Best Legitimate Mystery Shopping Companies

Legitimate Mystery Shopping Companies

What Is A Mystery Shopper?

A mystery shopper is an individual engaged by a retail store or marketing research firm. They visit various locations, focusing on the entire customer experience. It’s a rare side hustle where your shopping prowess pays off.

Here’s what a mystery shopper might evaluate:

Assess the Treatment: How were they handled in person or over the phone? This part of the evaluation considers staff interactions and responsiveness.

Analyze the Sales Process: Whether it’s in-store or online, the mystery shopper scrutinizes how sales are made. Attention to sales techniques and customer engagement is key.

Evaluate Store Appearance: The quality of the store’s displays and merchandise also falls under their assessment. Here, they look at store aesthetics, product arrangement, and overall shopping ambiance.

By doing this, mystery shoppers play a crucial role in enhancing the retail experience for others. If you love shopping, it’s an opportunity to make your hobby a profitable side hustle.

Top Legitimate Mystery Shopping Companies to Work For

Before diving into a mystery shopping opportunity, thorough research is vital. Look into the company and consult reviews to gauge what others think. To aid your search, we curated nine legitimate mystery shopping companies to explore.

By focusing on these legitimate companies, you can begin your mystery shopping journey with confidence. Always double-check and read testimonials to ensure that you’re partnering with a reliable organization.

Market Force Information

Focus: Retail, Restaurants, Banking


Market Force Information is a globally recognized mystery shopping company, known for its focus on the retail, restaurant, and banking sectors. With over a decade of experience, they’ve built a reputation for providing in-depth customer insights that drive business growth.

By employing secret shoppers, Market Force Information assists businesses in understanding the customer experience. Their shoppers visit physical locations, interact with staff, and evaluate various aspects such as product quality, service, and environment.

The company also offers other customer feedback solutions, including surveys and audits. They emphasize data-driven strategies, using technology to collate and analyze information. This allows businesses to identify areas of improvement, create targeted solutions, and monitor their effectiveness over time.

BARE International

Focus: Hospitality, Healthcare, Retail


BARE International stands as one of the foremost authorities in mystery shopping, specifically targeting the hospitality, healthcare, and retail sectors. With over 30 years of industry presence, they’ve mastered the art of evaluating customer service and delivering insights that drive positive change.

This mystery shopping company isn’t just about secret visits to stores or restaurants. They provide comprehensive evaluations, using various methods such as customer surveys, audits, and interviews. Their approach ensures a well-rounded view of a business, including employee interactions, product offerings, and overall ambiance.

What sets BARE International apart is their global reach. Operating in more than 150 countries, they offer consistency and understanding of local markets, which is invaluable for businesses aiming for international excellence.


Focus: Automotive, Retail, Restaurants


BestMark is a leading player in the mystery shopping industry, specializing in automotive, retail, and restaurant sectors. By employing secret shoppers, they offer an unbiased evaluation of customer service, sales effectiveness, and compliance with standards.

One of the standout features of BestMark is their robust portfolio of services. From mystery shopping and audits to exit interviews and customer satisfaction surveys, they provide comprehensive solutions. Their secret shopping programs are designed to give real insights into customer interactions, in-store experiences, product quality, and employee performance.

BestMark’s tailored approach allows businesses to identify weak points in customer service and make necessary improvements. Their reputation for integrity, accuracy, and consistency has earned them accolades from clients across the nation.

With thousands of secret shopper assignments available every month, BestMark also offers a lucrative opportunity for individuals interested in becoming mystery shoppers. They provide training, guidance, and a seamless platform to connect with potential assignments.


Focus: Retail, Healthcare, Automotive


IntelliShop is a renowned mystery shopping company that brings innovation and intelligence to the evaluation of customer service. With a strong focus on retail, healthcare, and automotive sectors, they provide comprehensive insights to help businesses enhance their service offerings.

