How Do You Become a Mystery Shopper? Easily Make $500 a Month

  • Time to read: 12 min.

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How would you like to make $500 a month making money from home? Have you ever thought of becoming a mystery shopper? How do you become a mystery shopper? This is possible if you follow the steps laid out in this blog post. I will cover how to become an effective and successful mystery shopper.

You’ll learn about what companies hire mystery shoppers and tips for how to get started as a newbie. Then I’ll go over the different types of shops that are available. Finally, we will discuss what kind of money can be made per shop and some other things that might surprise you about mystery shopping!

What Is Mystery Shopping?

For those of you new to this, mystery shopping is when a company hires people to go into stores and evaluate their products, services, or customer service. It is up to the shopper if they want to tell the store owner that they are mystery shopping, but many times it’s not necessary for them to know because these shops often involve things like checking out how well employees interact with customers.

how do you become a mystery shopper
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Mystery Shopping companies hire individuals of all ages as long as you have access to the internet and can read English fluently enough (some companies also require an American bank account). There are lots of different types of shops including everything from grocery stores and big-box retailers right down to restaurants!

What’s great about mystery shopping is that the stores or company pays you a set amount for your feedback. Most of the time you’ll also be asked to purchase a product at the store and you’ll then get reimbursed for what you buy (up to a predetermined dollar amount).

How Does Mystery Shopping Work?

The way mystery shopping (also known as shadow shopping or secret shopping) works is that you’ll be given the assignment to shop at a certain store, restaurant, or other location. The company will give you specific instructions about what they want from the visit (such as compare the prices of different items) and then pay you for your feedback.

Some mystery shoppers are looking for people with skills in other areas like customer service, merchandising, salesmanship, or marketing research – but most shops involve nothing more than spending time visiting stores, buying something, and reporting on the experience.

Be Careful of Mystery Shopping Scams

Before getting into the details on how to become a mystery shopper, it’s important to talk about scams. As with any making money opportunity, there are always scams that you need to avoid. One type of mystery shopping scam will have you pay a fee upfront in exchange for “secret shopper” work that will be sent to you.

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Legitimate mystery shopping companies will never ask for money upfront to join their program. At the same time, you should never pay to see a list of mystery shopping jobs. Real mystery shopper companies have a reputation to uphold and will never ask you to pay to see their jobs. They want to hire good people who will do a good job for them!

Most importantly, you should always check to see if the company you’re considering is a member of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA). This is the official organization that is responsible for regulating mystery shopper companies.

How Much Do Mystery Shoppers Make?

Secret shopping can be a great way to make some extra cash, but keep in mind that the pay varies quite considerably. Some tasks are lucrative per hour while others aren’t worth as much. However, it can still be an amazing opportunity for free food and discounts on purchases you would have made anyway!

how do you become a mystery shopper
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Four things can determine how much you’ll be able to make as a mystery shopper:

  • the difficulty of the task
  • the company that you’re working for
  • the number of jobs that are available in your area
  • the number of people that are competing for those jobs

Difficulty of the task

Some mystery shopping tasks will be easy while others will be more difficult. For example, you may be asked to make a purchase and then provide feedback on the service or product. This is an easy task that can be completed within 45 minutes, but it won’t yield as much payment as some of the other tasks will.

Some more difficult tasks may include evaluating customer service skills in a retail store or trying out a restaurant’s menu items before opening day! Tasks like this require more time to complete (a few hours) and are typically worth about $15 per hour.

Also, some of these jobs can usually take around four to six weeks from the start date until you get paid for them so make sure you have enough money saved up before embarking on one.

The company you’re working for

The company that you’re working for also affects how much you’ll earn. Different companies have different pay rates and reimbursement requirements. Make sure you understand each of these before you sign up for a certain company. That’s one of the reasons to make sure you sign up with legitimate companies and avoid scammers.

Jobs in your area

Some places will need more mystery shoppers than others. If you live in an area with tourist attractions, you’re likely to find more mystery shopping jobs in your area. If you live near a college town, then there’s probably going to be a lot of opportunities for students who are looking to make some money on the side.

