Company Overview: Sensors Quality Management (SQM) has been in business since 1993, and is based out of Toronto, Ontario. While the majority of their shops are in Canada, their website notes that they have clients in more than 40 countries worldwide.
As of February, 2016, they have airport shops that are available in the U.S. Keep in mind that this may change.
SQM’s shopper hub contains easy access to important information, including links for their document standards, payroll details, and the STEP program; a progressive nine-level training module. Their website states that “Those Shoppers who reach higher levels of proficiency will be given preference when assigning out available work.”
Many SQM shops are reimbursement only, including their travel shops which reimburse 50% of selected flights, hotel fees, or bus tickets. Payment is processed by direct deposit at the end of the month following shop completion.
Personal Experience: I have completed about 15 shops with SQM, including casual restaurants, oil changes, new home visits, gym memberships, and retail assignments. Their reports normally contain a reasonable amount of yes/no questions and moderate narratives; a detailed 300-600 word recap of the visit is a standard requirement. The schedulers I have dealt with are pleasant, reasonable and quick to respond to questions. All of their assignments are application only. I have had some shops assigned to me several minutes after applying, and other shops have taken upwards of two weeks to be assigned, which can be frustrating when trying to plan ahead.
What Others Have to Say: Posts about SQM on MysteryShopForum.com are generally positive. There has been no mention of late or missing payments. Several older threads have shoppers voicing their frustrations about progressing through the STEP program. A 100% test grade must be achieved for each level, but incorrect answers are not revealed, and some questions are ambiguous. Adding to the fact that only two attempts are permitted each day, completing all nine levels can take days, and sometimes weeks to achieve.
Overall: I always recommend this MSC when I see a shopper asking for companies with assignments in Canada. If you are comfortable with narratives, and don’t mind reimbursement-only shops, then SQM is a solid company to work with. If you are planning to complete their STEP program (levels 1 and 2 are mandatory), keep track of your answers and anticipate spending a total of several hours across 5-10 days. They have a good variety of shops in many cities across Canada, and a sprinkling of assignments in numerous other countries world-wide. If you’re already traveling within, or out of Canada, consider looking into one of their bus, flight or hotel shops to save up to 50% on your travel costs. Interested shoppers can sign up with SQM at their website.