Hi and welcome to my BestMark Mystery Shopping Review.
I’m excited to do this review because I’ve been interested about mystery shopping myself. It sounds like a fun way to get out and talk to people and let's be honest... who doesn't want to make money shopping, right? 🙂
You might be here because, like me, you’re curious about BestMark mystery shopping and want to know more, or... you may be a regular mystery shopper already and would like to know if BestMark is legit or a scam.
Whatever your reason is, I encourage you to stick with me until the end of this review. We’ll find out together if applying to BestMark as a secret shopper is a good idea. Of course everyone's needs and circumstances are different but the more information you have, the better decisions you can make.
Here are the things I’m going to cover in this BestMark Mystery Shopping Review:
- What is BestMark Mystery Shopping?
- Is BestMark Mystery Shopping a Scam?
- How Does BestMark Mystery Shopping Work?
- Reviews and Complaints
- What I Like About BestMark Mystery Shopping
- What I Don’t Like
- Where Do You Go From Here?
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate for BestMark Mystery Shopping. This review has been researched with information and/or testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any recommendations and/or conclusions are strictly opinions and may not apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info
What Is BestMark Mystery Shopping?
BestMark was founded way back in 1986 – they’re a market research company with services that offer mystery shopping to ordinary people. Their headquarters are located at 5500 Feltl Road, Minnetonka, Minnesota.
A real address... so far so good.
BestMark’s clients include Fortune 500 companies and independent establishments who use mystery shoppers to improve their customer service, which is why they’re paying you (real customers) to participate in their mystery shopping program.
As a mystery shopper, your job can include testing products and services in different industries such as restaurants, retail shops, hotels, financial institutions, health care, grocery, and more.
It sounds like fun, and like me, I'm sure you're hoping BestMark Mystery shopping is legit!
Is BestMark Mystery Shopping a Scam?
From 1986 to present, BestMark has had mostly good reviews from their clients and mystery shoppers/freelancers. This is great news.
It’s also a good sign that aside from having a physical office address, they also have an online presence. Having avenues for communication (via Social Media) is an important sign that a company is not a scam – again... so far so good. It’s looking good for BestMark.
BestMark Mystery Shopping has a Facebook page with around 26,000 likes and followers. Also, their Twitter account has over 6,000 followers. And their LinkedIn profile has 1,800+ followers.
BestMark is also a member of Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) – so again, this is solid proof of their legitimacy.
It’s also good to know that BestMark is accredited with the Better Business Bureau. In fact, they have an A+ rating.
So if all else seems legit, why are there reviews calling BestMark Mystery Shopping a scam?
Based on my research, the complaints are real (and real people have been scammed and are being scammed). So far, the scams I found, involved asking BestMark mystery shoppers to cash postdated checks.
However, the scammers are not really from BestMark (they’re impersonating BestMark by using their brand and logo). BestMark has already issued a statement with regards to this scam and of course... they’re NOT condoning it.
This is similar to the scammers who impersonate companies like Appen for example. In fact, it might be the same person (or group of people).
Independent jobs like mystery shopping (and other freelance gigs) are also given a hard time over things like low pay and not enough work... but this is competitive work. Whether it's the economy or simply an abundance of people looking for a side hustle, work-at-home (or work out-of-your-home) gigs that don't require specific skills can become a little saturated.
A diverse strategy is a good way to keep busy. For example, you may be able to combine your mystery shopping jobs with Uber. Or, if you find you have a lot of downtime, you can do some freelance writing and proofreading while you're waiting in your car.
Online Surveys and get-paid-to sites are another way you can keep busy in your spare time and earn a few extra bucks. Sites like surveyjunkie.com and swagbucks.com won't make you rich, but they're an easy way to get started online.
They can also be a stepping stone to something more serious like an online business.
You may be at home because of difficulties with your health for example, or young ones to look after.
If that’s the case and a full-time income online is what you want, knowing how and where to get started is what you need in order to get what you want.
How Does BestMark Mystery Shopping Work?
Companies are concerned about how their customer service employees work behind the scenes. If you've worked in customer service, you'll probably be sympathetic to an employer's concerns.
To find out what's really going on - the truth... they use BestMark’s Mystery Shopping service which has independent contractors working as mystery shoppers.
If you fit their client’s target market and qualifications, BestMark will hire you as a mystery shopper to act/pretend to be a regular customer.
