How to become a mystery shopper

Mystery shopping is a popular way to earn some extra income and get free products and services while evaluating the customer service of businesses. However, becoming a mystery shopper requires some skills, knowledge, and dedication. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to become a mystery shopper, including the requirements, the benefits, the risks, the types of assignments, and the tips for success.

What is Mystery Shopping?

Mystery shopping, also known as secret shopping, is a method used by businesses to evaluate their customer service and operational standards. Mystery shoppers are hired by companies to pose as regular customers and evaluate various aspects of the business, such as the quality of the products, the cleanliness of the store, the behavior of the staff, and the speed of the service. Mystery shopping can be done in person, over the phone, or online.

Why Become a Mystery Shopper?

There are several reasons why someone would want to become a mystery shopper. Firstly, it can be a fun and interesting way to earn some extra cash. Secondly, mystery shopping allows you to try out new products and services for free. Lastly, it can provide you with valuable insights into the customer service industry and help you improve your own customer service skills.

Requirements for Becoming a Mystery Shopper

To become a mystery shopper, you need to meet certain requirements. Firstly, you must be at least 18 years old. Secondly, you should have good communication and writing skills. Thirdly, you need to have access to a computer and the Internet. Fourthly, you should have reliable transportation or be willing to use public transport to visit the assigned locations. Lastly, you need to be discreet and able to keep confidential information private.

How to Find Mystery Shopping Opportunities

There are several ways to find mystery shopping opportunities. Firstly, you can sign up with a reputable mystery shopping company, such as Market Force or BestMark. These companies will provide you with a list of available assignments in your area. Secondly, you can check job boards such as Indeed or FlexJobs for mystery shopping positions. Thirdly, you can contact local businesses directly and offer your services as a mystery shopper.

Types of Mystery Shopping Assignments

There are several types of mystery shopping assignments, including:

  • In-person visits to stores, restaurants, or banks
  • Phone calls to customer service centers or sales representatives
  • Online evaluations of websites, apps, or social media accounts
  • Video mystery shopping, where you record your experience with a hidden camera

How to Prepare for a Mystery Shopping Assignment

Before starting a mystery shopping assignment, you need to prepare yourself. Firstly, you should read the assignment guidelines carefully and make note of any specific requirements. Secondly, you need to dress appropriately for the assignment, either as a regular customer or as a specific type of customer. Thirdly, you should bring a notebook and pen to take notes during the assignment.

Fourthly, you should familiarize yourself with the location or business you will be visiting, including its products or services, hours of operation, and any potential challenges or risks. Lastly, you should practice being observant and discreet, paying attention to details such as the behavior of the staff, the cleanliness of the premises, and the quality of the products or services.

Conducting a Mystery Shopping Assignment

When conducting a mystery shopping assignment, it’s important to follow the guidelines and instructions carefully. You should act as a regular customer and pay attention to details such as the behavior of the staff, the quality of the products or services, and the overall experience. You should also take notes on your observations and any issues or concerns you may have.

How to Write a Mystery Shopping Report

After completing a mystery shopping assignment, you will need to write a report detailing your observations and experiences. The report should be clear, concise, and objective, and should include specific details such as the time and date of the visit, the name of the staff members you interacted with, and any issues or concerns you encountered. You should also include any suggestions or recommendations for improvement.

Getting Paid as a Mystery Shopper

Mystery shopping companies typically pay their shoppers via check or PayPal, and the payment can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars per assignment. The payment amount will depend on the type and complexity of the assignment, as well as the location and market demand. You should always read the payment terms and conditions carefully before accepting an assignment.

The Pros and Cons of Mystery Shopping

Like any job or activity, mystery shopping has its pros and cons. Some of the pros include flexible working hours, free products and services, and the opportunity to provide valuable feedback to businesses. Some of the cons include the low pay for some assignments, the risk of being discovered as a mystery shopper, and the potential for unethical or illegal assignments.

Tips for Being a Successful Mystery Shopper

To be a successful mystery shopper, you should follow these tips:

  • Choose assignments that are in line with your interests and skills.
  • Be reliable and punctual.
  • Be professional and discreet.
  • Pay attention to details.
  • Provide objective and constructive feedback.
  • Build a good reputation with the mystery shopping company.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Mystery Shopping

To avoid common mistakes in mystery shopping, you should:

  • Never reveal your identity as a mystery shopper.
  • Never accept illegal or unethical assignments.
  • Never fabricate or exaggerate your experiences.
  • Never ignore the assignment guidelines or instructions.
  • Never engage in confrontational or aggressive behavior.

FAQs about Becoming a Mystery Shopper

How much can I earn as a mystery shopper?

The pay for mystery shopping assignments can vary depending on the type and complexity of the assignment, as well as the location and market demand.

Do I need any experience to become a mystery shopper?

No, you don’t need any specific experience, but good communication and writing skills are important.

Is mystery shopping legal?

Yes, mystery shopping is a legal business practice, as long as it’s conducted ethically and in compliance with the law.

Can I mystery shop for any business or industry?

Yes, there are mystery shopping opportunities available for various businesses and industries, including retail, hospitality, and healthcare.

How do I get started as a mystery shopper?

You can start by signing up with a reputable mystery shopping company or checking job boards for available positions.


Becoming a mystery shopper can be a fun and rewarding way to earn some extra income, try out new products and services, and provide valuable feedback to businesses. However, it’s important to approach mystery shopping with a professional and ethical mindset and to follow the guidelines and instructions carefully. By following the tips and best practices outlined in this article, you can increase your chances of success as a mystery shopper and build a good reputation with the companies you work with.

If you’re interested in becoming a mystery shopper, there are many reputable companies that offer opportunities for shoppers. Just be sure to do your research and choose a company that has a good reputation and clear payment terms. With a bit of practice and experience, you can become a skilled and successful mystery shopper and enjoy the benefits that come with this unique job.

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