I have mentioned mystery shopping quite a bit, particularly in my free hotel stay and make money without a job post, but I figured it’s time to make a MASSIVE list of the many mystery shopping companies that want to pay you to basically shop.
In short, mystery shopping pays you to shop while undercover, essentially creating a report and answering any questions a company wants to know when you conducted your visit. For example, you may be asked to visit a fast-food chain and will be asked to grade the store and employees you interacted with.
If you like the idea of visiting stores as you would as a customer and getting paid to do so on your own time, then mystery shopping may be for you. While it may be hard to generate a full-time income, it’s definitely possible to make $500+ a month if you sign up with the right companies and live in the right area.
Now, there are a ton of scams in the mystery shopping industry, all of which I will talk about later on in this guide, but if you don’t see a particular company listed on this page, I would highly recommend doing more research or even leaving a comment below so that I can do more research for you.
For now, let’s talk about how mystery shopping works, the best mystery shopping companies and how you can avoid the many mystery shopping scams.
What is Mystery Shopping?
As the name implies, mystery shopping is just that — a mystery and companies use this methodology to help improve the quality and service experience provided. Whenever you’re conducting a job, that store should not know that you’re actually undercover. You’re going to shop just as you would if you were headed to the grocery store to fetch a few supplies. In some cases, you may have to let the company know, but you will always know in the job description.
Why do you need to remain a mystery, you may be wondering?
Well, if you think about it, if I knew I was being graded by someone and it affected my job, wouldn’t you act a bit different than you would on average? Probably. They want to know how the company acts for the everyday customer.
All of the companies I’m about to list will work almost in the same way.
You will be able to browse a list of open jobs, apply to the ones you like, and if the mystery shopping companies accept you for the job, it’s your responsibility to follow the directions in order to get paid. Since you’re an independent contractor, you can work whenever you want, how much you like and for as many companies as you wish.
Jobs can range from talking to an employee to see if they recommend a particular product or even visiting a bathroom to see how clean it is. Most jobs are pretty self-explanatory and are pretty easy to understand, I promise.
How Much Can I Make Mystery Shopping?
How much you make will greatly depend on the job you accept.
Since some jobs require a lot more work than others, a smaller job that takes only five minutes may pay $10, whereas an overnight stay at a hotel may pay up to $150+. The sweet spot, however, seems to be in the $8 to $25~ range.
Aside from pay, a majority of the time you will also need to buy a product and/or service to often prove you actually visited the location and/or judge a product. In this case, the mystery shopping company will always reimburse you for your purchase as long as you save your receipt.
This reimbursement is on top of the job pay, often making for a cool bonus. For example, I recently wrote about becoming a beer auditor, which often asks that you purchase cases of beer. So, not only can you keep the beer, but you could get paid $10+ for the job as well. How cool is that?
All reputable mystery shopping companies will always let you know what you’re going to get paid ahead of time as well as what’s expected of you when you visit a location, such as what you need to purchase and/or what kind of pictures need to be taken. As long as you read the directions and follow them, you will have no problem getting paid.
In the end, how much you make in total really depends on how much you work and where you live as your major cities will always have more jobs than your towns in the middle of nowhere. Some people can easily make $500 a month, whereas some invest 60+ hours a week and make $5,000 for the month.
How to Apply for a Mystery Shopping Job
All of the companies will work in a similar manner and will work no differently than if you were to apply for a research company.
Most will ask for your personal information, sometimes a social security number (this is okay if legit) and in some cases, you may have to take a basic qualification test. This may include writing a sample report and/or answering a quiz in regards to the company policies.
In each section below beneath the company, I will be sure to list the expectations out of a new member, but again, I can’t stress it enough. Most will just ask you to apply and that’s about it.
With all of the basic questions out of the way, let’s jump into the fun stuff and take a look at the best mystery shopping companies that want to hire you right now.
The 75+ Best Paying Mystery Shopping Companies
NOTE: I have no favorites, so I’m going to make it easy and list the companies in alphabetical order.
AboutFace is one of those mystery shopping companies that many seem to talk highly about. While I don’t have personal experience, I have read a lot of great reviews.
