What: SecretShopper is a mystery shopping company that hires consumers to check out a wide array of businesses, including retail stores, restaurants, financial services and medical concerns

Expected pay: $10 to $25 per shop (or reimbursement)

Husl$core: $$$

Commissions & fees: none

Where: Nationwide

Requirements: Age 18 or over; access to a computer and digital camera or scanner

Review:

SecretShopper is a consumer experience firm that deploys legions of mystery shoppers to discretely check out everything from shoe stores to ice cream vendors and experiences. Like other mystery shopping firms, SecretShopper’s pay is modest. It is either made up of reimbursement for your meal/experience; is set as a flat fee; or is made up of a flat fee, plus reimbursement.

Reimbursements are usually the most generous forms of payment, allowing for you to, say, buy a gourmet meal for two. However, if you break down the pay based on hours spent on both the experience and the requisite write-up afterwards, it’s rare to earn more than minimum wage. And, in many cases, you’re earning considerably less. That may be okay, if the experience is pleasant and something you wanted to do anyway. But, secret shopping is generally better to do as a way to defray your own costs, rather than as a way to make a living. 

SecretShopper vs. BestMark

How does SecretShopper compare with other mystery shopping firms? The types of assignments and pay are almost identical to the jobs offered at BestMark, but there are two differences in how these companies operate. 

BestMark requires its shoppers to have their reports filed by 10 a.m. Central time. SecretShopper gives you until noon Central time. If you happen to live on the West Coast or in, say, Hawaii, that’s a big advantage.

On the other hand, BestMark pays twice monthly. SecretShopper pays just once a month — on the 20th — for jobs done the previous month. Since many shops require a purchase, that’s a long time to wait to be reimbursed. 

Both companies reserve the right to refuse payment, if the mystery shopper delivers an error-riden report; delivers it late; or the client refuses to pay. 

What their shoppers say: (from Indeed)

This is a great opportunity for anyone looking for a little bit of income and the flexibility of being able to set your own working schedule. I worked doing this while I was a full time parent to my two babies.

Jobs were interesting and fun, but with some companies the reports you had to fill out at the end of the shop were tedious, lengthy, and redundant. Most shops also did not pay enough. So it was hard to keep enough work going to enable me to live financially independent.

Paychecks often took weeks to process after shop was done. If the shops involved purchasing food or merchandise, you were only reimbursed for it once you received your pay several weeks later. 

OK to do for a second job. Pay is usually very small fee plus reimbursement for what you spent. No reimbursement for gas or mileage for shops that you have to travel for.

A typical job will only take you 30 minutes – 1 hour to complete, but the write up can take up to 2 hours to complete. Most jobs pay only $7.00-$15.00. Sometimes you can get free things, such as a meal, out of it. Trying to find jobs is hard and you are never guaranteed that you will find one.

 The hardest part of any job is completing reports. The most enjoyable thing about this job was that you work with no supervision.