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Dream Career: Mystery Shopper
by Tag and Catherine Goulet

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Dream Career: Mystery Shopper
Published with permission from FabJob.

Have you ever received poor customer service and wished you could have done something about it? As a mystery shopper you will get paid to tell companies what you think about the service you received.

What They Do

Mystery shoppers are paid to act like customers and shop at stores, stay at hotels, and dine at restaurants. They provide feedback to companies about various areas of their businesses, such as customer service, cleanliness, store appearance and staff efficiency.

Only five percent of customers actually register complaints when they are dissatisfied, while the other 95 percent simply never return. Because of this fact, companies hire mystery shoppers to find out what an average experience in their store or restaurant is really like, without the artificial preparations that often happen when the boss is around. The companies use this feedback to improve their standards of service.

Mystery shoppers are usually independent contractors who work from home when they are not out on assignment. They apply and are selected for mystery shopping assignments. They will visit the business in question, and then fill out a questionnaire with questions about cleanliness, service, staff's product knowledge, and efficiency. In some cases, shopping assignments may even take place online. As a mystery shopper you will do some or all of the following:

  • Apply for mystery shopping jobs
  • Schedule assignments into your week
  • Review assignment details to prepare for your visit
  • Prepare questions to ask service providers
  • Visit the selected business and discreetly note appropriate details
  • Fill out and submit a report about your experience
  • Keep records of completed assignments and payment

Who is Likely to Succeed

The best mystery shoppers have excellent powers of observation, good judgment, integrity, and the motivation to seek out assignments regularly. They are not easily flustered, and don't mind traveling to jobs within about a 60-mile radius. They are colorful writers who can truly paint a visual picture of an experience.

If you are organized, on time, and reliable, you already have three of the most desired characteristics in this industry. Many mystery shopping companies prefer to hire shoppers that have retail or customer-service experience.

How to Learn It

The next time you have a remarkably good or poor shopping, dining, or service experience, don't just brag or complain to your friends about it. Instead, write up a detailed report about your experience, including the date and time of your visit, and a description of what happened. Use interesting language, and include as many details as you can remember.

What you do with your practice reports is up to you. You can send them to the store manager or company headquarterschances are you might even get a reply or some free coupons in the mail for your effort. You can also post your reviews on websites like for other consumers to read and comment on, or combine them into a mystery shopping website or blog that you update frequently.

The Secret Shopper Company - and The National Center for Professional Mystery Shoppers & Merchandisers - - offer online learning opportunities and conferences where you can learn the basics of the business and get certified. You can also learn a lot by visiting mystery shopper chat boards, where shoppers come together to ask questions and discuss experiences.

Visit Here to find the career of your dreams.

Learn About Dream Careers
How to Create a Dream Job

In most places, you can begin work as a mystery shopper as soon as your application is accepted by an agency or company. Also, the FabJob Guide to Become a Mystery Shopper is a thorough guidebook to help you learn all you need to know to break into this industry.
Tag and Catherine Goulet (known as the Dream Career Experts) are founders of This article is an excerpt from the book Dream Careers: How to Quickly Break Into a Fab Job! Visit to discover how to break into the career of your dreams.

Discover Your Dream Career and How to Quickly Break In!

by Tag and Catherine Goulet:
Sisters Tag and Catherine Goulet are the Dream Career Experts. In 1999 they founded, a publisher of guides on how to break into a dream career, which has been visited by 50 million people. They have been featured giving career advice in media from ABC to and Woman's Day to the Wall Street Journal online, and their career advice appears frequently on the career pages at and They are authors of the book Dream Careers: How to Quickly Break into a Fab Job! Visit to discover how to break into a dream career. is featured in Woman's World Magazine ("Land Your Dream Job" article, April 2007).

FabJob Guides have been featured in stories at The Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur Magazine sites.

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