To sign up, you will need to fill out an application, like most of the companies I’m about to list, as well as abide by the terms and agreement. They have a lot of information on their shopper’s page, but I promise you that it’s not too intimidating.
Follow the link below for the terms and how to apply.
- Website: AboutFaceCorp.com
A Closer Look
Honored as an MSPA “Elite Company,” A Closer Look is definitely one to consider as they always have a ton of mystery shopping jobs available.
From movie theater audits to fine dining restaurants and hotels, you name it, there’s a pretty good chance that they do it.
To become a mystery shopping, you will first need to pass what’s known as a Shopper Qualifying Test, wherein you will be asked to create a mock report. They do this so that you can demonstrate your ability to relate your experiences in a clear and concise manner. As long as you can follow directions, can put your thoughts in words, and you can deal with basic spelling/grammar issues, then you shouldn’t have a problem. The entire process takes no more than 30 minutes.
- Website: A Closer Look
As the name indicates, Amusement Advantage deals with a lot of amusement parks and entertainment facilities. It’s a great way to get paid to visit a theme park or even go bowling for the afternoon.
As you can imagine, these jobs can go fast, but it shouldn’t be hard to snag one if you check in daily.
The jobs don’t pay as much as more mystery shop jobs, often due to the costs of getting into the parks, but yes, you do get reimbursed for your tickets. Nonetheless, even if it was free, it’s still a fantastic deal.
To apply, follow the link below to learn more about the company as well as a view the qualifications/requirements.
- Website: AmusementAdvantage.com
ath Power has more than 500,000 mystery shoppers across the United States, conducting more than 10,000 jobs a month.
As an MSPA member and having a ton of positive third-party reviews, it’s one to consider as long as you consider yourself professional, reliable and detail-oriented.
To get started, follow the sign-up link below to start the application process. You can also view their official FAQ to learn more about their mystery shopping platform.
- Website: athPower.com
From my research, it appears that BARE International has quite the variety of shops to choose from and it’s quite easy to stay busy with this company.
According to the company, they offer a fair transparent system that ensures democratic scheduling. They also note that you should feel valued, be paid fairly and enjoy less stringent validation processes in comparison to their competitors.
Every month, they offer more than 50,000+ jobs with a wide variety of opportunities.
You must be at least 21+ years old if you live in the United States or 18+ if you live outside of the United States. Do refer to their extensive FAQ page if you have any questions in regards to the process.
- Website: BareInternational.com
For more than 30 years, BestMark notes itself as one of the “nation’s finest mystery shopping solutions,” working with businesses all of sizes, including Fortune 500 powerhouses.
Today, BestMark offers more than 10,000+ jobs every month, from restaurants to retail stores and casinos. They have quite the list, so there’s a good chance there’s something you will enjoy doing and is one you should keep high on your list.
As long as you can follow detailed instructions, write fact-based reports and provide their clients with actionable data, then they encourage you to apply.
To get started, follow the link below for the official sign-up link. Once you’re in the database, BestMark will contact you regarding any assignments via your email on file.
- Website: BestMark
Call Center QA
A lot of the companies I mention on this list often require you to visit the location in person, with some offering both in-person and telephone mystery shops.
Well, if you don’t want to travel and would rather do all of your mystery shopping over the phone, then Call Center QA is one to consider as this is all they deal with. This is all they deal with.
No experience is necessary, but all they ask is that you’re at least 18 years old and are a resident of the United States.
Most jobs pay about $5 and the payout is usually in less than seven days. To get started, follow the link below and fill out the application to get started.
- Website: CallCenterQA.org
Around since the 1980s, Confero prides itself to be the “leading customer experience consulting company.”
Working with a number of popular chains, brands, and even independent shops, there’s a job available in almost any industry you can think of.
To sign up as a mystery shopper with Confero, you will be asked to fill out a shopper profile and agree to the terms to gain access to the confidential job board that’s updated daily.
- Website: Confero
GBW has a huge presence with more than 400,000+ secret shoppers in more than 100 countries. To date, they have conducted more than 14 million mystery shopping jobs for their clients.
If you like shopping and want to help improve a product/service, then GBW encourages you to apply to see the flexibility they provided. Yes, you can work whenever you want and as much as you’d like. There are no limits.
