Side Hustles That Work: Secret Shopping from Home
I’ve been a bad frugalista. I neglected to look for ways to bring in some extra cash while we were living off of one low income until I started blogging! There was close to 6 years that I could have been doing more to help supplement our income.
I was always under the impression that in order to make money, you needed to go out and get a full-time job, or start selling stuff in a multi-level marketing job. Neither of those sounded like something that I ever wanted to do (plus, I’m the worst at selling anything!), so I just stopped trying to look for extra ways to earn.
Not only are there tons of ways to earn from side hustles (that are completely legit), but if I had started working on my side hustles, we’d never have had to live paycheck-to-paycheck. Hindsight it 20/20, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating!
Related Post: Make a Full-Time Income Proofreading
I’m here to help you NOT make the same mistake that I did!
Here’s one of my top ways to earn from my side hustles. In less than an hour of work each week from home, I can easily earn between $120 and 160 a month (or more).
Mini-disclaimer: I actually DO use this. This is NOT paid for by anyone and I truly believe that if you’re struggling, this is a great way to help pay for something each week to give you some wiggle room.
If you own a car, go out to dinner, have a phone, know how to use a computer, and want to make some extra money, I’ve got a great idea for you!
It’s called Bestmark.
Bestmark is a secret shopper service that is amazing and completely legit (that’s the biggest this to take away!). I found Bestmark from another blogger who said that she never paid for oil changes for her cars. What?! That can’t be right! Oh, yes it can!
Bestmark hires you on behalf of a bigger company (think: Chevy, GMC, Cadillac, Best Buy, Hilton, etc.) to see the degree of customer service that you receive and the knowledge of their employees.
Here’s a step by step walk-through of a typical secret shop with Bestmark.
- You go to the shop.
- You ask the question that they want you to ask.
- You remember (or write down in your phone on the down-low) the employee’s name, the time you came in, how long it took to talk to someone, how personable they were, if they knew their stuff, and any other similar question that they want you to ask.
- You go home, write it all in the online survey form they give you, and upload a picture of your receipt.
- And then you’re done!
I’ve done shops to see if car salesmen knew their stuff, to see if electronics store employees knew about the company’s price match policy, tested apartment managers’ on the knowledge of the area around their complex, and more! Each of these tests usually pays $14-$18 (it could be more depending on your area).
If you don’t think that going in to a shop is for you, you can still do internet inquiries and calls without ever having to go anywhere! If I only do these from-home tests, I can still average $30-40 a week or more! Not too shabby for a total of an hour’s worth of “work,” and most of the time is spent entering the info into the tests.
They even have dining secret shops where you can go to really nice restaurants and get completely compensated for appetizers, drinks, entrees and dessert! New favorite way to get nice dinners for special occasions!
Always make sure that you keep your test date! If you can’t complete the test on the same day, email them and they’ll work with you to reschedule. You can’t just change your day on your own.
Start slow! I made the mistake of doing 4 in-store tests in my first week. I was overwhelmed, and handed in some really mediocre work.
Read all instructions before your test date! Some shops want you to call the store at least 24 hours before you go in, and if you wait until the night before to check the rules, you’ll need to reschedule.
Make an email address specifically for these tests! The online tests, especially, require an email and they want you to keep the responses. You can’t just do email@example.com and expect it to work. It also helps protect your anonymity. I’ve even made up a fake name to go along with it. It’s basically the equivalent of Jane Doe!
Check the available tests regularly! Tests go up and fill up regularly. You’ll want to get on top of them right when they become available to get the most that you can.
Expand your search area! Especially for the internet tests and the phone calls, if you expand your search area to 100 miles instead of your local 10 miles, you’ll find a lot more results!
Make sure you weigh the costs and benefits! Some shops are 20 miles away from me and pay $25 or so for a sales visit. But when I travel that 20 miles to and from the shop, I will have likely spent more than I will have made. Yikes!
Not sure that you’d be up to it? I wasn’t either! Frankly, I still feel a little weird calling a car dealership and asking about a car I know that I will never buy. But the way I view it is that I’m helping a company know that their employees are capable of helping real customers with their real questions in the future!
And did I mention that, like all other legit side hustles, it’s free? If you have to pay to join a secret shopper company or any other company fro that matter, be wary about it. That’s always made me outrageously uncomfortable. But that’s not the case with Bestmark. If you hate it, you don’t have to do it! You have nothing to lose by giving it a try!
If you’re looking for a nice little side-hustle to help bring in some extra cash each month, Bestmark secret shopping is a great place to start!
Have you ever tried secret shopping?
Get the FREE Money Saving Calendar!
Money troubles got you down? Don't know where to start to fix it?! Constantly overwhelmed by money!??!?
Get daily tips to fix your finances in less than 10 minutes each day!