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Guide to Mystery Shopping in the UK

Mystery Shopping Jobs – The Best Mystery Shopping Companies UK

Mystery shopping involves visiting a business to make sure standards are being met. The business will not be aware that you are a mystery shopper as you remain anonymous.

Mystery shopping can take place in retail stores, over the phone or in bars and restaurants. Wherever the task takes place, you are likely to be asked for a report on the level of customer service that you received.

When you take part in a mystery shopping task, you will usually be given a full list of instructions so that you know exactly what you need to do. You may be given questions that you need to ask the staff, or told if there are any photographs you need to take. You will also be told when you need to submit your report by. When you are given your deadline, you will need to make sure that you leave yourself enough time to write the report.

How Much Money Do Mystery Shoppers Make?

The amount of money that you can make as a mystery shopper does tend to vary quite a bit. It is not as well paid now as it has been in the past, but it is still something that is worth doing.

Some tasks will not pay you for the task as such, but they will give you money to purchase an item. You may be able to return this item at a later date and then you will be able to keep the money that you are refunded.

The location of the task can make a big difference to how much you will get paid. Tasks in busy places such as city centres tend to get snapped up fairly quickly and so they will be lower paid. If you live in a small town where there is less demand for jobs, then companies may offer higher prices to encourage people to complete the job.

You may also get paid travel expenses for some of the tasks you complete. While this is not earnings as such, it does mean that you don’t have to take the cost of travel out of the money that you have paid.

Do Mystery Shoppers Get To Keep What They Buy?

As a mystery shopper, you will be able to keep the items that you buy. In some cases you will not be paid for the work you do as a mystery shopper, but you will be reimbursed for the items that you buy. If this is the case, then you should only purchase items that you really want or need.

If you are paid to do mystery shopping in a restaurant, then the money you receive should cover the whole cost of the meal. This is something to be aware of because sometimes the fee that you are offered will not cover all of your expenses. If the restaurant is somewhere you eat regularly and you are happy to get this discount, then it still may be worth doing as you would still be saving money on your usual spend.

How Can I Become A Mystery Shopper?

You do not usually need any previous experience in order to become a mystery shopper. The best way to get started is to sign up to companies who hire shoppers to complete tasks for them. Beware of companies that ask you to pay a fee in order to register with them. There are many legitimate sites where it is free to sign up and if a site asks you to part with your money it is likely to be a scam.

There is no limit to the number of companies that you can sign up to, and signing up to more than one gives you more chance of finding jobs. You should remember that you will need to complete written reports about your shopping trip and you will need to allow yourself enough time to complete these. This is something to bear in mind if you are tempted to take on several jobs in a short space of time.

The Best Mystery Shopping Companies UK

There are many mystery shopping companies that you can sign up to in the UK, but they are not all created equal. It is always a good idea to do some research into a company before you sign up so that you know what to expect. Some of the best regarded companies that are operating today are listed below.

ishopFor Ipsos


Ipsos is a well known market research company and has operations all over the world. Ipsos provides jobs all over the UK, and you are likely to find jobs here in smaller towns as well as big cities.

It is really easy to sign up to Ipsos and there are plenty of jobs which are available. They do expect you to submit reports that are very detailed, but the rates of pay are some of the best in the industry in order to compensate for this.



Marketforce is one of the biggest mystery shopping companies in the UK, with over 300,000 members. The choice of jobs here tends to be quite varied and so there is a good chance that you will find a job that you are going to enjoy completing.

As there is so much demand for the jobs that Market Force post, then they tend to keep their rates of pay quite low. They often only pay you for the item that you are purchasing, so while you will not make much money, it is a good site for getting freebies.


RedWigWam are a temp agency for people looking for work, but they also post mystery shopping jobs. You will be notified when there are jobs available in your area, but you will need to be quick in order to snap them up.

If you complete mystery shopping through RedWigWam, then it will not be on a self-employed basis. You will be paid a wage by the company and they will take care of paying any tax that is due on your earnings.

Retail Maxim

Retail Maxim is another popular mystery shopping company, and the fact that it is so popular means that jobs tend to go quite quickly when they are posted online. This means that you will need to act quickly to bag one of these jobs.

This company will send you money to make a purchase before you go on your shopping trip. This means that you will not have to wait to get the money you have spent returned to you.


All of the mystery shopping jobs that are offered by Grassroots are posted on their website. While this does mean that your inbox is not going to get full of emails from the company, it also means that you will need to remember to check the website on a regular basis.

Grassroots also offer video jobs fairly frequently. This will involve you using a hidden camera to record your experience. These types of jobs are often better paid than those where you would write a report about your observations.


Mystery shopping is a fairly easy way to make a bit of extra money every month. You can also get free products and you may even get the chance to eat out for free. There is a degree of flexibility in the types of jobs you can take and how often you do them so it can fit around your existing commitments.

People who take part in mystery shopping also find the whole experience quite exciting. It can be a lot of fun to take part in a task that nobody else knows you are doing, almost like being a spy. The work can be quite varied and this helps to keep things interesting.