So you’ve done some research, and you think mystery shopping may be a good fit for you and your family’s needs, right? But where do you start? How do you know which companies are okay and which aren’t? Always always do research on any new companies- Google and check them on the MSPA website. Do your due diligence to avoid scams, please!
That being said, here are a few companies that I have personally worked for, so I know they’re legitimate. There’s thousands of companies, so this list is by no means exhaustive, but I know these are legitimate for sure. Here are their links, along with some info about the companies, pros, and cons. I hope this helps you!
Still a little unsure of what mystery shopping is, or do you have some questions? Check out this post: Mystery Shopping 101- All your FAQs Answered
Ready to get started but would like some tips, tricks, and advice? Check out this post to help you get started on the right foot: Mystery Shopping Tips and Tricks
Mystery Shopping 103: Legitimate Companies to Work For:
This company does car dealership visits.
Pros: They pay well and they pay fast. I don’t have to buy anything, so I just get a fee.
Cons: you can’t get a ton of shops, though, because you can’t be seen walking into the same dealership every week claiming to be buying a new car.
Pros: Amusement Advantage is nice because they have all amusement parks and such. I get to take my family out to a roller skating rink, they have some of those trampoline parks, bowling alleys, and things like that. They offer you a flat rate and specific things you need to buy. You buy all the things you need to, and then any money you don’t use you get to pocket. This is one where, at least in my area, I play the waiting game a lot, but they end up paying BIG bucks. I hate theme parks, but remember the $220 shop for a theme park I mentioned in the mystery shopping 101 post? That was through this company.
Cons: These shops are pretty involved and specific, requiring me to have multiple interactions with employees there (I can talk-text messages to myself to keep my notes). The reports are annoying to fill out.
This is the company through which I do hotels. I do local hotels instead of travelling for them, but if you can work that out along with an airport shop, what’s UP!?
Pros: I just like staying in hotels and getting away. In a couple of weeks my husband and I get to stay in a hotel for the night together. We get to (have to, actually, it’s required) get room service, order drinks at the bar, and get breakfast. The hotel, all the things we have to do, and cash tips are reimbursed, and I get a fee on top of it. It is, admittedly, hard to get hotel shops. At least it has been for me because I have to schedule my shops with my husband and by the time I do, the shop has gone to someone else. These are high demand. I can’t TELL YOU how much it has KILLED ME that I don’t live near the St. Regis in Aspen, Colorado! I want to stay at the St. Regis! But I never get that shop! And I live, like, 20 hours away.
Cons: You can’t shop the same hotel location for a year, so I really hardly ever work for this company. But it’s exciting when I do!
Pros: Confero is fun for small shops. I like doing it to get out of the house. The reports are pretty simple and straightforward. This is the company I use the most.
Cons: They don’t pay much (usually $5 to $15), but it’s frequently going out to eat or going to the movies.
Pros: BestMark is great because they have a lot of fancy dining ones. (They have other shops like automotive ones and such, but I’m only here for the food!) Another cool thing about BestMark is that they will sometimes put hidden bonuses in their mystery shops. You’ll sign up for a shop expecting to earn $11, and then when you get assigned to it you see that you’ll actually earn $31! They do these promotions to get rid of shops they need help on, and you always know if there’s a hidden bonus promotion going on–it’s not all the time, and they’ll notify you when it’s happening.
Cons: These fine dining shops usually have no fees whatsoever (you won’t get paid; you’ll just get reimbursed). A lot of the other ones they have don’t pay super well. I make more through other companies.
Pros: I like this one because they have restaurants and bar visits I like to do. Unlike a lot of other companies, I’m allowed to actually buy an alcoholic beverage while I’m out, which is nice! They also grade your shops and send you emails that tell you what your grade is out of 100%.
I used to be a teacher. I like grades. (*DORK!!*)
Cons: Their site isn’t super user-friendly for me. I usually wait until they send me an email that tells what jobs are available. Then I can click a link through the email and just go to that job directly. But just checking the job board is weird and kind of complicated.
Mystery shopping definitely isn’t for everyone, but it can be a great way to get out of the house and have some fun in a way that won’t break the bank. I get to do things I wouldn’t ordinarily get to do. I get out by myself and sometimes I get to spend time with someone I ordinarily wouldn’t (“Hey! I happen to be in your area tonight for a mystery shop. I can spend up to $35, do you want a free drink with me?”). It’s not a lot of money, but it’s fun, flexible, and suits my lifestyle. If you’re a detail-oriented person who’s looking to make a little money, you should definitely check it out!
Want to know more about mystery shopping? Check out my post that answers most of the most frequently asked questions called Mystery Shopping 101
Want to know some tips and tricks while you’re getting started? Check out my other post: Mystery Shopping 102 Tips and Tricks
Thanks for reading, and I hope that mystery shopping can be as positive for you and your family as it has been for me and my family!