Paul Lamb

Research Services Group

Research Services Group is the mystery shopping division of Mystery Researchers. Their website defines the company as a “business intelligence provider” which, in addition to mystery shopping, also provides audits and standards compliance inspections, online and phone surveys, pricing evaluations and app performance testing. Mystery Researchers started out as a home-based business in 2008 and has been very successful. They are now headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with west coast operations in Redondo Beach, California.

The company acquired Insula Research last month and, according to Mystery Researchers CEO, Lisa van Kesteren, “This will not be the only move our organization makes this year in synergizing our forces with those organizations that we deem a fit.” (quoted from It should be interesting to see what else happens this year; I have noticed some Maritz Research jobs on the Research Services Group job board lately.

The recent acquisition of Insula seems to be the main topic of discussion about this company on It is causing quite a stir since it has brought about a change in their payment schedule. This company has always paid shoppers every two weeks, but has changed their payment policy, effective at the end of September 2014. Shops completed in a calendar month will now be paid on the 15th of the following month. Shoppers will still receive payment through Paypal.

There is also quite a bit of discussion and confusion about the name of the company since emails from editors and schedulers from Research Services Group are addressed from I experienced the same confusion after being assigned my first shop and receiving an email from a scheduler.

They have shops in all different industries including home improvement stores, fast food, banking, high-end car sales, cell phones, auto parts stores and more, depending on which part of the country you shop. As far as I can tell, Research Services Group mainly provides services in the United States.

RSG pays about the same as other companies. The home improvement shops and fast food audits pay $15 in my area. The home improvement shops do not require a purchase and the fast food audits require a purchase for which they will reimburse $1. There is very little narrative but some of the shop requirements seem a little silly to me. I won’t go into specifics due to the confidentiality agreement. They will sometimes add a bonus to shops at the end of the month and I did notice some luxury car shops on the job board for some areas that pay $75.

Signing up with Research Services Group is very easy as they use the Sassie platform with the basic one page registration and independent contractor agreement. Upon registering, shoppers receive an email to confirm their email address and contains the log-in information. Shoppers will then be asked to complete an extended profile before applying for shops. New shoppers can register here:

I have completed eight assignments for this company and have had no problems with the schedulers or editors. I have had to reschedule shops and received a response from the schedulers almost immediately. They have always paid in a timely manner and I have only received one email from their editors for clarification on my report.

I have already noticed more jobs on the board since they merged with Insula Research and hopefully that trend will continue. I would recommend this company for all shoppers, even those with limited experience. Research Services Group seems to be on track to become one of the largest mystery shopping companies in the United States.

Your Comments:

  1. Joswinder says:

    I am not excited they bought up Insula one of the few remaining good companies out there. The schedulers at Mystery researchers suck. They operate in the same manner as Maritz you apply for an assignment and never hear back.They think they are the the new marketforce but do not come even close. For all its faults Marketforce has and continues to lead the way as far as self assigning assignments and their forms are the most user friendly. .The pay may be low at times but if you wait till month end they do offer hefty bonuses .This Mystery research company offers nothing as far as bonuses and they award assignments randomly .

    • Chad says:

      I have had nothing but fantastic experience with Research Services Group. I do mostly video shops but this is the only company that I like to use as filler shops on a regular basis. They have quick and easy assignments all over the Austin and San Antonio area. I can complete a few extra along my route to help cover gas, food and other expenses. Their pay was always faster than just about any other company out there. Although I wish their pay would continue to be every two week, their new pay period is in line with other MSC. Their home improvement and bank shop surveys could not be easier. Their schedulers always respond quickly and it appears that they assign shops fairly.

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