There are comments from time to time from new shoppers that they have signed up with various places and have been offered no jobs. Perhaps a little clarification of the process would be helpful.

When you see a posting on a job board, you need to follow the directions. Those directions may be to contact the scheduler or they may be an invitation to sign up with a particular company. Or they may be to sign up with both the scheduler’s company and with a particular company. You need to follow these directions or you have no chance of being offered the job.

In this business there are the companies that are putting the shops together for shoppers to perform. These are usually referred to as the MSPs or “companies”. There are also scheduling companies that rarely if ever have shops that they have put together but rather are scheduling jobs for the companies did put together the shops. Most frequently you will be reporting a completed job on the MSP’s website, but again, you must follow instructions because there is variation in how reporting is handled.

You will not be assigned shops unless you either assign them to yourself (“self-assign” shops) or you request them and they are assigned to you.

For some MSPs you can self-assign at least some shops even if you are a beginner. For some MSPs you can self-assign some or all shops after you have completed a number of acceptable jobs for the company. For some MSPs you not only cannot self-assign or request shops, but they may not even post what shops are available on their website. These will contact you and generally do so based on the application that you have provided and their current need for shoppers in your area.

The quickest way to find who shops in your area is to sign up at This website is free and has jobs from many of the companies that use the SASSIE reporting system, jobs that are posted to the MSPA job board and jobs that are posted at and a few other places. Once you have signed up, put in your zip code and the distance you are willing to travel one way for a job and see what companies have posted jobs in your area. Most of these jobs will be gone already, but sign up with the companies you see listed because they are shopping in your area.

Mostly you have to be in the driver’s seat, getting yourself signed up with companies that may have jobs in your area, checking their specific job boards and doing what you need to do to take or request the jobs you want. Sitting and waiting for schedulers to call you is not going to work generally until you have done some jobs for the company. Emails are likely to be sent out to hundreds of shoppers and expecting to get to the website first to claim a nice job is not realistic. Often once you get to the website you still need to request the job, so even if it is still open, you are going to be in competition with other shoppers who may be better known to the company. Going to the website to try to snag a job only to discover you need to go through some training before you can self-assign or request the shop is also going to slow you down and by the time you finish the training, you are likely to find the job is gone. So wherever possible, do the training in your spare time for shops you see that you might like so you are ready when the job becomes available.

And of course the most important is that once you have been assigned a job, always do it to the best of your ability so it reflects well on you, on your ability to follow instructions, on your professionalism and on your reliability. That, in the long run, is what will make you a cherished asset of an MSP or a scheduler.

This forum features a “Search” feature at [] If you want to find out about a company or an issue, type it into the box on the left and first try 30 days to see what you find. You can also search for longer time periods using the drop down menu. If you get too many choices, try to narrow your search by being more specific. (Let’s say you want to find out if anyone knows anything about Service Sleuth. If you put in “Service”, today you would get about 30 results from a search of the last 30 days. If you put in “Service Sleuth”, you will get 1 result. If you expand your search to all dates, you will get about 30 results which will give you an opportunity to see some old job postings as well as some shopper comments.)

Note that with the rarest of the rare exceptions, legitimate mystery shopping companies will NOT send you money in advance of doing a job. You need to request or self assign a job to get it—it will not be sent to you along with a check to go do it and take your pay out of the money sent. Getting such a check is a scam. Do not attempt to deposit it. Mystery shops generally pay between $4 and $20 and they usually require that YOU pay up front small amounts for purchases that will subsequently be reimbursed to you with your fee if the shop is accepted to be sent along to the client.

Bank shops are frequently listed on as many of the companies that shop them are SASSIE companies.


Every job that you perform will be edited by someone before it or data abstracted from it is sent along to the client. Editors will award your shop a score of some sort. With some companies you will be emailed with your score, with some companies you can see the score on their website or on your shop log and on some you will not know whether your job was accepted or rejected. There is no standardization either in the score range (1-10, 1-5 etc.) or whether you will even know what sort of scoring you got.

The jobs that report via the SASSIE system have an option of showing you your scores. Scores and comments are generally sent along if they are posted to your shop log--and it probably is an automated email as it will have the same information you see on your shop log.

Most generally new shoppers are given "well below average" as a basis before they have performed any shops. In the SASSIE system that is a 5. It is up to you to turn in good shops to bring that score up. Some companies make this difficult as the jobs they post may require a score of "8 or better" for many/most of the shops they offer. While on occasion you can appeal to a scheduler to allow you to try an "8 or better" shop, if they have other shoppers who want the job who do fit the requirements, they will award the job to them. Any appeal needs to be well written and grammatically correct because, after all, they are taking a chance on you.

Generally a 10 on a shop means you followed directions well, succeeded in all aspects of the shop and the report you submitted required little or no editing before being sent along to the client.

A 9 generally means that some editing was required but mostly you "got it".

8 means the shop was overall decent though they may have had to contact you to clarify ome issues.

7 is just average and below 7 is barely acceptable to not acceptable at all. Late reports, incomplete reports, snotty comments and "flakes" all fall in that below 7 category.

A flake or bad attitude on a report can sink your overall average pretty fast.

Your scores generally get used in being awarded shops. One MSP clearly states that their preference for shoppers is: Folks they have previously worked with, folks with MSPA certification, folks with an 8 or better score--the higher the score the more likely you will get the shop.

The same MSP also indicates that attitude is very important to them. Our natural instinct is to get defensive when our work is questioned. If an editor calls or emails wanting clarification, try to keep emotion out of your response. Yes, you told them 2 times in the narrative that the associate did not greet you or give you a parting remark and you checked the appropriate boxes on the questionnaire and now the editor wants to know if the associate thanked you for your business. You marked the question block "No" and in the narrative you told them he silently handed you your change without getting off his cell phone. It is tempting to get exasperated thinking "I told you that already!! There was no parting remark." HALT, don't get snotty. Just tell them that "No, he did not thank me." In reality he could in theory have thanked you at some point during the interaction but just not at the end of the interaction, so they need to clarify that "No" that you marked. And yes, sometimes you get the impression that the editor can't read with any comprehension, but keep that opinion to yourself and be all sweetness and positive if/when they contact you.

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