Mystery Shopping in Canada: A Fun Side Hustle

I had always wanted to try and apply to be a mystery shopper.  When I worked in retail in university and high school, I was ‘mystery shopped’ (I was completely unaware that I was being mystery shopped) and I found out how my performance was afterwards.  It inspired me to want to be a mystery shopper myself.

Mystery Shopping in Canada: A Fun Side Hustle

I never got around to it, but when a friend of mine told me about her experience mystery shopping, I was intrigued.  Free gas (free gas sure beats trying to find the optimal day to save money on gas), free meals, and free drinks?

Yes please.

I finally signed up and have been pretty happy with the experience so far.  I got a heavily discounted haircut and highlight without having to use a Groupon.  My husband and I also went on ‘date night’ at the expense of the mystery shop company.  We got $50 to spend on free drinks and food.  Since I became a mom though, there hasn’t been much time to sign up for the mystery shops, but it’s still fun looking and thinking about mystery shopping haha.

Have you ever wanted to try mystery shopping Here are some mystery shopping companies in Canadato help you get started with making money. Work from home and make some extra cash while you shop or even while you enjoy date night! Get paid to shop and eat! #shopping #frugal #savemoney

What is Mystery Shopping?

What is mystery shopping?  Mystery shopping or being a secret shopper, according to Wikipedia is a way for companies to research and gather data on the quality of their employee’s service.  The company gets a detailed report and feedback about the experience of the consumer (the mystery shopper) and uses this information to improve their service provided.

The report is very detailed, and as a mystery shopper, it can be a bit of a stressful experience trying to remember everything without coming off as ‘not natural’.  However, let me tell you this, the adrenaline rush of trying not be look obviously like a mystery shopper is super exciting!  It’s kind of fun to be incognito with secret shopping, and actually, even more fun if your partner is with you, like on a restaurant assignment.


Mystery Shopping Companies in Canada

There are a number of mystery shopping companies in Canada.  So much so that I have only applied to one.  Once I have more time I would love to apply to more of them so there’s a better selection of companies to secret shop at.  Here are some of the best mystery shopping companies in Canada.  Yes, there are really some legitimate mystery shopper jobs in Canada.

There are a bunch more mystery shopping companies in Canada, these are just a select few that I’ve heard from a friend who is an avid mystery shopper.  These are some of the best mystery shopping companies in Canada.

  • Mystery Shopping Canada– They specialize in small to medium sized businesses in Canada.  On their website, it says they have a database of over 58,000 mystery shoppers in Canada!
  • Mystery Shopping Providers Canada– They call themselves MSP and they have been in business since 2002.  Chrissy from Eat Sleep Breathe FI kindly informed me that there is a $39 registration fee to be a mystery shopper for this company.
  • Shoppers Confidential– They seem like they have quite the professional website, and they have been in business in Canada since 2006
  • Sensors Quality Management– This is the mystery shopping company that I’m signed up with and have been happy with it so far.  This company has been in the mystery shopping business since 1993.  Their website is a little dated but there’s lots of mystery shopping jobs available a lot of the time.
  • A Closer Look– They have companies that you can do a mystery shop on like TGIFridays, PF Changs, and Hilton.
  • Market Force– They have companies like well known fast food burger establishments that you can do a mystery shop on
  • Premier Service– They are based out of Quebec, and have some great restaurants to review under their belt, like a popular restaurant chain here on the west coast.

My Mystery Shopping Experience

Here’s my mystery shopping Canada review.  I’ve only done two mystery shops, because each of the mystery shop companies tend to have the same businesses over and over again.

The first one was a restaurant analysis where my husband and I got $50 to spend at a restaurant chain.  You have to read the instructions very carefully.  We had to arrive at a certain time, between 6:00-6:30pm on a certain day.  You also have to have a certain number of people, like one other guest, and no kids (hence why I haven’t gone since having my child, lol).

We had to note whether certain questions were asked, or whether we were greeted by name etc.  We had to note the name of our greeter and our server.  We had to note whether we were offered an ‘up sell’ from the server, like whether we were asked if we wanted any additional items like dessert at the end of our meal.  I had to check out the bathroom and see whether it was clean or if I had any feed back on it.

It was very detail oriented, and I brought some of the information I needed to gather, with me in my purse, just in case I forgot anything.

At the end of the meal, we paid and then I submitted my review (you have to also do it within a certain time period after you review) and a copy of the receipt.  A few days after that they approved my review.  After a few weeks, I got a cheque in the mail with the reimbursement.