Utilizing secret shoppers, IntelliShop conducts in-person visits, phone evaluations, and online assessments. Their mystery shopping programs are tailored to uncover the true customer experience, evaluating aspects like employee responsiveness, product presentation, and overall satisfaction.

Beyond traditional mystery shopping, IntelliShop offers video mystery shopping, customer satisfaction surveys, and competitive intelligence services. Their multifaceted approach provides a holistic understanding of a brand’s presence and performance in the market.

What sets IntelliShop apart is their commitment to technology-driven solutions. Their online platform and reporting tools enable clients to access real-time data, track progress, and make informed decisions. This integration of technology adds a layer of efficiency and precision to their mystery shopping services.

A Closer Look

Focus: Hospitality, Healthcare


A Closer Look is a mystery shopping company that specializes in the hospitality and healthcare sectors. With a reputation for precision and attention to detail, they’ve become a trusted name in the industry, providing invaluable insights to businesses aiming to excel.

Their secret shopping programs are designed to evaluate key aspects of customer service. This includes staff interactions, cleanliness, product quality, and overall experience. By employing mystery shoppers, they create an unbiased view of what customers truly encounter.

What makes A Closer Look unique is their personalized approach. They work closely with clients to understand specific needs and goals, tailoring their mystery shopping services accordingly. This ensures a targeted evaluation that aligns with a company’s vision and objectives.

In addition to mystery shopping, A Closer Look offers guest satisfaction surveys and quality assurance audits. These complementary services provide a well-rounded understanding of the customer journey, allowing businesses to make informed improvements.

Coyle Hospitality Group

Focus: Hospitality, Restaurants


Coyle Hospitality Group is a distinguished name in the world of mystery shopping, known for its unparalleled focus on the hospitality and restaurant sectors. With over two decades of experience, they bring a level of expertise that offers valuable insights into guest satisfaction and service quality.

Their secret shopping services are tailored to the unique needs of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and spas. Mystery shoppers evaluate various elements such as staff interactions, ambiance, cleanliness, and culinary experience. This comprehensive assessment helps businesses identify areas that need improvement.

What sets Coyle Hospitality Group apart is their global reach and specialized focus. Their network of professional evaluators spans 115 countries, ensuring a consistent and culturally sensitive approach to mystery shopping.

In addition to traditional mystery shopping, they offer quality assurance audits, online reputation management, and competitive benchmarking. These additional services provide a complete picture of a brand’s performance, both internally and in comparison to competitors.

GBW (formerly Gapbuster)

Focus: Retail, Restaurants, Banking


GBW, once known as Gapbuster, is a well-established name in the mystery shopping industry, focusing on retail, restaurants, and banking. With a presence in over 100 countries, they bring a global perspective to customer experience evaluation.

Their mystery shopping services include traditional in-store visits, telephone assessments, and online evaluations. GBW’s secret shoppers are trained to observe and report on various factors such as staff attitude, product knowledge, service speed, and overall satisfaction.

What makes GBW stand out is their innovative approach to mystery shopping. They combine human insights with technology-driven data analysis, offering a comprehensive view of a brand’s performance. This blend of traditional and modern methodologies ensures actionable and accurate feedback.

In addition to mystery shopping, GBW offers customer satisfaction surveys, compliance audits, and competitive intelligence studies. Their multi-faceted approach provides a 360-degree understanding of the customer journey, helping businesses make informed decisions.

Second To None

Focus: Retail, Healthcare, Restaurants


Second To None is a leading mystery shopping company that emphasizes customer experience excellence. With a specialized focus on retail, healthcare, and restaurant sectors, they have over 30 years of experience in delivering insights that drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Their mystery shopping services utilize secret shoppers to conduct in-person visits, online evaluations, and phone assessments. These methods provide a holistic view of customer interactions, service quality, product availability, and overall ambiance.