However, if you don’t live in a very populated place, mystery shopping might not be the best way for you to make some extra income. You might be better off making money by becoming a transcriber, for example. That being said, some companies pay people to be online mystery shoppers. The great thing about this is that it doesn’t matter where you live, as long as you can receive mail.

Competition for jobs

In the same way that the number of mystery shopping opportunities in your area can affect the amount of money you make, so can the number of people you’re competing with for those jobs. The more people that are signed up as mystery shoppers in your area, the more competition you’re going to have for the jobs, and therefore the less money you may be making.

Just a friendly reminder that you need to beware of the limitations in mystery shopping. You can’t rely on it for your whole income, because there may not be enough work week-to-week and month-to-month. If you’re looking for more consistent earnings, check out how to make money by publishing low content books.

How to Become a Mystery Shopper?

To become a mystery shopper, you have to be at least 18 years old. Also, it’s better if you live in the United States since there are more opportunities than in other countries.

Mystery shoppers also need to be on their toes and have a high level of attention when it comes to detail. If you don’t meet the requirements for the task, then you won’t get paid so try your best not to miss anything important.

My Favorite Mystery Shopping Companies

Finding a mystery shopping job has never been easier. These days, there are so many more opportunities than just the traditional way of looking in newspapers and reading flyers posted on bulletin boards at your local grocery store or department store. Mobile apps let you find great places to shop with fabulous deals while earning points for free items in return!

Apps also allow users to not only earn money by completing a variety of tasks but also set their schedule when they want work – perfect for people who have other commitments that can’t be negotiated around an employer’s hours or business needs.

That being said, here’s my list of the best mystery shopping companies and mobile apps you should start with.


BestMark has been around for a long time compared to other mystery shopping companies. It started in 1986 and is well-known in the mystery shopper community. The company refers to their mystery shoppers as “field agents” and they do one of four different roles:

Mystery Shoppers

Mystery shoppers go into stores posing as an average customer. They try out things like buying some store products or asking questions about something just like you might do if it were your first time visiting the store. This is done so that organizations/brands get an idea of how well-run everything usually is before spending all this money on making improvements!

Intercept Interviewers

Intercept interviewers talk to customers as they exit the store and see what’s on their minds. The information is used by retailers for understanding how to make shopping better for customers.

Compliance Auditors

Compliance auditors are the knights in shining armor for a company. They make sure that employees and products follow all established rules so that stores can keep doing business without interruption from regulators or other authorities.

Compliance audits help stores ensure that everything is running smoothly, on time, and as planned.


Panelists participate in interactive discussions with other panel members to discuss their opinions and feelings about products or services.


MarketForce is another major player in the mystery shopping industry. What makes MarketForce great to work with as an independent contractor is that it has clients in the following industries:

  • restaurants
  • retail stores
  • grocery stores
  • hospitality
  • travel
  • telecom
  • tech
  • energy
  • education
  • health
  • movies
  • fitness
  • financial services
  • gaming
  • …and others!

Signing up on the website takes less than five minutes. To work as a mystery shopper you download an app (Eyes:On) that displays jobs in your area with requirements such as qualifications or pay rates. Jobs also list when they’re available so it can be easy picking what suits your schedule best!

Field Agent

Field Agent is one of the most popular mystery shopping apps around with over 1 million shoppers in seven different countries, including:

  • United States
  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Ecuador
  • United Kingdom
  • South Africa
  • Australia

Signing up for Field Agent is a great way to start earning money from home. You just fill out a short questionnaire about your demographics and then you can get started working as of mystery shopper.

Signing up with Field Agent will open the door for an easy, flexible part-time job that pays anywhere from $5-$50 per assignment depending on what type of assignment it is.

If you’re already out shopping, the Field Agent is great. It lets users take on quick tasks at local stores and earn some extra money! Jobs display the pay, task description, distance to the store from your location, or current GPS coordinates if there’s a nearby store that matches up with what you’re already.

Field agent is great for people who are busy but want an easy way to make more cash while they do their day-to-day activities like grocery shopping without having it feel like work. The one thing you need to remember is that you’ll be given two hours per job so make sure you have time to do the job if you accept it.


