Mystery Shopping

I used to do work as a Mystery Shopper and I really enjoyed it. The pay was low and the assignments could often be scarce, though I found Mystery Shopping a fun and interesting way to earn a little extra.

A mystery shopper will visit a particular shop, restaurant or other customer facing establishment in their area to assess cleanliness, customer service, sales techniques and so on, posing as an everyday customer.

As a mystery shopper you can expect to earn around £10 - £20 per shop, along with additional perks such as free meals and free cinema tickets. If you are asked to make a purchase, to assess queuing times etc, you usually get to keep the goods, with the full cost reimbursed.

Mystery shops can be scarce, with some companies offering only one or two assignments a month. For anybody interested in this line of work I would recommend applying with several companies to improve your chances of receiving a steady flow of work. You are under no obligation to accept assignments that are offered to you. You choose which assignments you want to accept and which you don't. Though there is work available in the evenings and at weekends, you will be offered more assignments if you are available weekdays during office hours.

The application process usually consists of an online form, which is similar to any other job application form, asking for details of previous employment and interests etc. You would also be asked industry specific questions such as 'Why do you feel you would make a good Mystery Shopper'. You may also be asked to carry out a test assignment before being offered paid work.

Mystery Shopping companies are free to join. You should never be asked to pay any money up front. It is common practice for a market research company to ask for your bank details for payment purposes, though please ensure that the market research company you are applying to is well established and reputable.

I was registered as a Mystery Shopper with the following companies. I received work from all of them and had no problems when it came to receiving payment.

GFK Mystery Shopping
Retail Maxim
Retail Eyes (UK)
Quality Eye
Grass Roots


What Consumer Founder
I know someone who had a job costing everyday items so companies could work out cost of living allowances for staff posted overseas - not sure who it was through and I think it was once a year. It wouldn't surprise me if these were the same companies.

I have done some work for a company called Optimum Contact. It was telephone calling, principally client satisfaction reports and confirmation of readiness of companies to quote accurately by phone.
It is a worthwhile effort, if one doesn't expect to get rich by doing so.
If you are willing to participate in a market research group, then you could earn £30-£100 for a few hours of your time. Basically, you would be invited to a local venue to sit around with others giving your opinion on various products and adverts. The only company I know that offers this type of work is Saros.
I do some mystery shopping through two companies, one is Retail Eyes (already mentioned) and one with International Service Check ... like evryone else has said the work is far and few between, but it can be rewarding ... I got £5 for simply going and collecting my repeat prescription.

With one company I keep getting asked to go to night clubs - but always when I'm busy ... if only they would pay me for a night out in Lincoln around my birthday.

Its definately something that can be fitted into everyday life.
Nings, I have no idea what you just said. I guess I'm getting old.

And I've just been paid £107.50 for mystery shopping (payments for work in September and October) still got £70 outstanding and more mystery shopping this week.

A nice little earner!!!
Wow - seriously? That's not bad is it? Then I may give them a go too. However, as a mother who has three young children at home with her every day I am probably being completely unrealistic. It was the thought of going off to nightclubs after all these years that got me thinking ...:) Also, don't think you're getting old Mlewis, at least no older than me. I don't understand what nings is saying either ...
today, I've booked on an exam for a construction skills course, if I pass, I get a qualification ... the mystery shopping company will pay me to take the exam and report back on the service, pay for the exam itself ... and I might get another health and safety qualification ... its very good doing mystery shopping.
Hello Oli

Sorry for the delay in replying, I missed your post.

Yes it easy to get into, just search for the companies on line and sign-up, some have little tests for you to do, just make sure you don't pay any money before you join.

And as for for offers, every week I'm offered some Mystery Shopping, I'v npt done much this year, only earned £10, but been so busy with my normal work, I've not had time to fit mystery shopping in.

Last year I earned over £1,000 from Mystery Shopping.

Good Luck.
Carrot Cam

The longest I've had tp wait for payments from Mystery Shopping is a month, they generally pay quickly ... its all done as self-employed work, so I'm responsible for any Tax or NI, but as I'm self employed anyway, thats not a problem.