Mystery Shopping

Note: this post contains affiliate links, and while I greatly appreciate it if you use them, you are not at all obligated to do so. Thank you for reading!

One idea for a job that comes close to an Ideal Job is mystery shopping. Here, I’ll review a couple of companies that I’ve worked for.

Ace Mystery Shopping

payment frequency: monthly via Dwolla 

Ace jobs are mostly of the “menu audit” variety. They pay $7-$14 for you to visit a cafe or casual dining restaurant and take pictures of all the menus and food items available. Highly recommended if you have errands to run nearby, or if you can do several in one go. The shops are extremely quick — snap a few photos, upload them to the Ace website, and you’re done! No purchase or conversation or evaluation needed. Payments are issued around the 20th of the month for the shops you completed the previous month.


payment frequency: per job within a week of completion via check

Bestmark jobs are more involved. You usually have to visit a business, make a purchase and review the customer service received. But for the added trouble, you are usually paid more and/or reimbursed for expenses. For example, you could be paid $45 to go to one store and shop in 3 different departments. The best opportunity with Bestmark is free auto service. There are shops where you bring your car in for an oil change or tire replacement, and you get paid $20-50 on top of being reimbursed for the actual service. Other opportunities include restaurants, hotel stays, even events like the symphony or opera.

Goodwin Hospitality

payment frequency: 60-90 days after shop completion, via PayPal

Goodwin shops are mostly quick service restaurant shops, and the pay is enough to cover your required order, but not much else. Sometimes there are bonuses so you might expect to make $10 on top of your reimbursement, but that’s still not much when compared to other companies and also in light of the detailed feedback you are required to give. I would recommend Goodwin only if you like the restaurants or were planning to eat there anyway — think of it as a free meal in exchange for feedback.


This is an app and website through which you can access jobs from multiple mystery shopping companies. Payment frequency will vary, but it’s neat to be able to access dozens of companies from one website. I’m hoping this becomes more popular with the mystery shopping companies so that one day we’ll only have to go through one website.

I’ve signed up with a few other companies, but I don’t have experience with them yet, so I’ll update this post as I learn more about each company.


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