Mystery Shopping – Make Extra Money

Mystery Shopping - Make Extra Money BestmarkMystery shopping. Many of you have emailed me and asked me the question “what is mystery shopping” and have been wondering how I am making money through mystery shopping.

I usually make around $150 to $200 a month from mystery shopping.

Side note: If you are interested in the many other ways I earn extra money, check out my Extra Income page on my blog.

I use mainly Bestmark for my mystery secret shops. I’m not sure what other companies are good and reputable mystery shopping websites, but I know for a FACT that Bestmark is a legitimate mystery shopping website, so you can trust me when I say that.

Last month I didn’t make too much because not a lot of “good” shops were offered in my area. Lately, I’ve been a little more picky with the shops that I sign up for also.

What I consider a worthwhile shop for ME:

  1. Either an online shop or phone call shop
  2. If I have to drive, it’s close to somewhere I’ll be
  3. Something I’ll use. I love doing Estee Lauder shops because I always love free makeup.
  4. Restaurant shops, because I have to eat, of course.

Of course, what’s worthwhile to you and me might be different. When I first signed up for mystery shopping (sometime last summer I think), I literally signed up for everything. I made decent money, but it wore me out. The amount of surveys that you have to do is so repetitive that it makes you want to throw your computer at the wall.

Sometimes surveys take just a minute, but sometimes they literally take an hour. Restaurant shops usually take a little longer than others because usually you are grading every little detail.

Some examples of mystery shops I’ve done include: 

  1. Restaurants. This ranges from cheaper restaurants where I’m reimbursed for around $30 worth of food, all the way up to nice steakhouses where I get $100.
  2. Dealerships. Bestmark has a ton of dealership shops available, but I only have done the phone call and scheduling services online secret shops.
    • I usually do about 4-5 of these a week and these are the easiest shops. You don’t have to drive anywhere and the surveys literally take one minute. And you get paid around $5 for them. Although recently they’ve lowered the payment to only $3, and there’s a ton more work involved. I had to cancel around 3 or 4 shops because they didn’t make it clear enough about the amount of work that I signed up for. And for $3, I’m not really willing to do too much.
    • They also have dealership secret shops where you go in and pretend you want a car. These usually pay around $20. This is something I’ve never done, and they have plenty of these available for everyone to do.  I’ve never done this because car salesmen scare me. I’m not ready for thousands of annoying phone calls and I’m afraid that I’d be stuck in a dealership for an hour while trying to run away from the salesperson.
  3. Retail. I mainly do Estee Lauder. I’ve done a lot of these. I’ve gotten foundation, lotion, toner, face wash, concealer, lip gloss and so on, all for FREE! And these aren’t sample sizes, I’ve probably gotten over $200 in stuff, plus gotten paid around $10 on top for each shop as well.
    • I’ve also done a couple of Best Buy shops. These are easy too. You just survey a certain department (takes like a minute), and then you can just buy something small like a candy bar so that they have your receipt for proof that you were actually there and performed it. Best Buy shops usually pay around $13. Not a ton, but the Best Buy is along the way home from my work so I just pop in.


Bestmark Mystery Shopping - Make Extra Money

This is a mystery shopping check from one week’s of mystery shopping.

The highest paid shops I do are usually for restaurants. I’ve done a couple of nice restaurants where I had to eat over $100 worth of food. Crazy!  I’ve also seen Hotel mystery shops, but they’ve never been on a good day for me, so I’ve never been able to sign up.

Also, if you find that you cannot do a shop that you sign up for, all you do usually is contact your scheduler and say you need to reschedule or cancel. Try not to do this too often though. These schedulers will remember you, and if you’re good to them, they will give you good shops, so remember that!

Mystery shopping money will NOT make you rich. I want to make that clear. It’s just a nice form of side income, where I can get things I want for free! What I make from mystery shopping, I add to my vacation fund. So it’s a nice little addition every month.

If I want to eat at a nice restaurant that I would usually go to, then YES I would love to do a secret shop there. Those are always the greatest shops because you are paid to have fun.

Do you secret shop such as through Bestmark? Any tips?

P.S. Newlyweds on a Budget has a great post about how to become a mystery shopper. Check it out! Also, if you join Bestmark, please say I referred you! My ID is MO4999. You can join Bestmark by clicking here.


  1. says

    I love mystery shopping too! I also make around $150-$200 a month after reimbursements. So many free meals on top of the extra cash really helps out! I also use Bestmark and worked for them more in DC but after I moved to Louisiana there weren’t as many good shops that I liked (like you said, is it worth my time and will I use the product/service) so mostly I just make a little off of referrals. I primarily use Market Force and a smattering of other companies. There are so many companies out there and I review some of the ones I have worked for on my blog.

    • Dorit says

      Hi Alice,
      are these mystery shoppers website really legitimate? Should I trust them & sign up for them since I need a side job & extra income? are they hard to work for?

      Please reply,
      Thank you, Dorit

  2. Josephine says

    Referrals are nice too like Alice said. I know that Shoppers’ View has a referral program, and phone shops available. Those are nice because you don’t have to travel, and if you have time can do several in a row to make it worth while.


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