Mystery Shopping FAQ

by Robert ~ May 12th, 2008. Filed under: mystery shops, Mystery-Shopper, Mystery-Shopping.

From The Desk Of B. Robert

“Mystery shopping can be fun and rewarding.

It is usually a part-time job, yet can also be a full time job

when working for multiple Mystery Shopping Companies.”


Some Of The

Frequently Asked Questions About Mystery Shopping



Mystery Shopper (Shopping)

Frequently Asked Questions

01 What EXACTLY is a Mystery Shopper?
02 How and When EXACTLY Do Mystery Shopping Companies Pay?
03 What Are Absolute Requirements When Mystery Shopping?
04 What EXACTLY is An Independent Contractor?
05 What Are the Pre-Determined Fee Amounts?
06 How Often Will a Mystery Shopping Company Offer Me Assignments?
07 What EXACTLY Do the Assessment Mystery Shop Forms Include?
08 To Be Continued…….
My Next writing will address

Mystery Shoppers Shopping Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ]

What EXACTLY is a mystery shopper?

Mystery shopping can be fun and rewarding. It is usually a part-time job, yet can also be a full time job when working for multiple Mystery Shopping Companies.

A mystery shopper is an independent contractor who accepts assignments, and visits businesses to evaluate secretly customer service and very often, the appearance and condition of the business facility.

Mystery shoppers follow a prearranged directive interaction with employees at specific business locations, then report on their shop experience.

Mystery Shoppers frequent businesses such as fast food and cuisine restaurants, movie theaters, vision shops, car dealerships, apartment rentals, hotels including pet and department stores.

Mystery shops assign various type retail locations. On occasion, making prior phone calls are required.

Shoppers are normally Independent Contractors who receive a pre-determined payment for each assignment performed.

Secretive shopping includes completing a report about the visit by filling out a questionnaire correctly and generally including a summary report.

A shopper must be reliable as most mystery shopping assignments are time-sensitive and require a shopper to meet defined deadlines.

Independent contracting mystery shoppers may work full-time by accepting assignments from a variety of numerous mystery-shopping companies.

To be a successful mystery shopper, you must, sensibly and covertly follow directions without discovery by the business employees or managers.

You must be shrewdly observant, detail-oriented, and thorough, have an able memory, and be reliable in completing assignments and give an account to your mystery shopping company on a timely basis.


How and when EXACTLY Do Mystery Shopping Companies Pay?

A good number of companies pay all shopper fees, bonuses, and reimbursements through PayPal. Some companies may pay ONLY using PayPal. Other companies will issue you a check or complete a direct deposit to your bank account.

When being paid through PayPal, you must make sure that your email address on file with the mystery shopping company and at PayPal MATCHES. Customarily, you will NOT receive your payments if they do not match.

When Do Mystery Shopping Companies Pay?

As a rule, you will receive shopper fees, bonuses and reimbursement payments via PayPal within 28 to 45 days of your assignments, sometimes sooner.

You may be issued a specified date that you will be paid.
For example, you may see a reference in your mystery company ‘shop log’, depending upon the company, for a date on which PayPal or a direct deposit payment will transfer to you.

What are Absolute Requirements when Mystery Shopping?

The shopping experience will require a watchful and perceptive interaction.

A female or male shopper must maintain an objective opinion including acting and creative ability to perform an assignment precisely per directions without the staff detecting you as a Mystery Shopper.

Assignments require the ability to communicate clearly during the event and assert vigilance.


What EXACTLY is an Independent Contractor?

An independent contractor is a person who performs work and or jobs for another person or company on various projects; and not employed by the person or company for whom the work is performed.

Quote from the IRS;

For federal tax purposes, this is an important distinction. Worker classification affects how you pay your federal income tax, social security andMedicare taxes, and how you file your tax return.”

“Classification affects your eligibility for employer and social security and Medicare benefits and your tax responsibilities. If you are not sure of your work status, you can find out at the link below.”


