Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.
Friday, August 12th
Market Force is a huge name in the mystery shopping industry. Their global network of shoppers completes more than 100,000 assignments every month. In business for more than 50 years, this is a company you can trust to offer a mystery shopping experience that's always on the up-and-up.
Ever been convicted?
If you're interested in becoming a Market Force shopper, start by creating an account (side note: the system didn't accept the primary email we entered, so we had to use a different email address to move past the first step here). We thought it was interesting that in the very first questions Market Force asks, you need to indicate if you've ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, as well as whether or not you've been a defendant in a lawsuit alleging fraud or misrepresentation. They're not messing around!
Easily see local jobs
The rest of the application has no surprises. First, you'll read through the Independent Contractor Agreement (which is where you'll learn that direct deposit payments here are made between the 15th and 20th of the month for assignments completed in the previous month). Once you've digitally accepted the agreement, you're given access to the Market Force Shopper Portal as a Level 1 mystery shopper. Click on the Level Up button to add details to your profile and move up to the next level; information required to move to Level 2 includes your SSN and bank account, in order to process your payments. We really like that even as a Level 1 shopper, people can browse available assignments: no Social Security Number or super-personal info required.
Some jobs let you ask for greater pay
We found quite a few shops available in our location, a mid-size metro area. It was easy to see the exact address, the assignment details, and how much the job would pay. A feature unique to Market Force is the ability to make an offer, shown by a green circle with a hand holding a dollar sign in the middle. We're not sure how often shoppers' bids for higher payments are accepted, but it's an interesting option you won't see with many other mystery shopping companies.
Most jobs in our area, good pay
At the time of this review, there were almost 100 open assignments within a 45-minute drive of the location we specified. Some of those included a visit to a barber shop ($20 shop fee plus up to $50 reimbursed for a haircut), several Five Guys locations ($9 shop fee plus meal reimbursement up to $15.45), and a self-storage facility ($15 shop fee).
Mystery shopping jobs
Some of Market Force's mystery shopping opportunites include Restaurants, Retail, Grocery, Gas/C-store, Hospitality, Travel, Telecom, Technology, Energy, Education, Health and Wellness, Movie Theaters, Fitness, Financial Services, Gaming, CPG, Alcohol and Tobacco, Pharma, and Government services.
We love the new mobile app
One upgrade Market Force has given its mystery shoppers since our last review is a fully mobile app experience. It's called Eyes: On and it lets you see a map of shops near you (even on vacation or running errands outside of your usual local area), schedule an assignment, enter your report and take pictures. It's just that easy.
You'll need to be very accurate
What kind of feedback does Market Force get from its mystery shoppers? This company has a reputation for demanding excellence: cross every "t" , dot every "i" , and record every required detail, otherwise your assignment may be rejected and you won't get paid or reimbursed. For some, the requirements here are too strict: we found more than a few complaints from mystery shoppers saying that they hadn't gotten a timely response from Market Force's help desk and wound up wasting time and money trying to complete an un-doable assignment. On the other hand, we also read numerous reviews from mystery shoppers who have been a part of the Market Force team for years (decades, even) and describe the experience as fantastic as long as you pay close attention to detail - which is what you should expect from any secret shopping company anyway.
Definitely a mystery shopping company you should consider
Market Force gets one of our highest ratings. The company offers one of the most modernized mystery shopper experiences out there, with a mobile app for booking shops and submitting reports, plus the novel capability of bidding for a higher payout. This service gets an "A+" and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, as well as plenty of positive feedback from long-term mystery shoppers. You're not going to get rich here, but if you'd like to make a little money on the side while you get free meals, haircuts, and other experiences, Market Force absolutely offers that.
In today's economy, everyone's got a side hustle, from making crafts to sell on Etsy to delivering people's takeout meals. What if you could get paid to eat at your favorite restaurant, get your oil changed, or scope out the newest coffee shop in town? That's what hundreds of thousands of mystery shoppers have been doing - for decades.
This is no "here today, gone tomorrow" gig: companies have relied on the intel gathered by mystery shoppers to get first-hand perspective on their signage, customer service experience, product quality and more. What does it take to be a "secret shopper" ? Attention to detail is crucial: some evaluations may have just a few aspects to track (like cleanliness of an entryway and a particular ad's signage), but others require more.
For example, some mystery shopping programs require you to keep track of specific times and names of salespeople while discreetly snapping photos and not blowing your cover as an everyday customer. And yes, a little bit of acting skills can go a long way when doing a mystery shop, since you may have to pretend to be very interested in that new cell phone plan, hot menu item, or fancy new construction home. Other than that, as long as you look at mystery shopping as a fun way to make some money and not as a career, you should have no trouble succeeding as an evaluator.
A word of caution: mystery shopping companies' names are often used to target victims in money laundering scams. Most of today's secret shopping platforms make payments via PayPal, and never in advance of doing a shop; you won't be "invited" to be a mystery shopper with a $1900 cashier's check in the mail. If you receive anything like that, you should contact the company through the toll-free number on their website and ask how they would like you to go about reporting it to the authorities (such as the Federal Trade Commission or the police department). And, whatever you do, DON'T CASH THAT CHECK.
It's also important to realize that you should never be asked to pay to be a mystery shopper. In the past, some less-than-reputable websites have offered to "unlock the secrets" of mystery shopping for a membership fee or one-time payment - when in reality, all you get is a list of secret shopper companies (like the ones we've evaluated here, for free).
Enough about the tricky stuff: let's move on to choosing a mystery shopping company to get you started. Here are several factors to help you pick where to begin:
TopConsumerReviews.com has sorted through today's most popular mystery shopping programs, to give you the information you need to get started on your new side gig. We hope this helps you choose a company that's the right fit for you. Have fun being a "secret shopper" !
Select any 2 Mystery Shopping Companies to compare them head to head