What distinguishes Second To None is their integrated approach to customer experience management. They offer a suite of services including customer feedback surveys, compliance audits, and competitive benchmarking. These complementary solutions provide a comprehensive understanding of a business’s strengths and weaknesses.

Second To None also prioritizes data-driven insights. Their robust analytics platform allows clients to access real-time information, monitor trends, and make data-backed decisions. This commitment to technology ensures precision and efficiency in their mystery shopping programs.

Secret Shopper

Focus: Retail, Food, Banking


Secret Shopper is a notable name in the mystery shopping industry, specializing in retail, food, and banking sectors. With over 25 years of experience, they provide specialized insights that help businesses enhance service quality and achieve success.

Their mystery shopping services include in-person visits, online evaluations, and phone assessments. These methods uncover critical aspects of customer interactions, ambiance, cleanliness, and product presentation.

What sets Secret Shopper apart is their dedication to specialized focus. Their expertise in retail, food, and banking ensures a tailored approach that resonates with the unique needs and challenges of these industries.

In addition to mystery shopping, Secret Shopper offers customer feedback programs and competitor analysis, providing a well-rounded view of the market landscape.

Avoid Mystery Shopping Job Scams

Falling into the trap of a mystery shopping scam can be devastating. If a job asks for an upfront fee, that’s a definite red flag. Here’s how you can sidestep these scams and ensure you find legitimate opportunities:

No Upfront Payment: Remember, legitimate companies pay you to work, not the other way around. Don’t pay for certifications, training, or job guarantees. If you do, you’ll soon discover the offer is worthless and possibly nonexistent.

Avoid Paying for Job Lists: You can easily find mystery shopping jobs for free. Paying for a list doesn’t provide any advantage.

Never Wire Money: If a job requires you to wire money for “taxes” or “fees,” steer clear. Once you wire money through companies like MoneyGram or Western Union, you likely won’t get it back.

Reject Deposit-and-Return Schemes: Never deposit checks into your account and then send money back. This is a classic fake check scam. The money you’re sending back is coming from your account, and the check is bogus.

Ignore Overblown Guarantees: If a mystery shopping job promises substantial earnings or claims you can quit your full-time job, it’s likely a scam. Mystery shopping is typically a part-time gig and shouldn’t be considered a full-time income source.

Avoid MSPA False Claims: The Mystery Shopping Professionals Association (MSPA) doesn’t hire or advertise for mystery shoppers. Refer to their list of service providers for genuine opportunities.

Research Thoroughly: Search online for reviews, complaints, or scam reports about the company you’re considering. Seek advice from trusted sources and think carefully before accepting a job.

By following these guidelines, you’ll protect yourself from fraudulent offers and focus on legitimate mystery shopping opportunities. It’s about being cautious, doing your research, and trusting your instincts.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Do Mystery Shoppers Earn?

The average pay for a mystery shopper varies, according to different sources. Indeed puts the average rate at $15.20 per hour, using job listings and third-party information. On the other hand, ZipRecruiter reports an average of $24 per hour. Your potential earnings hinge on your experience level, the hiring company, and whether you’re a professional mystery shopper or taking on sporadic projects.

Are Mystery Shopper Jobs Genuine?

Yes, there are legitimate mystery shopper positions. However, you should remain alert to common scams. Be cautious of offers promising thousands of dollars monthly or checks sent upfront. Any websites demanding payment to start mystery shopping are likely fraudulent. Vigilance and research will guide you to genuine opportunities.

Who Can Become a Mystery Shopper?

Most mystery shopper jobs require you to be at least 18 years old and have access to transportation. These prerequisites enable you to visit various locations to complete assignments. If you meet these qualifications and locate a reputable company to work with, mystery shopping can be a rewarding way to supplement your income.

Navigating the world of mystery shopping demands attention to detail, research, and understanding what you can reasonably expect. By focusing on legitimate opportunities, you can enjoy the benefits of this unique side hustle.

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