As independent contractor, a company will not withhold any portion of your fee for taxes.

In the United States, any company or organization active in a trade or business that pays more than $600 to an independent contractor in one year is required to report this to the
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as well as to the contractor, using Form 1099-MISC.

If you earn $600 or more in a calendar year from a particular company, you should automatically receive a 1099 form in January of the following year issued by the company.

If you earn less than $600, you are personally responsible for keeping track of your earnings and declaring them for tax purposes.

Expense reimbursements are not earnings.

When calculating taxable income on your federal tax return, as an independent contractor you can deduct, from your gross income any amount that is work related expenses, such as tools or even a specified mileage amount used for the work required.
Some independent contractors may work for a number of different organizations or for the same organization throughout the year; yet, retain independent contractor status.

Generally, independent contractors retain control over their schedule and number of hours worked, jobs accepted, and performance of their job.

In essence, independent contractors are in business for themselves; and not an employee or commissioned as an agent of the company.

A typical relationship with the mystery shopping company as a self-contractor involve s assignments for predetermined amounts; and possibly includes purchases, bonuses and reimbursements.

Mystery shoppers, almost certainly are not granted the status as an exclusive contractor and or representative for the mystery shopping company in any given business or geographical area as many merchandisers receive.


What are the pre-determined fee amounts?

Fees depend on the length and details for the on-site investigation; and the extent of the form or report a shopper must complete.

On average, fees for single evaluations vary from $7, $10 and $25. There can be some as low as $5 or as high as $120.

Payment and fees extend to whether a shopper must make a purchase including returning the item or a straightforwardly purchase with no returns; whether the shopper must make multiple visits to a business, the total time the assignment takes and other like requirements.

Higher paying fees normally consist of phone calls, setting appointments and an in depth detail questionnaire and report.

You must submit your evaluation report correctly to receive payment.


How often will a Mystery Shopping company offer me assignments?

The number of shops available largely depends upon where you live.

If your geographical location has fast food and dining restaurants, malls, shopping centers, movie theaters, car dealerships and numerous businesses, you will in all probability find countless ‘shops’ on the shop assignment boards to sign up for.

In contrast, if you live in an agricultural area where there are no businesses and stores or restaurants; and you are many miles from townships or cities, you most assuredly, unless you are willing to travel into the cities, will not find mystery shops plentiful.

The quantity of assignments, in a large business area, in many instances will have clients who want their businesses shopped quarterly, or even monthly rotating Mystery Shoppers to help preserve a shopper’s anonymity.

Therefore, how often you will sign up and complete evaluation shops is very dependent upon the area and clients in your location.

Under normal suburb or in town 15 miles or less geographical locations, there are more than 5 shopping centers, hundreds if not thousands of business, 3 to 6 car dealerships, 4 plus movie theaters, 5 or more fast food restaurants and 10 or more dining food establishments.

Additionally, you will see dry cleaners, oil change shops, vision shops, discount home improvement stores and some hotels and motels. Just about any type store and business will be more than likely be a possible mystery shop.

Receiving continual shops will depend upon your absolute performance. If you are worthy to receive many shops and you maintain your reliability along with your excellence, you could have three or four per day or more, if you choose to do so.


What EXACTLY do the Assessment Mystery Shop Forms Include?

The type of forms you must complete will vary from time to time and from business to business.

Many Clients want to identify different items and certain circumstances at different times; therefore, it will depend largely upon the very business you are evaluating.

There are some forms with questions that to be answered with a simple yes or no. Some questions require ranking on a scale from 1 to 10, 1 to 5, and other style rating categories.

Numerous forms request a summary for your all-encompassing customer encounter.


To Be Continued…….

My Next writing will address:

What the Mystery Company and Clients do with evaluation forms and the data received from Shoppers; and who actually sees those reviews.

Additionally, if you have further questions, please comment on this Blog and I will reply.

