Basics:

BestMark sends freelance mystery shoppers to businesses, restaurants and retail stores in exchange for a small stipend.

Expected pay: $10 – $25 per job

Husl$core: $$$

Commissions & fees: NA

Where: Nationwide

Requirements: 18 or older; reliable transportation; internet and computer access; good communication skills

What is BestMark?

BestMark is a consumer experience company that contracts with consumers willing to conduct mystery shops nationwide.

How it works:

Signing up for BestMark is relatively easy. However, the site will want to ask you dozens of questions about you, your family, products you have in your home and things you do. Some examples include whether you have memberships with Costco, Sam’s Club, Amazon Prime or Roku.

They also want to know whether you own Apple products or have smart devices connected to Google or Amazon. Your answers to these questions will help determine whether you qualify for different mystery shopping gigs.

Once signed up, you’ll have access to open shops in your area. You can choose how far you’re willing to travel, from 3 to 100 miles.

BestMark review:

BestMark is one of the truly national mystery shopping firms, with shops in nearly every major market area.

That means this company provides opportunity for almost anyone interested in this type of work. The flip side is that BestMark’s pay and reimbursement rates are not generous. Typically, the site pays a $5-$25 stipend and, sometimes, provides reimbursement for a product. But, reimbursements are also modest.

When we checked the site in April of 2024, reimbursements for a variety of shops ranged from $5 to $25. For example, one supermarket shop in the Washington, D.C. area offered a $10 stipend, plus up to $15 to buy supermarket sushi. Several in Texas offered no cash payments, but a reimbursement of up to $25 for a car wash.

The best paying jobs we saw on the site recently paid $35 for getting a free eyebrow or bikini line wax. (This was to check out whether a chain was providing a promised free service on a consumer’s first visit.)

So, while there’s almost always work available, it’s mostly pretty poorly paid.

The good part

This is obviously not well-paid work. However, mystery shopping has some redeeming qualities. For instance, if you happen to want an eyebrow or bikini wax, doing it as a mystery shop provides extra compensation for something you would do anyway.

Several BestMark mystery shops also provided reimbursement for meals. One in Colorado, for instance, required you and a friend to go to a bar for happy hour and order appetizers and drinks. There are clearly worse ways to earn money.

That said, other mystery shopping firms pay more — and some have better and more richly reimbursed dining experiences too.

Deadlines

Once you schedule a shop, the site will expect you to complete the job within the time frame stated on the request. And you must file a report before 10 a.m. — Central time — the following day.

Failure to complete the shop as scheduled or file the report on time can jeopardize getting paid. And, they don’t care if you live in Hawaii and it’s not even light yet when the report is due.

Pay

Pay comes in three varieties — a flat fee; a flat fee plus reimbursement for a product; or simple reimbursement. However, when you factor in your cost of getting to and from the shop; completing the observation and filing the report, the pay rarely adds to much.

BestMark pays mystery shoppers twice monthly by either direct deposit, PayPal or gift card.

Recommendations

If you’re just looking for pay, look elsewhere. But, if you’re looking for a way to get someone to subsidize your grocery/electronics/clothing/restaurant bills, it’s worth a try. But, don’t forget about the deadlines. You can sign up with BestMark here.

Other mystery shopping sites that might offer better opportunity: Service Evaluation Concepts, which offers better compensation, and EyeSpy, which offers generous reimbursements for nice restaurant meals.

Then we’d suggest that you sign up with several companies and cherry pick the jobs you want. Another mystery shopping firm to consider: Secret Shopper.

What their shoppers say (from Indeed)

It was not a lot of money, but it was fun to do.

It is easy and I am able to be home with my daughter. I am given certain amount of points a day, and then able to work on those for a certain amount of time.

I’ve been doing mystery shops for a while now because it allows me to be a stay at home mother and earn a little income without having to pay for day care services. I enjoy giving feedback on customer service and products provided and it has kept me active with modern technology, since it is all online.

Entertaining

Conducting anonymous surveys at some of your favorite restaurants, hotels, retail stores.

The most enjoyable part of the job is being able to eat, shop and play for payment and or reimbursements.

I usually can do shops were I will be refunded for things I like doing.

Time suck, low pay

An individual would have to be desperate to do this work. BestMark will give you 1 hour of pre-shop study material (all their specifications as to just what and how you must do everything, including a test) … then 1 1/2 to 2 hours to complete their detailed shop and driving time, then another hour to complete the actual paperwork submitted online with all the details of the ‘shop’ written up for them. In my case, it was $15.00 offered for what would have been 4 hours of work plus gas expense out of my pocket.

Updated 4/8/2024

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