It’s Saturday morning which means it’s time for the fourth post in my ‘How to Make Money‘ series.
I do hope you’re enjoying the ideas that I’ve been sharing and that you’ve enjoyed reading my fellow UK Money Bloggers experiences, I know I’ve learned a lot personally from them and I think it’s better for you guys that I ask others to share their real life experiences instead of me just googling the information to share with you. 😉
This week’s post is all about how to make money from mystery shopping which is something that I have done personally but not for a few years so I’ve asked Pete from Household Money Saving to tell you about his experience with Mystery Shopping because it’s much more relevant than the information I could share with you from when I did it.
How to make money from Mystery Shopping
If you’re looking to earn extra money in your free time, then mystery shopping might be a good option for you.
Before I signed up for mystery shopping, I had read some fairly unflattering reports. A reporter for the Daily Mail attempted it and claimed to earn just £1.57 per hour. My wife signed up a few years ago, but she failed to complete one shop because she said “it wasn’t worth it.”
Not to be deterred, I signed up to some Mystery Shopping sites to see how much you can really earn.
What is mystery shopping?
Mystery shopping is a tool used to measure how good a company’s service or goods are and if they meet required standards. Usually, the company being tested will never know the identity of the mystery shopper. The mystery shopper will be given specific tasks to do, such as buying certain items or asking an employee various questions.
Where will I mystery shop?
Unfortunately I can’t tell you which shops you will be mystery shopping at. As a shopper, you agree not to mention the brands. I can tell you there are a lot of large companies involved, ranging from fast food outlets to technology firms.
Where do I start?
To find jobs, you will need to sign up to some mystery shopping sites. There are plenty around, but make sure you do your homework first. After all, you don’t want to complete work and then find out the company won’t pay you. Three sites that I have used and recommend are:
I would suggest signing up to all of them as this increases your chances of finding more work in your local area.
Do I need qualifications?
No. mystery shopping can be completed by anybody. However most companies require you to take some tests before they’ll accept you. These generally involve comprehension tests to make sure you can follow instructions and English tests so they know you can write clear and concise reports.
Do I need any special skills?
A good memory is always an advantage. However, when you’re out and about, you could always write down anything you need to remember into your phone. An attention to detail is also useful. You will need to keep an eye out for all sorts of things such as store tidiness, staff uniforms and even whether they are wearing name badges.
Having a car is also helpful. Mainly because it makes it far easier to complete any time specific tasks, rather than having to rely on public transport.
How much can I earn?
Pay can vary wildly. Generally the more effort a job requires, the more you will be paid.
The following are some of the payments I have received –
Restaurant review. £3.25 + £10 towards my meal. This involved visiting a well known chain of restaurants and rating the service I received. Preparation before the visit and writing the review took just over an hour. The meal did cost around £40 for the whole family, but I had the option to visit on my own.
DIY store visit. £14.50. On this mystery shop I needed to purchase six specific items. Once I found them, I had to buy the items and then return them back to the store within 30 minutes. I then had to write a report on the service I received. This job took just over two hours, mainly due to the fact it took me almost an hour to find the items!
Baby seat fitting. £8. Here I visited a well known store and asked an employee to fit a baby seat to my car. Including reports, this job took around an hour.
Smart meter fitting. £86. For this job, I was asked to call my energy company and ask them to visit my house and fit a smart meter. The fitting itself lasted two hours, which involved me making some tea for the engineer, and the report and phone calls took 90 minutes.
Other jobs available that I have been unable to complete include:
Applying for a mortgage (which you didn’t have to complete) £150.
Applying for a mobile phone (which you can return) £30.
Asking questions with regards to broadband (by phone) £3.
Including travel and writing reviews, I calculated that the majority of jobs pay between £7-8 per hour. However, some of the better paid jobs can earn you far more. My smart meter fitting worked out at well over £20 per hour.
You will also find that some pay is negotiable. Most companies have a quota to how many mystery shops need to be completed each month. As they get closer to their deadline, they become more desperate. This means that they will be willing to pay you more. One company usually pays around £14 per visit to a fast food restaurant, but this can more than double when the end of the month approaches.
Can you make a living from it?
I think you will struggle if you’re looking to mystery shop full-time. As you can see, there are some decent paying jobs, but these probably come around once a month. If you sign up to enough sites and have several hours free, I think you could easily earn £30-40 per day. The pay is roughly the equivalent of National Minimum Wage, with the added advantage that you can work as much or as little as you like.
Pete Chatfield blogs at Household Money Saving about saving money, making money and also reviews the latest money related apps.
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