Want to find a unique way to make some extra cash? Try mystery shopping. With rising inflation and increasing costs everywhere, generating a side hustle is the new normal.
In fact, two out of three Canadians are trying to find ways to supplement their income. Mystery shopping might be the perfect hustle – you can choose your own job and do it on your own time, all while earning extra money.
Check out my list of the top mystery shopping companies and what each one can offer.
A mystery shopper poses as an average customer to assess the service provided by the staff at retail stores, restaurants, hotels, and other locations.
The companies pay these anonymous mystery shoppers to measure the level of service customers are receiving. It’s an inside look companies wouldn’t get otherwise.
No! It’s not a scam. There are plenty of legitimate companies willing to pay you to assess certain industries and give you feedback on them. However, that’s not to say there aren’t scammers out there.
The legit companies will register with the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA). Also, any company with a good reputation won’t ask for money upfront to become a mystery shopper. Instead, they’ll pay you for your research and feedback.
Top Mystery Shopping Companies
Here are our top picks for the best mystery shopper companies in Canada
Shoppers Confidential, based out of Toronto, is a member of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) and a BBB-accredited business.
Shoppers Confidential might have the largest amount of industries served. It includes everything from retail to restaurants, hospitality, automotive, education, government, and so much more.
Shoppers need to be fluent in English and have a computer and smartphone that can take Geo-located pictures. Select candidates will also need to write detailed reports based on their findings.
Shoppers Confidential pays its independent contractors through PayPal once a month.
Field Agent is a popular app with shoppers across the world. It’s available in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
With Field Agent, you could choose between various tasks – mystery shopping, auditing, and buy and try.
Mystery shoppers rate the product and customer experience, while auditing includes taking photos or videos of product shelving. With buy and try, you purchase a product and provide feedback on it.
A Quebec-based company Premier Service tailors to the clothing, furniture, and service industries, including restaurants, hotels, and financial businesses.
The mystery shopper will evaluate the service they received and identify opportunities for growth, increased sales, and customer loyalty.
Shoppers are paid monthly via PayPal, but you can use an alternative method if necessary.
We Check helps identify and monitor customer satisfaction in person, online, or on the phone.
We Check currently works with big-name companies – Ford, Health Canada, and LCBO. You can register online to become a mystery shopper, and once you’re approved, you’ll find jobs sent to your email or posted on the company’s social media feeds.
Mystery shoppers usually find jobs through other current shoppers. That’s why it’s important to share social media posts and try and generate referrals for your own success and to grow the company.
Lanla has over 20 years of experience in the mystery shopper realm. They advertise that those approved could earn up to $40 per mission.
Lanla offers a mystery shopper’s competitive analysis where businesses can learn of their competitor’s best practices to gather valuable information and help improve their own policies.
Payments get sent by direct deposit, and chosen applicants will need to submit two documents – a Direct Deposit Form and a void cheque.
PerformaLogics is now a part of the iSecretShop brand. They offer a job platform for mystery shoppers who can navigate jobs and opportunities from hundreds of different clients.
PerformaLogic has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and serves many industries, including retail, restaurant, grocery, and hospitality.
Mystery shoppers get paid depending on the client. Some prefer PayPal, while others rely on direct deposit.
Ipsos mystery shoppers review their task and enter a store looking to inspect its cleanliness, ask questions about a specific product or interact with employees. They may also need to purchase a product and then complete a survey or review their experience.
Payment depends on the task. Some tasks aren’t paid, like restaurant visits, but will get you a free meal. Shoppers usually get paid based on their home country, and through PayPal, but another method is possible.
In operation since 1993, Sensors Quality Management offers assignments from around the world.
Mystery shoppers might get paid for jobs like visiting a retail store, car dealership or bank. Other times, shoppers are paid with freebies – a free meal at a restaurant or a free movie visit.
In addition, you can get percentages off everyday items like airfare or bus fare as well as discounts on hotels and other travel necessities.
In business for more than 20 years, Mystery Shopping Canada focuses on the retail, real estate, senior living, healthcare, and hospitality industries.
The company offers many types of shopping programs, including in-store, telephone, price comparison, and competitive.
Mystery shoppers make, on average between $10 to $20 depending on their assigned task. Not all shopper missions are paid, though. Instead, some will come with reimbursement of services or products.
10. Market Force
Market Force operates throughout several countries and manages more than 300,000 mystery shoppers. They offer applicants different ways to measure their experiences – either in-store, on the web, or at the theatre.
