I have been Mystery Shopping for quite a few years now – on and off. It’s something that anyone can do around their normal day to day routines and it’s something Dave and I have enjoyed doing – as well as the added benefit of getting things for free and occasionally some extra cash too!
I can’t talk about mystery shopping companies specifically (or the specific companies I do mystery shops for) – I won’t name any, as it’s against most of their Codes of Conduct and I want to keep mystery shopping! However, if you do a quick online search a whole multitude of companies come up. Different companies specialise in different sectors so depending on who/what you’d like to mystery shop you may need to register with a few companies.
In my day job I work in banking an d there are a lot of companies that recruit people to mystery shop the major High Street banks. You would be required to go into the bank, assess the cleaniness, the amount and availability of staff, the availability of self service machines and you would have to ask a member of staff a question about something specific like bank accounts. This kind of mystery shopping visit can pay anything from £10 to £50.
Dave and I mainly do fast food mystery shops now as they are easy for us to do around looking after the children. For most of these you need to visit a fast food restaurant, buy something and assess the cleaniness of the restaurant and toilets, the quality of the food and the helpfulness of the staff member. These visits usually pay for your meal and give you £3-£10 on top.
Dave and I also used to mystery shop a major cinema chain. These were by far my favourite mystery shop! We would get to see a movie on opening night, have our tickets paid for, £10 towards snacks and drinks plus we would be paid £10 for going. Amazing!
There are also plenty of restaurant and pub chains looking for mystery shoppers. These usually pay for a drink and meal for two but no ‘fee’ on top. Dave and I haven’t ever done these as we can’t really fit it in around our lifestyle.
Mystery shopping is never going to give a full time income but if you would like to eat out for free and love to receive the best customer service then mystery shopping is a great thing to do. Yes, you may receive awful service but you can be sure that the member of staff who served you will never, ever give bad service in the future and the branch/store/outlet you visit will make sure of that – speaking from experience!
Mystery shopping is a little bit of hard work though – you have strict guidelines to follow and have to fill in a quite in depth questionnaire online by the end of the same day that you did the mystery shop. Some mystery shop visits also require you to upload a photo of the outlet you visited or the receipt as well. Also, mystery shoppers are self employed. You are paid gross and are responsible for paying your own tax – just something to bare in mind.