I wouldn’t say it was an ‘easy’ $50 because the report took about 30 minutes to an hour to write up, but it was fun, and sure beats making pizza myself or ordering takeout!

Mystery Shopping Canada

How to Apply to be a Mystery SHopper

What does it take to become a mystery shopper in Canada?  How do you become a mystery shopper?

The application process for the one mystery shopping company I applied to was quite long, and it involved answering a lot of questions.  The main thing that the mystery shopping companies what to glean from you is the ability to communicate clearly and the ability to analyze and be detailed oriented.

Since it was quite the long application (if I recall it took over an hour- or maybe more, I can’t remember, it was a few years ago), I have not applied for other mystery shopping companies.  I hope to once I get more time, like when I part time FIRE, I plan to apply to a few more mystery shopping companies in Canada.

To apply to be a mystery shopper, you just have to fill out the form or follow the instructions on one of the mystery shopping company websites listed above.  It’s that easy!  You’ll find out whether you are ‘hired’ a few weeks after you apply.

There’s not really a downside once you’re approved.  You’ll get offers for mystery shops (via email or in their portal) and you just have to see if it fits into your schedule.  The great thing about mystery shopping is that you can get that itch you may have, to shop, out of your system, with it being on the company’s dime, and not yours!

Have you every tried mystery shopping in Canada? 

If you’re a seasoned mystery shopper in Canada, how many mystery shopping companies are you a part of?  

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16 thoughts on “Mystery Shopping in Canada: A Fun Side Hustle”

  1. So, you didn’t get paid to do this, you only got $50 off a free meal, is that the compensation you received for your time? Was hoping you’d say that they also pay you (in addition to the $50 free meal), but still pretty cool. I’m an actor, so that actually sounds like fun, because can refine my craft and get a free meal too!

    • @moneyhelp- Nope, there’s no “hourly rate” for doing the mystery shopping, $50 off a meal is pretty good IMO! It didn’t take that long to fill out the information. It depends, sometimes there is one that you get $5 for making a phone call and I don’t do those ones haha. Not worth my time.

  2. Interesting to know about mystery shopping! I always wondered about it. Did they reimburse your food and paid $50 for teh review? or was the review in exchange for the food?

  3. I haven’t mystery shopped myself but I did go with a friend who was mystery shopping at a local fast food restaurant. He had to order what the company specifically told him to get and had a write a review of the service right after. He let me eat most of the order so I got a free meal out of it.
    For the past few years now I’ve participated in Google’s user experience research where they email you if you qualify for their upcoming research on a product they want to release to the public. If you do qualify and be part of the research they will give you a $100 doing it. I probably do it about twice a year now and would love to continue to have me participate.

    • @Kris- I remember seeing your Google user experience research! $100 is awesome, does it take a long time to do? Yes, mystery shopping can be very specific. For the pizza restaurant shop, we had to order an appetizer and a drink in addition to the pizza, from what I recall.

  4. oh man, I totally remember getting mystery shopped when I worked in a grocery store! I’d be curious to know how it works if you do a grocery store (like, if you would have to buy certain things or if you would be given a dollar limit and told to pick up whatever). If it’s the latter, that would totally be a good way to save a bit of money!

    Although hey, a $50 date night on the company dime isn’t too bad!

    • @Tara P- Hah, me too when I was working in retail. The one I’m with never had a grocery store, but there was a store and they gave you a $25 limit to buy whatever you wanted to. I would think it would be whatever you wanted, but I’m sure they would have a script to follow.

  5. I had no idea there were mystery shop companies in Canada! You’ve led me down a rabbit hole GYM! (And Kris too, with the Google User Experience Surveys—my gosh that’s a looong survey they put you through.)

    I’m going to try signing up for a few mystery shopping companies. Free food is always awesome in my books!

  6. I registered over a year ago but the opportunities in Ottawa are very minimum and the one company with various jobs only pays with gift cards in Canada. They had a great opportunity a few weeks ago and paid $50 for servicing a car but I was not crazy about the gift card instead of cash so skipped it. Still waiting for that great opportunity. I think it’s better in Toronto and Vancouver.

    • @Caroline- You can always come to Toronto and Vancouver and do your mystery shop 😉 Sorry to hear it’s not as lucrative in Ottawa. Have you tried signing up for different Mystery shopping companies?

  7. Im surprised iSecretShop didn’t make the list, but I can understand why. This is a job board that has a number of differerent MSP’s including Canadian ones if anyone was interested 🙂
    I know this is an older thread, was curious to know what your thoughts were on the industry since COVID hit, interested in hearing the shopper perspective of things like pros and cons.

    Thanks! all the best


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