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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!
IntelliShop is another one of the "old guard" when it comes to mystery shopping. In business since the 1990s, this provider maintains an "A" rating with the Better Business Bureau and was named a 2017 Top Company for Shopper Insights by Quirk's Magazine.
We like the amount of detail offered on the main shopper page. You can expect an application process that involves filling out their form, taking a brief aptitude test, and downloading the apps that they use for shop notifications and verification of your geographic location (the apps are free and optional). There's also a great section that includes four topic areas: News and Alerts, Shopper FAQ, Job Board Basics, and Insite 101. We strongly suggest you take the time to go through those sections, as they contain everything you need to know before applying to work with IntelliShop. The application itself goes through a system known as SASSIE; if you've applied with other mystery shopping companies, you'll find this application to be very familiar.
For newer shoppers, IntelliShop may be a lot to handle. In looking through the five dozen complaints on the BBB site, a common thread seemed to emerge: mystery shoppers who hadn't followed all of the requirements to the letter were being denied payment for their jobs. In an industry like mystery shopping, it is critical that every instruction be followed to the letter in order for the evaluation to be valid and submittable to the end client. While it is absolutely understandable for IntelliShop to have such high standards, we found secret shopper comments in other places saying that their representatives can be overly negative when relaying their concerns on incorrectly-completed shopping assignments.
IntelliShop checks the boxes, so to speak, when it comes to providing thorough information before applying and an easy-to-understand process. They also have a long history in the mystery shopping industry. But, if you're brand-new to being a secret shopper, you'll want to make sure you pay meticulous attention to detail when filling out your shop evaluations in order to have a successful experience.
To help you find the Best Mystery Shopping, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Best Mark and IntelliShop.
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.
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:
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!
Benefits of Mystery Shopping
If you're thinking of becoming a mystery shopper, there are a number of benefits awaiting you. In addition to terrific hours, the convenience of taking a family vacation without asking the boss and having more fun at any job than most people will ever dream of having, you will enjoy the potential for a decent income at a job that offers plenty of free perks. Below are just a handful of detailed benefits for mystery shoppers.
Flexible work schedule. When you get a job as a mystery shopper, you receive paperwork necessary for your evaluation and you will enjoy being able to arrive at work according to your own schedule. Once you have completed your assessment, you simply fill out the evaluation and submit it to the company that hired you. Being able to set your own hours and work as much or as little as you want are two of the greatest benefits to being a mystery shopper.
Variety. Instead of sitting in the same old office and staring out the same old window every day, mystery shopping offers a literal change in scenery. One day you may be evaluating a retail store, the next a fine restaurant and the next a movie theater. Can you imagine being paid to watch a movie or dine out? If you would enjoy getting out of a career slump, mystery shopping may be the boost that you need.
Income potential. Whether you want to participate in mystery shopping as a way to earn a few extra bucks or you want to turn it into a part or full-time career, the choice is yours. The more mystery shopping companies that you sign up with, the more income you may receive. As is the case with anything, your reward(s) that you receive will largely be determined by your efforts.
Be in business for yourself. The fact is that you are the best boss that you will ever have. When you work for yourself as a mystery shopper, you are working on your schedule, according to your hours and have more control over your income. Self-employed individuals receive tax advantages, receive higher rates of pay and are much more likely to enjoy their work.
Free stuff. When you are a mystery shopper, you are assigned a job that requires you to evaluate either a product or service. You will be given specific instructions as to what items, if any, are required to be purchased in accordance with your evaluation. Whether it is a slice of pizza or a pair of sunglasses, you will almost always be reimbursed for the cost of these items by the company who hires you as a mystery shopper. What this means for you is, in addition to being compensated financially for your job, you will also often enjoy the benefits of freebies.
Interesting work. At the end of the day, which side of the customer counter would you prefer to be on? Would you rather be the cashier ringing up the purchase or would you rather be shopping and getting paid for it? If you are like most, the latter is the most appealing option. When you are a mystery shopper, your work is never boring because it varies from one day to the next. You can never get bored by seeing the same people every day or doing the same activities. Mystery shopping will keep you stepping high and well over any slumps that a traditional job may offer.
Mystery Shopping In The News
There are a lot of reasons to be wary of mystery shopper opportunities. Let's dissect an actual example shared by a couple of our astute readers who called to see if this was just a scam and if so, to ...
Published: Thu, 15 Nov 2018 04:00:00 GMT
This week, a man reached out to our 11 Call for Action team when he was tricked into thinking he landed a new job as a mystery shopper. It turns out it was just a scam, and he lost hundreds of ...
Published: Sun, 04 Nov 2018 12:40:00 GMT
A shopper was left mystified after a UFO appeared in the sky above Exeter's Ikea store. Steve Shaw saw the glowing sight moving through sky at around 4.30pm on Wednesday. Perplexed at what it might be ...
Published: Thu, 15 Nov 2018 04:34:00 GMT
Mr Nguyen was hit by an unknown car on the evening of May 24, 2016, while walking home from Inala Shopping Centre. Van Phuc Nguyen, 50, was captured buying groceries at the Inala Woolworths prior to h...
Published: Thu, 15 Nov 2018 03:55:00 GMT
On Veterans Day, the 86-year-old Korean War veteran, who still works, was shopping for a new wood-burning ... Springdale on Sunday (Nov. 11) when the mystery man paid for the wood-burning stove ...
Published: Tue, 13 Nov 2018 17:44:00 GMT
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) --A man thought he landed a new job as a mystery shopper. It turns out it was just a scam, and he lost hundreds of dollars. Katie Pelton explains what to watch for in th...
Published: Thu, 01 Nov 2018 13:09:00 GMT
Yet after three weeks, residents are left with a terrifying mystery that goes beyond the shocking deaths ... social media accounts show. She adores shopping and Starbucks Frappuccinos, her aunt, Jenni...
Published: Mon, 05 Nov 2018 23:27:00 GMT
The shopper wants to buy a holiday home on the Isle of Wight, costing about £300,000. She has a mortgage on her south London home, which is valued at £500,000. She wants to know whether she should rem...
Published: Wed, 14 Nov 2018 03:36:00 GMT
When the design agency Sigma carried out a mystery shopping exercise in the leisure sector this summer, it found a quarter of businesses could not accommodate a wheelchair while and a third were unabl...
Published: Tue, 13 Nov 2018 11:56:00 GMT
River Park is getting a flurry of new businesses. Two new restaurants are opening, more are on the way and a new boutique is coming soon. Some of the businesses are going into buildings that have sat ...
Published: Wed, 07 Nov 2018 09:45:00 GMT
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