To become a GBW evaluator, all they ask is that you register for an account, wherein you will be asked for your personal information, some demographic questions as well as a few references. If approved, you will then receive an email with your login details.
No experience is necessary.
- Website: GBW
Launched in 1997, InteliChek has been working with an array of Fortune 100 companies, providing a suite of unique and high-value services, mostly to the automotive industry.
While the company wasn’t hiring at the time I was writing this, they often look for mystery shoppers who want to work from home only.
Simply follow the link below to see if they are currently hiring new applicants.
- Website: InteliChek
Yet another massive company, IntelliShop has more than one million mystery shoppers in the United States alone, also winning a “Shoppers Choice” award in 2018.
Working with multiple industries, this is another one to consider if you want to have a giant pool of jobs to choose from.
To become a shopper, like most of these gigs, you will be asked to sign up, sign an agreement, enter your personal information and agree to the terms to start making some money.
To learn more about this company, I highly recommend you check out the FAQ section as they answer a ton of the questions you may have, such as how you can increase your job prospects and when you will be paid for a shop.
- Website: Intelli-Shop.com
Quite possibly one of the biggest mystery shopping companies in the industry, Market Force will pay you to eat and shop at many of your favorite brands.
They are recognized by the MSPA, have an A+ BBB rating and even won the MSPA Shoppers’ Choice Award in 2018.
As a shopper, you will find that they work with some of the biggest brands in comparison to most I list and even have a pretty cool app, Eyes:On, that allows you to complete jobs on the go. Just open your phone, look at the map and complete any that are of interest.
To get started, create a simple account (name, etc), answer some questions and then sign the Terms of the Agreement to start accepting jobs.
- Website: MarketForce.com
Mercantile Systems (Merc)
Known as Merc in the mystery shopping world, this company commonly offers a ton of fast food-type jobs, so if this is something of interest, I highly recommend you check them out. They do work with other industries as well, however.
If you’re looking to sign up, they have similar qualifications to the other companies I mention, such as following directions, offering detailed reports, etc.
Previous experience is not necessary. To learn more, create a profile via the link below to start viewing the jobs on the company’s official job board.
- Website: MercSystems.com
Perception Strategies is yet another niche-based mystery shopping company as they only seem to focus on the healthcare sector, making it a great choice if you don’t mind visiting a doctor’s office, hospital or even making a health-related call. Remember, you’re always reimbursed for any fees you may incur and you get paid for your time, with healthcare jobs often paying more than $50+ per shop.
Operating since 1998, the company has conducted more than 150,000 mystery shops, becoming the leader in the study of the “patient experience.”
To join, click on the shopper link via the URL below and submit your information. If there’s an opening, you will hear back from them shortly.
- Website: Perception Strategies
Pinnacle has been in business for more than 20 years now, and unlike a lot of the diverse mystery shopping companies I already mentioned, they work more so in the finance industry.
So, if you don’t mind visiting a bank or credit union to complete a job, then this company could be one to consider. These jobs may not seem as exciting, but they often pay the most.
Pinnacle is a proud member of the MSPA and have an A+ BBB rating.
To sign up, follow the link below, answer some basic personal questions and agree to the terms to start accepting jobs.
- Website: Pinnacle
RBG conducts both written and video mystery shops throughout the United States and even Canada.
If interested in applying, they do ask that you have fantastic grammar and writing skills as well as the highest of ethical standards. You can view a list of requirements via the link below. According to the FAQ, they do note that they are much more selective in their hiring process in comparison to other companies. Even if you’re denied, don’t get discouraged as there are a ton of other jobs available.
RBG is rated A+ with the BBB, and you can learn more via the company’s official FAQ via the link below.
- Website: RBG
Second to None
I see Second to None pop up on job boards quite a bit, so it’s another one that will keep you busy for some time. Yet another one you should keep high on your list.
The company has been in business for more than 30 years and has a solid A+ BBB rating, easily making it one of the leading mystery shopping companies I mention.
To learn more about how to become successful with the company as well as how to apply, the link below leads you directly to a free shopper account.
- Website: Second-to-None.com
Secret Shopper has been in business since 1990, well before mystery shopping was even a hot commodity online.
