Quite a few people close to me were surprised when I mentioned I had done a couple secret shopping jobs over the past month. Telling others about it usually met with skepticism and disbelief. Just like online survey sites I imagine less than one percent of sites discussing secret shopping are legit. From what I found most were selling the information I intend to give you for free right now.
You may already know that it is illegal to charge someone money for secret shopping. So how are these companies selling the opportunity? They actually are not selling the opportunity, they are selling a list of companies that are supposedly legitimate. I say supposedly only because I have not and will not pay for such a list to verify the information.
Let me also point out that secret shopping requires a bit of real work. You must pay close attention to many areas of the business you shop, may need to take pictures or collect information, shops can take as long as one hour and more, and then you need to fill out a survey regarding the visit giving explanations for your yes and no answers. The upside is being reimbursed to make a purchase or buy a meal you might have purchased anyway and getting some extra money once in a while. In one month doing about 7-8 jobs I made $100. Considering time spent that's little more than $10 per hour.
What kind of secret shops have I done? One day I spent an hour just calling 4 locations of a company and asking questions. I ate at a restaurant I really like anyway. Visited an apartment complex and went on a tour. Went to three branches of a bank and inquired about an account. The nice part about all this is that I never laid out a dime to do any of this, chose each job on my time, and it put some extra money in my pocket. Now I also have a secret shopping resume which allows me access to more jobs.
So where can you find these jobs. Rather than list all the different companies the best place to start is a secret shopping jobs board. There are only two I use and you may be aware of others but these two screen every company that posts on their site. When you go to these job boards you can search available jobs and then you are directed to the individual secret shopping companies site. You register with each company individually. The added advantage to starting at the job boards instead of visiting each secret shopping company is that many secret shopping companies offer jobs in a specific area. Maybe the list you buy for $9.95 gives you 650 secret shopping companies but there are only six that appear to frequently offer jobs in my area.
Without dragging this out I will also mention that the job board sites do offer certification programs to that train you and give you added value in the secret shopping world. They can supposedly increase your eligibility for secret shopping jobs. I have not been certified and never paid out anything, nor have the job boards tried to sell me certification. They are simply there if you want the added expertise. As with my survey site blog, these are not affiliate links and I receive no referral bonuses for telling you about this.
Mystery Shopping Providers Association
Secret Shopping Job Board (JobSlinger.com)