Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mystery Shopping Necessities

  • Computer with reliable Internet connection
  • Printer
  • Scanner/fax
  • Digital camera
  • Stop Watch
  • E-mail
  • Folder
  • Reliable transportation
  • Word processor/spreadsheet

In this post I would like to touch upon the equipment you will require to successfully mystery shop. They are not all mandatory, but they are essential to making your mystery shopping a joyful experience. You will find out more as you read further on.

Internet access at home is necessary because you usually have approximately 12 hours to submit your report online once the shop has been preformed. If the shop had a required time to be performed at, such as from 5pm to 8pm, your report must be submitted by 8am. This does not leave much time. You can see why it needs to be reliable, if your connection is down and you can not report the shop on time it will not be valid. The company you are working for will not be happy, at all! In order to get jobs you must be reliable! I can not stress this enough, you must complete your shops on time!

Apart from the reports you will need to scan and upload other forms. These vary from company to company. Almost always you will have a receipt, a signed agreement between you, the contractor, and the company hired to provide the service, business card and sometimes pictures. In order to effectively mystery shop it is suggested that you have access to a computer connected to the Internet at home, a scanner, a printer and a digital camera.

This computer must have a printer hooked up for you will be printing instructions and forms to be signed and uploaded or faxed back to the company. It is recommended that you have a scanner. The reason for this is that while many sites still allow you to fax the necessary forms to them, they are doing away with this and highly recommend that you scan and upload.

A digital camera is desirable for some shops will require you to take pictures of specific areas which they will define. Also, some companies allow you to take pictures of your forms and upload in this manner. Camera phones are not allowed to be used in most instances. I was allowed to use a camera phone for a return shop where they would be keeping the original receipt. This was the only instance that I have come by where this practice was encouraged.

Stop watches are required for fast food shops on a regular basis. A stop watch will also come in handy for many other shops that require reporting your time on line, time before you were helped, etc. Mobile phones with stop watch capabilities are not permitted.

Of course, you will need reliable transportation to complete the shops. Some companies will ask for the year and make of your vehicle.

If business attire is required for the performance of a shop the instructions will state this fact. When there is no guideline for clothing they expect you to look like an average buyer, with a clean and neat appearance.

An e-mail account is needed to apply, respond and for certification. I suggest an e-mail account that is not connected to your current Internet provider, such as Yahoo or Google. The reasons are that you will be signing up with many different companies and maybe getting certified (Silver is only $15, well worth it) changing your e-mail address will be a pain! Your certification is associated to your e-mail address. In many sites your user name is your e-mail address. It is much easier to remember and check once you start receiving offers if you dedicate one specific address for your money making opportunities.

Programs I use for my mystery shopping assignments are Word and PhotoShop. Excel for record keeping. Word or similar is essential for me. PhotoShop I use to crop and paste documents which could not be scanned all at once, receipts usually. I am sure you can find another program that is comparable and not as pricey.

A great excel form to keep track of your assignments:

The Assignment Log

If you do not have Microsoft Office this free download from allows you to have word processing, spreadsheets, and more for free!

I also keep a folder with receipts, business cards and signed forms. It is also helpful to keep guidelines from assignments since sometimes you may repeat them and if these have not changed you will save ink. Ink can get expensive! Keep receipts for ink and paper purchases you can deduct them come tax time! Make sure you have your printer set to black and white, saves a ton in color ink and toner. Don’t forget your mileage; you will also need this information for tax purposes.

Other great Excel forms to keep track of your annual expenses:

Expense Log & Mileage Report

Happy Mystery shopping!


You may see ads for Mystery shopping on this site, unless I specifically mention that I use a certain company you should do your homework first! Follow the ‘Safety First’ guidelines.

The Excel forms found through out are from the site I have no association with this site. It is just something I came across and found extremely helpful and time saving!


Safety First:

  • You can check registration data here such as name, address and phone number.
  • Updated link to The BBBOnLine "Check out a Business or Charity
  • Check it out with the Federal Trade Commission
  • Google the site name or registered domain owner and check out the buzz!
  • Leave a post about the site you are curious about and I will do all the work for you! Chances are I already have checked it out.
For more information on mystery shopping check out some of my other posts!

Location and Mystery Shopping
Silver/Gold Certification Buzz
Ready to Mystery Shop?
Mystery Shopping and Scams

The Buzz on Mystery Shopping

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