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Make Money: Getting Paid with Secret Shopper Jobs

Learn how to find legitimate secret shopper jobs to earn extra cash.

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Getting Paid with Secret Shopper JobsGet paid as a secret shopper with legitimate jobs.

Many people make extra money by secret shopping local stores, restaurants and businesses in their community. As a secret shopper, you’re going to have to get out of the house and interact with other people.

Want to do mystery store audits instead? Check the best store audit and mystery shopper app list.

What is a Secret Shopper?

Secret shopping requires work. As a secret shopper, you’re going to work with a company that will assign various jobs with their clients that takes place at department stores, car dealerships, restaurants, movie theaters and more. With secret shopping, you’re given specific tasks to complete and will get a detailed list of requirements to successfully complete the shop.

You cannot disclose you’re a “secret shopper” or doing a mystery shop. The goal is to interact with the business as a customer to get the experience of a typical customer. Your feedback helps clients improve their business and services.

In a typical secret shopper job, you will make note of the following:

  • evaluate the appearance of the business
  • interaction with employees and quality of service provided
  • placement of marketing materials
  • audit a call center or retail store with a phone inquiry
  • whatever else the client needs

What happens as a secret shopper

You’ll probably spend a lot of time waiting for the right opportunity that matches your skill. With secret shops, you’ll get jobs when there are jobs. It’s a good side gig when it’s available but can be inconsistent.

Either way, it’s a good way to supplement your income when a job is offered to you.

As a secret shopper, you’ll spend time getting to the location and interacting with the business or employees. Some shops are quick and require taking photos of a location or asking a quick question to an employee. Or you may need to sit down and enjoy a meal or watch a movie. Other shops may be more extensive and require you to pose as a shopper asking multiple and specific questions about a product.

There’s a bit of acting involved.

If you’re uncomfortably acting in some situations, then being a secret shopper may not be the right fit. However, keep in mind you’re posing as a shopper and for most of us, that’s in our nature.

How to get paid as a secret shopper

For most shops, you’re paid a flat fee which can vary from $5 to $30 and sometimes more. You may also be reimbursed for any purchases made to satisfy the job requirements. In all instances, the secret shopper job will provide the fee amount and include a dollar amount if any purchases are required. Remember, to keep all your receipts.

There are three ways a secret shopper job is paid. They include:

  1. Cash only. A flat fee to complete a secret shop that doesn’t require any purchases.
  2. Reimbursement only. Usually with restaurant jobs, where you get a “free” meal with reimbursement up to a certain amount.
  3. Cash and reimbursements. You get the flat fee and reimbursed for the meal or product purchased.

With most secret shopper jobs, you’ll get paid through direct deposit, PayPal, or check. In some instances, you’ll receive gift cards. Expect 1-3 weeks from completion of the shop to get paid.

But, first, you’ll need to get accepted by a secret shopper company. And eventually, get assigned a job.

Beware of scams

Secret shopper companies will not simply give you money or ask you for money.

Scams purporting to be secret shopping jobs tell people to cash checks or make money transfers. These are not legitimate. These scammers are preying on your desire to make money by making it seem as though you’ll make money by giving them money.

When in doubt keep this in mind–a secret shopper company will not ask you to give them money. They are in business to get money from their clients and pay you to perform a job. Ask questions and if it sounds too good to be true, then it’s too good to be true. Avoid these scams. For more info, the Federal Trade Commission provides a resource to avoid secret shopper scams.

How to find legitimate secret shopper jobs

One of the most trusted secret shopper company is BestMark.

BestMark is a mystery shopping and market research company based near Minneapolis, Minnesota. We partner with clients in an array of industries including restaurants, retail establishments, banks, automotive service operations, and casinos to provide feedback regarding the overall customer experience. (Bestmark website)

Alternatives to secret shopper jobs

You definitely can apply with Bestmark or other alternative mystery shopper app or take paid online surveys. Find other ideas in the financial marketplace to make more money.

Jason Vitug

Jason is the founder of phroogal, creator of the award winning project Road to Financial Wellness, and author of the bestseller and New York Times reviewed book, You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life.

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