For those of us who are pressed for time and have a busy, ever-changing schedule but would love some extra money in the bank, mystery shopping is a hugely attractive proposition.
There’s little to no commitment required, endless flexibility, and most importantly, it’s fun!
Sounds too good to be true? In reality, mystery shopping is everything it’s cracked up to be. You can fit it in around your lifestyle, and bring in some extra income without having to conform to the rigid hours of a regular job.
If this sounds like the answer to your prayers, read on to discover the best mystery shopper companies to work for in Australia, what’s involved, how much you can make, and see if you fit the bill to get paid to shop!
What is a mystery shopper?
While the world is fast becoming digitised and many businesses are heading online, there is still a strong emphasis on the personal touch; customer service can make or break a business, and one bad review can spread rapidly and have a serious impact on revenue.
Mystery shoppers – also known as secret shoppers – are everyday people who are hired to covertly assess different aspects of a business. Mystery shopping agencies across the globe hire these shoppers to act as customers and report back on their experiences, helping the company or business improve.
Who can be a mystery shopper?
Pretty much anyone can be a mystery shopper, and companies seek out a wide range of people from all walks of life. However, they usually have a minimum age of 18.
Whether you’re a stay at home mum or dad, senior citizen, or student – or even if you have a full-time job but want a little extra cash on the side – you are a candidate to become a mystery shopper.
While some companies may cater their assignments to meet your areas of interest or expertise, they’re generally just after the average consumer – which is all of us!
You will need access to a computer, a phone, and a reliable internet connection, and be tech-savvy enough to navigate online reporting systems and emails. It may also be beneficial to have a phone with a camera, as you might need to take photographic evidence of various aspects of your assignment.
Some of your shopping assignments may be purely online, meaning you don’t have to leave the house, but the majority will require you to head to a bricks and mortar store or business. This means you’ll either need to have your own transport or access to public transportation.
What skills do I need to have?
- Computer skills – all the agencies these days operate online. From registering to become a personal shopper and applying for assignments to posting your reviews and feedback, you’ll be required to do it over the internet. So, you’ll need an email address and at least some basic computer skills.
- Good communication – while you may be a naturally-gifted shopper, this is only half the task. You’ll need to be able to read, write and speak clearly and effectively. This is essential both during your assignment and the feedback process afterwards. Following a job, you’ll need to complete an online review and give feedback to your agency – either written or verbal. The complexity of reports varies between mystery shopping companies; some jobs might be multi-choice responses, and others lengthy written reports.
- A good grasp of English – While English doesn’t have to be your first language you, you will need to be able to communicate well enough to provide thorough feedback.
- Attention and focus – When you receive an assignment, you’ll be given in-depth information on the task/s required of you, which may include a detailed list of instructions and things to look for. To be an effective mystery shopper, you’ll need to memorise all this info. Plus, you’ll need to have a sharp eye and good memory of your shopping experience, so you can jot it down as soon as you’ve finished your assignment and provide in-depth feedback later on.
Along with these skills, mystery shopping agencies are looking for people who are:
- Reliable and conscientious
- Hard working
- Good observation skills
- Ability to meet deadlines
- Ability to follow instructions accurately
- Have a good memory
What will my assignments involve?
Tasks will vary, depending on the business you’re targeting and their requests. Your job may be as straightforward as going into a shop and buying a specific (or general) product, then reporting on facets of this process, or you might be visiting to ask for details about a service.
Some of your jobs may be more fun than others. For example, you may be asked to shop for things you enjoy buying, eat dinner at a restaurant, take a tour, or stay in accommodation.
You could be asked to evaluate the cleanliness of a store or the orderliness of product displays, comment on whether you’ve been provided with the right advice or product, or give feedback on the staff you interact with.
Some businesses merely want you to visit competitors and find out how much they charge for various products and services.
After you have completed the job, you will generally log into your agency’s website and input your feedback online.
How much money can I make?
Payment varies depending on the scope of the work, just like paid surveys.
