Company Overview: Founded in 1986, Bestmark “Is one of the nation’s largest customer experience measurement and mystery shopping companies.” They perform more than 500,000 field visits (mystery shops, audits, and exit interviews) annually and boast of a field force of 200,000 strong. Shops are located in the US including Nevada, Canada, and other countries. According to their website, they hold a PI license in Nevada that allows shoppers to work there.
They serve all industries, but have a major concentration in make-specific oil change/tire rotation shops. For example, the shop will require a certain GM make such as a Chevrolet or Cadillac.
The home office is located in Minnesota and their unique website can be found here, http://www.bestmark.com/. Payment is made by check that is cut on every second Friday and mailed the following week. This company does penalize for late submissions in the amount of 10% of your stated maximum fee or $2.00, whichever is greater. They blog frequently about mystery shopping on several social media sites. MSPA membership is maintained. The BBB accredits Bestmark and rates it A+.
Experiences with Bestmark: Many comments on the forum are similar to my experience that most of their shops are for auto service shops for a specific GM make. Because my car is a different make, I have not performed such a shop for them. In addition, they have a smattering of retail and restaurant shops that to date have not been a good match for this shopper.
The fees for the auto shops are quite attractive, routinely running $25-60, sometimes with a travel cash bonus in the range of $10 and up. In addition, the website has a travel location button that shows shops up to a 150 mile radius. Those shops routinely have higher fees and travel cash bonuses sometimes equal to or higher than the fees themselves. I and other shoppers on the forum find fees for the retail and restaurant shops less than industry average.
Client names are not disclosed on the job board. Only the city and zip code are revealed at this stage. However auto dealers are often the client, so if one knows the area or does a quick Google search, one can often deduce the destination before applying. The number of discussions on the forum currently make it the forth-most discussed company, edging out three others for the spot.
What others have to say: Mystery Shop Forum users overall like this company and cite it as a good one for beginners for their excellent instructions and sample narratives. They state payment is quick and made as promised. In addition, this company is called responsive to shoppers inquiries. Fee reductions are a fact of doing business with Bestmark. However, from the postings, they seem to be done less often in recent times. Only one one shopper account for at each physical address. A shared account for husband and wife is the solution as reported by one shopper.
Hundreds of blog postings on various subjects related to mystery shopping are on their Facebook and other social media sites. As you might imagine from a company that is perhaps the most active MSP in social media, it monitors the forum and occasionally responds to questions or comments.
Overall: My next car may or may not be a General Motors vehicle. What is clear is the availability of Bestmark’s high fee auto shops for certain GM makes will be a factor in that decision. For shoppers that own or have access to a required vehicle, those shops alone make it worth checking their job board. This large MSP is generally well-liked by shoppers and pays quickly. It is also social media savvy, with frequent blogs about mystery shopping. This is a good one to add to your list of companies.