How to Start a Mystery Shopping Business

January 21, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

QUESTION on How to Start a Mystery Shopping Business

I want to start up a mystery shopping business. Can anyone give me advice on how to do this and things to avoid when starting a mystery shopping business?

– Jennifer (Baltimore, Maryland)

ANSWER by Isabel Isidro

Dear Jennifer:

There are two dimensions of starting a mystery shopping company:

  • getting corporate accounts who will hire your company to do the mystery shopping
  • recruiting the mystery shoppers who will actually do the mystery shopping for you

Like many new companies, your main problem will be how to get that first corporate account. Companies who engage in mystery shopping in most likelihood already have a company that they work with; some may even have contracts with mystery shopping companies.

You have to first identify the establishments in your geographic area and categorize them accordingly:

  • which ones CURRENTLY USES a mystery shopping company
  • which ones SHOULD USE but are NOT using a mystery shopping company
  • which ones are not but could benefit from a mystery shopping service

Then network with these companies. Learn who their main decision makers are. But you need to develop a solid presentation for your business:

Why should these companies use your mystery shopping company instead of the one they currently have?
What do you have extra to offer to them?
Once you develop your unique selling proposition, it would be easier to do sales calls and sales presentations.

The finding the mystery shoppers will not be as challenging considering the number of those looking for part time income. But you have to have a training system in place and teach them the right questions to ask, what to look for, who to talk to, how to evaluate an establishment, etc.

Here are some resources I highly recommend:

Recommended Books on the Mystery Shopping Business:


Article originally published March 2006. Updated on January 19, 2012


Isabel Isidro

Isabel Isidro is the co-founder of A mom of three boys, avid vintage postcard collector, frustrated scrapbooker, she also manages Women Home Business, Starting Up Tips and Learning from Big Boys. Connect with her in Google +.

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Category: Business Ideas, Q & A

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