1 year 0 Matt 2

Hello All,

New to mystery shopping and secretshop. I have a couple of questions if you have time.

1.What are the benefits of certifications?

2. In my area, I only see food shops available.

3. Does anyone do this full time and if so are there any secrets you can share?

My first shop went very well although I was somewhat challenged by some of the character count requirements on the comments.



1 year +3 Ivan 630

Hi Matt,

Welcome aboard! Let's see what I can help with :)

  1. Certifications provide you with the knowledge that is very useful to have in certain areas, or the entire system. In addition to that, completing courses on iSSprep and getting certifications will earn you shopper points, which makes them a pretty quick an easy way to "jump start" your shopper score, and with that, your reputation rank as well. Finally, some certifications are necessary in order for you to be able to do certain shops - for example the alcohol compliance shops require a matching certification.
  2. Food shops are very common (among the most common shop types), which is why wherever you are there is a good chance you'll see some of them, but new shops of all types are posted all the time, so make sure to check the Available Shops page from time to time, and feel free to tweak the search setting a bit too - change the search radius to see more shops in a wider area around you, or enter a specific city or zip code to search the shops in that area.
  3. I personally am not a full-time shopper, but I have encountered people that are, and here are some strategies/things they do that make them successful - I'll divide them into a few categories:

Scheduling shops:

-Check the Available Shops regularly - A LOT of shops gets grabbed within hours of being posted, especialy the easy/cool ones, so don't be late for the Awesome Train

-Request various types of shops - don't be afraid to try different assignments, different shop categories, etc. Every new experience makes you personally richer, and a nice side effect is that you get a new badge for every new type of shop you do, making you stand out to schedulers as someone who is experienced and versatile.

-Request shops for the soonest available dates - if a shop is available for any day next week, requests for Monday will be the first ones the schedulers see, and the first ones they approve (as they want their shops done as soon as possible), so requesting for the earliest date increases your chances of getting a shop

-Read emails from schedulers/MSPs and from iSecretShop - these are often sent when new shops are available, giving you a heads up so you can request them early on

-Do weekly shops - weekly. - there are shops that can be done every week, and if you have them in your are and don't mind doing them, keep hitting that request button every week, and keep doing them. Pretty soon you'll be very proficient at them, and schedulers WILL notice, and keep giving them to you.

-If you can't do a shop on the date you're scheduled to do it, let the schedulers know on time - letting them know a day before, or in the morning of the day of the shop will prevent your shop from expiring and you from loosing points, and will make the schedulers appreciate you as they have the time to reschedule you for another date, or assign to someone else if you can't do it at all.

-When in doubt - ask. If there is any part of the shop instructions or guidelines that seems confusing to you, shoot an email to the MSP and ask them.

Doing shops:

-Before going, read the guidelines. Read the shop instructions, read the attached guidelines, read the scenario, read all there is. Seriously - read the guidelines. It will save both you and the editors a lot of time and trouble by making you understand the shop requirements exactly, so you can avoid having your shops ever being declined. Even if you have done a certain shop before, check the guidelines again, as they sometimes get updated/changed. Have I mentioned reading the guidelines? :)

-Read the questionnaire before doing the shop - this will ensure that you know exactly what to pay attention to during the shop, making things a lot easier for you later on.

-Pay attention to details - of course, the more you notice, the more useful info you'll be able to provide, and the easier it will be to fill out the shop report. If it helps, take notes on your phone/tablet.

-Take photos during your shop - when a photo of the location interior/exterior or items in the location is needed, it needs to be taken at the time of your visit, as it serves as proof you were there. This does not apply only to documentation, such as receipts, brochures, flyers, invoices, etc.

-Enjoy the role - you are shopping by pretending to be a customer, or a potential one, so keep that in mind, don't sound scripted. At the time of a shop, I like to think of shoppers as world-class actors, or secret agents. BE the role you play, and you'll have tons of fun doing it. :)

Completing shop reports:

-Always complete your reports by midnight of the day of the shop - almost all shops will expire if you don't start doing them by then. If you can't complete the full report by midnight, at least start filling it out, and finish in the morning. That way you avoid having your shops unassigned.

-Use good grammar and the editors will LOVE you - whenever you submit a report, the editors will review it, and they will also have to correct all grammar/semantics before it's sent to the clients, so by keeping that in mind and using good grammar, you save their time, and potentially yours if they choose to send it back to you for grammar corrections. Do this consistently and you can get the Grammarian badge, which will make you really stand out.

-Keep your reports objective, and on point - there is no need to write entire essays in your answers, you'd be wasting both yours and editor's time Simply make sure to answer the asked questions in an objective, informative way, covering all requirements of the question and providing good info.

-Read the ENTIRE question - shops are often returned for more information to shoppers that only answer a question partially, or don't directly answer what was asked, so save yourself the trouble and make sure to read the entire question before answering it fully.

-Be professional - imagine you're reporting your experience directly to a CEO or a VP of Marketing - so in your report use politically correct language, be objective, precise, etc. - it will take the experience of reading your reports a pleasure, and you will be greatly appreciated for it.

Troubleshooting and communication:

Just like with your shop reports, when communicating with MSPs or with support at iSecretShop, try to be as precise and informative as you can. State clearly what your problem is, what would you like to know or need help with, which shop (or page) are you referring to, are you using a PC browser or the iSecretShop app, etc. The more info you provide, the less chance that you'll spend a lot of time sending emails back and forth in order to get assistance. If you want to reschedule - state the exact shop ID and the date you'd like to reschedule for. If you can't upload a photo, state the exact shop ID, which photo is it, are you getting any errors, and attach the photo in the email. The examples are plentiful, but the principle is the same - anticipate what may be required, and provide it proactively.

I hope this helps!

1 year 0 Matt 2


Wow, thank you for the information. This should get me started.



1 year 0 Ivan 630

No problem - best of luck! :)

1 year 0 Wassim 56

Hey Matt

When you say “Does anyone do this full time and if so are there any secrets you can share?”

I am afraid that they are secrets for a reason. Nah what Ivan had posted is great, and you should reread it every so often until you understand how the system works well.

I would add that at first, take on what you can absolutely handle. Nothing will bring your reputation down more than incomplete and rescheduled assignments.

It is highly important to set up yourself as a reliable Independent Contractor (IC) and you will see that scheduler will seek you out. They know you as a good IC, and that is what you want.

As to doing this work on a full time bases, well that is a real possibility. I have known ICs that made a good living wage out of MSing. I am fortunate to live in a big city, so I am always busy. I don’t get a mix of assignments, and that is due to the City I live in. But I am busy!

Certification also tells the scheduler that you are committed to MSing and and are willing to spend the time and put in the effort to get educated and certified. Yes this kind of work is a “No Brainer” but in reality, no it’s not. There are a lot of stuff that you need to know. Going to conferences is another way to see these MSPs staff face to face, and make an impression that way.

Best of luck and let us know what thing go. We always have the time for you, and the others.

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