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It’s no secret that I’m a former mystery shopper. Mystery shopping is something you can to make some side cash, as well as experience some of the finer (or more fun) things in life without killing your budget.

I personally love mystery shopping (and still do it on rare occasions) because it helps me become a better salesperson. By working as the eyes and ears of the brand, I’m able to see defining cornerstones of the brand experience, and how they’re worked into the customer experience, and sales process to achieve sales objectives. There’s nothing cooler than getting paid to drive a BMW – and learning how the sales process is engineered by larger brands.

I can’t tell you which companies are clients for these mystery shopping organizations; however, in my several years of experience here, these folks are my favorite to work with.

1. GfK

GfK performs audits for a large retail chain. As an announced auditor, you have to pass both a drug screen and background check prior to working, however, the audits are well worth the pay and investment.

Gfk by far is my favorite because their turnaround time for payments are pretty rapid, and once you develop a reputation with the schedulers as consistent and reliable, they’ll find ways to work with you when necessary to complete shops. Also, their audit project provides some of the highest pay you’ll see in the industry.

2. Grassroots Measures

Grassroots Measures has three chains you’ll immediately recognize once accepted. Again, I can’t name them, but if you love to eat out, you’ll enjoy the opportunities presented with this brand. I particularly love that the surveys are short and focused. Yes, there are times where details are important, but you’re not required to write long narratives and essays like some other mystery shopping brands require.

The only downside? You get paid almost exclusively via gift cards. But, it’s worth it, and those gift cards can be recycled into future shops.

3. MarketForce

This was one of my favorite organizations. I no longer possess a working relationship with this company, however, they have a vast range of opportunities available, especially if you’re on the East Coast, and sometimes, in remote areas. Their initial shop fees are not awesome, but the surveys are easy, they pay regularly, and on time, and they reimburse tolls. If you’re performing a hard to fill shop, they’ll reach out to you with incentives. And I love, love, love some of the brands they partner with. There’s a lot of diversity in the opportunities here.

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