I know, it sounds like fun… but it might not be all it's cracked up to be? After performing your mystery shopping job, you’ll need to prepare a written report about your experience (ugh... paperwork, LOL).
And that’s not all, you’ll need to meet deadlines – which could be anywhere from a few hours to up to 24 hours.
So, while it’s quite easy and enjoyable to get out of the house and work as a mystery shopper, it also requires some real work. Remember, the client needs accurate and valuable data regarding their products and services so they can make improvements where required. Therefore, it’s safe to say that BestMark’s mystery shopping jobs should be taken seriously (not that you wouldn't take it seriously, but being an independent contractor can make it easy to become complacent).
The good news is, you get to choose your assignments when you get accepted into BestMark. So you can choose only the tasks you really like and want to write about. And the best news is... you’ll get paid for this mystery shopping stint. Sounds fun again, right?
BestMark Mystery Shopping Application
To apply for BestMark, you'll simply fill out their application online. They will then evaluate your application and either accept it, or reject it. Yes, it's possible to get rejected.
Here are the basic qualifications needed for their mystery shopping job:
- You must be at the legal age (at least 18 years old).
- You must have a vehicle as a means of transportation.
- You must have good verbal and written communication skills.
- You must have your own computer and internet connection (they don’t encourage using internet connection in public places for security reasons).
- Your browser must meet the following requirements:
- Google Chrome 28 or higher
- Mozilla Firefox 25 or higher
- Apple Safari 6 or higher
- You must pay good attention to details (your job as a mystery shopper requires you to be observant).
- You must be able to meet deadlines (they’re strict with turnaround times).
- You must live in the United States or Canada. They have particular places where they’re offering their mystery shopping services.
Here are some notes to keep in mind:
- BestMark doesn’t require you to have a mystery shopping experience to apply to their company.
- BestMark provides training to their hired applicants.
- BestMark doesn’t charge membership fees (or any other fees) when you apply to them.
If for some reason you don't qualify as a BestMark Mystery Shopper or you application gets rejected, you have some other options to make money from home.
Swag Bucks is another site that rewards members for doing small tasks online such as playing games, watching videos, visiting websites and even searching the web.
Again... you won't be able to get rich with online surveys, but if you've never made money online before, they can be a good place to start.
For something more significant though, an online business may be what you're looking for.
Making money from home might be something you need because of medical issues, children to look after, or maybe you're just tired of working for a boss.
If that’s the case, knowing how (and where) to get started is what you need in order to get what you want.
Your Actual Work as a BestMark Mystery Shopper
- Of course... you first need to complete your application and get approved.
- Once accepted, you’ll be given an ID and password to access BestMark’s database of available jobs in your area.
- You can choose from the available jobs in your account and check their descriptions. Note: you’ll find everything there is to know about the task in the description – your role as a secret shopper, what’s expected from you, the turnaround time, how much you’re going to get paid, etc.
- Make sure to wait for BestMark's confirmation message when accepting a job.
- Get comfortable in your car and put your seat-belt on 😀
- Do your mystery shopping work based on the client’s instructions.
- Submit your report within the turnaround time – this can be in the form of a written document, survey, etc.
- A Quality Assurance editor will review your work before you get paid.
Important things to remember:
- You can cancel jobs you’ve already accepted. However, BestMark only allows up to 2 cancellations in a 6-month period.
- There’s no minimum requirement for doing mystery shopping jobs.
- You can get up to a maximum of 9 secret shopper jobs in 1 month (but there are exceptions to this rule such as when there are special assignments you’re qualified for).
BestMark Mystery Shopping Jobs
You can choose from 2 types of jobs when you apply to BestMark…
- Mystery shopper – Here, you’ll pretend to be a customer and check out the client’s products and services based on their instructions. You will also be called a Secret Shopper because of course... nobody should know you’re actually working as a mystery shopper.
You don't have to win an Oscar, but a little acting ability won't hurt (although I wouldn't go overboard).
- Exit interviewer – Your role as an exit interviewer is to ask for feedback from customers leaving a particular store. It’s like taking a survey and asking the customers about their experience with the shop. Again, clients will use the data accumulated from the interviews to further improve their customer satisfaction.
How Much Does BestMark Mystery Shopping Pay?