Market Force features its own app, where shoppers can check out assignments and select the ones they want, all on the go.
Mystery shoppers get paid monthly by Market Force, and how they receive their payment will depend on which country they live in.
BestMark has been in business since 1986 and uses over 600,000 mystery shoppers to help improve customer experiences and products.
As a BestMark mystery shopper, you can earn money, free meals or services. In addition, you can receive bonuses for referrals and try out new businesses you might not have otherwise.
Shoppers get paid through PayPal, direct deposit, or gift card – their choice. Payment occurs once every month.
A Closer Look has been in the mystery shopper business for over 25 years. They offer expertise in a range of industries, including restaurants, hotels, residential buildings, and senior living.
A mystery shopper will help identify certain client-specific standards and provide an unbiased review of how their operations and customer service hold up.
Clients will use A Closer Look’s Strategic Mystery Shopping Program to help evaluate their training process and set individual benchmarks they can expand as time goes on.
IntelliShop focuses on research to improve the customer’s experience. They provide service to customers in the United States and Canada.
Mystery shoppers can expect to get paid monthly through PayPal for all services rendered.
IntelliShop has a wide range of industries served, everything from banking and finance to healthcare, food service, retail, and much more.
How Do I Become A Mystery Shopper In Canada?
Here’s a general guide on how you can get started:
- Research Legitimate Mystery Shopping Companies: There are many mystery shopping companies out there, but not all of them are legitimate. Start by searching for well-known companies with a good reputation, such as the ones in the list above!
- Apply: Once you’ve found a company you’d like to work with, apply to become a mystery shopper. This usually involves filling out an online application on the company’s website. You may need to provide information about your demographics, your background, and why you’re interested in mystery shopping.
- Complete Any Required Training: Some companies provide training for mystery shoppers. This could be in the form of online courses, quizzes, or reading materials. The training typically covers what to look for during a shop, how to act, and how to report your findings.
- Accept Assignments: The company may send you available shops, or you might be able to select them from a list. Each assignment will have specific instructions about what you’re supposed to do and what to pay attention to.
- Perform the Shop: Go to the assigned location and complete the shop according to the instructions. You might be asked to make a purchase, ask certain questions, or observe specific things. It’s important to act like a regular customer and not give away that you’re a mystery shopper.
- Submit a Report: After the shop, you’ll need to submit a report about your experience. This usually involves answering questions or rating various aspects of the shop. Try to be as detailed and objective as possible. Some companies may require you to submit a report within a certain timeframe.
Industries Served by Mystery Shopping Companies
Here are some key industries that commonly use mystery shopping:
- Retail: Retail businesses use mystery shoppers to measure service quality, compliance with standards, product availability, and how employees handle sales processes. This can include department stores, clothing stores, electronics stores, and more.
- Hospitality: Hotels, resorts, and other accommodation providers use mystery shoppers to evaluate the customer experience from booking to check-out. This can include assessments of cleanliness, facility quality, and employee interactions.
- Food Service: Restaurants, cafes, and fast food outlets use mystery shoppers to evaluate food quality, cleanliness, service speed, and staff behavior. Some companies specialize in alcohol compliance checks to ensure staff are checking ID and serving alcohol responsibly.
- Banking and Financial Services: Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions use mystery shoppers to evaluate customer service, compliance with regulations, and the quality of advice provided.
- Healthcare: Some mystery shopping companies specialize in healthcare, evaluating patient experiences in hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices.
- Automotive: Car dealerships and service centers use mystery shoppers to assess the sales process, the quality of service and repairs, and adherence to brand standards.
- Real Estate: Property management companies and real estate agencies may use mystery shoppers to evaluate their customer service and sales processes.
- Telecommunications: Phone and internet service providers use mystery shoppers to evaluate their customer service, sales processes, and in-store experiences.
- Travel and Transportation: Airlines, bus companies, and travel agencies might use mystery shoppers to assess customer service, booking processes, and the travel experience itself.
- Education: Universities, colleges, and other educational institutions may use mystery shoppers (often called “secret shoppers” in this context) to evaluate their admissions and student services processes.
These are just a few examples. Virtually any industry that interacts with customers can benefit from the insights provided by mystery shopping.
If you’re looking to make some extra money or cash in on freebies like free meals or products, becoming a mystery shopper might be a good idea.
Need more cash? Why not try making money just by driving around? Check out this article for details.