Creating Ways To Earn Money

The Best and Worst Secret Shopping Jobs


Being a secret shopper is a great way to make a little extra cash on the side without a lot of effort. Secret shopping jobs come in a variety of shapes and sizes from $4 to make a phone call to a car dealership to a free pair of glasses worth hundreds of dollars. The key to making secret shopping as enjoyable and profitable as possible is to wade through the $4 phone calls and find the free glasses, figuratively speaking.

I thought it would be interesting to share with my Clever Friends shops that I’ve done on both ends of the spectrum. Here are some of my least favorite and most profitable shops that I’ve done:

Thumbs Down Shops

Big Box Hardware Store

The shop called for the shopper to visit 4 different departments and ask a representative for assistance in finding a specific item. I was then supposed to pick out an item from the last department that would require me to go to the outside area with my vehicle to pick it up. Then I was to wait at least an hour, and return that item to evaluate the customer service desk.

This shop took 90 minutes (including the 60 minute wait time) to perform, and another 30 minutes to fill out the evaluation. The compensation was only $15.

Furniture Store

I was to pose as someone that was interested in home theater seating. I thought I would go in, ask some questions and get out quickly. The salesman went for the hard sale, and I ended up in the store for an hour. Once I got home, I had to dedicate another 30 minutes to filling out the form, all for a measly $12.

Medical Scrubs Store

I had to pretend to be interested in buying some new scrubs, and even try on several different varieties. Part of the process was to make a purchase as to get a receipt as proof that I was in the store. The cheapest thing I could find to buy was a $3 pen. It was awkward to buy a pen after trying on scrubs (and not buying any), and the time invested in the shop for a net profit of $9 ($12 compensation – $3 pen purchase) wasn’t worth it.

Thumbs Up Shops


I had to go to a national Optometrist chain (with a previously obtained lens prescription) and go through the process of picking out, and ordering a pair of glasses. It took an hour in the store, and the evaluation was fairly complex, but I earned $30 for the shop, and reimbursement of up to $300 for the glasses.


The shop was a two part shop at a bank where I actually do business. For part one, I was to visit the bank and observe signs for an offer for a free credit report. I asked for, and received the material allowing me to get a free credit report. Part two of the shop was to schedule an appointment to go over the report with a banker. Part one paid $30, and part two paid $40. These were the easiest evaluations I’ve ever done, for a total compensation of $70.


The normal payout for a shop at a particular restaurant (it’s offered every month) is up to $20 reimbursement of food, and $10 payment for a total compensation of $30. However, one particular month nobody picked up the shop and the secret shopping service started offering bonuses. By the time I accepted the shop, I was given $20 food reimbursement, $10 payment, and $30 bonus for a total compensation of $60. Not bad for simply eating at one of my favorite restaurants.

Gas Station

I just recently picked up my first gas station shop in which I was to make a purchase of up to $35 and pay for it using an EMV chip enable debit card. It also pays $10 with a $15 bonus for a total compensation of $60 just to fill up my van with gas.

Secret shopping jobs can vary in effort and payment. Secret shopping can be worth the time and energy to do the work, but you have to be selective in what shops you agree to do.

Do you do secret shopping? What have been some of your least and most profitable jobs?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

Disease Called Debt

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • I’ve done some secret shopping in the past, but it’s been a few years. You’re right that some jobs are like bonuses for what you would do anyway while others are hardly worthwhile. Do you get them all from the same company, a couple different companies, or through a job listing board on a website? Do you find that some companies offer consistently better jobs? My worst shop was at a liquor store where I got “caught” because I had previously done secret price auditing there and they recognized me.

  • The best secret shop I did was evaluating the security desk at a local business in NYC. The entire thing took me 20 minutes and I made $75. The worst are when you have to buy something and then make a return too – all for like $10.

  • Someone contacted me on Upwork and offered me a secret shopping job. They said they needed to run a background check and asked for my name, address and phone number. I gave it to them. Next thing I know they are FedExing me a large check, which I am supposed to deposit in my account, and then await further instructions. A google search told me that the check was going to bounce and that before it did I was going to be asked to buy gift cards and give the sender the pin. I didn’t deposit the check and got a couple of nasty texts threatening to turn me in to the authorities. When I gave them the name and phone number at the US Attorney’s office and told them to go ahead and call, they quit texting.

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