How does Mystery Shopping work?

While the process of mystery shopping is similar between different mystery shopping companies, we all do things a little different so it is very important to read through all shop instructions, checklists, messages, emails, and other information provided by Spot Check Services. A great place to read all about Mystery Shopping in general, including valuable tips, is

1. Once you have registered, go to to sign in.

2. Enter the username and password from the confirmation email you received. If you did not receive a confirmation email, use the “Forgot Password” option and your username and a password re-set will be emailed to you. 

3. You will have access under “My Settings” to update your profile, see your pay history, and change your password. You can read important messages in the upper right corner of your home screen (be sure to select “read all” to see all memos, and check regularly for new messages). There is also a tutorial on this screen to provide helpful information. If you have questions from quality control, you will see them on this screen. To see available shops, first select “Open Opportunities”, then adjust filters as necessary. If you do not click “Open Opportunities first and just click “Update Filter”, you will not see all available shops. You will receive emails letting you know when there are new assignments posted on the board, but feel free to login and check the board as often as you wish. High-demand shops generally do not stay on the board longer than 24 hours, so if you don’t check frequently you may miss out on some great shops.

4. When viewing available assignments, you can search by city, province, or country, but it will automatically default to the distance you indicated you were willing to travel beyond the postal code you entered in your profile. We recommend leaving as many fields blank as you can so that you are able to see more available assignments. There may be assignments available in areas close to where you live, or even phone shops in other provinces that can be done from anywhere, and if you have restricted your search to only your city you may miss these. There is also an option once you click, “Open Opportunities” to see “all” shops.

5. If you see a shop that interests you, read through ALL instructions provided in the Survey Summary. If you meet all criteria and are comfortable with all of the requirements of the shop, request the assignment. Note: You will not see the actual checklist until the shop is assigned to you, but you will need to read through the entire checklist to see what you will be required to report on. IMPORTANT: Each question contains critical information in the coloured text below it. Sometimes it is just tips and guidance on how to answer a question properly, but other times it contains critical information that if missed may result in your report being rejected. 

6. The scheduler will review all shopper requests. Preference will be given to those shoppers with the best shopper profiles (least number of rejected reports, quality of previous reports, least number of cancelled shops). An email will be sent advising that you have been given the assignment. However, this email is a courtesy, and because emails can get filtered to spam or lost in cyberspace, it is your responsibility to login and check your profile to confirm if you have been assigned a shop yet. If you have been assigned the shop, it will show up on your main page. It you applied and it has not yet been assigned, it will show up under “My Applications” on the left side. If it is not on your home screen or under your applications, it has been assigned to someone else. If you are not able to complete a shop after you have requested it, please be sure to go in and cancel your application.

7. If you have been given the assignment, you need to prepare. Mark on the calendar when the shop needs to be completed (on or between the start and end dates of the shop), print/preview the instructions and checklist, and memorize any scenarios or shop specifics you need to know. You need to be able to act naturally, so make sure you are comfortable with what is required, are prepared for any questions you may be asked, and have visited the company’s website so you are familiar with their company, their products, prices, etc. If you have any questions or doubts about the shop, contact the shopper department ( for clarification BEFORE you complete the shop.

8. Verify the location and make sure to double check that they will be open when you plan to do the shop. While every effort is made to provide you with the most up-to-date information, locations often move or change their hours without notifying us.

9. Proceed to the location. Unless noted otherwise, you cannot use the checklist during your assignment nor take notes in any fashion that draws attention to yourself, so you need to be able to remember the details. (Tip: Before going on your assignment make notes of key pieces of information you need to obtain, then record information when out-of-sight in a change room or washroom. If you can do it discreetly, text yourself or use your SmartPhone to record information. Write down anything you may forget when you get out to your car as soon as you are done your assignment).

10. Complete the shop according to the instructions provided. YOU MUST FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE LETTER! While it isn’t always apparent, there is a reason why you are asked to do and say specific things while on a shop and if you deviate from the scenarios or criteria provided, it can ruin a shop and result in you not being paid or reimbursed for the assignment.

11. Act naturally. If you are identified as the shopper, your report will be invalid and you won’t be able to do shops at the location in the future. Do not stare at their name tag or be too obvious about trying to get information, ask too many questions, seem uncertain when asked questions, appear nervous, make a scene, let them see the checklist, spend too much time texting or making notes on your phone, sound robotic/scripted in your responses, dress or act in a manner that doesn’t fit with the client (ex. going into a fine dining restaurant dressed in sweatpants), discuss the shop excessively with your guest, take shops that you aren’t well suited for (ex. a vegetarian taking a shop at a burger place), appear completely out of your element (ex. you are very intimidated by and unfamiliar with electronics but take a shop that requires inquiring about a high tech sound system), try to “catch” or “test” the employee by asking or doing things not specified in the shop, or basically do anything that is going to make you stand out.

12. If anything arises that prevents you from completing your shop, you MUST notify the us immediately (if you need to reschedule, contact the scheduler noted in your assignment instructions; if you need to cancel, login to your profile and click the “X” to the right of your assignment and provide a reason why you were not able to do the shop). Otherwise, your report must be submitted within 24 hours of your visit (some shops require it be submitted even sooner, so make sure you check). You will fill out your report online, answering each question in the checklist and providing a detailed, factual account of your experience.

13. Once you submit your report, it will be reviewed by our quality control department. They will be checking for quality, accuracy, content, and completeness. Depending on the report quality, the client, and the time-frame, they may send your report back to you to clarify/correct. You will usually receive an email advising when Quality Control has questions for you, but don’t rely on the email. Make sure to check for questions until you see your shop listed in your Pay History (usually no more than 5 business days after submitting your report). They may also reject your report if there are multiple errors or they are not satisfied the responses meet the standards of Spot Check Services and/or our client, so be sure take your time filling out your report, using complete sentences and as much detail as necessary to give the client a clear picture of everything that happened on the shop – see examples of poor and good quality answers in the shop instructions of most shops.

14. Each report will tell you what documentation is required (usually receipts or business cards) and how it is to be submitted (email, mail, attached to report). It will also tell you how long you have to submit the document. Some may allow 7 days for the document to arrive in our office, while others require it within 24 hours or sooner. This information can be found in the “After the Shop” info of each shop.

15. After completing your first shop, make sure you have updated your banking information on your profile. You are paid for shops on the 15th of each month via Direct Deposit for all shops completed in the previous month. If you do not agree with this method of payment, you will not be able to conduct mystery shops for us as we use no other method of payment. You can check your pay history to see which shops you have been paid for, and which we still owe you for.

16. Keep any notes you made for up to a month after the shop. Sometimes the client will come back to us with questions after the manager has had a chance to review the report with the employees involved.