The Mystery Shopping Providers Association ( MSPA ) is a professional trade organization that can help your mystery shopping experience. It's made up of a group of experienced shoppers that train people at workshops around the country and on DVD. You can earn a Gold or Silver certificate by either attending a workshop or purchasing a DVD and passing a series of tests online. The Mystery Shopping Providers Association has over 150 companies represented around the world.
The cost for doing either the workshop or the DVD is the same -- $99.
When you earn a certificate from the MSPA, you are considered to be a dedicated person to the mystery shopping profession and will uphold the highest standard in the industry. Mystery shopping companies and their clients will look at you much higher than someone without a certificate.
However, you DO NOT need a certificate of any kind to be successful at mystery shopping.
This is for the die-hard mystery shopper who wants to apply for some higher-paying shops.
A $20 mystery shop assignment will be the same price whether you are certified or not. However, there are some assignments that only Gold or Silver certification members are eligible for. Some of those shops will pay more and require more details of the visit. Some fancy restaurants will have this requirement and will pay close to $200 for a completed shop.
Most of that payment would be reimbursement for the food.
The Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) doesn't do as many LIVE workshops since the DVD program was introduced. The
DVD is easier for people in rural areas that would otherwise have to travel long distances to get to the nearest workshop. Anyone can purchase a DVD, review it as often as they like, then take a series of tests online to get certified.
There are some advantages of attending a live workshop. You can interact with other mystery shoppers, learn some tricks of the trade and make some business connections.
Overall, the training for both the live workshop and the DVD is the same.
When applying at the mystery shop companies, you'll notice a place to enter an MSPA certification number. People who have earned a Gold or Silver certification will receive a number. They enter that number on the application and will be eligible for more shops if the application is accepted.
Most mystery shoppers don't have a certification of any kind and don't really need one. You can get a lot of assignments by applying for a number of shops with several different companies. If you are starting out, give the business a try without a certificate first. If you like it and want to keep going with it, then you may want to consider the MSPA.
You can learn more about the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA) by clicking here.
I wrote an book about my mystery shopping experiences for both written and hidden video assignments. I include a list of mystery shopping companies that I have worked with and companies that I would consider reputable. The book (and eBook) is titled Take That Job And Mystery Shop It! I hope it helps your business.