ShopKick is an app that rewards you with kicks, which are points used to redeem gift cards. You can earn them by buying products in-store or online and scanning your receipt.

With the ShopKick app, there are six different ways you can earn gift cards:

  1. walking into stores
  2. scanning barcodes of specific products
  3. purchasing and submitting a receipt
  4. purchasing with a linked card
  5. making online purchases
  6. watching videos

Unlike other mystery shopping apps, you don’t earn money from doing these tasks. As I mentioned before, you instead earn “kicks” that you can then trade in for gift cards to your favorite stores like Starbucks, Nike, Old Navy, Best Buy, and lots more!

How Do You Become a Mystery Shopper

The process on how to become a mystery shopper is relatively simple and is the same no matter which company or app you choose to use. The process can be broken down into the following steps:

  • Create a profile with the company/on the app
  • Read all the instructions and requirements carefully (you won’t get paid if you don’t follow the instructions)
  • Choose the jobs you want to do
  • Do as many jobs as you can
  • Keep adequate records
  • Submit your paperwork to the company/app
  • Rinse and repeat

One of the best things about working as a mystery shopper is that you can work for multiple companies at the same time.

So if you want to maximize your earnings, make sure you start with all of the four previous companies.

Wrap Up

Mystery shopping, while not a full-time income, can give you extra income. And the best part is that you can work as much or little as you want. You don’t need a lot of experience to get started and many companies are looking for people just like you!

Here are some final points to remember:

  • The average mystery shopper can make between $400-$1000 a month
  • You’ll need at least an hour or two of free time per week to complete tasks on your list
  • You must find companies with legitimate job listings before signing up as a mystery shopper so that you don’t end up getting scammed by bogus offers!
  • There are lots of opportunities out there for people who live near areas where business is booming. However, if what they offer isn’t available in your area, you can look for online mystery shopping opportunities.

Mystery shopping can be a fun and exciting way to make some extra money or start a side hustle. As long as you sign up with legitimate companies and avoid the scams, you’ll most likely have a great experience doing something that you’re going to be doing anyway: shopping!

FAQ – How to Become a Mystery Shopper

What skills do you need to become a mystery shopper?

You will need to be detail-oriented and be able to identify different products.

How much mystery shoppers make per month?

The average mystery shopper can make between $400-$1000 a month!

What’s it like being a mystery shopper?

The best thing about being a mystery shopper is that you can shop in real life or online.

What are the pros of being a mystery shopper?

The number one pro for this job is flexibility because it doesn’t require set hours and no boss telling you what to do! Mystery shoppers also get paid pretty well.

How long does it take to become a full-time mystery shopper?

I don’t know anyone that makes a full-time income as a mystery shopper but you can become a part-time mystery shopper in less than a week!

Is mystery shopping worth it?

If you have no other job and want to make some quick money, then it’s worth it!

How do you become a mystery shopper?

All it takes is to find mystery shopping sites, sign up with your information, do the required tasks, and get paid.

What are some reliable mystery shopping websites?

I’ve personally used and recommended Lionbridge. You can also use Field Agent, MarketForce, ShopKick, or BestMark. These are some of the most reliable.

Are mystery shopper jobs legit?

Yes! However, just like anything, there are some scam sites out there that you need to watch out for.

What are some reasons to become a mystery shopper?

Mystery shoppers provide feedback on products, services, and customer satisfaction. You can also make extra money as an independent contractor or side hustle.

How much do you get paid per hour?

The amount that the company pays for each job varies depending on which website they’re from and what type of assignment. Most companies payout within two weeks of completing your assignment.

Do mystery shoppers keep what they buy?

Usually. Mystery shoppers receive compensation in the form of cash or store credit for completing assignments that usually lasts one to two hours, depending on the assignment’s complexity and time commitment required. If you are supposed to buy something as part of the assignment, you should get reimbursed for the purchase.

How does mystery shopping work?

You are typically assigned tasks by companies who want feedback about their products, services, and customer satisfaction levels. It could be as simple as answering a questionnaire or taking photos with your phone while you’re out and about running errands. Once you complete the task within the allotted timeframe, you log back into your account to submit what happened during your session (feedback).