Mystery Shopping Resources

Mystery Shopping Resources Requested

Have you ever heard of an organization called "National Association of Independent Mystery Shoppers" (NAIMS)? I used to be a member, but am unable to contact the company at its previous address. Any information you can provide would be helpful. Thank you.
Kendall M.

(editor's note: we decided to use any helpful information about mystery shopping.)

I Earn $40 to $60 per Month

In one of your past newsletters, you had talked about being a Mystery Shopper and I did some research on the web. There were a few places that I had sent info to but only one that ever got back to me. Market Image Florida (800/488-5999) is who I've been "working" with for about 6 months. While I don't make enough to support a family or anything like that, it's fun and gives me extra spending money.

I shop four area K-Marts, and two Holiday Pets stores. They are either for customer service checks or cleanliness checks. I get paid $9 each time I'm assigned to a K-Mart, and $13 for the Holiday Pets stores. And sometimes I will get an extra $2 if there is a restaurant within a K-Mart. The only requisites are getting a receipt to prove I was there on the day and time assigned (could be for as little as a pack of gum), and to answer some quick questions on a very easy form. I can bring my daughter with me, and if it's one of the pet stores, I can bring my dog, which he really enjoys!

Let your readers know that this seems to be a very reputable company that is great to work with, and pay on time. They send paychecks out once a month and mine have averaged $40 to $60.

Getting started in mystery shopping

Watch for Pitfalls, Too

While mystery shopping is an easy and fun way to earn extra money, it also has its pitfalls. Most likely, the reason you can no longer find the organization that you are looking for is because many companies are now using their own employees to do the mystery shopping. Can you think of any better way to determine how a particular sales team is doing than sending someone in there who knows how it should be done?

There are still a few "warehouse"-type Mystery Shopper companies out there, but please be wary of them. A girlfriend of mine called a number that was placed in a newspaper and ended up paying over $30 for the call! They make you wait on the line to gather all the addresses for shopper companies in your area. Not sure about a company? Call the Better Business Bureau and see if there have been any complaints.

The best solution I can offer, other than investigating every lead, is to shop for a company you have worked for in the past. Of course, this only works if you have had retail experience. Victoria's Secret, for example, uses their own employees. Don't have enough time to devote the minimum ten or so hours a week to the regular schedule? Offer to be a shopper for them. They might just take you up on it!

One Mom's Experience With Mystery Shopping

I have been a mystery shopper for several months. It is an easy way to make a little extra cash. Different companies pay you a hourly wage to go into a store or restaurant and pose as a customer. While there, you observe the service you received, cleanliness of the store, etc., and then you write a report of your visit. In addition to the hourly wage for each job completed, you also receive free food or merchandize. You are not hired by these companies, but instead act as an independent consultant. This has been a great way for me to earn some income, as I am a stay-at-home mom and I am able to take my children with me to the shops. The URL where I found out about secret shopping is

National Directory

P. O. Box 580323
Tulsa, OK 74115

It's Great !!

As for the company called National Assoc. of Independent Mystery Shoppers (NAIMS), I have searched my records and find nothing relating to that name. However, my records don't keep a listing of any companies no longer in operation unless it is a company I have personnaly worked for.

I have however compiled a list of over 100 companies that hire Mystery Shoppers, most Nation wide, Some local and an additional list of organizations that you can list your name as an Independent Shopper. I have listed my name with some of them in the past, but have only gotten a small response. I've found, communicating directly with the MS companies, gets you more shops more often.

I am currently a Mystery Shopper for fourteen companies and have worked with twenty-five of them over the past five years. I love it and am in the process of starting my own company ( as time and money will permit ).

Mystery Shopping is great! It not only helps the consumer get the best products and service for their money, it's a way of earning income while helping your community. I was doing this for years without getting paid, by making a complaint when I received bad service or complimenting the management when the service was great. Now I get paid to do it!!

One of the best shops I was ever assigned was with the state lottery. In three days (aproximately 12 hours each day) I earned over $2500.00. Most assignments don't pay that great, but there are a few that come along. Generaly I collect $15 -$50 per shop + gas and expenses. Expenses can be the product you bought (and get to keep), the service you pay for, the food you ( and sometimes freinds) got to eat, faxes, postage or anything that cost you to be able to complete the shop. As an added incentive, you only have to claim income of the money paid for your services (not the reimbursements) AND only when the total amount for the year comes to $600.00 or more from EACH company.
Carol M.

