How To Become A Mystery Shopper: Things You Need To Know

If you are looking at how to become a mystery shopper to earn an extra side income, then you are in the right place! This post will cover how to become a mystery shopper in UK and how much you can expect to be paid.

Being a mystery shopper won’t make you rich. But you will get paid to be a mystery shopper. With your extra income, you can build a low-cost stock portfolio or invest in genuine income producing assets to develop your financial stability. Every little helps!

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What’s a mystery shopper?

You may be thinking, what is a mystery shopper, and what do they do?

A mystery shopper could be anyone! It is an anonymous individual paid to visit a business, be it a restaurant, shop or airline (to name a few), and then reports back whether certain standards are being met.

Companies recruit mystery shoppers to gain honest feedback on how their business is providing service to customers. They rely on mystery shopper reviews to tell them what is good and where, perhaps, they are not meeting customer expectations. 

What does a mystery shopper do?

An assignment often includes a guideline of your task. This could include:

  • What to buy
  • Questions to ask
  • General details of the store
  • When you entered and left the store
  • What they expect from your written report, e.g. length and submission date
  • An online mystery shopper may have to talk to customer service or work their way around a website

How to become a mystery shopper:

There is a lot of information on how to be a mystery shopper. We have found the best mystery shopper companies UK for you to choose from:

  •  iShopFor Ipsos – is a global mystery shopper agency. Tasks include visiting a shop in person, calling and emailing customer services, and occasionally audits. Each assignment has different pay rates, which you will find in the description. Alternatively, some tasks may not be paid, but you will be reimbursed if making a purchase.
  •  Nielsen IQ Homescan – as a panel member, you will receive a scanner or have access via their app. You will be asked to scan barcodes of all products you purchase during a shopping trip along with other details, including the price and where you bought the items. Next, you will then be invited to take part in surveys. You are rewarded with gift points that can be accumulated and redeemed on a range of merchandise and entered into various sweepstakes. 
  •  Mystery Dining by HGEM – if you’re interested in being a mystery shopper for restaurants, this is the one for you! You need to pass the application process before you can begin. Afterwards, if successful, you can eat out for free! HGEM expects well-written, detailed observations and for you to be available to answer any queries once you have submitted your review. 
How to become a mystery shopper
  •  GBW – be a McDonald’s mystery shopper and earn yourself a free Happy Meal with GBW! GBW works with other big names such as Starbucks, Shell, Morrisons and many more. Payments can range from £5-£35 but sometimes are slow to be processed.
  •  Retail Maxim – provide mystery shopper experiences for shops, pubs and hotels along with other various places. They will offer spending money upfront if you are unable to wait for reimbursements and cover travel expenses.
  •  Grassroots – regularly update their website with mystery shopper jobs. You can sign up for free and choose which assignments you would like to take on. You are paid with consideration for the length and complexity of each task. A range of sectors are available to work in, from high street retail to banking and financial services.
best mystery shopper companies UK
  •  Tern – Tern offer weekly payments for mystery shopper jobs. They also offer a huge variety, including some tasks that can be completed from home. Often payments are in the range of £10-£35 but can be more for complex assignments. 
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These are some mystery shopper companies. Another way to search for mystery shopper job vacancies is by using career websites, for example, Indeed or Reed

Besides, there will always be mystery shopper jobs UK and elsewhere as customer-facing companies want insightful reviews to maintain and create positive customer experiences. Eventually you will find the best agency for you.

Mystery shopper app:

You can become a mystery shopper using apps. We have found two websites with handy apps for quick access, allowing you to pinch up those tasks available.

  •  Market Force – with a mission to improve and measure customer service and performance, Market Force hosts a range of jobs. Their Eyes:On app allows mystery shoppers to complete tasks on the go. The app shows nearby assignments and shops and will enable you to upload your report and any pictures you take.
  •  ESA retail – the types of jobs on offer are very diverse. ESA’s mobile app allows you to capture data in real-time, have access to your pay and complete client intercept surveys.
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So, how do you become a secret shopper?

Great, we’ve given you a list of agencies that provide mystery shopping; now what? Sign up to one of the suggested agencies and give it a go. You won’t need references or a CV to apply; most simply ask you to fill out a form online. Some agencies may invite you to take development courses or complete certain tests before you can start.

Next, you will be able to access their websites; these have all the information you need to get started!

How much do mystery shoppers make?

As the set up is often a flexible part-time opportunity, a mystery shopper salary isn’t the norm. So instead, you are paid per assignment you complete.

Additionally, as a paid mystery shopper UK your income will vary with how often you participate and how complex the tasks are. Often, the more complicated an assignment is, the higher the pay rate.

Despite most mystery shopping agencies only paying a small fee, usually between £5-£40, you can find yourself with free meals and free items as you may have to purchase them as part of your job. You should always be reimbursed for these.

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If you’re trying out a no spend challenge but have the itch to go shopping, this could be a good way to satisfy your urge but not have to cash out any money!

Are mystery shopper jobs legit?

One piece of advice I would give is to be cautious of mystery shoppers scams. You should never have to pay to become a mystery shopper, and you should always be reimbursed for items that you buy so long as it is part of your task (make sure you keep your receipts).

If you are unsure, check out the MSPA website, they are the representative trade association for companies who participate in the mystery shopping industry. Their website entails all the details you need to know in terms of ethics and protocols, and scam alerts.

Are mystery shoppers legal?

Mystery shopping is legal, and many big brands utilise agencies that offer this service.

The agencies should ensure that mystery shoppers are safe and not asked to do anything illegal or puts them at risk whilst completing an assignment.

Furthermore, if you become somewhat of a ‘professional mystery shopper’ and regularly make money, be sure to declare any income you gain when filing your tax return for your own legalities. You are advised to communicate any additional income you make, no matter how little.

Hopefully, in this post, we have answered what’s a mystery shopper and how to become a mystery shopper. On the whole, mystery shopping won’t make you rich, it is a side hustle where you may occasionally be treated to free clothes and cost-less meals.

Have you ever been a mystery shopper? If so, let us know how you found it below! We would like to hear what is the best mystery shopper company you have worked for!

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