Mystery shopping

Mystery Shopping: Part 3 – Apps

Welcome to the final part of my mystery shopping theme. Over the last three posts I have talked about the main ways to earn money via mystery shopping; traditional, online and app. Last time I posted about online mystery shopping which you can find here and the week before it was traditional mystery shopping, you can find that post here. This time, I delve into the world of mystery shopping apps.

mystery shopping apps

What is app mystery shopping?

The mystery shopping app industry is constantly growing; there seems to be a new company offering it every few months. The concept is the same as both traditional and online mystery shopping in that you are paid to analyse the company but the reporting is done through a mobile app rather than online. You download an app which will show you jobs available in your area, you accept the job and visit the venue where you are taken through the steps required. They may ask you to take photos of specific products or displays, ask about the staff and store, or even just want you to take a photo of a street sign. Some jobs will require you to buy something and will reimburse you an amount for that purchase. I once had a task that needed me to talk about the crisp shelf in a local petrol station, I then had to buy a packet of Prawn Cocktail crisps and talk about them for an additional fee.

How do I find app mystery shopping work?

There are a few apps that I recommend you download, the first one if you have an iPhone (there are no plans for this to come to Android) is Field Agent; from what I see, this is one of the best paying apps with the most work. Then there is Roamler who may require you to enter a referral code, if you need one then pop over to The Money Shed and sign up; they have an ongoing code for their members. Others include Clic and Walk,Streetspotr and iPoll.  I also recommend a newer one to the market called Streetbees, they don’t have an app but you do need to use your phone to take photos and upload it via their website; they are kind of a mix between app and online.

How much can you earn with app mystery shopping?

I find that this style of mystery shopping is very dependant on your location. I know many people who earn £1000’s a year doing the tasks but other who really need to go out of their way to make anything. You need to know when tasks are becoming available in advance so you can snap them up quickly so I recommend following them on Facebook, Twitter or The Money Shed. The Money Shed have a good rapport with most of these companies and have many reps active on their forum to answer questions. They get a heads up from Field Agent for location maps and tasks coming up before Field Agent even announce it themselves, and bonuses from Streetbees as their members helped launch the company (often 50% bonuses on tasks).

The listed apps are always useful to have and check while you are out and about as tasks can pop up anywhere; with a chance that no-one else has snapped them up yet. At times you can plan ahead and bag yourself a few a day.

This concludes my mystery shopping theme, I hope this gives you a good idea of how to get into this sort of work and where to look for work. If you have any comments or questions then please feel free to pop them in the comments or drop me an email.

Mystery Shopping: Part 2 – Online

Welcome to part two of my mystery shopping theme. Over three posts I will introduce you to the main ways to earn money via mystery shopping; traditional, online and app. Last time I posted about traditional mystery shopping, you can find that post here. This post covers online mystery shopping.

online mystery shopping

What is online mystery shopping?

Online mystery shopping has the same concept as traditional mystery shopping apart from having to visit the premises. The company/business/brand will want shoppers to use their website, everything from the navigation and search function to customer service and returns. The mystery shopping company assign shoppers with specific tasks to carry out and pay according to the work involved. Examples of tasks are checking how the mobile version of a site functions, or an app. You may be asked to contact customer services via phone, email and/or live chat and evaluate the service given. Very often you will be requested to buy something from the website so you can evaluate their purchasing process and even asked to return the item.

In most cases you are paid a set fee no matter what level task you are asked to carry out, then if a purchase is needed you are given an allowance; from personal experience you are paid that allowance no matter how much you spend, then if you have to return the item you are paid an additional fee to cover the return.

How do I find online mystery shopping work?

There are a couple of good companies to get in with online, the first being eDigital Research. This is where I get all my online mystery shopping work from and recommend them highly. Another place that can dish out some online work is ESA Retail, I’ve not signed up to this company yet but it comes recommended by Jon from The Money Shed.

How much can you earn with online mystery shopping?

Like I said in the last post, it can vary from a few pounds to a few £1000 a month depending on the work available. I’ve managed to earn myself a nice sum of just over £100 from eDigital Research in a single month and so have a few others I know; I also came out with 3 new pairs of knickers, a Christmas present and a decoration for my tree. If I had an iPhone is could of been a lot more too.

Online work is the biggest one I earn from when it comes to mystery shopping, it is also the easiest to do as you don’t have to leave the house in most cases. My next post will cover app work which is a big earner for some people I know.

