Secret shopper jobs (also known as mystery shopper jobs, shadow shopper jobs, mystery consumer, etc) are not strictly work from home opportunities, but many people love the idea of getting paid for doing something a bit covert outside of the home!
Let’s face it – who wouldn’t mind getting paid just for visiting local stores or restaurants and assessing how good the service is? I think we would all find that enjoyable to some degree, but a more important question should be…can it earn you a good income?
In truth, the answer to that question is unfortunately a “maybe”, and we say that because any earning potential is dependent on a number of factors, mostly personal to you.
However, let’s get one thing straight before we go any further…secret shopping is big business, and the potential to earn an income (of some kind) IS definitely there.
But why is there such a demand for secret shoppers?
Good question. Believe it or not, companies around the world have been employing people to spy on their businesses for over 50 years, and it has become one of the most trusted ways to measure the quality of the service they provide.
So great is the value placed on this type of consumer research, the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) estimated that in 2009 the secret shopper industry had an estimated value of over $800 million in the United States alone, with Europe and the rest of the world also reporting it to be a rapid growth industry.
So if secret shopping is so ‘in demand’, what’s stopping you from taking advantage?
Let’s first talk about the personal factors mentioned earlier. One of the main points to consider as a secret shopper is that jobs might be offered to you at random times during the day (depending on the type of job being offered), and this will require you to structure your spare time around any jobs that you consider.
While this might not be a problem for some people, many new secret shoppers comment on how difficult they find it to get into the rhythm of planning their week around jobs, and maintaining their spare time commitments.
Make no mistake…this is not an income killer, but it can affect how many jobs you can commit to, and this can restrict your earning potential.
Another point often overlooked by those seeking secret shopper employment is the need to have transport! Good secret shopper companies will always offer jobs that are local to you, but most times you will be required to either drive or use public transport.
Again, this might not be a problem for the majority of people, but it is an additional cost that should be considered…especially if you are only able to commit to the occasional job.
One final point often overlooked by many people is ‘what’ is expected of you as a secret shopper. Yes, this is a fun way to earn some extra cash, but you will be expected to apply a high level of attention to detail when you complete a secret shop.
Jobs are always specific in nature, so you are fully expected to complete tasks EXACTLY as requested by the company. Experienced secret shoppers will tell you to kit yourself out with various items that help to capture and record everything requested for the job, and this can definitely help.
Most of us can equip ourselves with things like notepads, pens/pencils, stopwatches, and cameras, but don’t be surprised if you eventually consider buying items like flip camcorders, handheld voice recorders, PDA’s, or any other advanced spy tools to make the job easier!
Now for the $1m question raised earlier…what can you expect to earn?
That’s a tough question to answer! When you consider the above I’m sure you will appreciate that your potential earnings can be affected by a number of factors, and that is why you should only ever expect to earn a part time/low income from secret shopper jobs.
That’s absolutely fine for people who don’t expect to earn a high income, but if you’re looking to earn a full time income (or greater), you would be much better off looking at other work from home opportunities with greater potential.
Some tips to help you avoid secret shopper scams…
In recent times there has been an increase in the number of scam companies offering secret shopper jobs both online and offline. The video below explains how to spot a scam, and where you can find genuine secret shopper jobs:
One final tip that is NOT mentioned in the video is…
NEVER pay to join a secret shopper program!
There are a number of websites on the Internet asking you to pay a fee to join their secret shopper program, and this is an indication that you might be scammed. Secret shopper companies make their information freely available on the Internet, and under no circumstances should you pay to get a list of secret shopper jobs.
If you do come across a website asking you for payment, please report it to us so that we can warn others from paying for something that is freely available online.