A Full Mystery Shopper Guide

If you’re looking for exciting ways to make extra income in Canada, consider mystery shopping.

Mystery shopping is a way to earn extra income by acting as a secret customer to help businesses improve their products or services.

However, some people rush into mystery shopping without learning the basics and end up making the worst mistakes of their lives.

Those are the kind of people that tell you mystery shopping is not legitimate and you can’t make a single dollar from it. Guess what; the reverse is the case!

By following the right steps, you can earn extra income while gaining exposure as a mystery shopper in Canada.

So what are the right steps? Look nowhere!

As a former secret shopper, here I work you through the step-by-step process of becoming a mystery shopper in Canada using my personal experience.

At the end of this post, you should understand the roles of a secret shopper, skills requirements, job opportunities, and the application process of becoming a mystery shopper in Canada.

What is a Mystery Shopper?

A mystery shopper or secret shopper is a person that disguises his/herself as a consumer so as to evaluate the quality of products or services on behalf of a company.

After visiting a store, a mystery shopper reports their findings to the company upon which they receive payment or reimbursement.

Thus, secret shopper findings help businesses see what they are doing right and what they must improve.

What I like about mystery shopping is that it’s a flexible and exciting job. Even though it can’t replace your primary income, it supplements your income and helps you achieve your financial objectives fast.

However, your success in this job depends on the steps you follow to get there. I don’t want you to make the mistakes many made. Hence, this comprehensive guide.

Subsequently, we shall be looking at the roles of secret shoppers.

What Does a Mystery Shopper Do?

Depending on the company you’re working with, you may be assigned different roles, but here are the common roles of a secret shopper in Canada;

1. Visiting Stores or Establishments

The major role of a secret shopper is to visit stores or establishments to assess the quality of products or services of companies.

As a result, consider applying only for mystery shopping jobs you can visit in person or online.

2. Purchasing a Product

You may be required to purchase a product in a particular store or establishment to assess its quality.

Also, a company may ask you to purchase a product in order to evaluate the customer service provided by its staff.

3. Evaluating and Documenting Shopping Experience

As a secret shopper, you are to evaluate the products and services of companies and document your experience for detailed feedback.

Thus, you can snap pictures or take videos with your smartphone to have a perfect picture of the nature of a store or establishment you’re inspecting.

4. Writing and Filing Reports

The last but not the least role of a secret shopper is writing and filing reports. This is where you put down your overall shopping experience, findings and even recommendations.

However, it’s important to note that the quality of your shopping reports goes a long way in determining your success as a secret shopper.

What are the Advantages of a Mystery Shopper?

Here are some of the advantages of secret shoppers for business:

1. Customer Feedback

Any business that wants to succeed must hear from its customers. Secret shoppers evaluate a company’s product or service on behalf of its real customers.

Thus, with the critical observation and detailed analysis of secret shoppers, businesses can quickly identify areas where their customers need improvement.

2. Evaluate Staff Performance

Mystery shoppers improve customer satisfaction and help businesses identify areas they need to improve the performance of their staff.

Furthermore, secret shopper evaluations could help a business determine which staff to promote, demote, or fire.

3. Watch Competitors

Secret shoppers help businesses observe the performance of their competitors with a major focus on strengths and weaknesses.

By doing so, businesses can improve their services or product to gain a competitive advantage in the market.

What are the Disadvantages of a Mystery Shopper?

On the other hand, here are some of the disadvantages of secret shoppers for businesses:

1. Insufficient Data

One of the biggest disadvantages of secret shoppers is that their data are often insufficient for businesses to draw conclusions.

As a result, businesses need to perform additional research to find solutions to particular problems, thus, spending more time and resources.

2. Subjective Analysis

Not all secret shoppers’ findings are objective. Some findings conflict with facts because the observation and evaluation processes were dominated by personal bias.

As a result, businesses could make costly decisions by implementing secret shopper findings without further research.

What are Mystery Shopper Skills?

Different mystery shopping companies have different requirements. However, here are the common requirements from most companies in Canada:

1. Excellent Communication Skills

Part of your job as a secret shopper includes communicating with businesses and staff about certain products and services.

This means that you need to be able to speak well, write well and listen well.

Because of this, excellent written and verbal communication skills are required to perform this job.

2. Objective Analysis

After evaluating a product or service, you’re always expected to give an accurate and unbiased report.

This means that you should be able to describe your shopping experience with facts instead of sentiments.

3. Detailed-Oriented

You are expected to be detail-oriented when reporting your shopping experience. Thus, you must pay close attention to details and inspect the whole aspects of the mission critically.

As mentioned previously, your smartphone could help you cover the complete picture of a product or service by snapping photos or video recording.

4. Flexibility

Flexibility is one of the common skills required for mystery shopping. This is because you’re never sure when you’ll be assigned a task.

As a result, you need to adapt to different situations and prepare yourself ahead of every mystery shopping mission.

5. Punctuality

You are required to be punctual for all your secret shopping assignments. This means you must be able to arrive at the store or establishment at the scheduled time.

Moreover, punctuality determines your reliability and trustworthiness for future assignments.

Note: Some mystery shopping companies may require computer skills and access to either a scanner or a digital camera.

How to Be a Mystery Shopper in Canada?

If you have the above skills, you’re a potential secret shopper.

But how do you become a real mystery shopper in Canada? It’s so simple!

In addition to the above skills requirements, you are also expected to be 18 years or older, have a smartphone or computer with internet access to become a secret shopper in Canada.

Once you meet all these requirements, you can follow these steps to join the league of Canadian secret shoppers:

Step 1: Apply

First, you need to identify a mystery shopping company that is currently accepting applications.