If you have any questions about mystery shopping then please drop me a comment or email.

Mystery Shopping: Part 1 – Traditional

Welcome to part one of my mystery shopping theme. Over a three posts I will introduce you to the main ways to earn money via mystery shopping; traditional, online and app. In this post I talk about traditional mystery shopping.

mystery shopping

What is mystery shopping?

Mystery shopping is the way a company/business/brand can monitor how the staff/store are managing their product. In a store they want to know how polite and efficient the staff working for them are, how well trained they are, how clean the place is and are they providing the quality of service expected. A company or brand may want to know whether the products are being displayed properly. To do this they “employ” the services of the general public to carry out tasks and evaluate what they are looking for. Some companies will pay a fee for this, some will reimburse you the cost of any products purchased and others will generously give both.

Over the years, mystery shopping has changed a lot especially with the introduction of online purchases and mobile phone apps; making it available to a lot more people.

What is traditional mystery shopping

Traditional mystery shopping has been around for many, many years; I remember working in a cinema at 18 and having to keep an eye out for mystery shoppers. A company will request their shopper to visit a store during a specific time and carry out a certain task or set of tasks. This might be to buy a product, interact with the staff or  inspect the store. They then need to return to their home or a venue outside of the recently visited store and write a report about the visit giving all the details requested. They submit the report, along with receipts to a) prove they completed the task and b) receive their reimbursement.

Still not clear? I’ll give you an example.

I used to work for McDonald’s where a mystery shopper was called a “Gap Buster” as this is the company used to evaluate the fast food company. They could visit three times a day either 8-10am, 12-2pm or 5-7pm; known in the world of McDonald’s as “Gap Time” – That’ll explain why the store is suddenly inundated with staff and managers. A store would receive two visits a month; one in the store and one on the drive thru (unless it didn’t have one, then it was two in store). The “Gap Buster” had to enter the store or drive thru queue and start timing their visit. The company want to know how quickly the service was from entering the store to sitting down with their meal. They had to order a specific meal, nothing special and take note of the staff member serving them; their appearance and serving manner as well as their speed. They had to make sure they got a receipt. They would then eat their meal and have to make a note of the taste, the temperature and quality. A visit to the toilets was a must, again making note of everything they saw. Finally making note of the general appearance of the store, including it’s exterior and whether there was any dining area staff on duty interacting with customers.

The “Gap Buster” then left the store to make note of their visit and submit their report to GapBuster who informed the company of it’s results; normally within 24 hours. The shopper is then reimbursed for their meal and given a fee for their time.

Many companies make use of mystery shoppers not just fast food restaurants, there are 5* hotels who require their services to be evaluated, holiday resorts, michelin starred restaurants and car dealerships. Even if they don’t pay a fee it gives the average Joe a chance to experience these places knowing that they’ll be reimbursed.

How can I get into mystery shopping?

There are plenty of companies in the UK that are on the look out for mystery shoppers but they do require an application to be filled in, it’s basically like applying for a job. They want to know why they should select you to carry out their work. Certain places won’t allow you to work for them if you have any history with the companies they represent; for example, I cannot accept work for McDonald’s having worked there within the past 5 years. There is a fantastic thread on The Money Shed‘s forum about all aspects of mystery shopping, including traditional work and which companies are worth applying to. Due to NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) I cannot state which I work for but I will list a few to take a look at.


Mystery Dining Company

Market Force

Retail Active

How much can you earn mystery shopping?

How long is a piece of string? There was a brilliant blog I read the other week about a mystery shopper who does it full-time and brings in (on average) £1000-£2500 a month BUT she had been doing it years and the amount of preparation it takes, means it is literally her full-time job. How much you can earn really does depend on the area you live, how far you are willing to travel and what you have to offer the company conducting the mystery shopping; whether you meet their needs. Like I said, some will only reimburse you for your purchases and others will pay you a fee for going. It is a case of signing up to the companies and seeing what is available.

I don’t do much in the way of traditional mystery shopping at the moment because I live on the outskirts of a major city and the cost of getting to the places that need evaluating outweighs the fee that’ll get reimbursed but I am looking to increase this over the coming months so I will report back. I do however do pretty well when it comes to online mystery shopping which is what I will be covering in next week’s post.

If you have questions or comments about mystery shopping then please feel free to ask. I hope this has given you a little more insight into mystery shopping.