A Closer Look Mystery Shopper Review

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A Closer Look is one of the many reputable mystery shopping companies out there.  It’s one I have mentioned a few times, such as in my restaurant mystery shopper and 25+ ways to make money while driving posts, and it’s a decent way to make some money in your spare time.  You won’t get rich with mystery shopping, but you can make $100+ a week if you pick up the right jobs, sometimes much more if you figure out how the game works.

And, if you’re not familiar with mystery shopping, it’s just as it sounds.

You will be the mystery, usually shopping at a local retailer or restaurant, while assessing some sort of situation.  For example, you may be asked to order a fast-food burger and time how long it takes to get to you or you may be asked to analyze a restroom.  The job descriptions are endless, but at the end of the day, it’s your job to report back your findings, all while remaining undercover.  This helps the company make sure their employees and storefronts are living up to their standards.

If mystery shopping sounds like something of interest or you’re looking for more information on A Closer Look, I decided to sign up to let you know how the company works, what you can make as well as what kind of jobs you can expect.

What is A Closer Look?

A Closer Look has been in business for more than 25+ years, established in 1994, providing insights to multiple corporations, ranging from restaurants to senior living facilities.  This marketing agency works with its clients to help them evaluate their brand standards and then provide unbiased, real-time reports, which are provided by you, the mystery shopper.  The company currently boasts a solid A+ BBB rating and has worked with more than 200,000 freelancers.

Signing up for A Closer Look

To sign up as a mystery shopper with A Closer Look, you can do so via the link on the official site near the top.  You will see a button that says “Become a Mystery Shopper.”  In clicking on this, it will take you to a sign-up page that will ask for a variety of information, including your personal information, contact details as well as a writing sample.

And, the reason they ask for a writing sample, just like other mystery shopping companies, is that they want to get a taste for your writing.  Since you will be responsible for writing reports when your job is complete, they will want to make sure you have decent grammar and can put your thoughts into words.  You don’t have to be a five-star writer, but you can’t be a one-star, either.  When you write a sample, they will ask you to describe your previous dining experience.

To qualify, as you can see in the screenshot, they do ask for the following:

  • be at least 18+ years old
  • reside in the United States
  • provide an email address
  • provide a writing sample
  • sign an agreement

As long as you meet these qualifications and your writing sample is of quality, you shouldn’t have a hard time getting approved.  Just take your time with that writing sample.

If you do sign up, plan on setting aside at least 30 minutes to complete your registration process.  Most of that time will be spent writing your sample.

The Jobs

If you get accepted to the company, the types of jobs you can apply to are quite diverse.  At the moment, the company works in the following industries:

  • hotels
  • breweries
  • upscale dining
  • fitness centers
  • spas
  • dental offices
  • senior living facilities
  • retail
  • restaurants

They work with other industries as well, but most of the jobs you will find on your dashboard will more than likely be in one of these industries.

Due to the agreement you sign as a mystery shopper, I am not allowed to disclose which companies they work with at the moment, but I will tell you that many of them you have heard of.  The only ones I can mention come from the client testimonials, which include companies like Main Event, Build a Bear, Hilton Hotels, Floor & Decor, to name a few.  Let it be known that they work with a lot of well-known companies.

After you get a user name and password, you can select your jobs from your dashboard, which will look something like this:

On this dashboard, you can see which company the job is for (I blacked it out), how far it’s from your location as well as what’s expected of you.  If any of the jobs are of interest, you can click on it for more information as to what’s expected of you.  If you like the job description and you feel the pay is fair, then you can accept the job and submit your report once done.  Just be sure to read the directions in detail as they can be quite lengthy.  If you screw up just once, it could be enough to get your job rejected, wasting your time.

A Closer Look Mystery Shopping Pay

So, what do most of the jobs pay on the site?

Well, like most mystery shopping companies, it greatly depends on the job you accept.  Most jobs will pay you for the purchase as well as for the job fee, but this isn’t always the case.  So, you may be given $25 to buy dinner and then another $10 to complete the job.  In some cases, you may have enough to make your purchase and that’s it.  It’s important to read the job description to know what you may have leftover once everything is said and done.

For instance, one job on my dashboard paid $10 for a purchase a local grocery store and another $20 to me, the shopper, to complete the job.  This one makes sense because I can net $10 after my shopper fee.  ($20 – $10 max reimbursement = $10 profit).  Don’t forget to factor in gas expenses, though!

On average, jobs can range from $10 to $75+, with the higher-paying jobs requiring a lot more of your time and higher-paying purchases in some cases.  Sometimes, you may have to buy a higher-priced item, say, a cell phone, and you will then need to return it weeks later.  This is just one example.

What I did read online is that a lot of jobs barely cover your purchase, so you may find yourself buying something, only to be reimbursed for what you bought.  This can be a downfall if you’re looking to come out ahead.  This will vary based on the job, however.

Payments are sent out on the forth Monday of every month following the months your visits were conducted.

A Closer Look Reviews: What Others Are Saying

Online, the two of your bigger review sites, such as Glassdoor and Indeed, give the company okay reviews.  I would say it’s in the middle when comparing other mystery shopping companies.

On Glassdoor, it has an okay 3.7/5 rating, with less 67% approving of the CEO.  Here, people liked the flexibility and the shopping jobs available.

On the downside, however, people complained about some of the lower paying jobs that didn’t leave anything left after the job was completed and the low pay.

Indeed reviewers said the same thing, with shoppers giving the company a 2.8/5 rating.

All in all, the reviews were mixed, but there’s one thing for certain:  they are legit.

Final Thoughts

8/10In the end, A Closer Look is a 100% legitimate mystery shopping company.  There are jobs available, many of which can greatly benefit you, such as eating out or even playing a game of bowling at your local alley.  As long as you can write semi decent and live in the United States, you should be approved, no problem.

As long as you live in a city (or close to one) with at least 10,000~ residents, you should always see a steady supply of jobs.  Anything less than that and you may find yourself traveling a few miles a way.  While there’s nothing wrong with traveling, that gas can cut into your profits, unfortunately.  You won’t get rich mystery shopping but you can make $25-$75~ a week or so with this company, maybe more depending on the job.  Combine other mystery shopping companies and you can make much more.

Now, I leave it up to you.

If you’re a current shopper or you’re thinking about signing up as one, feel free to sound off below.  Whatever concerns/comments you may have, I always like hearing from you in the comments below.

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Tom Nathaniel

Hi! My name is Tom Nathaniel, and I created LushDollar to help share my honest thoughts on everything money. You won't find gimmicks here. It's the Internet's most honest money site after all. I graduated from Arizona State University, and I have worked in the finance industry since 2006, consulting with multiple Fortune 5000 companies.

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