With rising inflation and increasing living costs in Canada, looking for a side hustle is the new normal. If you’re searching for exciting ways to boost your income, consider the intriguing world of mystery shopping in Canada.
Allow me to take you back to my college days in Winnipeg when I stumbled upon this fascinating opportunity. A friend and fellow student was about to embark on a secret shopping mission at a restaurant, and his promise of “free” food enticed me to tag along.
You might have heard some sceptics dismissing mystery shopping as a scam, but I can assure you that isn’t the whole truth. Like any endeavour, success in mystery shopping lies in mastering the basics and avoiding common pitfalls.
Drawing from my personal experience as a former secret shopper, I am well-acquainted with the ins and outs of this unique world. In this post, I will serve as your guide, revealing the best companies and jobs to apply for to earn extra income while venturing into the realm of mystery shopping in Canada. Together, we’ll navigate through important tips to avoid scammers and maximise your earning potential.
More than just a way to earn extra cash, mystery shopping offers an opportunity to contribute to improving products and services while having fun and exploring different businesses.
So, if you’re ready to unveil the mystery behind mystery shopping and discover how it can be your ticket to earning extra income in Canada, read on.
What is a Mystery Shopper?
Mystery shopping, also known as secret shopping, is a unique and flexible job where individuals disguise themselves as regular consumers to assess the quality of products or services on behalf of companies.
These “secret shoppers” visit various establishments such as stores, retailers, restaurants, car dealerships, gas stations, and hotels. After their visits, they provide detailed reports on their findings to the companies, and in return, they receive payment or reimbursement for their efforts.
The primary purpose of mystery shopping is to help businesses understand their strengths and weaknesses by gaining insights into the customer experience. Companies hire mystery shopping agencies to gauge the level of service their customers are receiving and utilise the feedback to enhance customer loyalty and overall performance.
Each mystery shopping assignment may differ regarding the specific aspects the shoppers are asked to evaluate. The criteria could vary depending on the client’s objectives, the product or service offered, and the assessment method, such as in-person visits or telephone evaluations.
One of the appealing aspects of mystery shopping is its flexibility and excitement. While it may not replace a full-time income, it can supplement one’s earnings and assist in achieving financial goals more quickly. However, success in this role relies on careful planning and avoiding common mistakes that others have made.
Top Mystery Shopping Companies and Jobs in Canada
If you’re looking for legitimate mystery shopping jobs in Canada, you must find reputable mystery shopping companies to avoid scams and fake opportunities. To help you get started on the right path, here are some top mystery shopping companies in Canada:
1. Premier Service
Premier Service is a leading and reputable mystery shopping company in Canada, established in 1991. Their focus encompasses various industries, including service, retail (covering clothing, furniture, stores, car dealerships, and gas stations), as well as manufacturing and distribution sectors.
As a Retail Council of Canada (RCC) member and the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) member, Premier Service offers a credible and trustworthy platform for prospective mystery shoppers. With no signup fee required, you can apply for assignments immediately after approval. Payments are conveniently processed monthly through PayPal.
Premier Service’s evaluation process centres around testing sales associates’ abilities, customer responsiveness, efficiency, and product knowledge. The company diligently rates the quality of services provided to customers by these sales associates.
2. A Closer Look
A Closer Look, founded in 1994, is a well-established and reputable mystery shopping company that evaluates restaurants, motels, and retail stores. Their application process includes a straightforward 10-question test, which allows ample time of up to 30 minutes for answering. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited the company, ensuring trust and reliability for potential mystery shoppers.
With a remarkable track record of working with over 200,000 mystery shoppers, A Closer Look has been instrumental in assisting businesses to enhance their operations. By providing valuable insights and feedback, they play a significant role in helping businesses improve their overall performance and customer experience. With A Closer Look, you can confidently engage with a reputable and experienced mystery shopping partner.
3. Mystery Shopping Canada
Established in 1996, Mystery Shopping Canada Inc. has emerged as a reputable player in the industry. With its headquarters in Vancouver, the company boasts an impressive network of over 58,000 shoppers across Canada.
Mystery Shopping Canada provides a range of enticing benefits for individuals interested in secret shopping. As a mystery shopper with the company, you can earn extra income while enjoying complimentary meals and merchandise during assignments. The company offers various types of mystery shopping tasks, including price comparison, competitor analysis, integrity assessments, and evaluations conducted via telephone and email.
While Mystery Shopping Canada Inc. does not currently hold a rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), its reputation among shoppers remains positive. Reviews from mystery shoppers reflect their satisfaction with the company’s services, highlighting its excellence in delivering rewarding and enjoyable mystery shopping experiences.
4. Shoppers Confidential
Shoppers Confidential, founded in 2005 and based in Toronto and Edmonton, is a reputable mystery shopping company. It boasts an A+ rating with the BBB and holds memberships in esteemed organizations like MSPA, RCC, WBE Canada, and Restaurants Canada. The company’s reach extends across various industries, serving restaurants, retail, hospitality, automotive, government, education, and travel sectors.
