News and Alerts

Turn Your Car Into A Mystery Machine!

If you’re like me, you know how to get around and get what you need without straying too far from your home or work.  There are several cities and towns around my home that I just never visit.  Even if I were offered financial incentive, I just may not see the point in altering my driving routines.

Mystery shoppers are often faced with the price-of-gas dilemma when searching for shopping opportunities.  “Is it worth what this assignment pays to drive all the way there and back?”  Sometimes the math just doesn’t work. But with a small amount of effort, you can oftentimes fill your wallet and your gas tank in one afternoon.

When looking for assignments on a job board – most mystery shopping companies have one, ours is here – try searching for shops throughout your state. Instead of dismissing many of them as simply too far away, create a mental route with several shop stops along the way. A city that is further than you would travel for one assignment may have several opportunities for you. You can also use JobSlinger to find mystery shopping assignments in one centralized area from many job boards at once.  Make it worth your while by picking up several shops that you can do on the same day.  You might find that if you travel 40 miles away, you can do five or six shops and easily pay for your mileage and then some!

Not only will you have an opportunity to objectively critique customer service in new areas, but you may find that you feel like you wield great power. One mystery shopper told me, “Sometimes I feel like a superhero. Both because of the secrecy and because occasionally – just occasionally – I have moments of brilliance or of secret success.” 

Another way to make the most of your travel time is to bring a spouse, family member, or friend.  Your passenger can even read you the guidelines for the shop(s) you’re about to do. Many assignments specify that the mystery shopper must be alone, but your guest can do some shopping or run an errand elsewhere while you don your superhero mystery shopping tights.

Remember, Superman must travel great lengths to make the world a better place, but he doesn’t have a sidekick and he doesn’t even get paid.

Why are we being so nosy?

One of the questions most often asked is about the Extended Shopper Profile (ESP).  I’m often told that people are not comfortable giving us the requested information, or are unclear as to why we ask for such detailed information.  The extended shopper profile is extremely important for what we do, and only gets you more mystery shopping assignments (and the opportunity to make more money) when filled out.

Several of our mystery shops have specific demographic requirements that must be met for a shopper to be assigned a shop.  Are you wondering why you met all of the requirements for the shop and didn’t get assigned?  Be sure to check your ESP as keeping this updated helps you get more assignments. The more information you give us; the more tailored the shop offers you receive will be.  Entering what wireless carrier you use, what vehicle you drive, languages you speak, etc. will result in more shop offers.  So check out and update your ESP today!

Get more work & higher paying assignments! Become an MSPA Certified Shopper!

Whether you are new to mystery shopping or an experienced shopper, you may have heard of MSPA certification. But, is it useful or a waste of money? Dedication and reliability – along with establishing and maintaining a high rating with our company – are the major factors schedulers use when determining who to give assignments. In addition, IntelliShop schedulers give a stronger preference to shoppers who are certified by MSPA.

Silver & Gold Certification tells us that you have learned about the essentials of mystery shopping, and you have agreed to uphold professional standards and ethics. You can obtain Silver & Gold Certification by purchasing a DVD-package, taking a series of online tests, or by completing one of MSPA’s in-person workshops (these are held rarely; however, there is a workshop in March – see below for details).

Finally, becoming certified demonstrates you've invested the time and effort to study how to become an expert mystery shopper. Along with solidifying your level of commitment as an independent contractor, you will also greatly increase your chances of receiving shop assignments before they are posted on the job board. Also, you will increase the likelihood of being assigned more work, higher paying and more desirable shops.

Just announced: The first MSPA Gold Certification Workshop of 2011 will be held Saturday, March 12, 2011 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Irvine/Orange County Crowne Plaza Hotel in Irvine, California.
The cost is $125. Registrants must be MSPA Silver Certified Shoppers in order to register. To register for the Gold Workshop, visit

Learn more about Certification at:

If you're not certified, you're losing out on shop opportunities!

Are You a “Hero” or a “Flake?”

We all know that completing assignments by their deadlines is the absolute most important aspect of mystery shopping.  Deadlines are set by a mystery shopping company’s clients to assure that the best and most relevant information is provided. Without clients, we would not have shopping evaluations or jobs!

Our integrated, customized system allows us to implement many quality assurance measures for shoppers.  When an IntelliShop scheduler is approving applications and assigning shops, one very important detail that he or she looks at is if the shopper has ever received a hero citation or a flake citation.

A flake citation is issued if a shopper agrees to complete an assignment by a given due date and fails to do so, and especially if they do not contact the scheduler to give appropriate advance notice.  A flake citation is essentially receiving a grade of 1 on a report. This can drop the overall shopper rating significantly, making it much more difficult to request or be assigned any assignments in the future.  “Flaking” on an assignment results in a lot more work and expense for a mystery shopping company, and worse, could result in missing a client’s deadline.

When a hero citation is issued, the shopper is awarded a shop grade of 10 because he/she has gone above and beyond the call of duty by filling in for another shopper at the last minute or through a number of other noble actions. If you receive this hero citation your shopper rating will improve, making you eligible for more shops in your area.  These additional opportunities equate to more money for you!

We love to assign shoppers with hero citations - it means you have proven to be a very reliable mystery shopper!  It makes our jobs easier, and results in more assignment offers for you.  Schedulers will definitely remember you in the future when you ask for a shop that you really want.  

On the other hand, schedulers tend to avoid giving assignments to shoppers that have received a flake citation, since that shopper has proven to be unreliable at some point.  If a shopper flakes on a shop and a deadline is missed, that action could ultimately cause a client to pull their program from their mystery shopping provider. That is obviously unacceptable and can result in less shopping opportunities for a great number of dedicated and reliable shoppers.

So earn yourself more shop offers by being a Hero, not a Flake!

Finding Mystery Shopping Opportunities Near You!

Are you new to mystery shopping or unsure how to find shopping opportunities near you?  IntelliShop is customer focused to make this process as easy as possible.  We understand that shoppers are not as familiar with our procedures and policies as we are, so here we present a quick and painless walk through of discovering shops in a specific area.

The first thing you’ll want to do is log into your mystery shopper account at by entering your e-mail address and password. This should bring up your “shop log.”

Now you can click on the job board link.

From this page you can search for available shops using 3 criteria: zip code (US only), state and country. You can also sort the results by company being “shopped,” due date, or city.

The results are current mystery shopping opportunities. You can find out more information on each one by clicking the “Self-Assign” or “More Info” link. If the assignment appeals to you, you can easily apply for the shop. Be sure to answer any question that may be visible on the screen, as this information helps the scheduler process your application.

Voilá! You have just been shown the fastest and easiest way to find available shops in your area or in any area you’re planning to visit.