Everything you need to know about making money with IntelliShop

Written by Emma Kansiz

Published 2022-07-05 / 4 min read

Enjoy the idea of being a secret shopper? Want to hone your private eye skills and have fun while doing it? Want to access fun freebies and complimentary dinners and services, all while visiting local businesses? Enter IntelliShop, awarded the Shopper’s Choice title by the Mystery Shopping Professionals Association (MSPA) in 2021!

What is IntelliShop?

Intellishop, founded in 1999, is a customer experience research firm that helps brands gauge how well they are interacting with their customers, and to strengthen their brand. They work with companies in a variety of industries, like retail, fitness, dining, and hospitality. They also work with market research firms and advertising brands. They are an international company and have opportunities available around the world. Because they have been around for two decades, they have a solid reputation and track record and work with top brands and chains. Some people might be worried that mystery shopping is a scam, but when it comes to working with IntelliShop, it most certainly isn’t.

IntelliShop hires mystery shoppers to visit stores and document the quality of their customer service and experience. As a mystery shopper you will visit stores or purchase services and then write a report about it which will be sent to the company utilizing the services of IntelliShop. Different companies have different guidelines and questions they want answered within the report. The best part about being a mystery shopper is that you can try products, restaurants, and services you normally wouldn’t and get paid for it.

How does IntelliShop's earning structure work?

You can expect to earn between $5 and $30 for each mystery shop assignment you complete. Intellishop states that there are users earning $100-150 a month at the high end of the scale. That’s not too high, is it? This means that IntelliShop is a great option to keep on the side for an occasional boost of income but won’t make a meaningful difference in your monthly income in most cases. We like the idea of using your earnings for a specific purpose, or funneling them into a savings account to get the satisfaction of watching them grow.  

IntelliShop pays out through PayPal only. The payments will be sent approximately 30 days after the last day of the month in which you completed your shops. They pay on the 20th of the month but it can take up to five days for PayPal to process any payments. Be advised that if you don’t claim the payment in your PayPal account or transfer it to your bank account it will get sent back to IntelliShop. So keep an eye on your account!

You must have all of your receipts and documentation submitted prior to getting paid or your pay will not be processed. IntelliShop will reimburse you for any items that you need to purchase in order to complete the assignment.

Keep in mind that IntelliShop will not reimburse you for any costs that you incur to complete the assignment like gas or parking fees. For assignments that pay on the lower end ask yourself if they are truly worth your time and energy. 

If you earn over $599 with Intellishop annually they will mail you a 1099 tax form to file with your regular income report. Ensure you understand the tax responsibilities of being a freelance mystery shopper and sock some money aside for tax time.

What is the time commitment for IntelliShop?

We like IntelliShop because it pays you to do something you might have been doing already for free - shopping and playing the role of customer! That being said, IntelliShop does not have the traffic of some other players in the side hustle world. Assignments can be sporadic, particularly if you live in a smaller city. You cannot adequately create a consistent schedule using the platform which can be frustrating for people looking for steady side work.

IntelliShop works best for people who want to make some pocket change here and there with occasional assignments. It is realistic to expect 2 to 3 assignments per month, each ranging from an hour to a few hours in length to complete the mystery shop and write the requisite report. On average you can expect to dedicate two hours to IntelliShop every week or two. We recommend stacking a few different side hustles so you can pick work up whenever you want, rather than relying on sporadic work from one app or platform.

How to get started with IntelliShop?

Go to the sign-up page and input your email address. Be advised that the sign-up form looks pretty retro. You will then be asked to read through and agree with an Independent Contractor Agreement which has the terms and conditions listed.

You will then fill out your address information and contact details. You must then provide your PayPal information. IntelliShop only pays out through PayPal so ensure you have signed up for an account. 

You will then be asked to fill out your demographic information. This includes questions like 
- Annual Household income - Height, weight, age - Hair color - Education level - Marital status - Number of children - Race

They will ask how you heard about IntelliShop. You will then be required to provide your social security number, which they will verify with the IRS. You will then read through and agree to a privacy policy.

They will conduct a short screening test to discern whether you are a good fit for the role. This entails reading a short passage and then answering questions about it accurately and objectively. 

Once you have been accepted, you will see available assignments in your area on a job board. They also email their shoppers about relevant opportunities. The quantity of roles you will see is based upon the demographic information you provided and your location. Once you have found a role you can apply for it and wait for the IntelliShop team to review your application. IntelliShop does not guarantee jobs for any specific shopper on their site and you might go weeks without finding a role. Sometimes they will assign a shopper a specific shop and in this scenario you have 24 hours to accept or reject the assignment.  