As part of the Mystery Shopping Provider’s Association (MSPA), they work in almost every customer-oriented industry, including banking, healthcare, dining, hotels, retail, casinos and many, many more.
To get started, follow the link to sign up, pass a very basic certification test and complete your profile to gain access to their database. You can even check out their highly rated app if you choose to mystery shop on the go.
It’s 100% free to use and only takes a few minutes to join.
- Website: SecretShopper.com
SeeLevel HX Mystery Shopping is yet another option that is said to offer a mix of high-paying and a ton of shops to complete.
The company has completed more than three million jobs and have more than 650,000 mystery shoppers in its database.
To sign up as a mystery shopper, you will need to fill out a basic registration form and review the contractor agreement to become active on the platform.
- Website: SeeLevelHX.com
Shopper’s View will pay you to visit local business, wherein you will be asked to evaluate their customer service, the product quality and the appearance of the stores.
Aside from retail, they even work with local sporting events, restaurants, and other fun events. There are quite a few unique opportunities that a lot of these other companies don’t offer.
To get started, fill out an application via the link below. You can also check out their FAQ and video library for more information as to what’s expected of you.
- Website: ShoppersView.com
Sinclair Customer Metrics
Quite possibly the oldest company on this list, Sinclair Customer Metrics has been helping companies improve their customer experience well before the internet existed.
Offering a variety of jobs, from talking to someone on the phone to visiting a shop in person, there’s bound to be something of interest to you.
To get started, follow the link below, review the documents to know what’s expected of you, fill out the application, take the “Sinclair New Shopper Challenge” to be considered as a new mystery shopper.
- Website: Sinclair Customer Metrics
Mystery Shopping Job Boards
In this section, I wanted to focus on a few of the many mystery shopping job boards. These job boards will work with a lot of the companies I mentioned above, but the only difference is that they will post all of the jobs available on either an interactive map or as a list from multiple companies.
Since there’s probably a good chance you’re going to sign up with more than one mystery shopping company, it’s also a pain in the butt to log into each one and check out the job availability. So, to save on these headaches, I recommend you consider bookmarking a few of these job boards to make your mystery shopping job search that much easier.
All of these job boards work in a similar way.
You can either view the list or a map on the website and if you see a job you’re interested in, simply click on it and see which company is offering the job. If you’re already a member of that said company, then it’s as easy as applying to the job. However, if you’re not a member, then you will have to sign up with that company to work it.
In the end, picture it as a one-stop shop to view multiple jobs from multiple companies in one place.
I like Presto Insta-Shops because you can immediately view the jobs in your area without the need to sign up for an account and it’s extremely easy to use.
Just follow the link below, allow it to view your location and you can instantly see most of the jobs available in your area in the form of a pin drop. If you see any jobs nearby that are of interest, you can click on it, and it will tell you briefly what the job is about along with the pay. For example, it might just say “C-Store $12.” It’s very vague.
If you do find anything of interest, click on the dollar amount to view the job more in detail as well as which company it’s assigned to. If you’re already part of that company, you can immediately apply to the job, but as I mentioned, if not, you may have to apply to that company to gain access.
Presto Insta-Shops is 100% free to use and no account is needed to view the jobs.
- Website: Presto Insta-Shops
The website may look outdated, but I can assure you that it still works 100%.
And to use, all you need to do is enter your zip code near the top of the screen to show you which jobs are available in your area.
You can search for jobs without an account, but you will only be able to access basic information, such as the job title, pay and where it’s located. So, if you want to see the information, you will be asked to sign up for a free account.
Once again, if you see a job of interest, you need to be a current member of the company providing the job.
- Website: JobSlinger
I wanted to list this forum here as it’s a fantastic forum that helps you teach the ins and outs of the industry, not just find mystery shopping jobs.
While the forum does have a job board here, it’s often time-consuming to weed through the many that probably aren’t even close to where you live. There are jobs posted by schedulers, however.
Regardless, I wanted to list it here as you could spend hours here learning about the industry and how to succeed. Be careful, though, as you may find yourself spending hours here!
You do need to sign up to view any threads, but it only takes seconds to do.
