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6 Mystery Shopping Companies That Really Pay You

I am becoming the queen of the side hustle and I share my personal experiences with you. Everything I write is tried and true.

This article will provide information about what it's like to mystery shop and whether or not it might be right for you.

This article will provide information about what it's like to mystery shop and whether or not it might be right for you.

I'm sure you've seen it online. Companies that offer to pay you to mystery shop other companies. Have you ever wondered if it's legitimate? Will someone really pay you to mystery shop another company, or is it a scam?

Hopefully, this article will help you identify some great companies for you to experiment with. There are several out there, and I share with you ones that I've shopped for personally.

What Is Mystery Shopping, and Why Is It Important?

Mystery shopping is a critical way for companies to gather information on what's really going on in the consumer marketplace regarding their products and services.

For instance, the owner of an apartment complex may want to know how their sales consultants are treating prospective renters. They'll hire a mystery shopper to visit the apartment and go through the rental process, stopping short at signing a rental agreement. The shopper will have a set of questions their client will want answers to, and they will complete and submit a report at the conclusion of the shop. That client may pay the shopper $38 to complete what amounts to an hour or so of work.

Or maybe a restaurant is rolling out a new menu item and want to know if their staff is telling customers about it. The mystery shopper will be hired to place an order at that restaurant and document their experience. The client will pay the shopper for completing the shop as well as provide reimbursement for the meal expense.

How Much Money Do Mystery Shoppers Make?

Mystery shopping can pay anywhere from a few dollars per job to over a couple hundred. If a company asks you to pay them to become a mystery shopper, then pass on that company—because it's probably a scam.

Reasons to Mystery Shop

Mystery shopping can be a lot of fun and people shop for a variety of reasons. Set your criteria, and then search for shops that meet those criteria.

I gravitate to the shops that pay at least $20 per shop, shops that seem like they are fun (like test driving a luxury vehicle), shops that are close to home, and/or shops that pay me to get information about a product that I was already going to research (like when I wanted to learn more about Google home products, I did a shop at Best Buy).

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Reasons to ShopWhat You Can Expect

Product Research

You are paid to explore product options or services that you were already planning on researching.

Hobby or Fun

You are paid to explore product options or services that you were already planning on researching.


You want to find opportunities that are located near your home or near places you were going to be going to anyway

Supplemental Income

You want to supplement your income. Depending on how many you do, you can add hundreds of dollars to your monthly income.

6 Mystery Shop Companies That Will Pay You

It's important to share with you companies that I have personal experience with, so you know they aren't scammers. You can also check with the Mystery Shopping Professionals Association for a list of reputable mystery shopping companies.

Each company has its own payout schedule, so consult their pay policy on their website.

You can mystery shop by phone, online, or in-person.

You can mystery shop by phone, online, or in-person.

3 Different Ways to Mystery Shop

Mystery shopping typically happens in three ways. In terms of payment, in-person shops tend to pay the most. Some shops will employ a combination of methods. For instance, you may be asked to request an appointment online or via phone and then go inside the establishment to complete the shop.

Phone Shops

You will place a phone call to your target, most times on a recorded line, and document your interaction.

Online Shops

You will perform the shop either online or via an app. You will pose as a real customer, perform the shop, and document your experience.

In-Person Shops

You could perform a variety of actions on the target's premises, from secretly recording (where legal) your interaction, to taking photos, to observing the environment, to checking prices, to interacting with a targeted employee and documenting your experience.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Liz Westwood from UK on September 27, 2019:

I was interested to read your article as I used to do some mystery shoping in the UK. It was interesting, but it was never going to be a big payer, especially taking into account travel costs and time.

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