Notary Bulletin New Income Opportunities In Mystery Shopping By David Thun on March 28, 2013 in Alternate Income Opportunities Notaries with strong punctuality habits and attention to detail can find new income opportunities in the field of mystery shopping. Retail stores, restaurants and hotels and other businesses hire independent contractors to evaluate customer satisfaction and employee performance. A “mystery shopper” visits the business as a customer, and then provides detailed feedback on the experience, said Dan Denston, executive director of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA). Assignments can range from a quick stop at a convenience store or dining at a restaurant to an overnight stay at a hotel. Anyone can apply to become a mystery shopper. But the shoppers in highest demand are detail-oriented, observant, and punctual — traits that successful Notary entrepreneurs typically share, Denston said. “A lot of people misunderstand what mystery shopping is,” Denston said. “It’s not just going shopping for a sweater or getting a free meal at a restaurant — it’s a measurement tool. If a company wants someone to show up between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., you have to be there at that time — you can’t show up at 5 p.m. or the next day.” Mystery shoppers typically start by registering with a provider company offering assignments in the shopper’s area. Denston strongly recommends interested applicants start with providers that are members of MSPA, as members have been vetted to ensure legitimate assignments. Notaries should stay away from any companies that ask for a fee in exchange for work — you should never have to pay anyone for mystery shopping assignments. With that caveat, mystery shopping can be a good way for a Notary to earn extra income. Fees can range from $5 for a five-minute store purchase to $100-$200 for an evaluation that requires an overnight hotel stay, Denston said. Also, a mystery shopper has a lot of flexibility in choosing assignments that are convenient for the shopper. “You have the ability to do as little or as much as you want,” Denston said. More information about mystery shopping is available through the MSPA website, which also offers available mystery shopping assignments by zip code. David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association. Email Share 7 Comments Add your email@example.com Sep 2014Will someone email me some names and phone numbers of legitimate "Mystery Shopping" companies. ThanksNational Notary Association05 Sep 2014Hello, If you'd like to get in touch with companies offering mystery shopping assignments, you may wish to reach out to the MSPA at the link in the article above.Christin29 Sep 2015Yeah. Um. They want my name, SS#, and birth date all just to apply. I don't think so. I don't even give my SS# to my physician.Paula12 Oct 2015They need it because you are going to be reported for taxes if you make enough. You are acting as a sub contractor. There is not one company who will hire you without it.Bonnie L Ely25 Feb 2016I really don't understand in one sentence he says you should never have to pay to work for mystery shops then he says to join this company that you gotta pay to join.National Notary Association26 Feb 2016Hello Bonnie, thank you for reaching out. Some companies offer fraudulent "mystery shopping" assignments where the mystery shopper is expected to pay a fee to the company in order to receive jobs. In the article, Dan Denston of MSPA suggests reaching out to companies that are members of his association for mystery shopping assignments because these companies have been vetted by his association as offering legitimate assignments. A list of these companies and their contact information is available at the MSPA site: http://www.mspa-na.org/member-companies. You do not have to be a paying member of MSPA in order to contact these companies, as their contact information is publicly available on the web page. I hope this helps answer your question. Liz17 May 2016Hi Christen...sign up for a EIN #..it is free..then u do not have to give your social security numberLeave a Comment Required * Name * Email *(for verfication purposes only) Comment * Enter the text shown in this image *(text is case sensitive)All comments are reviewed and if approved, will display.