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Want to be a mystery shopper? These are the best companies in 2023

What is a mystery shopper? Essentially, they’re like corporate quality control for brick-and-mortar retail and food establishments. They’re sent in anonymously and asked to behave like a regular customer and provide a thorough report on their experience. They sometimes make price comparisons with competing companies.

Mystery shoppers offer insight into what’s happening in a given chain or franchise. The real question is, do you have what it takes? It’s an excellent way to make some extra income.

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How much do mystery shoppers make?

It depends significantly on the company and the type of place you’re stepping into as a mystery shopper. Some companies may only offer a small stipend and reimbursement for any costs incurred on your scheduled outing.

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Indeed claims that mystery shoppers can earn up to $35,473 per year, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not back this figure.

If you’re looking for work as a mystery shopper, you might consider reaching out to market research companies like Elite CXS, Sinclair Customer Metrics and IntelliShop.

Some job boards may also offer lucrative opportunities. As you grow in your career, you’ll be able to make new connections that can lead to new assignments.

Being a mystery shopper is unlike most ordinary jobs for reasons that should be more than obvious. You’ll get a taste of numerous things as you work. Many companies will let you keep the stuff you buy, even after being reimbursed.

Restaurants, retail stores, banks, and even places like beauty salons benefit from the information they can glean from an incredible mystery shopper. There are some things to know before quitting your day job, however.

The downsides to being a mystery shopper

It might sound like a lot of fun, but just like any other job, you could be surprised by how different it is from your ordinary shopping routine. 

It’s challenging to break in as a full-time career shopper, which is probably one thing to understand before trying. Many mystery shoppers are freelancers, and it’s a highly competitive profession.

Often, gigs may not offer you the cash up-front. So if you can’t afford the initial investment of buying stuff out-of-pocket, you might want to consider another profession. Also, travel expenses are not always covered.

If you aren’t passionate about what you’re reviewing, food, clothing stores, or any other commercial establishment, you probably won’t be as attuned to all the stuff you need to watch out for. Those with an excellent eye for detail and quality will thrive.

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