As mystery shoppers, individuals can receive complimentary benefits depending on the assigned mission. These perks may include free meals, services, event tickets, or merchandise, which are reimbursed after submitting the report. Payment for completed missions is issued on the 15th of the following month, with earnings ranging between $15 and $50 per assignment. Payment transactions are facilitated through PayPal, ensuring a convenient and secure process for shoppers.
5. Sensors Quality Management (SQM)
Sensors Quality Management (SQM) is a well-established multinational mystery shopping company established in 1993 with a strong presence in Canada. SQM specialises in conducting mystery shopping evaluations in various industries, including transportation, accommodation, retail, and entertainment sectors.
One notable feature that differentiates SQM from other companies is its reimbursement method. Instead of providing cash payments, they reimburse shoppers for their services. The payment structure varies depending on the assignment. For certain assignments, shoppers may not be required to make any purchases and receive a predetermined flat rate for their work. On the other hand, some assignments offer a flat rate compensation and additional benefits, such as complimentary restaurant meals.
Furthermore, certain assignments may not provide direct monetary compensation, but they offer attractive savings opportunities. For instance, completing travel inspection assignments with SQM allows shoppers to enjoy a 50% discount on items like train fare, airfare, or bus fare. This can be a valuable perk for those interested in exploring new destinations and engaging in travel-related mystery shopping assignments.
6. We Check
Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Ontario, We Check is a prominent mystery shopping company with a strong focus on various sectors in Canada, including the financial, restaurant, government, retail, and automotive industries. What sets We Check apart from other mystery shopping companies in the country is its extensive range of missions, providing opportunities beyond the norm.
A significant advantage of working with We Check is their membership with the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), which adds to their credibility and reliability. As a customer experience and satisfaction measurement service provider, they cater to organisations and companies globally, attracting reputable clients such as Ford, Health Canada, and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).
When you become an approved mystery shopper with We Check, you gain access to potential assignments in your area through email notifications. This allows you to participate in diverse missions and opens doors for exciting opportunities to evaluate and contribute to various businesses and sectors. With We Check, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain in the world of mystery shopping.
7. Field Agent
Founded in 2010, Field Agent is a company that harnesses the power of shoppers’ smartphones to assist brands, retailers, and agencies enhance their services. With a global presence, they serve over 2,000 brands and organisations across seven international markets.
To become a part of their network, you can simply download the Field Agent app, which allows you to engage in various tasks such as answering questions, capturing photos, and sharing your valuable opinions on assignments.
This user-friendly app provides an easy and convenient way for individuals to participate in their mission of helping businesses grow and improve.
8. iSHopFor Ipsos
iShopFor Ipsos is a division of Ipsos, a renowned leader in the market research industry that specialises in providing mystery shopping services. As part of their offerings, iShopFor Ipsos has developed the Ipsos Mystery Shopping App and portal, enabling shoppers to access available tasks and assignments within their geographical area easily.
To become a mystery shopper with iShopFor Ipsos, applicants must meet two primary requirements. Firstly, they must be at least 18 years old to be eligible for participation. Secondly, having a PayPal account is necessary, as this will be the method used for payment processing.
The assignments for mystery shoppers encompass a range of activities. Shoppers will be expected to handle various communication channels, such as receiving calls and emails and engaging in chat interactions. Additionally, they may need to conduct audits to assess specific aspects of a business or service. The job may also involve visiting physical locations, including banks, hotels, and retail stores, to conduct the mystery shopping assessments.
9. PerformaLogics (iSecretShop)
In 2020, PerformaLogics merged with Intouch Insight to create the well-known iSecretShop brand. Intouch Insight was established in 1992 and is headquartered in Ontario as a reputable Canadian and US mystery shopping company. Their commitment to excellence is evident through their consistent A+ rating on the BBB (Better Business Bureau). The company specialises in mystery shopping services to various industries, including retailers, restaurants, grocery stores, and hospitality establishments.
When it comes to compensating mystery shoppers, Intouch Insight follows a payment system through PayPal. Shoppers can expect to receive payments on the second Friday of every month. However, it’s important to note that the payment schedule may vary for each individual client, depending on their specific arrangements with the company.
Lanla is a well-established market research company headquartered in Quebec, founded in 2002, boasting a vast network of over 200,000 mystery shoppers across Canada. They specialize in providing mystery shopping services to various brands in various industries, including transportation, finance, retail, and real estate.
As a mystery shopper with Lanla, you can earn competitive compensation ranging from $10 to $40 for each assignment you complete. Payments are conveniently made through direct deposit, ensuring a seamless and efficient payment process.
Sometimes, your assignments may involve participating in online surveys, which may come with something other than immediate monetary rewards. However, by participating in these surveys, your name will be entered into draws where you can win enticing prizes such as cash rewards, gift baskets, and other exciting offerings.
BestMark is one of Canada’s largest and most reputable mystery shopping and customer experience measurement companies, boasting an impressive A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). With a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1986, the company is a proud member of the MSPA (Mystery Shopping Providers Association).
