Mystery Shopping

by Niccole Rogers

Making money to shop and evaluate service sounds like the perfect job to most people. Becoming a secret shopper is a dream and becoming a successful secret shopper is a closely guarded secret.

Successful and established shoppers often have one thing in common. As their careers began to blossom, they designed a secret shopping power plan.

A secret shopper power plan is similar to a small business plan. Power plans consist of identifying goals and methods of reaching those goals. As independent contractors, a secret shopper power plan should contain detailed information, including:

  • Mapping work schedules
  • Identifying boundaries
  • Focusing on financial goals

Great power plans also help shoppers overcome a major barrier that is often a killer career move. In a rush to establish and build a reputation, new shoppers accept assignments that do not meet or exceed any of their power plan goals. This causes secret shoppers to suffer "burn-out." Assignments should be beneficial for all parties involved in some way.


A new shopper may be inclined to take on a short term assignment that does not directly meet any of their power plan goals. However, the assignment can be used as work experience for the new shopper. Although this particular assignment does not meet any of the power plan goals, the assignment offers an alternative benefit to the shopper.

Another focal point in a power plan is the development of financial statements. This is often overlooked as new secret shoppers have so much fun doing their assignments that they forget about paying taxes on earned income. Unprepared secret shoppers panic during tax season as they search for receipts and records to include in tax forms. Financial statements can also help shoppers stay on track with their power plans.

To find out more about building and establishing a career as a secret shopper, check out the links below.

Support Groups and Specialist:

Find Secret Shopping Companies:

Niccole Rogers, M.A. is the elected President of the National Center for Professional Mystery Shoppers and Merchandisers (NCPMS). NCPMS focuses on building long lasting careers for new and seasoned secret shoppers. It offers a variety of free services including: membership, online newsletter for all industry professionals, message board and chat rooms, internet links, peer mediation, internet based referral service, and email support. You can contact Niccole by email to: Dollar Stretcher granted permission to post this article by Niccole Rogers. You may not post, reprint or distribute this article in anyway without permission from Niccole Rogers (

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