Are you looking at how to become a mystery shopper? Then follow these tips and take a look at some of the best sites to get you started.
I can’t think of a much better way of life – getting paid to shop. But is it all it’s cracked up to be?
You may have heard mixed reports about mystery shopping. Some articles I have read over the years say it’s not worth bothering with. In fact, my wife signed up for a mystery shop site but failed to complete one job as she felt it wasn’t worth her time.
But I had also heard on various forums that there was an opportunity to make some good money.
So, in order to make my own mind, I joined several mystery shopping sites. Not only could I check they weren’t scams, but I could also to see how much they pay.
What is Mystery shopping?
Ever heard of the phrase ‘the customer is always right’? Now, that’s not always true, but it’s certainly something a lot of companies aim for. Shopping isn’t just about value, but having a great customer experience too.
That’s why companies employ mystery shoppers. These are members of the public who are just regular shoppers, willing to give a report on their experience.
But instead of retailers employing mystery shoppers themselves, they contract it out to other companies. That way, they get a good mixture of different people.
Do you need any particular skills?
A good eye for detail is always important. You will often need to be able to remember all you have seen and who you have dealt with.
You will also need good writing skills. Most tasks will require you to write a report once you have finished. You must stick to the facts and not be swayed by whether you actually like the company or not!
Finally, you need to be good at keeping a secret. Everything you do for mystery shopping needs to be kept confidential. So don’t start posting on Facebook what you’ve been doing that afternoon!
Do you need any equipment for mystery shopping?
All you generally need to get started is a computer, camera (or smartphone), a pencil and some paper. The computer is needed to find jobs and write your reports and the pencil and paper are always useful for notes. Some jobs require you to take photos – this might be to show the state of shelves or just prove you actually went to the store.
A smartphone is just useful for photos though when it comes to mystery shopping. There are several apps out there that you can earn money from too.
The only specialist equipment you may need is an audio recorder. There are jobs which out there that pay you if you record conversations with call centre staff or in (for example) a bank. However, you don’t have to accept these and I never have.
How much do mystery shoppers make?
The questions on everyone’s lips… how much can you make from mystery shopping? Unfortunately, there’s no one set answer. Depending on how difficult the task is will change the amount you can earn. Plus, you’ll find that some companies pay better than others.
Below, I have listed some of the best mystery shopping sites, with how much you can expect to earn.
Mystery shopping tips
The best starting point is to find a legitimate mystery shopping company. Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous companies out there who will do anything to make a quick buck out of you. This case, although in the States, saw somebody lose $5000 when they applied for a mystery shopping job.
You should never have to pay to join a mystery shopping site. That’s not to say you don’t have to spend to complete some jobs. Some assignments will involve you making a small purchase, but not usually more than £20.
Be willing to travel. There are plenty of jobs out there, but you may have to visit neighbouring towns to complete them. With that said, you need to weigh up how much you will earn against the cost of travel. You don’t want to end up out of pocket! But not all jobs need you to leave your sofa and can be completed using the phone or computer.
The best mystery shopping companies:
Ipsos UK provides some surprisingly well-paid opportunities. You have to take a quick test before you’re allowed to take on assignments, but this isn’t complicated.
The majority of their jobs don’t involve you purchasing anything but trying out services or looking at taking out financial products. Because of this, they tend to pay the most. I have had several chances to earn between £100-200. One involved applying for a mortgage and another applying for finance from a high-street retailer. Although they sound daunting they aren’t too difficult and don’t worry, you don’t have to go through with the application.
They work with some of the most popular chains across the UK. This is good for us as secret shoppers, as it means there’s usually a job nearby. They do have quite a tough test you need to complete before they accept you as a mystery shopper, but most people should be able to get through it with a little effort.
On average, the jobs offered by GBW pay between £15-35. They will pay more when the deadline for a job gets closer. The jobs may not pay as well as GFK, but there are more available and take less work.
Slightly different from the other sites, this is an app based mystery shopping site. The jobs are very generally quick, although the pay isn’t great. Jobs on average pay about £3 and will take around 20 minutes.
What I really like about this company is that there aren’t loads of difficult tests you need to take before you join. You can more-or-less start earning as soon as you join.
Find out more about BeMyEye. Use my refferal code wvq9p3 and we both earn £1.
Market Force offers a lot of opportunities to conduct mystery shops at restaurants and pub chains. Their pay isn’t great, sometimes as low as £3.25. However, they will also reimburse the cost of your food for anything up to £10. So the amounts aren’t great, but it does give you a cheap meal out.
Market Force requires you to pass some spelling and grammar tests before they employ you for their tasks, but these aren’t too difficult.
Streetbees is an app available on your phone for both Apple and Android users. Although this app isn’t strictly just for mystery shoppers, there are plenty of tasks available. The jobs are usually very quick and a lot less involved compared to some other mystery shopping sites.
Some of the tasks require you to take photos of your food and menus when you’re having a meal out. It can usually be done at any kind of restaurant, takes just a couple of minutes and pays £5. Other mystery shopping jobs require you to take photos of your drinks or snacks whilst you’re out in a pub.
Most of the money I make from Streetbees comes from home. Some days, I earn money every time I spend time with my cat, feed her or photograph food I have bought for her! Combine this with the mystery shopping jobs and you can easily earn at least £30 per month.
Find out more about Streetbees – Please use my refferal code 7850SP if you decide to join.
Which is the best the best mystery shopping company?
It’s difficult to choose between the best mystery shopping companies, as it depends on what you’re after. If you have quite a bit of free time and want to make a decent income, I would choose Ipsos UK. However, GBW is good for earning smaller amounts without having to put in quite so much time.