The range of services offered by BestMark includes mystery shopping, intercept interviewing, and compliance auditing. Headquartered in Minnesota, the company actively recruits shoppers from Canada, offering them exciting opportunities to be part of their evaluation process.
Aspiring shoppers must be at least 18 years old to be eligible for these mystery shopping assignments. Once accepted, shoppers can look forward to receiving their payments through various convenient methods, including PayPal, gift cards, or direct deposit. Moreover, BestMark values its shoppers’ efforts and ensures a timely payment schedule, with payments made twice monthly.
12. Market Force
Market Force is a well-established mystery shopping company that was founded in 2005. It has built a strong reputation in the industry by operating in multiple countries, including the US, Canada, France, Spain, and the UK. As a testament to their commitment to quality service, Market Force is a proud Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) member and has received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
One of the key conveniences offered by Market Force is its mobile app, available for both iOS and Android platforms. This user-friendly app enables shoppers to access and complete assignments while on the go easily. The assignments themselves cover a wide range of establishments, such as movie theatres, grocery stores, retailers, gas stations, restaurants, and more. With this diverse selection, mystery shoppers can enjoy a variety of experiences while contributing valuable feedback to help businesses improve their services and operations.
How to Become a Mystery Shopper in Canada
Becoming a mystery shopper in Canada is a straightforward process that can be easily done. To get started, you must be at least 18 years old and have access to a smartphone or computer with internet connectivity. Once you meet these basic requirements, follow these simple steps to join the ranks of secret Canadian shoppers:
Step 1: Apply
Begin by identifying a mystery shopping company that is currently accepting applications. Since there are several mystery shopping companies in Canada, each with its own specific requirements and roles, choose one that aligns with your qualifications. Submit your application to the chosen company.
Step 2: Go Shopping
Upon approval of your application, you can start undertaking shopping missions that are assigned to you. The number of missions you receive at any given time may vary depending on your location and the mystery shopping company you are working with. Before embarking on each shopping task, carefully read and comprehend the mission instructions to ensure your observations match the expectations.
Step 3: Report Your Findings
After completing your assigned shopping and evaluating the product or service, it’s time to report your findings to the mystery shopping company. To secure future shopping missions, maintain objectivity and provide detailed feedback in your reports.
Step 4: Get Paid
Once you have submitted your mystery shopping findings, you become eligible for payment or reimbursement. The payment method may vary depending on the mystery shopping company, but it commonly includes options like direct bank deposit, checks, gift cards, or PayPal. Typically, you can expect to receive your payment within two to four weeks after completing the mission.
Benefits of Mystery Shopping in Canada
When effectively employed, Mystery shopping offers numerous advantages for businesses seeking to improve their operations and gain a competitive edge in the market.
1. Customer Feedback
With secret shoppers acting as proxies for real customers, businesses gain valuable insights into their products and services. The critical observations and detailed analyses of mystery shoppers allow companies to identify specific areas for improvement, ultimately leading to better customer experiences.
2. Staff Performance Evaluation
Mystery shoppers play a crucial role in enhancing staff performance. Businesses can identify areas where staff training or support is needed by assessing employee interactions. Moreover, these evaluations aid in determining which employees excel and deserve recognition or promotion while identifying those who may require additional coaching or even disciplinary action.
3. Competitive Analysis
Secret shoppers also enable businesses to closely observe their competitors, analysing their strengths and weaknesses. This information empowers companies to make strategic adjustments to their own products or services, ultimately helping them stand out and attract more customers in the fiercely competitive market.
Downsides of Mystery Shopping in Canada
Despite its benefits, mystery shopping does have some drawbacks that businesses should be aware of:
1. Insufficient Data
One of the main challenges with secret shopper evaluations is that the data provided may sometimes be limited. Businesses may need to conduct further research to find comprehensive solutions to specific issues, which can consume additional time and resources.
2. Subjective Analysis
Not all secret shoppers maintain complete objectivity in their findings. Personal biases may inadvertently influence their observations and evaluations, leading to conflicting or inaccurate information. Relying solely on such data without corroborating it with additional research could lead to costly business decisions.
Final Thoughts on Mystery Shopping in Canada
If you’re looking for an exciting and flexible way to earn extra income while contributing to improving businesses across Canada, mystery shopping is the perfect opportunity for you!
As a mystery shopper in Canada, you can embark on thrilling shopping missions, evaluate products and services, and provide valuable feedback to companies.
Take the first step towards becoming a secret shopper today by applying to one of the reputable mystery shopping companies in the country. Unveil the world of mystery shopping in Canada and join the league of savvy shoppers making a difference.
Take advantage of this fantastic chance to turn your shopping experiences into rewarding adventures. Apply now and start your journey as a mystery shopper today!
FAQs on Mystery Shopping Canada
Is Mystery Shopper a Good Job?
Yes, this job is good because you can earn extra income by practising 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 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 a legitimate mystery shopping job through reviews and accreditation by top bodies such as the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), Better Business Bureau (BBB), and 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.