Another Mystery Shopper Company

I'd like to offer this suggestion to your reader, Kendall M., who is trying to locate the National Association of Independent Mystery Shoppers (NAIMS). I don't know their whereabouts, but I do know of a company that may. S & G Marketing is a company in Northern California that offers "mystery shopper" services nationwide. They may be aware of this organization. Their address is: S & G Marketing, PO Box 773, Arnold, CA 95223. Or you can call them at: 209-795-0830.

Two Companies

I currently work with two mystery shopper companies neither of which required a fee to join.:

Inventory Control Company / Decision Services
PO Box 23
Hackensack, NJ 07606


Courtesy Counts Inc.
11325 Seven Locks Road
Suite 222
Potomac, Maryland 20854

calculator iconCalculator: How much income will my retirement savings provide?

The first, ICC/DS, sends me on many types of jobs. One day I may have to buy some jewelry at the mall. The next day, I eat at a local restaurant and grade their service. The pay varies from job to job but runs about $6 per hour. Some jobs reimburse me for expenses (food, misc. purchases).

The second, Courtesy Counts, has only sent me to Sports Authority to mystery shop. I am not sure if this is because that is their only customer in my area or if Sports Authority is their only customer. They are paying $30 for each assignment (which is done over a two day period.)

Both companies have paid faithfully. ICC/DS usually pays 60-90 days after job completion and Courtesy Counts usually pays in 30-45 days.

I won't get rich at these rates but it is fun work and I often receive free food and jewelry. Also, I do these assignments when it is convenient for me.
Loren S

Through an Ad Agency

First, in reference to the person who asked about Mystery Shopping this week: I once had a great mystery shopping job. It was for the client of an advertising agency where one of my friends works. The agency uses mystery shoppers to determine which retailers it wants to use for special promotions. They only use "friends of friends" because they are very concerned about confidentiality. The keys to success with the agency (besides knowing someone who works there) is respect for the client's confidentiality, enthusiasm about the project, and returning the evaluation forms in a timely manner. Based on my experience, I would say that the best way to get a mystery shopper job is to ask friends who work for stores or advertising agencies if they ever use them.
Annie L.

Other Mystery Shopping Resources

Shop and Check hires mystery shoppers directly. For an application, call (800) 669-6526 or write to them at P.O. Box 28175, Atlanta, GA, 30358. And to become a secret shopper for a restaurant or hotel service, visit Bare Assoc. International at
Brenda C.

Mystery Shopping Site

In response to Kendall's questions about mystery shopping, visit I registered with them to shop in my zip code and have had one oil change assignment. You register, and they call you when they have an assignment in your area for which you meet the desired demographics. I was a little overdue for my oil change when they called for me to go get my oil changed at a particular facility. I paid for the oil change, wrote a summary report about my visit, and submitted my report with the receipt for full reimbursement. I was not "paid" in addition to the oil change reimbursement, but I did not have to go out of my way to get my oil changed for FREE, so I felt it was well worth it. I would recommend registering for these mystery shopping assignments to all Dollar Stretcher frugals and Kendall who obviously has some experience.
Valerie H.

A steady income in mystery shopping

Minnesota Resource

I'm unfamiliar with the organization this reader mentions, but a firm in Minnesota coordinates mystery shoppers...TIPS/Bestmark. They can be reached at 1-800-969-TIPS.

Another Company to Contact

In response to your reader who requested Mystery Shopping info, there's a company called Feedback Plus, Inc. They pay you to evaluate stores, or reimburse you to visit a facility (like a movie theatre). Their number is 1-800-882-7467.

"Secret Shop" Website

Thought I'd drop a line about Secret Shopping/Mystery Shoppers since I just recently became a member of an organization that does just that; they 'employ' secret shoppers, and you can actually make a little money doing this as well. Tell your readers to check out . Secret shopping is something that companies need, to give them an evaluation once in a while as to how their service is, products they sell, etc. As a secret shopper, you make your own hours (basically, you don't work full time at this, but as needed) and they pay you to evaluate your visits.
Kelly S.

A Newsletter Resource

I do mystery shopping for several companies. And I live in a pretty small town, so I can't imagine what I could do in a bigger city!! I got started with a report from a newsletter I subscribe to, "Big Ideas/Small Budget." The report costs $5, but I have already made a lot more than that in payments for mystery shopping. You can order the Mystery Shopping report by sending $5 to:

Big Ideas/Small Budget
2201 High Road
Tallahassee FL 32303

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