Kindest Regards and best wishes to your continued success.. B. Robert.



Part time with Flexible hours

Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) is a leader in the market research
that provides research and industry solutions with in the retail

The FSR is responsible for collecting data in local retails stores.
The types of information you will be collecting are in displays, on
store shelves and weekly in store features. Each store has an
assigned day(s) when scans need to be conducted but the hours are
flexible. This part time opportunity offers a flexible work
schedule, with most work typically performed between the hours of
8:00 am and 5:00 pm Monday – Friday. Along with a competitive pay
rate, IRI gives you the potential to earn more money depending on
your efficiency and productivity. We also offer travel time and
mileage reimbursement along with local paid training.

**Please apply on line at

• Work hours range from 10-24 hours a week, depending on the weeks
• Use IRI’s collection portable computer, (MONet device) answer
survey questions about store conditions, activities, product
displays and product counts
• Must have daily access to a landline phone line to transmit data

• Effectively perform projects within deadlines and be detailed
• Demonstrate a willingness to cover open tasks

• Experience involving data collection in retail is a plus
• Reliable vehicle with proof of liability auto insurance and a
valid driver’s license
• Must have daily access to the Internet and have an email address
• Must have a basic understanding of computers including Microsoft
• Must be able to lift up to 25 lbs, reach up to 6 feet, stand up to
5 hours, stretch, bend, kneel and stoop
• Weekday and some weekend availability may be required
• Must be 18 years or older


AR Asher/Harvest/LittleRock
AR Geyer Springs
AZ Central Phoenix/Tempe/Lav
AZ Central Scottsdale/Tempe
AZ East Tucson
AZ Flagstaff
AZ Thatcher
AZ Willcox
CA Carson
CA Los Osos/Paso Robles
CA Newport Beach
CA Orange/Tustin
CA Poway
CA Santa Rosa
CA Temple City/Arcadia
CO Aurora/ SE Denver
CO Silverthorne
CT East, West Hartford
CT New Britain
CT Trumbull/Shelton/Bridgept
FL Panama City/Blountstown
GA Buford/Oakwood
GA Marietta/smyrna
IA Mason City
IA Norwalk and Oceola
ID Boise
IL Bolingbrook/Downers Grove
IL Galena
IL Libertyville
IL Peoria
IL Springfield
IN Gas City and Marion
KY Highland Heights/Florence
KY Shepardsville/Bardstown
LA Slidell/Covington
MA Arlington, Lexington
MA Needham, Norwood, West Ro
MA Norton
MA South Boston, Cape Cod
MD Baltimore
MD Baltimore
MD Easton/Cambridge
MD Frederick
MN Plymouth
MO West Plaines
MS Hattiesburg
NC Asheville
NC Durham
NC Fayetteville/Spring Lake
NC Huntersville/Cornelius
NC Jacksonville/Morehead Cit
NC Morganton/Marion/Lenoir
NC Rocky Mt/Wilson
ND Williston
NE Sidney
NH Portsmouth
NH Rochester
NJ Manahawkin
NJ Robbinsville
NJ Trenton
NM Albuquerque
NM Albuquerque/Rio Rancho
NM Silver City
OH Columbus
OH Columbus
OH Mainville/Wilmington
OK Elk City
OK Guymon/Liberal
OR Salem/Keizer
PA Doylestown/Quakertown
PA East Stroudsburg
PA Great Bend, Factoryville
PA Lancaster
PA Pittsburgh
PA Wilkes Barre
RI Cumberland, Pawtucket
RI Woonsocket
SC Charleston/Johns Island
SC Goose Creek
SC Lexington
SD Mobridge
TN Murfreesboro
TX Abilene
TX Carrizo Springs
TX Corpus Christi
TX Midland
TX Midland
TX Seguin
TX Southeast Houston
TX Uvalde
VA Virginia Beach
VT Burlington
WA Chehalis
WA Kirkland
WA Lakewood/Tacoma/Fircrest
WA Lynnwood
WA Spokane
WA Vancouver/Battle Ground
WI Green Bay
WI Madison
WV Wheeling

You might also be interested in becoming a
Home Based Field Inspector
and performing assignments while out on your
Mystery Shops.

