Mystery shopping can be a fun way to bring in a little extra money. While it won’t make you rich or take the place of a full-time job, it can provide you with some much needed gas money and sometimes free stuff. And who doesn’t like free stuff?
But when signing up for jobs, you need to consider not only how much the job pays, but how much you’ll spend on gas and whether your time investment is worth the payoff. If the shop is a fun one, like seeing a movie and reviewing it or visiting a restaurant, then it might be worth a lower payout.
However, if you find that after calculating in the cost of gas, etc., you’re making less than minimum wage for your time, then you may not want to sign up for that particular job.
At any rate, if you’re between jobs or just wanting to bring in a little extra cash, mystery shopping can be an excellent way to do just that.
Some important tips to remember when applying for shopping positions:
- Don’t pay money for a job EVER (See NOTE ahead). Do not pay for certification of any kind. Do not pay a fee.
- NEVER, under any circumstances, wire money as part of an assignment.
- Avoid mystery shopping companies that advertise on Craigslist or in the help wanted section of newspapers.
- Do not buy anything from the company, including a directory of “opportunities.”
Bottom line: be cautious. MysteryShop.org is an excellent resource when evaluating the legitimacy of a mystery shopping opportunity.
Here’s a list of 20 mystery shopping companies currently hiring in the U.S.:
Note: I’ve done my best to research these companies and make sure they’re legit. However, it’s up to you, ultimately, to do your own due diligence.
You can find some excellent reviews of some of these companies in Real Ways to Earn Money Online’s Mystery Shopping section. Good luck!
If you’d like to learn more about mystery shopping in general, I recommend The Mystery Shopper’s Manual by Cathy Stucker, which is available on Amazon.