Once accepted, the details of the assignment will be provided to you, along with a deadline, a checklist and guidelines. The guidelines include the information you are obligated to report on. The guidelines will differ from one assignment to the next but they must be followed to the letter in order to receive your payment. Some of these will emphasize trying a certain product or service, interacting with the staff, or asking specific and pertinent questions to gauge staff expertise. You may also be required to submit photos and videos as proof. You can use the Shop Log feature on the website to record your thoughts and file your report.

IntelliShop requirements

Required Resources

You may want to consider having access to a car depending on where you live. There is never a guarantee of where a given shopping assignment will be and you don’t want to spend hours of your day commuting simply to earn $10.

You must have access to a phone or computer to record photos and videos, type up your reports, and submit them using the website portal. 

We like that IntelliShop has a low barrier of entry and has a relatively seamless and easy sign-up process. This makes it a convenient platform to sign up for when you have some downtime.

Required Skills

You must be 18 or over to get approved by IntelliShop. 

You must be diligent and organized, whether you plan on mystery shopping occasionally or on a more frequent basis. IntelliShop recommends keeping a folder and Excel sheet with all of your shop assignment details, payments, expenses, and requirements. Being organized and reading through the guidelines that IntelliShop provides before completing an assignment will enable you to tick all the boxes and avoid errors. You must be willing to reread the guidelines to ensure you don’t forget any key points. Treat it like a script to be memorized.  

IntelliShop also seeks out shoppers who have integrity and a strong attention to detail. They expect you to report on your experience accurately and offer a faithful recollection of what you noticed while completing your assignment. The businesses want the nitty gritty - they don’t want a report stuffed with empty words like ‘good’ or ‘amazing’. You must also be objective and not take things personally. The businesses want a logical and factual account, not a slanderous or malicious account. Credibility is vital. 

Required Documents

You must provide a social security number in order to work for IntelliShop. You must also have a PayPal account.

Although it is not required, IntelliShop does recommend that people interested in becoming regular mystery shoppers sign up with the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. If you get a silver or gold MSPA certification you can command higher prices from any platforms you use. It is a good idea to look into MSPA as another option for making money mystery shopping. Learn more about that process [here.](http://www.mysteryshop.org/certification) But if you want a good entry point into the industry, IntelliShop is a great place to start. 

Other important details

IntelliShop rates its shoppers. The higher rated ones get more job opportunities. There are a few main components that will impact your rating on the site. One of the components is being reliable. If you need to cancel your assigned shop you must give adequate notice. If not you will receive a ‘Flake’ or ‘Cancel’ citation on the site, impacting future gigs and earnings. Arguably the most important aspect is writing a high quality report with detailed impressions. Following the guidelines is essential. This is not the time for half measures or improvisation. The clients typically have stringent guidelines for their own tailored purposes.

Riffing off the last point, IntelliShop explicitly states that it has high standards for its shoppers. They expect error-free, comprehensive reports that are submitted before the deadline. The proofreaders who read the reports rate them on a scale of 1 to 10.

There is a tier called a Hero Citation which you can get on your profile from completing jobs designated with the Hero Citation tag. This tag simply means that you are a reliable and trustworthy shopper and will increase your likelihood of getting work on the platform.   

If you love shopping then you might be intrigued to learn that IntelliShop lets you keep the purchases you’re required to make for your assignment. You will still get reimbursed for any purchases made.

Our review

We like IntelliShop as a side gig to have running in the background of your everyday professional and personal life. The money will never be super meaningful but it is a fun and easy way to earn extra cash for a financial milestone or special item. It’s worth repeating that they pay on a monthly basis so if you are looking for an increased cash flow, this might be irritating. The work is painless and doesn’t require any specific expertise, however, so it won’t hurt to complete assignments when they come through.

One of the drawbacks of IntelliShop is that the work is limited in its frequency. While people always need rides or grocery deliveries, there are not always businesses that need to utilize mystery shoppers in any given area. Depending on where you live (a smaller or secondary city) you may not see many assignments coming through. This can be frustrating for someone who wants to get out there and start hustling and earning cash. 

IntelliShop states that you will enjoy your experience if you look at it as an opportunity not to get rich but to ‘lower your cost of living’. How? You get to keep purchases and you also might get access to free day passes when checking out gyms, pools, or beauty services. You may also get to dine or sip coffee for free, depending on the role. We like this mindset and agree with the sentiment. Keep IntelliShop as a backup option and check back to see if you can get access to any fun freebies. But don’t consider it a viable option for noticeable, consistent income.