You can learn more at the link below:

Learn How To
Become A Field Inspection Representative

Market Viewpoint has APARTMENT mystery shops

Time Period Available:
Paying a $5 bonus for Columbus IN due 5/14;

Chesapeake VA 23324 need Caucasian shopper;

Kansas City MO due 5/13;

ALL others are due by 5/14.

Payment for completed shops is $25


#1 You must sign up in our database to be assigned a shop.

Please go to

Then find the “Shoppers” heading and click on
Application to sign up in our database.

#2 – We can only assign shops to those people who appear in our

#3 – When you are finished signing up, send an
email to: with the location(s) you are applying
for in the subject line.

I need the following information even if you are
a registered shopper with us:


We prefer shoppers who have PAYPAL. If you don’t
have PayPal, please let me know.

Please follow these directions carefully to
be considered for a shop.

The following locations are:

Chesapeake VA 23323
Norfolk VA 23503
Virginia Beach VA 23464
Chesapeake VA 23320
Virginia Beach VA 23462
Norfolk VA 23513
Virginia Beach VA 23455
Virginia Beach VA 23456
Grafton VA 23692
Newport News VA 23601
Newport News VA 23602
Newport News VA 23607
Newport News VA 23606

Columbus IN 47203
Chesapeake VA 23324
Kansas City MO 64116

Hello Shoppers!

I have an opening at a barbecue restaurant in several locations.
They are as follows:

Bloomington, IL 61701
Columbia, MO 65201
Crystal City, MO 63019
Osage Beach, MO 65035
St. Joseph, MO 64506
Wentzville, MO 63385

These are dine in shops.

We need this shop completed between May 14, 2008 and May 15, 2008.

We need a lunch shop for this location. The lunch the hours are
between 12pm and 2pm.

We ask that if you are a Lunch shopper you may
dine alone or with a companion.

You may bring children along on this shop.

The assignment will pay $15.00.

This amount includes reimbursement for the meal
the shop fee.

If you are available for this assignment please contact me at You can also register ad apply via our

Hello Shoppers!

I have three bicycle shops available in the following areas:

Phoenix, AZ 85044
Portland, ME 04102
Mifflinburg, PA 17844

I have three shops available in Portland, ME. I can give one shopper
all three shops.

I need the shop completed by May 14, 2008. I can work with you on
the due dateif needed.

For this shop we need a shopper who has some knowledge about
bicycles, as wellas the ability to take a brief test ride if the
associate suggests that you do so.

Please let me know if this is the case when you
contact me.

During this shop you will visit the location and make several

You will be required to interact with an

You do not need to make a purchase.

The assignment will pay $15.00 per location.

If you would like to complete this location please contact me at

You can also register and apply via your
log at this site.

Thank You!
Celeste Borden
Service Excellence Scheduling

A little about ‘A Closer Look’

  1. You must pass a pre-application test

In this test your application is evaluated for your narrative capabilities, spelling and ability to follow directions.

  • This company does not pay fees but has reimbursements only.
  • To obtain a ‘Shop’, you must check their board for openings and sign up for particular jobs.
  • Receipts are required for your reimbursements..
New Shoppers?
If you would like to sign up for a NEW ACCOUNT on the BARE APOLLO System, or if you’re not sure if you have an account on our APOLLO system, please enter your email address and we will search to see if you have an account (only one account per email address).

ICCDS is a leader in the field of Mystery Shopping.

Whether you have participated as a Mystery Shopper previously, or this is your first time, you’ll find that Mystery Shopping is a great way to earn extra money and help your favorite companies.

Many of our Mystery Shoppers have been with us for some time now, and they love it!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.