Mystery Shopping FAQ

Do I need previous experience to become a Mystery Shopper?

No. Most shoppers don’t start out with any market research experience.

The qualities of a good mystery shopper can be obtained from other work experiences such as a previous job history where you worked in retail or another business where you may have been on the other side of mystery shopping. Organizational skills, an eye for detail and a joy for shopping are important skills for a mystery shopper.

Girl with shopping bags over shoulder

Do I work for the Mystery Shopping Provider or the company I am shopping for?

Most mystery shoppers work on brief contract for the company they are shopping for, not the provider.

How many hours will I work as a shopper?

That depends on you and your schedule. Most shoppers let their provider know how often and what kinds of shops they are interested in working. Ultimately, since shoppers act as independent contractors for each assignment, you have the right to turn down any assignment you are offered. Most shoppers work at least 20 hours a month and very few work full time hours. Mystery shopping is largely considered a part-time job that offers supplementary income.

How am I paid and when?

You will be paid based on the terms of your employer. You will be paid based on the number of hours you work or a flat rate per assignment. Usually shoppers are paid monthly via a check in the mail or through secure online payment options such as PayPal.

How much will I earn?

This depends on how experienced you are and the type of shop you are working. Shoppers can make as much as $25/hr or as little as $8/hr. Most shoppers are paid hourly.

Do I have to pay to sign up with a Mystery Shopping Provider?

Some providers require a sign up fee but you don’t have to pay anyone to become a successful mystery shopper. It ultimately depends on the discretion of the shopper and how they feel is the best way to earn work as a shopper. Providers are helpful because they are in close contact with companies however, it isn’t necessary to always pay. Before paying anyone, be sure you have researched the company.

Do I get to keep the items I shopped for?

This depends on your assignment. Shoppers are commonly reimbursed for dining experiences on top of the hourly pay they receive to conduct the shop. If the item is something you would normally buy, the company almost always reimburses the shopper. Be sure to outline the details of your assignment such as this before agreeing to an assignment. Shoppers are rarely asked to take on the burden of purchasing the product without receiving some sort of reimbursement. In fact, this is considered one of the largest perks of mystery shopping jobs.

Will I be removed from a provider if I turn down a shopping assignment?

In most cases NO! The providers want their shoppers to enjoy the experience and be comfortable. This way, they get the best information possible from shoppers. However, if you continue to turn down work without explaining why or without trying to work something out with your provider, you may hurt your chances at future work.

How long does an assignment take to complete?

In most cases it won’t take you longer than 30 minutes. You may be asked to complete several 30 minute shops back to back for instance. Or be asked to go into several stores in an afternoon for a total of 4-5 hours of shopping.

How will I know of an assignment?

Your provider will alert you to assignments based on your skills and location.

Will my assignments need to be done at a certain time?

Yes, you will be given a deadline that you will be expected to adhere to for each assignment.

Sign up for our newsletter!