Mystery shopping! Getting Started, Do’s and Don’ts!

Sharing is caring!


Mystery shopping

Mystery shopping is a great way to earn some extra cash for the holidays or to pay down your debt! Follow our tips to get started on the right foot.

Mystery Shopping in a nutshell

1. NEVER pay a fee to join a mystery shopping company!!  Many that require that are a scam and never take a check or money order and deposit it into your account to pay it to another account! That is how a lot of scams are operated!!!

2 Look for reputable companies!

3. Don’t pay for certifications.   I have no certifications and have plenty of shop offers.

4. Even if you are approved with a company there is no guarantee shops will be available in your area. Mystery shopping is more of supplemental sporadic income. All shops have rules you follow, usually no kids, certain dress code, time of day to go, etc.

5. Because you are being paid you must apply and provide Social Security # plus personal references, job history, etc.   Most companies will also collect a writing sample.

6. Because you are an independent contractor, you will receive a form 1099 if you make more than $600 in a year

7. Some shops require digital camera, stop watch, or other electronic devices

8. Shops are mostly self assign online and have to be diligently completed and reported.

9. Some shops may require money out of your pocket upfront to complete the shop. You will be reimbursed after submitting proper documents or sometimes out of pocket is paid to you in the shopping fee.

10. Some shops will require you to watch demos and answer questions about how to perform the shop. You must pass these “quizzes” to get the shop. You can take the “quizzes” many times.

11. Most companies allow you to search for shops within a certain distance from a zip code. So if you will be going to a new town or traveling for vacation, may be able to earn some extra money.

12. Some of the typical places shops are available (this in my area, varies by location) – fast food, banks, movie theaters, office stores, dollar stores, Wal-Mart, optical, clothing, retail stores, hardware stores,  pretty much anywhere.

The more shops you do the more you will learn. I can say from experience the fast food shops are VERY detailed and they don’t pay a lot (you have to shop drive thru first, wait few mins than go inside and spend at least 15 mins inside and timing has to be exact) . I usually ignore those. When it gets closer to the end of the month and shops aren’t completed some companies call you and offer to pay more. I just got a call today, for a Dollar General Video Inventory. Original pay was $8 for 45 mins of work. Today the caller offered me $12 and I accepted, because I go there on Weds. for a merchandising assignment with another company.

The companies I use the most are-> Reality Based Group and ATH Poweronline! Be sure to  check out the company info, and find all their social sites.  Explore the websites and let me know what you think. Also, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!

Michele is a married mom of 3 adult children. She is currently enjoying spending time with her husband in the empty nest. Michele can be found working on a healthy lifestyle, camping or having some frugal fun. Not necessarily in that order!

Latest posts by Michele Brosius (see all)

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    jennie sanderson @jenpsht
    September 20, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    I always thought all mystery shopping things were scams! It is nice to know that that is not true! I am a stay at home mom and I think this would be a good way for me to make a little income on the side!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    really did not know this was actually a paying job..

  • Reply
    September 22, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I really did not know this was actually a paying job.. and i agreejennie thought they were just scamms!!

  • Reply
    September 24, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Thanks for all the information….anyone who is looking into this it will give them plenty of information,,,i had a friend who did this years ago only a few times but she liked it ….TY

Leave a Reply