Written By Ceridwyn

Secret Shopper

Company Overview: With so many mystery shopping companies using similar names, it can be easy to get them confused. Unfortunately, Secret Shopper is one of those MSCs that has been frequently mistaken for less reputable entities in the business. Because of this, many shoppers have avoided getting involved with Secret Shopper, and are missing out on some worthwhile assignment opportunities.

This company is BBB accredited and is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It has been in operation since 1990, and is also referred to by its corporate name, Sights On Service. The company states that they have assignments widely available throughout North America. Secret Shopper has posted a list of industries on their website that they serve that includes: casual dining, healthcare, salons, grocery, automotive, fitness clubs, and automotive.

Payments are made via check on the 20th of each month for work performed the prior month. Secret Shopper states that the normal fees range from $12 to $25 per assignment, although there are exceptions that pay more.

To sign up with Secret Shopper, visit their website at www.secretshopper.com. Click on the link “Apply To Shop”. A three step process will follow. The first section pertains to a review of the ethics, policies, and procedures of the company. After agreeing to their version of an ICA, the shopper then takes a certification test. This is to determine if a shopper understands basic mystery shopping concepts. After passing, the shopper then submits a form with their personal information and demographics. The process is completed when you receive a shopper ID.

Assignments are requested by new shoppers from a job board and then assigned by a scheduler. The first three shops are used to determine a shopper’s dependability and skill in completing assignments according to guidelines. If a new shopper tries to reschedule or cancel their first assignment, their account will be deactivated.

Established shoppers can self-assign posted jobs. The assignment scheduling format on this MSC’s website is a bit different than that employed by other companies. First you choose a city that shows available shops. You then select a shop. Next you indicate a date/time to complete the assignment. This will be followed by a review of the assignment which requires a confirmation. The assignment is then awarded to you.

This MSC also allows you to put yourself on a waiting list if an assignment you are interested in has already been taken by another shopper.

The website lists approximate dates for the next release of assignments to be posted to the job board.

Shopper discussions on www.mysteryshopforum.com have been favorable overall regarding this MSC. Forum members have stated that Secret Shopper offers reasonable compensation which is paid in a timely manner. Others said that they have enjoyed good relations with their staff and that they are easy to work with. Only one instance of a disputed shop rejection was mentioned. The one complaint shared by many shoppers is that this company does not offer enough assignments in their areas. Others have noted a loss of some of their favorite types of projects.

Personal Experience: My own experience with this MSC mirrors that of other shoppers as illustrated by the number of assignments I have completed for them, which is only about two dozen so far. These were mostly fast food and veterinary care projects. The latter assignments were very financially advantageous, but sadly, this client is no longer with this MSC.

All payments have been made accurately and on time. Contact with schedulers and editors has been professional and efficient.

I would welcome the opportunity to work with this MSC again soon.

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