I began Mystery Sjhopping a couple of years ago, as I needed to try and make a little bit of extra money. As I was working full-time, I didn't want to, nor was able to, take on established part-time or temporary work .

I decided to browse the internet and see what Mystery Shopping was on offer.

I read a review about Grass Roots Mystery Shopping and that inspired me to see what else was available. Having joined and worked for a few Mystery Shopping sites, here is what I discovered about about mystery shopping .

Lots of companies nowadays like to monitor staff and make sure that they are working to the company's ideals. I know it sounds a little sneaky but, companies want to check if staff are wearing the correct uniforms, dealing with customers correctly, and keeping work premises clean, for example.

We all know people who are really good at interviews but rubbish at their jobs. Likewise, we know people who stop working as soon as the boss has left the premises. So this is the thinking behind mystery shopping.

Once you find a Mystery Shopping site which you are interested in, you will need to register. Most want some personal details, to check your suitability and offer you the correct assignments or jobs. One or two may ask you to write a short paragraph, possibly about yourself. As the details you will record from an assignment need to be spelled correctly and be grammatically correct you must write it just so.

Once you are accepted you will receive a confirming e.mail, with a link to activate yourself, at the particular internet site. I have found that some will occasionally contact you via the telephone, or e.mail, to offer you assignments in your area. You need to be pretty quick replying though as these assignments are usually picked up quickly. One site I use, lets you log in using your password and search for available assignments. With this one you view the job and accept via the internet site, .

Others require you to telephone, using certain numbers to accept a job. Once you have accepted a job you are usually e.mailed the specification, payment details and any special instructions. Some assignments need you to buy a particular product. Usually you are reimbursed for this on top of your fee, and can keep the goods into the bargain.

After the assignment is complete, you will need to accuratly key in the details via your computer. Payments are usually by bank transfer and some take longer than others. I have had no problems and most payments have been really quick. You need to get receipts, and keep paperwork for a while, just incase there is any come back for more information.

Things you need to remember if you mystery shop :-

Don't chat about specifics of the job with colleagues, friends and family or anyone really. Remember to keep all information confidential.
I avoid printing lots of the infromation, as the cost of paper and ink eats into your profit margin. I usually write the things I am looking for on a couple of sheets of paper before setting out.
You will get full instructions and you must follow them.
Be anonymous.
Be accurate and observant.
Make sure you know what is required of you .
Be professional.
Take the work seriously, after all they are paying you.
When looking at the things and checking details, be discreet .
Be prompt in forwarding information .
Be reliable. If you can't do the job give them as much notice as possible, as they will need to get someone else.
Keep a hard copy for a while after an assignment, just in case.
Remember it is taxable income.
Enjoy the assignments.

In conclusion

What I initially thought was, that a lot of jobs were not worth the hassle. However recently I have found that I can often put a couple of assignemnets together on the same day, cutting travelling expenses.

I have had some work offered with much better renumeration, and really assignements are very quick to do. Sometimes the paperwork, or should I say computer work afterwards, can take the longest time.

Recently locally, examples of a couple of jobs have been:-
1 - Joining a casino, and using it's restaurant and facilities. The fee was only £5 but you had £50 allowed to spend, plus of course any winnings that you made..
2 - A bank which attracted a good fee for mortgage enquiries.
3 - Local chain stores.

I will not give any more details as assignments are confidential. I have just given you some brief details to give you an idea.

Mystery shopping won't enable you to give up the day job but it may fill a hole in your finances. It may be unpredictable but overall it's a nice little earner. Just accept your jobs carefully.

Sites to check out:-

Retail Eyes
Gass Rroots
Retail Maxim

These sites will give you an idea of what is available.

Never pay a fee to join a mystery shopping site.

I did think that I would feel a bit of a rat, spying on workers, but it's not like that. You can also reward the good employees. A good mystery shopper gives the employee a fair chance to give good service and encourages positive behaviour.