- Website: MysteryShopForum
Mystery Shopping Apps
While some of the mystery shopping companies I list above have an app, the ones I’m about to list only work as an app, meaning they don’t have a desktop version. Simply put, you can only use these companies on your phone only.
These apps can serve some use when you’re out and about, but 99% of the time, it’s not worth dropping what you’re doing to complete a job. Rather, it’s something to keep in mind if you’re already out and about and there’s a job nearby.
To date, Field Agent has more than one million “agents” who complete small tasks every day.
As an app only, earning with Field Agent is quite simple. Just download the app, browse a job of interest and follow the directions to complete the job.
I have played around with Field Agent in the past and found some luck, but I would only complete the job only if I was already at the store, seeing jobs paid $7 at most.
It’s not as great as the many I list here, but as with some of the apps I mention here, it’s one to consider downloading.
- Website: Field Agent
Gigwalk is different than a lot of these companies as you will only use your phone and the signup process is much simpler.
While the jobs aren’t as grand as most of what these companies, it’s an app to at least download to see what kind of jobs are available while you’re out and about.
To become what’s known as a “Gigwalker,” download the free app via the link below, sign up and find a job you want to complete via the app’s map. If there’s one of interest, simply follow the instructions and get paid upon successful completion.
- Website: Gigwalk
Said to be the perfect mystery shopping app on the go, the iShopFor Ipsos app, yes, the same company that offers surveys, allows you to earn money by conducting mystery shopping tasks.
To start earning, you just need to register either on their official website or on the app and then fill out a mystery shopping application to qualify.
Typical tasks, according to the company, includes interacting with employees, checking out the cleanliness of a location and even making a purchase. From glancing at the list, most of the tasks were similar to that of the many mystery shopping companies I listed here.
- Website: iShopFor Ipsos
Out of all the mystery shopping companies I list, I would have to say this company is one of my favorites.
For one, this is strictly an app that you can download via the link below. It only takes seconds to sign up, and once in, you can start applying to jobs immediately. When I downloaded it, for instance, I could order pizzas from a local pizzeria or even visit a bank to ask questions. There were quite a few jobs available.
To get started, simply download the link, create an account and you should be able to view jobs in your area almost immediately.
- Website: iSecretShop
Merchandiser by Survey.com
The Merchandiser by Survey.com app helps you make money by completing retail services at local stores. The biggest difference is that you can actually sign up for hourly gigs, working jobs such as food demos and even stock shelves for a few hours. It’s a lot different than most of the apps here, and I highly recommend you check it out.
As with most of the apps in this sub-section, the app works no differently.
It only takes minutes to join, and once your account is active, you can immediately browse jobs in your area. Most of the jobs require that you perform an audit, stock shelves, take multiple pictures or even add stickers to a shelf tag. As the name implies, most of it has to do with merchandising, so, again, it’s a pinch different than “mystery shopping.” I will include it anyway.
Every gig you complete will come with a full set of instructions and even examples to ensure that it’s completed right the first time.
- Website: Merchandiser by Survey.com
Mobee is strictly an app that pays you to shop and dine at your favorite places, all while earning rewards. It made my 60 favorite money-making apps if you’re interested in more ways to earn cash from your phone.
The great thing about this app is that it only takes minutes to join, and upon doing so, you can view your jobs almost immediately via the app’s map.
With thousands of missions across the United States, jobs range from answering simple questions to taking pictures undercover.
- Website: Mobee
The Smaller Mystery Shopping Companies
Aside from the companies I listed above, there are so many smaller companies that I don’t want to leave out. Instead of writing a lengthy description, I will just list the company name and a direct link to the application. You can make the decision as to whether or not you want to apply.
All of the companies, I’m about to list, are a member of the MSPA Americas, a very reputable mystery shopping association.
- 360 Relay
- ACE Mystery Shopping
- Alta360 Research
- Ann Michaels & Associates, Ltd.
- Business Evaluation Services
- Circle of Service, LLC
- Cirrus Marketing Intelligence
- Coast to Coast Scheduling Services, Inc.
- Confidential Consumer
- Consumer Insight
- Consumer Service Analysis, Inc.
- Coyle Hospitality Group
- Customer 1st
- Customer Experience Experts
- Customer Impact, LLC
- Customer Service Experts
- Data Quest Ltd.
