Diane Kaye

How to Get the Best Mystery Shopping Jobs

You’ve heard about the mystery shoppers who are making a thousand dollars a month and getting amazing perks, but you’ve been doing mystery shops for years and still average only about 100 dollars a month, if you’re lucky.

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Where are these amazing big money shops and how do you find them? Are they really even there? The answer may surprise you.

Yes, they do exist, but they never make it to the job boards. Mystery Shopping jobs are just like any other type of job; the great ones never go to an advertising slush heap. The number of high-paying shops are small by comparison to the hundreds of thousands of shops out there and only get offered to a very select group of shoppers.

The question then is “How do you get them?” And the answer is that you become a scheduler’s preferred shopper. And if you read on a bit, I will give you the tools you need to make that list. There are just a few things that you need to know first.

Schedulers do communicate with each other, so if you are a great shopper for Company A, you might find that you start getting higher end offerings from company B. The reverse, however, is also true. There is actually a board that schedulers can check that might tell them how other schedulers have rated a particular shopper. Get one or two bad reports and you might never be offered anything more than $5.00 shops. If I am a scheduler for high-end overnight hotel shops, I usually know my colleagues and competitors. We may even have shared a room or at least a drink at the last MSPA convention, so, if a competitor says that they will not use you again, you can be fairly sure that I won’t either.

The other side of the coin is that when I get a great client, it is tremendously important to me to deliver perfect, timely reports, so I need to choose shoppers who will get the shop done correctly and on time. That makes using a known shopper with an already great reputation the only way to go.

Which brings us around full circle, as to what makes a great shopper. From a scheduler’s perspective, this is what I look for:

  • Will the job get done or does this shopper sometimes “flake?” Flake is the term used for a shopper who, for whatever the reason, does not do the shop and does not communicate with the scheduler in a timely manner. Great shoppers NEVER “Flake”!
  • Does this shopper read the instructions through so that the shop will get done correctly? That means doing it at the correct location, on the correct date, at the correct time, and if appropriate, shopping the correct individual.
  • The report MUST be entered on time. There are some shoppers who actually do the shop and then “forget” to send in the report. If I do not have the completed report on time for the client, it is as bad as not having done it at all.
  • Does the report contain proper spelling and grammar? Has the shopper proof-read it to be sure? When using voice-to-print, errors often occur. It is the shopper’s job to correct them before submitting the report. Also, very important: the client’s product name should be in title case. That means, for example, that I cannot submit a report that lists “Bed, bath and beyond”; it must read Bed, Bath and Beyond. If the editor needs to send a report back to be corrected, that is additional time and effort that detracts from a shopper’s value.
  • It takes a few months of doing small shops correctly, before I will risk giving you a preferred shop, but if I haven’t offered you anything special after 4 or 5 months of great scores, I may not have any better paying clients and it may be time for you to move on.
  • Sometimes, especially at the end of the month, I may have a few shops that have not been completed, but need to be. If I contact you and ask if you can help and you accept one of these and get it done on time, I may, as many schedulers do, give you a “HERO” citation. I always look for these citations first when offering better paying shops.
  • Most jobs cycle on a monthly basis, which is why, if you are requesting a shop and are asked what dates you can do it, earlier dates move you to the top of the list. This way, if anything unforeseen happens, I still have time to find another shopper.
  • And finally, if you will be traveling, check to see if I have jobs available in your destination area. If so, let me know, because I would certainly welcome a new face into a rotation and again, it will help me to remember your name when assigning better shops.

Each of these points will serve to make you a better all-around shopper and will, hopefully get you better paying assignments and great perks. Please join us next week for a detailed report on what is involved in actually doing the great ones!


Diane Kaye has been a mystery and video shopper for many years before becoming a scheduler with a company that sometimes offers great perks and payments. She lives in New York City with her wonderful husband and loves travelling both domestically and internationally.

Your Comments:

  1. James Donnelly says:

    This is as expected, but if you have medical problems you are not always able to shop even when you say you can. Heart condition with two different cancers mean that all is not as it seems.

    • Diane Kaye says:

      Hi James,
      I am so sorry to hear of your medical issues. I think that you may have misunderstood something. We can all have health or vehicle or family issues. The key is communicating with the scheduler as soon as you know that there is a challenge. It is when people do not initiate communication and do not respond to reminders and update requests from the MSP that they run into problems. Wishing you well, Diane

  2. Darrell Melton says:

    This is a well thought out article with great reminders what schedulers need. It will help shoppers find great shops.

  3. Gary Efanti says:

    This article was great insight into the mind of the scheduler. Whole I’ve been “mystery shopping” for about 5 years now, I can relate well to your comments. I have seen this first hand and have tried to do everything on time but sometimes this can be difficult. Especially if doing multiple shops the same day for different companies.I whole heartedly agree that communication is the key.

  4. Shirley Nelson says:

    I’ve been doing shops but don’t make a of money so far…

    • Did you notice an error in my comment? says:

      Did you notice an error in my comment? I Ieft out a word.t

    • Vivian E Dobeck says:

      Reread the above again. Follow the guidelines. Grammer and everything. The scheduler will assign and lean toward the shopper who turns in reports on time and well written. The Editors also communicate with the scheduler and if you turn in reports that have to be rewritten or do not tell the story of the visit on the job you are assigned.
      I have been called and offered Bonused shops over $75 dollars because as she commented to me that she knew that I could handle it in the tight timeframe or the fact that I am willing to travel 60-90 miles away to complete a simple shop.
      You have to maintain a level of trust that they know they can count on you.

  5. Howie Appel says:

    I am hoping I reached the “Hero” level as I love doing restaurant shops and movie shops. What do I do next if my rating is a 10 of 10?

  6. Susan Close says:

    I am always looking for ideas and ways to be a better and more confident shopper. I read this and appreciate hearing about what the schedulers focus on. My question is should I pay to join the MSPA gold or silver? I am not a full time shopper, but a semi-retired senior that enjoys the challenge and rewards involved with mystery shopping. Will joining this association afford me more lucrative shops?

  7. brian says:

    Just how wonderful is her husband?

  8. Marsha says:

    This is some of the best and well-written advice. Thank you.

  9. Kathleen Duffy says:

    Since I am a returning mystery shopper after a few years break, this article is spot on with information. Thank you.

  10. Saundra says:

    Hi,
    My name is Saundra Sowders. I am a brand new Mystery Shopper and wanting to review the shops and type of shops that are available for review.
    Ive been looking for approximately 2+ hrs. Any help and/or knowledge would be greatly appreciated.
    I live in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Winter weather is so pleasantly tempid it’s a joy to get out and about. A slight breeze off the ocean and warm (not HOT) Sunshine make driving and shopping desirable. I’m anxious to get started. Coming into this firum was a good suggestion. Helps me yo know what’s expected of me.

  11. Diane Kaye says:

    Hi Marsha,
    Thank you for that. I appreciate your kind words.
    Happy Holidays, Diane

    • Diane Kaye says:

      Hi Saundra,
      My best advice would be to sign on with MSPA and Job-Slinger. Both are free. In fact, my soon-to-appear, in this space, January 7th article contains a lot of info and tips to help shoppers find exactly the right shops.
      Happy Holidays, Diane

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