There are many mystery shopping companies in Canada which I will discuss shortly.

As mentioned previously, every mystery shopping company has different requirements and roles. So you want to apply for a company that suits your qualifications.

Step 2: Go Shopping

Once your application is approved, you can start shopping based on the missions assigned to you.

Depending on your location and the mystery shopping company you’re working with, you may have more or fewer shopping missions at a time.

However, ensure that you understand the mission instructions before starting any shopping. Else, your observations will be different from what is expected of you.

Step 3: Report Your Findings

After you’re done observing and evaluating the product or service you’re assigned to inspect, you can now report your findings to the mystery shopping company.

As a result, you want to ensure that your report is always objective and detailed to guarantee your future shopping missions.

Step 4: Get Paid

Once you submit your mystery shopping findings, you’re entitled to payment or reimbursement.

Depending on the mystery shopping company, you may receive your payment through direct bank deposit, check, gift card, or PayPal within two to four weeks after mission completion.

Mystery Shopper Jobs in Canada

Where can you find a mystery shopping job in Canada? At a mystery shopping company.

Unfortunately, with many scams or fake mystery shopping companies out there, it’s easy to get confused about which mystery shopper jobs to apply for.

But you don’t have to worry!

Here are some of the legit mystery shopping jobs in Canada:

1. Secret Shopper

This is one of the best online mystery shopping companies with an online presence. As a result, you can apply for the mystery shopping job online or through the Secret Shopper App on Google Play Store or App Store.

Furthermore, Secret Shopper is a Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) member. As such, you have nothing to worry about working here.

Check it out

2. A Closer Look Mystery Shopper

A Closer Look was established in 1994 as a mystery shopping shop with restaurants, motels and retail stores coverage.

That said, A Closer Look has a 10-question test on its application. But the questions are simple, and you can take up to 30 minutes to answer them.

Moreover, the company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Hence, you have nothing to worry about.

Check it out

3. Premier Service

Premier Service is a leading mystery shopping company that focuses on Canada’s service, retail, manufacturing, and distribution industries.

Furthermore, Premier Service is a member of the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA). Thus, you have nothing to lose working here.

Check it out

4. Mystery Shopping Canada

This is another mystery shopping company in Canada that has been around since 2002.

Here you earn extra income, free meals and free merchandise through secret shopping.

Although Mystery Shopping has no BBB rating, shoppers’ reviews paint it excellent.

Check it out

5. SQM

Sensors Quality Management (SQM) is a multi-national mystery shopping company with a major focus in Canada.

Accordingly, SQM covers transportation, accommodation, retail and entertainment industries.

Unlike other companies, this company reimbursed your services instead of paying cash.

Check it out

6. We Check

The last but not the least mystery shopping company on my list is We Check. This focuses on Canada’s financial, restaurants, government, retail, and automotive sectors etc.

What I like about We Check is its wide range of missions which is far beyond other mystery shopping companies in Canada.

Also, We Check is a member of the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), so you have nothing to lose.

Check it out

Note: You can’t make a wrong choice with any of the above mystery shopping companies in Canada. But if you want to narrow your selection, We Check is my recommendation.

How to Submit Mystery Shopper Job Application?

Congratulations on reaching this stage. You’re now one step to becoming a secret shopper in Canada.

But if you’re not careful, this stage can undermine your efforts to become a secret shopper in Canada.

Besides meeting the requirements and identifying a mystery shopping company, you need to understand how to submit your application.

Depending on the company you’re applying to, you can submit your application online or in person.

Also, some mystery shopping companies don’t have job advertisements but still need your services. For such companies, you can submit your application through their websites or by visiting their office.

Regardless of your application method, ensure that your job application expresses your skills and experience such as this.

Sample of mystery job application

Source: Jobhero.com

But even if you don’t have any related experience, you can still make your CV persuasive by dwelling on your skills and passion for the job.

Final Thoughts on Mystery Shopper Canada

Mystery shopping is one of the growing industries in Canada. As a mystery shopper in Canada, you have the opportunity to earn extra income by simply doing what you like.

However, your success in this position depends on your commitment and output on the assigned shopping missions.

Providing subjective analysis and not being punctual will limit your chances of earning extra income in the long run.

So before joining this industry, ensure that you’re equal to the requirements and roles.

But if you’re not sure if mystery shopping is perfect for you, refer to these means of earning extra income from home and online.

All the best!


Is Mystery Shopper a Good job?

Yes, this is a good job because you can earn extra income by simply practicing your hobby.

However, mystery shopping is only a means of earning extra income. It’s not a replacement for your primary income.

How Do I Become a Mystery Shopper in Canada

You must have the required skills and apply them to a mystery shopping company to become a mystery shopper in Canada.

Some of the required skills for becoming a secret shopper include excellent communication skills, objective analysis, detailed-oriented, flexibility and punctuality.

Above are the step-by-step processes of becoming a secret shopper in Canada.

Are Mystery Shopping Jobs Legitimate?

It depends. Some mystery shopping jobs are legitimate, while others are scams.

However, you can determine a scam and legitimate mystery shopping job through reviews and accreditation by top bodies such as:

  • Retail Council of Canada (RCC)
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA)
How Much Do Mystery Shoppers Make?

It depends on the mystery shopping company, and the mission accomplished. However, you can earn up to $100 for each mission and up to $32,175 annually.

Do Mystery Shoppers Pay Tax?

Yes, mystery shoppers are categorized as independent contractors. Thus, their earnings must be included when filing their tax returns.

If you have more questions on mystery shopping in Canada, let me know in the comment section.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin