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Projected Income Around $50-$200/month
Costs to Start Minimal to none
Time to Start Immediate to 1 week

Our Side Hustles Breakdown

Do we recommend shopping as a side hustle? For shopaholics, yes! Turn your passion into profit by leveraging cashback apps, affiliate programs, and mystery shopping tasks. Key concern: It’s essential to manage and track expenses to ensure profitability.

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cons-icon Cons

  • Expense Management: Can easily overspend if not careful.
  • Limitations: Earning potential might be capped based on opportunities.
  • Time-Consuming: Identifying the best deals or tasks can be time-intensive.

pros-icon Pros

  • Enjoyable: Turn a routine activity into a money-making venture.
  • Flexibility: Shop on your schedule and at your preferred stores.
  • Diverse Opportunities: Explore mystery shopping, cashback apps, and affiliate marketing.
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Are you a shopping freak? Do you love eating out? How about doing all these activities for free? Or better yet, get paid to do them.

As unusual as it may sound, you can really get paid to shop online.

In fact, there are thousands of companies that will pay you to do all sorts of fun activities.

But how exactly do you make money while shopping?

We’ll help you with everything you need to know about how you can get paid to shop, along with the best companies that pay you to shop. 

An Overview of Shopping for Money: A Primer

Whether as a side hustle or a full-time job, you can get paid to do online shopping. As a mystery shopper, you can assess the quality of a product or service for retailers, restaurants, agencies, or other businesses. You give your valuable feedback to help companies understand their customers’ experiences.

You can also get paid to shop for others as a personal shopper. You can make purchases in grocery stores, supermarkets, or shopping malls on behalf of your clients and get paid.

There are also websites and apps that offer cashback or rewards for shopping for day-to-day items online.

How Much Can Shopping Earn You?

According to Salary.com, a personal shopper can make an average of $45,779 per year, and the median pay ranges from $40,876 to $51,399. A mystery shopper, or secret shopper, can earn $26,437 to $34,369 per year on average.

Once you’ve acquired all the necessary skills and gained enough experience, you can make a lot of money as a full-time shopper.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Shopping Side Hustle?

While you don’t need a degree, a certification will give you a competitive edge over other mystery shoppers. MSPA Americas offers certification programs that shouldn’t cost you more than $50.

Generally, you get in-house training from the companies that hire personal shoppers. Besides, there’s no significant upfront cost involved. Overall, we’d say you can get started for less than $100.

Where Can You Find Shopping Gigs That Pay?

Personal or secret shoppers cater to many industries and can work in different positions. You can be an independent consultant for multiple clients or a personal shopper for a single client.

Where to Independently Find Shopping Gigs

  1. TaskRabbit
  2. Instacart
  3. Shipt
  4. Walmart
  5. Amazon

Gig Economy Companies That Offer Shopping Gigs

  1. IntelliShop
  2. Market Force
  3. BestMark
  4. A Closer Look
  5. Secret Shopper

Where to Independently Find Shopping Gigs

People spend many hours each week grocery shopping. So why not get paid to deliver groceries? 

Here are some legitimate platforms that can connect you with flexible grocery shopper jobs: 

1. TaskRabbit

TaskRabbit is an online marketplace that connects busy people in need of various services with local taskers. As a tasker, you can charge a fee to assist people with shopping, delivery, home repairs, household chores, and errands.

2. Instacart

Instacart hires two types of shoppers: full-service and in-store shoppers. A full-service Instacart shopper delivers orders straight to the customer’s doorstep and gets paid weekly. An in-store shopper works for Instacart and bags customers’ orders within the store.

3. Shipt

Shipt is yet another popular grocery delivery service that hires shoppers to shop and deliver orders from local stores to customers. As a Shipt shopper, you typically work as an independent contractor and get paid for each order fulfilled.

4. Walmart

As a Walmart shopper, you can assist customers with selecting and preparing their grocery orders for pickup or delivery. You have to complete a three-week training program to work as a Walmart personal shopper.

5. Amazon

As an Amazon personal shopper, you comb through all of Amazon’s inventory to find the best clothes for customers based on their style and personal preferences.

Gig Economy Companies That Offer Shopping Gigs

Not just grocery delivery services, there are all kinds of secret shopper jobs out there. Here are some of the best mystery shopping companies that hire secret shoppers:

1. IntelliShop

IntelliShop is a customer experience research firm that connects dedicated mystery shoppers with some of the world’s leading brands. You can work in a diverse range of industries, helping businesses improve their customer service experience.

2. Market Force

Market Force is a BBB-accredited company that hires freelancers as mystery shoppers to provide services for various clients, including banks, retail stores, restaurants, and more.

3. BestMark

BestMark has a vast network of independent contractors who get paid to complete assignments both online and in-store. You can help businesses of all sizes improve their employee and customer experiences.

4. A Closer Look

A Closer Look offers personalized mystery shopping solutions for a wide range of industries to help secret shoppers find their best-fit assignments. They also offer market research services, survey platforms, and internal audit solutions, catering to a diverse client base.

5. Secret Shopper

Secret Shopper is a leading company that has been around since 1990. The company is one of the founding members of the Mystery Shopper Providers Association. You don’t need to pay a fee to sign up with Secret Shopper.

Additionally, you can find all types of fun mystery shopping jobs on freelance websites or online marketplaces, such as Truelancer, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, etc.

Why You Should Consider Shopping As a Side Hustle

Here are a few reasons to consider shopping as a side hustle:

  • Help Businesses Make Informed Decisions: Your assessments as a mystery shopper will help businesses identify the areas that may need improvement. Also, you might get to collaborate with big brands. 
  • Make Money Doing What You Love: You don’t have to pay to try out new products and services; instead, you get paid for it, and your judgment is valued. If you shop for customers, you can get them the best products thanks to your keen eyes and experience. 
  • Flexible Work Hours: You can choose to work as little or as often as you’d like, but of course, the more you work, the more you earn.
  • It’s a Fun Job: Mistery shoppers get to visit new places, try out new menus, shop for exclusive items, and more. Each day will be a new experience.

Problems With Shopping As a Side Hustle

Here are some issues with doing shopping as a side hustle:

  • Pay Isn’t Consistent: The demand for personal and secret shopping services can vary based on holidays, events, and economic conditions. This may lead to inconsistent earnings.
  • Time Constraints: You have to pay attention to deadlines because many assignments need to be completed within specific timeframes. If you miss one, you risk not getting paid. Also, some shops require lengthy paperwork, and a single misstep will affect your pay.
  • Delays in Processing Payments: Some secret shopping gig jobs offer compensation in the form of reimbursements for purchases you make. Unfortunately, some companies take time to reimburse you, so you should consider your budget plan carefully. 
  • Security Concerns: You should be wary of companies that ask you to pay upfront fees before signing up. Or, they may ask you to share your personal information, which raises privacy concerns. Make sure to do your research about a company’s legitimacy before applying to a job. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Shopping for Money Legal?

There’s no specific law that states otherwise. In fact, there are actually several companies and businesses that hire secret shoppers to assess the quality of their products and services.

What is the Most In-Demand Shopping-Related Job or Service?

Personal shoppers, online marketers, order pickers, and inventory planners are among the most high-in-demand roles, thanks to the significant growth of online retail and e-commerce.

Ask a Question About Shopping?

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12 Sep 2023
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I've always loved shopping, but turning it into an earning opportunity? That was a game-changer. I've become a mystery shopper and use cashback apps, and I can't recommend it enough!

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