Your Questions Answered

What is an Independent Field Agent?

An Independent Field Agent is an Independent Contractor who is paid to complete an evaluation of a business or service based on specific criteria, usually anonymously. Independent Field Agents may also be known as "Mystery Shoppers" or "Secret Shoppers"; however, they may also participate in revealed projects as well.

While participating in unrevealed projects (mystery shops), Independent Field Agents pose as a regular customer while performing the evaluation. During revealed projects, the Independent Field Agent may identify themselves before or after the evaluation, depending on the type of project. After the project is completed, Independent Field Agents will submit their data through an online evaluation form.

Does The Source charge any fees?

No. There are no fees to complete work with The Source. No reputable mystery shopping company will charge fees to work for their company. There are purchase requirements for some projects that are out-of-pocket expenses you must incur, but you will be reimbursed for the required purchase when the project is completed, reported and verified.

How do I know that The Source is a legitimate company?

The Source is the exclusive Independent Field Agent database provider for TrendSource. TrendSource has been a leader and innovator in the industry since 1989. TrendSource is an ISO Certified Organization and is a founding member of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA). For more information about TrendSource, you can visit the corporate site at

If I perform projects for The Source as an Independent Contractor, can I also do similar work for other companies?

Yes. It is not a conflict of interest if you are doing work as an Independent Contractor for other mystery shopping companies. We expect that our Field Agents will not disclose any information obtained during their work with The Source to these other companies including TrendSource clients and areas served. What IS a conflict of interest is when an Independent Field Agent is working as an employee for another mystery shopping company. Independent contract work is fine. It is only when an Independent Field Agent is hired on as a permanent employee for another mystery shopping company that there is a conflict of interest.

How do I get paid? When do I get paid?

The Source pays twice a month for all completed and verified work. We offer Direct Deposit (US Independent Field Agents only) or payment by paper check. We offer PayPal for Canadian and UK Independent Field Agents only.

How much will I be paid? Do you pay per hour?

We do not pay per hour; we pay per project. Each project payment varies based on a number of parameters, such as length of execution and project difficulty.

Is mystery shopping part-time or full-time?

Mystery shopping is generally part-time work, but it's up to you how many projects you pick up. The amount of projects in any given area can vary by program, so the volume of work can fluctuate. However, we run programs nationwide so there is usually some level of work in most areas.

What are the benefits of mystery shopping?

Many of our Independent Field Agents have stated that they participate in mystery shopping to help save for a vacation, pay for groceries, put toward bills, or just have a little extra spending money. In addition to that, many mystery shop programs focus around customer service or internal training initiatives so you are helping to ensure that those objectives are in place and better service is provided to the community as a whole.

How can I find out if there are any available project in my area?

Once you have filled out an application, you will gain access to our applicant website. On that site, you will be able to view and request any available projects in your area.

Does applying to be an Independent Field Agent mean that I am committed to do work for The Source?

No. Our Independent Field Agents are Independent Contractors, and it is up to the individual which projects they want to pick up and when they want to pick up those projects. Only when an Independent Field Agent requests and is approved for a specific project is there the expectation that they will complete it.

How long does it take to become an Independent Field Agent?

There is no specific timeline to become an Independent Field Agent with The Source. We engage new Independent Field Agents on an as-needed basis only, so if you request an project in your area and it is not picked up by an existing Independent Field Agent, you will have the opportunity to become an Independent Field Agent.

What tools or capabilities will be required of me as a Field Agent with The Source?

1) Scanner or digital camera. This will be used to upload your photo ID, receipts, or any project-relevant information. We do offer some Digital Photo projects which require a digital camera. You will still qualify for all other programs if you only have a scanner.

2) Daily access to internet. After completing and inputting a project, the report goes through a quality control process, and additional clarification may be needed. If so, an issue will be created on the project, which is extremely time-sensitive and must be resolved as soon as possible. It is important that you have daily internet access in order to check for any emails or issues from TrendSource.

Can I pick up projects in other areas if I am traveling?

Of course! As an applicant or an Independent Field Agent, you can request projects using a City/State search. This will allow you to find shops in the area to which you are traveling or along a route if you are driving to a destination.

How do I get started?

You can fill out an application here. The Source provides as much opportunity as possible to our existing Independent Field Agents and only engages new Independent Field Agents on an as-needed basis. Once you fill out an application, you will have access to the applicant website, where you can search for available projects. If an existing agent cannot complete the project, we will reach out to you!

What if I don't see an answer to my question?

If our FAQ's do not cover everything you need to know, you have two options:
1) Fill out our online application and send us an email.

2) Call us at (619) 718-7467.