More On Mystery Shopping


A few days ago I talked about making some extra money from becoming a mystery shopper.

A timely post on Wise Bread has the experiences of somebody who has done some mystery shopping:

  • Mystery shopping can be tough to get into – higher paying jobs are usually kept for the more experienced shoppers, so it pays to stick at it.
  • You can’t earn money if you don’t spend it – many of the jobs you’ll be given will require you to buy items with your own money, to be paid back to you later. This can take some time.
  • A successful shop requires an eye for detail – as I mentioned in my previous post, you’ll need to keep your eyes open for everything on your job, so attention to detail is extremely important.
  • Payment depends on your performance – if you don’t get the level of detail required, or don’t complete the task correctly, you might not get paid. In short, take the job seriously.
  • There are other costs involved – petrol, credit card interest and tips are all costs that might be incurred whilst you mystery shop, and which will probably not be reimbursed.
  • You are responsible for your own taxes – as you’ll become a contractor (you’re not directly employed by the mystery shopping companies), you’ll need to sort out any taxes you might need to pay or declare. 
  • A reputable mystery shopping company will never ask you for any kind of fee – there are currently some scams doing the rounds trying to get people to pay a fee to get some high paying mystery shopping jobs. Don’t trust these.
These go to show that mystery shopping isn’t as straight forward as it sounds, and it’s not a particularly easy way of earning some more cash. But if you’re willing to give it a try and persevere with it, it could be an interesting way of adding a small amount of income. 

4 thoughts on “More On Mystery Shopping

  1. These are some excellent points about mystery shopping! It can be tough to get into, and it is real work! But, it can be interesting and offer variety.

    One tip to find companies who have work in your area is to visit Jobslinger ( This is a free service that lets you search for jobs by zip code. It lets you see which companies have work in your area, so you can register with them to be alerted of other work. This cuts down on your time registering with hundreds of companies before knowing who offers work near you.

    Taxes are always something to consider. The Mystery Shopping Learning Center will be offering online seminars by a CPA to discuss taxes for mystery shoppers. Dates have not been released yet, but they should start up this month.

    Thanks for a realistic look at mystery shopping! The information will be a great help to new shoppers.

  2. These are some very good points to remember when investigating a company to become a mystery shopper for. I think the most important thing to remember is that a reputable company will never charge you any fees to sign up and get started. Your first shop for that company may not be the most desirable, but that’s usually the best way to get your foot in the door with them. Once you prove that you are dependable and can read and follow directions, the better shops will start coming in time.

  3. A lot of reputable mystery shopping companies charge a small sign-up fee. Its usually very small (less than 10 bucks). Charging a finders fee isnt a scam, what do you think recruting agencies do???

  4. I have worked for mystery shopping companies and they never charged shoppers to start, not one penny. I will be really careful if a company ask me to pay something to work with them. Look for legitimate companies and association which list them.

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