- Dynamic Advantage, Inc.
- Elite CX Solutions
- Ellis Partners in Mystery Shopping
- Faith Perceptions
- Hospitality Now
- HS Brands Global
- ICU Associates
- Impact Marketing
- Interactions Marketing
- Intouch Insight
- Jancyn Evaluation Shops
- JM Ridgway Co., Inc.
- Market Viewpoint
- Marketstat, LLC
- MCG, Management Consultant Group, LLC
- Mintel International Group, Ltd.
- New Image Marketing Research Corp.
- Perfectly Frank Inc.
- Person to Person Quality
- Primo Solutions, LLC
- Reality Based Group™, Inc.
- Reality Check
- Remington Evaluations, LLC
- Research Metrics
- Service Evaluation Concepts, Inc.
- The Shadow Agency
- White Clay
- Winthrop Douglas, Inc.
Mystery Shopping Scams
All of the mystery shopping companies I listed above are, indeed, legit, but you may come across a company that’s not on my list. That’s fine as there are a ton of them, but before you sign up, I want you to keep some tips in mind to ensure you don’t get scammed.
Never EVER Pay to Join
A legitimate mystery shopping company will never ask for payment upfront. This can be said with any online money-making venture.
This means you should never wire money, send in a check or even cash a check before you even start work.
If the company asks for any sort of payment, it’s a scam. Don’t even think about signing up.
Don’t Cash a Check at First
If you never did any work for a mystery shopping company and you receive a check from one, never ever cash it, even if it’s from a “legit” company.
What a lot of scammers do is steal a reputable mystery shopping company’s name and attach it to the check, almost making it look like it was coming from them directly.
A reputable company will, of course, pay you, but why would they pay you before you even start a job? Doesn’t make sense, right?
If you receive a questionable check before any work is done, it’s a scam 99% of the time.
There’s a good chance someone has signed up for the company you may be looking at.
And, as a habit, not just with mystery shopping, always search the company’s name to see what others are saying, both good and bad.
If you see a lot of negatives or even nothing at all, then it may be wise to skip out as there are a ton of companies to choose from.
Keep in mind that even the worse companies have negative reviews, so be sure to take some of the negative reviews with a grain of salt.
Look for MSPA Accreditation
Almost all of your legitimate mystery shopping companies will be accredited by the MSPA.
And, while this isn’t always the case, this is a huge plus if the company is part of the association.
Don’t just trust the mystery shopping company’s website, however. Make sure you visit the official MSPA website to see if the company is listed. If it is, you’re in good hands. If it isn’t, it could still be a great company. You will just need to research further to see what other people are saying.
As you can see from my extensive list, there are a TON of mystery shopping companies worth joining. This isn’t a full list, but it covers a good chunk of the best ones. It’s really up to you as to who you want to join and how many jobs you want to complete. There’s no right or wrong answer as your expectations could be much different than mine.
There are a lot of jobs out there. It’s just up to you to find them, but let it be known that you can sign up for as many companies as you want. Since you’re considered a 1099 independent contractor, you can work when you want, whenever you want and with who you want. It’s extremely flexible.
Like myself, I tend to sign up with a few of them and stick to the ones that offer the highest-paying jobs over time. It could take a few weeks to learn which ones stick, but usually, it’s pretty easy to spot which companies will offer you the most jobs for the time being. Again, it’s highly dependent upon your location. Seeing it only takes a few minutes to sign up with each, you could at least pick out five to 10 of your favorites and see where it takes you.
Mystery shopping can be a very lucrative part-time job, especially when you get the hang of it. Not only that, but you could find yourself with a lot of free food, products and even overnight stays at a local hotel. You never know. It does have quite a few perks.
To learn more about the industry and how to succeed, I highly recommend the book, The Mystery Shopper’s Manual – 7th Edition, a book jammed with just about all the information you need to know on how to succeed in the mystery shopping world. The MysteryShopForum is a great educational tool as well.
In the meantime, be sure to check out the many companies I recommended. It should keep you busy for quite some time! I can assure you that they are all 100% legitimate and offer real mystery shopping jobs.
If you don’t see a company on the list and/or you want to learn more, feel free to leave a comment below and I will do my best to help!
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