Mystery Shopping really exists and you can get some lovely treats from it and it is a great way of saving money. I have tried lots of ways of giving my family treats and thought I’d make this a regular slot on my blog. Mystery shopping means you really can eat out in lots of lovely restuarants for free. I have eaten in Strada, Pizza Huts, countless pub chains and Beefeaters – therefore this really is a thrifty shopping tip!
As with lots of my ventures, my husband was sceptical of mystery shopping and thought I’d get scammed. That is the main difference between us (actually it’s a huge difference and at times infuriates me). I am a risk taker, I will risk time and a little amount of money if I believe in something. Lee is the opposite, luckily over the past 15 years he has realised that he has to let me do these things! I have a rather obsessive character, therefore when I come up with a plan or an idea I always give it 100% and follow through until get bored or the next bigger better idea comes along!
Anyway I have digressed, back to mystery shopping.
There are plenty of companies that use mystery shoppers and they are plenty of ‘chances’ to become a mystery shopper. I have eaten out in numerous restaurants including Strada, The Ha Ha chain and pubs. I have been offered nights in hotels, flights to destinations abroad. Banks regularly use mystery shoppers as do all the fast food chains, opticians and even retail stores like Lloyds Pharmacy. The saying there is no such thing as a free meal – can be questioned and proved wrong. All you need to ‘spend’ is a little time!
How can you become a mystery shopper?
It couldn’t be easier as it is all online. You register online and then regularly check the job boards and just accept any jobs that you want to do in your town. The jobs are often on a first come first served basis so you need to check regularly. The best jobs fly off the screen so be warned!
What does it involve?
Most jobs involve you turning up during a specific time slot and playing the role of a typical customer. For restaurants you may be required to order a specific dish and a specific drink. For retail outlets you may be required to ask a specific question. Timings are often important and you will need to be to record this with a digital timing device. Food visits are usually for more than one person and my husband and myself have enjoyed many nights out curtsy of mystery shopping.
After the shop (and normally required within 12hours) you go online and answer a questionnaire. This can take anything from 10 mins to 30mins but you get quicker with practice!
Do you make money?
Not really, you usually receive between £5 and £10 per completed job. The benefit obviously lies in that you have eaten out for free or received the item you shopped for, which is yours to keep. If like us you find the cost of a night out expensive when you add in babysitting fees it could be ideal for you. It provided us with a night out at a much reduced price.
One point to note is that you pay upfront then are reimbursed once completed. This therefore means you need to have the cash available first.
Which companies can I trust?
Firstly do not send money to anyone to register on their books – those are scams. Secondly register with more than one company, as the jobs come in fit and starts.
Gapbuster is great for fast food including Pizza Hut, Macdonalds and also petrol companies (yes really – free petrol!)
Retail Eyes lots of restaurants and pub visits available, oh and gym membership, I had a three month membership at my local gym.
Grass Roots, banking – I didn’t do as much with them as I did with first two.
Maritz pays the most including car parking petrol costs etc, lovely restaurants to shop at, but the jobs are far and few. However I loved it when they rang asking me to do one as I knew it would be a lovely evening.
Those four are a great starting point and a quick google will bring up more. It is worth it if you want a cheaper night out. I really enjoyed it and easily clocked up over £2000 worth of treats out, over the space of a couple of years. At one point we ate out weekly from doing mystery shopping therefore it’s well worth a shot!