Time-consuming and technical assignments pay higher than easier jobs. With most agencies featured below, assignments start at a minimum of $15 per job.
Sometimes you’ll receive benefits other than money, such as free meals or drinks, or free products. You may even be able to keep the products you purchased, but that depends on your agency. Unless it’s agreed prior to the assignment, you will be reimbursed for any purchases you make.
The number of assignments you get will vary. If you live in a remote, rural area, there may be very few jobs available. Those living in towns and cities tend to get more opportunities.
You aren’t required to commit to a minimum amount of jobs per month; it’s all up to you and your schedule. Some mystery shoppers get several jobs a week, while others may only complete assignments every few months.
Note that with most of these companies, you are considered to be an independent contractor, not an employee. You’ll still need to pay tax on your income.
Where can I find mystery shopping work in Australia?
There are many agencies operating throughout Australia that are actively looking to recruit new mystery shoppers.
Here are nine of the best mystery shopping companies Australia has to offer, so you can sign up and hit the shops and start earning straight away!
>> Click the title to be taken to the website.
This service was one of the first entirely web-based mystery shopping companies in Australia, and claim to be one of the largest in the nation. Simply search for assignments using your postcode.
There are two different memberships: standard and priority.
Standard members can search online for assignments and register their interest. Priority members can directly accept assignments without prior approval and are given preference.
You become a priority member by consistently completing quality assignments.
Each assignment comes with a different listed flat fee (no rates are listed on their website) depending on requirements, and there is no minimum monthly commitment.
This agency provides you with online training and requires you to pass an exam before you are permitted to work with clients.
You can apply online to jobs listed in your area, and there are no minimum requirements per month.
They charge an application fee of $5, which will be deducted from your first payment.
This company covers both Australia and NZ, including smaller rural areas and larger cities.
Pay for assignments varies, but the average job will net you between $15 and $25. Some jobs may fetch as much as $80.
The amount of work fluctuates from month to month. There’s no minimum requirement, but they will ask you how many you’d ideally like to complete every month and attempt to match that number.
Operating in NZ and Australia, Service Integrity has more than 30,000 registered mystery shoppers.
This appears to be more of a boutique, specialist company. They are very into their neuro-science with regards to buying behaviour. Once you are registered with them, you can log into the website to find assignments in your area. Registration is free.
This company works in a very different way to the others listed here.
Basically, you go onto their website and choose the store you want to review from the list – which currently includes big names such as Smiggle, Harvey Norman, and Sephora.
After signing up, you apply for the store you’d like to visit and explain why you’re the best reviewer for that opportunity.
If chosen, you’ll be sent gift cards, money, or vouchers (to the value of up to $200) to spend at the selected store on whatever you’d like.
You don’t get paid, but get to keep everything you purchase.
In return, you must write a 500-word review, as well as submitting photos and a video review.
Sign up is free and you can apply for as many reviews as you like.
This company provides you with a short training program followed by a trial survey. If your application (which is free) is successful, you’ll have access to the customer portal to start finding jobs that suit you.
When you complete assignments, their team will give you feedback on the quality of your reports and rate your performance as a mystery shopper.
The higher your rating, the more likely you are to get offered interesting and highly paid jobs.
The average job payout is $15 to $100.
This is a boutique market research agency which offers a variety of services, including mystery shopping.
They’re Australian owned and operated and have been in business for more than 30 years.
You can register online and use the job board to find jobs in your area.
This is a rather specific mystery shopping agency which targets the automotive and real estate industries.
Your assignments will, therefore, be a bit more in-depth, where you’ll have to inquire about a specific product or service or go through the process of “buying a car” including a test drive etc.
If this is an area that interests you, the rates per assignment are impressive, ranging from $80 to $100.
This mystery shopping company has been operating for more than 12 years.
They claim to have the highest pay rates of any in the industry, stating that the pay per assignment is usually between $30 and $100.
Mystery shopping is no get-rich quick scheme, but it’s a fun side hustle worth trying. Let us know how you get on in the comments.