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How To Make Money As A Mystery Shopper

Have you ever wondered about becoming a mystery shopper? 

You can shop to get free products, meals and even hotel stays as well as make some money for your time. 

 I’ve been doing a lot of secret shopping in 2016, I have “earned” about $800 doing it this year.

I put “earned” in quotes because it’s not always money in your pocket, sometimes I get reimbursed for free items and products that I use as birthday gifts or presents for friends, which saves me money in the long run. 


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What Does A Mystery Shopper Do?

You go to a grocery store, big box store, or restaurant, and you have to carefully evaluate your experience using an app on your phone.

The app will normally have a questionnaire to fill out that you can review beforehand so you know the kinds of things to look for. 

Once your submitted report is approved,  you get paid or reimbursed as per the contract.

What kinds of Mystery Shops Are there?

The Main types of Mystery shop fall into a few categories:

Traditional Shop

Visit a store and complete a task such as asking for assistance or doing a return.

I recently did this at my local liquor store – it was a great way to get paid to drink wine as I was reimbursed for my purchase and paid $15 for the job! 

Mobile Audits

Use your smartphone collect images and information in stores,and check on a variety of specific products.

Service Visits

These involve hotels, restaurants and other service businesses where you might be asked to make a reservation or complete a stay. 

I have completed mystery shops at gas stations (Free gas!), electronics stores, hairdressers and many restaurants. 

Most shops have very specific things that you need to do on your visit.  

For example, the grocery store evaluation I do asks that you get a very large item and place it on the bottom rack of your cart to see if the cashier notices.

Another shop I do frequently is one where you have to test the returns process at a store.

You buy something then return it almost immediately and evaluate the process and customer service. 

One sought-after mystery shop is at car dealerships where you take a car for a test drive and report on the service you receive.

One of my friends got paid to test drive a Tesla which was fun! 

Is Mystery Shopping a scam?

Unfortunately, not all mystery shopping companies are reputable. Some try and scam people who are looking to make extra money. 

There are fraudulent companies posing as legitimate businesses offering lucrative Mystery Shopping jobs.

Red Flags To Watch Out For: 

  • Requests to pay upfront fees to register – you should not have to pay anything to join a mystery shopping company. 
  • Claims that you will make massive profits – This is not a full-time job but a nice side hustle for extra cash. 
  • If they “guarantee” Mystery Shopping jobs – availability depends on where you live and demand for jobs in your area. 
  • Unsolicited e-mails offering lucrative jobs

6 Legit Companies That Pay You To Mystery Shop

Below you will find 5 legit companies that many mystery shoppers, myself included use.

Depending on where you live, one company might have more offers for you than another so it is worth joining a few to give yourself some options. 

Gigspot for mystery shopper jobs


If you only join one mystery shopping company, Gigspot should be it. It’s not really one company but rather an app that gives you access to thousands of mystery shopping jobs from dozens of mystery shopping provider companies.

Think of Gigspot as an employment agency putting you in touch with mystery shopping opportunities.

How it works

Payment is handled by the mystery shopping or market research company posting the job. GigSpot lists the information you need to take or apply for the opportunity, including:

  • Compensation and Reimbursement
  • Start and End Date
  • Distance


Field Agent Mystery Shopping

Field Agent

Download the Field agent app and get paid via Direct deposit for mystery shopping. This is one of the more popular apps for secret shopping. 

mystery shopping apps imyst


Imyst pays via PayPal and you can typically start searching for shopping opportunities within a few days of your application.  


Sassie Shop for mystery shoppers

Sassie Shop

Sassie Shop is one of my favorite secret shopping companies to work for.

They always seem to have a lot of opportunities in my area so I tend to work for them a lot. The key is to check the app regularly as popular assignments go fast. 

isecretshop mystery shopping app


The isecretshop app has lots of opportunities for mystery shoppers including telephone only shops where you call businesses and record your calls. 

I’ve even been paid to drink beer with this mystery shopping company as I did a mystery “shop” at a restaurant.

become a mystery shopper with GBW solutions

GBW Solutions

GBW Mystery Shopping services are operating in over 100 countries worldwide, and will likely be operating in your local area.This is great for those potential shoppers who don’t live in a major metropolitan area. 

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How to make money as a mystery shopper