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On my first secret shop, I was so nervous.  I was convinced that when I walked in the door, a giant blinking arrow would flash above my head.  “Alert!  Alert!  Secret shopper approaching!”

Well, that didn’t happen.  (Thankfully!)

I managed to get through the secret shop without any major blunders, and I even got my money.  The company also reimbursed me for the purchase I made, so I got a tube of caulk for free, too.

(If I were a DIYer that might have been a bit more exciting.)

If you enjoy shopping and are pretty observant, you can do well with secret shops.  Today, let’s talk about where to find this kind of work and what to expect from this “job”.

What is Secret Shopping?

How to secret shop for pay. This complete guide will tell you where to apply for jobs as a secret shopper, the types of jobs you can do and what you can expect to make.

Let’s start by talking about what a secret shop is.  Companies want to know if their individual stores are run properly.

They can see the store from their own eyes, obviously.

But they want to see it from the eyes of their customers.  And as a bonus, they want to know a random customer’s experience with their staff.

That’s where you come in.  They need secret shoppers of all ages and sizes.  Just about anyone can be a secret shopper.

To bridge the gap between companies looking for shoppers and shoppers themselves, several websites are around as middle men to bring the two groups together.

The good news is that by working with these websites, you have chances to get jobs at several different companies in one place.

This book has a lot of good information for newbies who want to earn more money from mystery shopping.


Next up, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of this type of work.


Secret shopping is one of the most flexible ways to make some extra cash.  Most websites have job boards.

You can look through and choose the jobs that appeal to you.  Find the jobs that fit your schedule the best.

New Experiences

Sometimes you’ll see jobs for things you had never thought about trying before.  You’ll have the chance to try foods in different restaurants.

Or browse the racks of shops you haven’t been in before.  It can be fun to look through the possible shops out there.


Act Fast!

The best shops go quickly, so you’ll need to be one of the first to apply for it.  People with more experience sometimes get preference.

That said, getting experience isn’t too hard to do.


Details are important when you secret shop.  There are many small things that stores want to know.

Things like what minute did you enter the drive thru?  How many seconds before they took your order?  What minute did you leave the drive thru?

It’s not hard to track these things.  But easily distracted people will have to focus more.

Pay Range

The pay for secret shops is all over the map.  Most of the shops I accept pay from $10 to $20 with reimbursement for an item up to $5.

However, some shops pay more.  Sometimes a shop only covers the cost of an item or service.

You might do a secret shop to get a free oil change.  Or you could do a shop about a movie that covers the price of your ticket.

The good news is that you’ll know the pay before you accept the job.  If it doesn’t pay well enough for your time, you don’t have to accept it.

Sometimes if no one accepts a job, they’ll add on a few extra dollars as a bonus.  It’s a gamble to wait to take a job, because you could get bonus money.

Or someone else could snatch the whole job away from you.


There are not a lot of requirements for secret shopping.  Every shop is different, so always read the fine print.

Sometimes you’ll need to be able to drive.

They even have shops you can do over the phone or online.  Just about anyone who can read and use technology can qualify for these jobs.

Sometimes you’ll need to take photos.

You will need to file tax paperwork including giving your social security number to the companies you work for.

Never give out your SSN without properly vetting the company first.

Most companies pay via Paypal.

How to Find Work

Finally, you’ll want to know where to get a job in secret shopping.  Here are some secret shop companies I’ve worked with for years.

On the job board right now, are offers for shops for oil changes, hardware stores, restaurants, cash advance shops, valet parking, retail stores, and more.

Take These Steps:

  1. Determine if you’re interested in doing secret shops.
  2. Sign up for a company and try one out.
  3. If you enjoy it, sign up for other companies to find more opportunities.
  4. If a shop provides reimbursement rather than pay, put the money you would have spent on the service into your savings account.  Add any cash you earn to the account as well.

This was day 30 in the Secure Your Savings and Find Peace in the New Year series.  Go to the bottom of this post to find all the money saving and money making posts in this series!

If you love to shop, you might as well get paid for it!

The more I do secret shops, the more comfortable I am doing them.  No one has flashed any red lights above my head yet!

Are you interested in doing a secret shop?