By Jessica Kasney, Customer Impact Scheduler

Recently, I had a shopper ask me if she was “allowed” to shop for other mystery shopping companies. She was under the impression that because she was shopping for our company, she was restricted to only performing shops with us. She was excited to learn that, as an Independent Contractor, she has the freedom to shop for as many mystery shopping companies as she wants. It is important for mystery shoppers to be aware of what it means to be an independent contractor versus an employee. Check out this handy chart from that breaks everything down for you.

Independent Contractor vs. Employee



Usually works for only one employer. Generally provides consulting services to more than one company.
Works the hours set by the employer. Sets his or her own hours.
Usually works at the employer’s place of business. Works out of his or her own office or home.
Often receives employment benefits, such as health and disability insurance. Does not receive benefits from the employer.
Works under the control and direction of the employer. Works relatively independently.
Accomplishes tasks in the manner the employer has requested. Has the authority to decide how to go about accomplishing tasks, and does so without the employer’s input.
Tends not to incur costs or make investments in the work. Incurs the costs associated with performing the job.
Has a general education and experience background, and receives special training from the employer in order to do the job better. Has acquired very specialized skills and comes to the work relationship with a particularized education and experience background.
Receives net salary after employer has withheld income tax, Social Security and Medicare tax under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA). Is not subject to tax or FICA withholding, but pays his or her own self-employment tax.
Will likely be eligible to receive unemployment compensation after lay off or termination. Is not eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.
Will receive worker’s compensation benefits for any workplace injury. Is not eligible for worker’s compensation benefits.
Generally (unless employment is “at will”) can be terminated by the employer only for good cause and with notice. Generally (unless the consulting contract is for a specified term) can be let go by the employer for any reason, at any time.
Is covered by federal and state wage and hour laws such as minimum wage and overtime rules. Is paid according to the terms of the contract, and does not receive additional compensation for overtime hours worked.
Has the protection of workplace safety and employment anti-discrimination laws. Usually is not protected by employment anti-discrimination and workplace safety laws.
May be entitled to join or form a union. Is not entitled to join or form a union.

Mystery Shopping Schedulers

Mystery Shopping Schedulers

Keep in mind that mystery shopping schedulers all have the same goal, and that is to find shoppers who can satisfy our clients’ needs. We encourage shoppers to register and work with multiple companies, and we would never ask you not to shop with another company. We value our independent contractors and appreciate their work with us. If you ever have any questions about this at all, please do not hesitate to contact our company! Happy shopping!