What is TrendSource?
TrendSource, also known as MSI Services, is a mystery shopping company that serves retail, medical, and various other business clients. Tasks available for field agents include observing businesses for quality assurance, making phone calls, interviewing store customers, checking product displays, and an array of other tasks.
How do you sign up?
Visit the MSI Services portal here to find an application that requires basic information such as your name, address, and phone number. When filling out the application, you can indicate which types of jobs you’re interested in completing.
This application is mostly a formality, as you will be able to access the project database as soon as you complete the application. However, before being able to request jobs, you will have to provide your tax information and upload a scan of a photo ID.
What are the Requirements to Mystery Shop?
The most basic requirement for working for TrendSource/MSI Services is daily access to the Internet – you’ll be applying for jobs through email and the MSI portal, and when you’re done with your evaluation, the portal also provides a place to write notes and submit pictures.
Although they are not required, shoppers with certifications – for shops involving Medicare or military base locations, for example – have more jobs available to them, making the pool of options larger.
Lastly, TrendSource/MSI Services requires that their mystery shoppers provide an EIN. This is a controversial topic among current shoppers and potential applicants, so it’s an important factor to consider.
What is an EIN?
An EIN is a number, much like a SSN, that the IRS uses to track financial information. An EIN is typically reserved for small business owners, and many contract workers don’t need one.
It is, however, required to do shops for TrendSource, so consult with an accountant to find out if acquiring one will complicate your taxes, affect money tied up in estates, or result in locally mandated business license requirements.
What kind of work is available?
Although the TrendSource “About Us” page lists available jobs like conducting surveys and making phone calls, the bulk of the work seems to be in-store quality checks.
Examples of potential jobs include:
- On-site inspections – visit a site and take pictures
- Mystery shopping – visit a store, make a purchase, and report the store’s performance
- Surveying/Interviewing – approach store customers to conduct surveys
- Store audits – ensure certain products are displayed properly at stores
How much money can I make?
The pay varies depending on the client and job type, so compensation ranges from approximately $10 for a generic restaurant visit to $40 for a formal event.
Most people who revealed their TrendSource earnings publicly reported amounts from $30 to $500 per month. As is the case with many independent contractor gigs, the pay is per-job, so earnings are directly tied to number of jobs completed.
Many shoppers report that TrendSource pays less than other top mystery shopping companies. The quick pay, stability of the company, and occasional bonuses, however, help make the lower pay more appealing for some.
When do I get paid?
Pay is twice a month. US shoppers can only receive payment through direct deposit or check, while Canadian and UK shoppers have access to PayPal payments.
How do I sign up as a secret shopper?
Visit the Become an Agent page on the official TrendSource website.