Earn extra cash by becoming a Mystery Shopper
By Kelly Henderson (follow Kelly on Twitter @kellythekiwi)
We have already written about how to become a Mystery Diner to eat out for free so this time we will introduce you to the Mystery Shopping experience. If you enjoy a spot of retail therapy and would like to earn a bit of extra cash in your spare time, then you should consider becoming a mystery shopper. All types of industries employ mystery shoppers so there is a huge range of work available – it’s a great way to fill your wallets, and bag a few freebies!
#1 How do I become a Mystery Shopper?
There are lots of companies online that you can register with if you want to become a Mystery Shopper. It is free to sign up and most of them only require you to fill in a simple application form so there is nothing to stop you from registering with them all! Some of the better known companies include Market Force, ABA and GFK.
#2 What kind of assignments will I do as a Mystery Shopper?
The Mystery Shopping assignments that you could do vary greatly. As I write this I can see retail shops, a visit to the cinema, bank account applications and email enquiries to a local council.
The most common type of an assignment is report-based. You will be given a brief and checklist of things that you need to look out for. It is really important to gather as much details as you can without making it obvious that you are Mystery Shopping. Afterwards, you will be required to fill your responses in online and upload a copy of your receipt for reimbursement.
In the case of email assignments, you will be given a scenario and then need to write an email based on this. You will be required to submit your email and all responses in PDF format to be paid for completing the assignment.
Other assignments may require you to record phone conversations or go into a store and record a whole scenario using a covert video recorder. I haven’t done any of these ones though – I think they are better left to the experts!
#3 How do I earn money as a Mystery Shopper?
The amount you can earn depends on the assignment and the company that you are working for. Some will just reimburse you for the product that you have purchased and others will pay you a fee as well. You can earn anywhere from £5 to £100 per assignment depending on what it involves.
It is unlikely that you will earn enough to worry about being taxed but remember that Mystery Shopping does technically count as employment. If you manage to do a lot of assignments and earn over the tax bracket then make sure you keep the tax man happy and declare your earnings.
You will be paid electronically into a bank or PayPal account once the assignment is completed. You may have to wait a little while for the reimbursement as different companies have different pays schedules.
#4 Is there anything else I should know?
- It’s not just about heading to the shop and making a purchase – your report is what gets you the payment/reimbursement. You will be expected to provide all sorts of details like names, the layout of the store and how busy it is.
- You will be given set dates to do the assignment and a time when your report is due. Make sure that you have everything completed on time or you will risk not getting paid, and not getting other assignments.
If you’ve got great attention to detail and appreciate great customer service then sign up to become a Mystery Shopper – it’s a great way to earn a bit of extra cash and take home a few freebies.
You may also want to have a look at 15 great ways to earn some extra cash.