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      July 19, 2018

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Best Mark vs Market Force

Best Mystery Shopping Programs

To help you find the Best Mystery Shopping, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Best Mark and Market Force.

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Who wouldn't love to get paid to shop, eat out, or go to the movies? That may sound too good to be true, but thousands of mystery shoppers across the US and Canada are doing just that: getting paid to visit restaurants, retail stores, and even theme parks in order to provide a customer's perspective on the cleanliness, service, and overall experience at the location.

How does mystery shopping work? Most "secret shoppers", as they are also known, are hired by third-party companies that specialize in helping businesses evaluate their performance. These third-party providers maintain a database of all of the current opportunities in your area, allowing you to apply for the jobs you'd like to do.

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Best Reviews

2018

Mystery Shopping Reviews

4 stars
Best Mark

BEST MARK Visit Site

Types:

Automotive, Banking/Financial, Entertainment (theatre, theme park), Gas Station/C-Store, Grocery, Health Care, Insurance, Lodging (hotel, motel, inns, etc.), Restaurant F&B (casual & fine dining), Retail - General, Restaurant F&B (Casual & Fine Dining)

With more than 10,000 mystery shopping opportunities per month, it's no surprise that BestMark is a popular choice among secret shoppers. This provider has over 500,000 contractors working as mystery shoppers, doing observations and evaluations at hotels, restaurants, and many other locations.

We love how much information BestMark provides prior to signing up for a mystery shopping account. There are clear descriptions of the qualifications you need in order to apply (be aware that this is one of the few companies that require mystery shoppers to be at least 19, not 18). You can even click on the link for your particular state to see if they typically have shops near your location.

Where you'll find the bulk of the information you're looking for is on the BestMark FAQ, using the link on the right side of the mystery shopper main page. There you'll find a very detailed list of the kinds of specifics you'll need to include as you evaluate restaurants, hotels, gas stations and more. Pay close attention: one of the most common complaints about BestMark - and many other mystery shopping providers - is that they expect perfection in the evaluations submitted by their secret shoppers. The FAQ also spells out the compensation process at BestMark, one of the few companies in our review that does not use PayPal or another electronic form of payment delivery but rather uses traditional paper checks that are sent 3-4 weeks after a shop is complete.

For that reason, we were surprised to see that BestMark allows shoppers to join their team either by entering an email address or by connecting using Facebook. Whichever route you choose, be aware that you'll have to verify your information (e.g. clicking on a verification link sent to your email), so you won't be able to enter fake details just to get a look at their application process or shopper portal.

Another aspect that makes BestMark more appealing to mystery shoppers is that they also offer the opportunity to work as an Exit Interviewer. If the "cloak and dagger" of being a hidden evaluator doesn't appeal to you, you may prefer this style of evaluation: gathering information from customers as they leave a store rather than sneakily observing what goes on inside.

So, what do experienced mystery shoppers have to say about working as a contractor for BestMark? Overall, comments are positive and include praise such as "fast pay", "clear requirements", and "great way to get oil changes and tire rotations for free". Many contractors said that yes, car dealerships are one of the most frequent types of shops available. On the downside, we saw several people with the same comment that there weren't always many jobs to choose from in one's local area, making it more likely that they had to travel farther than their preferred location if they wanted to do any mystery shops.

Generally speaking, BestMark offers a good amount of information prior to the signup process and has a strong reputation in the mystery shopping industry for paying quickly and being very clear with their shop requirements. If you choose to sign up as a mystery shopper with BestMark, with luck you'll be able to find many of their 10,000+ assignments in your local area!

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3.5 stars
Market Force

MARKET FORCE Visit Site

Types:

Banking/Financial, Entertainment (theatre, theme park), Fast Food, Gas Station/C-Store, Grocery, Restaurant F&B (casual & fine dining), Retail - General

As an accredited business with an A+ rating at the BBB and MSPA Shoppers' Choice awards in both 2016 and 2017, MarketForce is a reputable source for mystery shopping jobs today.

When you visit the MarketForce intro page for secret shoppers, you'll find a basic overview of their process, including a demonstration of their mobile app. This app, known as Eyes:On, allows you to search for mystery shopping opportunities as well as submit completed shops from your phone - much easier than trying to remember everything later, and helping you keep your "cover" while walking around the shop (instead of trying to take notes on paper).

Unfortunately, that's the extent of the information they offer prior to creating an account on the MarketForce site. You'll have to create an account in order to see exactly what types of shops are in your area. We went through the account set-up process and found, however, that you can create a dummy account to get a feel for their dashboard and shopper expectations. Fortunately, you don't have to enter your SSN to get to that point, unlike many of the other mystery shopping companies we surveyed.

That means that you can actually see real shops that are available in your area today. For example, when we entered our zip code, we found more than 100 shops that we could apply for, most of which were either burger places, grocery stores, or small retail businesses. This is one of the few mystery shopping sites where you can access that kind of information without providing your SSN, and we definitely recommend you take advantage of that availability.

That also gave us a window into how much MarketForce pays for their shops. We weren't impressed. One shop for a small retail location offered $8, or if the mystery shopper got to a location and found out that it was actually closed, they'd be paid $4. How would you feel if you drove to a location only to find out it was no longer in business? Would $4 cover your gas and time? Probably not.

We also weren't thrilled with what many mystery shoppers had to say about MarketForce's contractor support. We found comments describing how they were unavailable during priority shops and didn't get the answer to the shopper in time to complete the shop, and then the mystery shopper was penalized for a late or incomplete report. Many secret shoppers also say that you should expect MarketForce to be extremely strict when it comes to the quality of your evaluations; misspell a sales associate's name or leave out one answer, and you are likely to not be paid for the shop.

Because of how stressful that would be for new shoppers, we think MarketForce may be a better choice for seasoned mystery shoppers. Their reputation is excellent, as demonstrated by their BBB grade and their Peoples' Choice awards at the MSPA, making MarketForce a solid mystery shopping provider - just maybe not if you're brand new to the industry.

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Continued from above

Sometimes, if there's a high-priority shop near you, you may even receive a direct invitation to do the assignment. Of course, in order to be eligible, you'll likely have to fill out an application to be accepted as a mystery shopper for each provider that interests you.

Payment varies by company; some mystery shops pay you for your time, while others reimburse you for making a purchase that you get to keep. In either case, you'll be expected to fill out some kind of survey or evaluation regarding your experience in order to get paid. Most mystery shopping companies make payments via PayPal, though some still use traditional paper checks for their contractors.

No matter which mystery shopping company you choose, however, you should never have to pay to be a secret shopper: though you can opt for shopper training and certification to increase your chances of being selected for certain jobs, joining a reputable company's shopper database shouldn't cost you anything.

When considering the many different companies that specialize in hiring mystery shoppers, there are several aspects to keep in mind. Some of these include:

  • Selection. How many businesses does the company work with? Do they have any businesses that you'd enjoy reviewing?
  • Transparency. Does the company offer plenty of information upfront about their process for hiring mystery shoppers? Or do you have to give them your information first?
  • Reputation. Does the mystery shopping company have a good track record for quality jobs, on-time payments, and support for their secret shoppers?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best mystery shopping providers available today. We hope this free information gets you on the road to your secret shopping experience right away!

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