like to shop, it could be the perfect job for you.

To get assignments, these professionals register at different market research companies and are called when needed. The mystery shopper who was interviewed for the article said that in order to get enough work to really make money, you have to register with at least 100 companies.  However, you have to be careful when finding companies because some scams try to charge for lists of companies.  But, you can find real potential businesses that use mystery shoppers on the Mystery Shopping Providers Association web site.