Your pay as a BestMark Secret Shopper will depend on several things – such as the assignment’s difficulty, your experience, and your overall performance. Still, you can expect a base pay of around $7 to $20 per hour (according to BestMark’s official site). They also have special tasks where you can earn more than $20 per hour.
Having said that, as an independent contractor, it's always good to estimate on the low-side if you're budgeting for bills, etc.
BestMark pays their Mystery Shoppers twice monthly through any of the following methods:
- Check (through the mail)
- Direct deposit
- Gift card
The following terms also apply:
- Flat fee for your services
- Reimbursement of your money spent
- Service fee plus reimbursement of your expenses (e.g. when you’re asked to buy a product)
BestMark Mystery Shopping Reviews and Complaints
I was curious what others were saying about BestMark so I looked into the community and what other BestMark Mystery Shoppers had to say. I chose Facebook because, although it's not perfect, generally speaking, the comments and reviews you find are associated with real identities.
As you can see in the screenshot below, BestMark has an overall rating of 4.1 out of 5 (from 209 reviews).
The positive reviews from mystery shoppers who are happy working for BestMark said things like...
- They like that BestMark reimburses them for their purchases.
- They are pleased with BestMark’s customer service.
- They like the flexibility of working as a secret shopper (you can even reschedule your work once in a while).
As for the negative reviews on Facebook, I’ve seen people ahve complained about not having enough work. And if there are available jobs, these can be gone quickly (to be fair, this is a common problem among all freelance/independent contractor jobs).
Aside from Facebook, I also checked on Indeed.com to see how BestMark Mystery Shopping rated there. Their positive to negative review ratio wasn't quite as good as Facebook, but their overall rating was still a decent 3.5 out of 5 (for 26 reviews).
The positive reviews had comments such as:
- One reviewer appreciated the fact that she can stay at home and earn money by mystery shopping.
- Giving feedback on products and services and being part of the process is enjoyable.
- Mystery shopping involves a friendly interaction with people.
- The schedule is flexible.
- Compensation is good.
- You can get freebies and get paid for trying out products.
The negative reviewers made the following points:
- Not enough jobs for everyone.
- A lot of writing is involved when you report on your shopping experience.
- Sometimes, the pay is not enough to cover transportation expenses.
- Pay is not that good.
I think the above pros and cons can more or less give you an idea of how BestMark mystery shopping really works and they are in line with most freelance type jobs.
What I Like About BestMark Mystery Shopping
- BestMark’s mystery shopping is another source of income for freelancers/independent contractors.
- The schedule is flexible.
- You can choose fun assignments.
- Freebies! Need I say more? 🙂
- Pay can be up to $20 per hour (although I wouldn't count on this consistently)
- Several payment options.
- BestMark Mystery shopping is legit.
What I Don't Like
- That BestMark's name and brand are being used to scam people.
- Creating reports can be time-consuming.
- The pay varies.
- Gas expenses are not reimbursed (and if you own a vehicle that's drinks a lot of fuel, it might not be profitable).
- Not enough mystery shopping gigs for everyone (there are more available assignments in major cities).
Where Do You Go From Here?
I'll say it again. Who doesn't want to get paid to shop?
But of course, you're still doing a "job". It might be more enjoyable than your current job, but it’s not all fun and games when you join BestMark Mystery Shopping.
If you like shopping though, and becoming a secret shopper sounds interesting, this type of work may be a good fit for you.
The biggest challenge, and the most feedback I've seen, is that there’s not enough work to keep you busy. So it's important to be prepared for that (especially if you’re looking for a regular source of income).
The good news though, is that BestMark Mystery Shopping is legit, and you can earn real money with them.
And, unlike a regular job, freelancing gives you more freedom to pick and choose a variety of ways to make money.
You might be a student in school or a single parent at home. You may have health challenges that make regular work difficult, or maybe you just hate your job and you’re desperate for a way out.
If that's the case, an online business is what you want.
With all the scams and schemes out there though, knowing how and where to get started the right way is what you need in order to get what you want.
To be clear, sites like these will NOT make you rich, but they are good for those who have never made money online before and are just getting started.
Before I wrap it up here, one final thing I'd like to remind you of is to be wary of the BestMark Mystery Shopping Scam, which has nothing to do with the company. These are scammers pretending to be from the company.
I hope my BestMark Mystery Shopping review has been helpful and if you have any comments, questions, or experience with BestMark, please share in the comments section below.
To get started with BestMark you can sign-up HERE.