Mystery Shopping - The Best UK Secret Shopper Companies 2021Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links & commission may be earned from purchases. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Mystery shopping is a fantastic way to earn a bit of extra cash. It is super flexible and can be great fun, as you get to visit different shops and restaurants whilst getting paid. Companies want to hear from you as independent reviewers so they can improve their business and boost sales.
There are plenty of 'secret shopper' opportunities across the UK! The tasks are varied and you might not even have to go in-store or submit written feedback. Deciding which company to work with can be difficult, so let us help you decide which ones are best.
What are the Best Mystery Shopping Companies? Be a Secret Shopper & Get paid to eat out, shop & give reviews in 2021. Here are the best companies in the UK...
Mystery Shopping Explained
Mystery shoppers are hired to go into businesses and independently review them. They are asked to give feedback on a range of things including the customer service they received and the cleanliness of the establishment. Mystery shoppers will be given a brief before starting their assignments so they know what to pay attention to and information about what else the job includes.
Mystery shoppers may also be expected to:
Buy, try on or return a specific item
Ask staff members or customers a list of pre-set questions
Submit a written report (this is very common)
Digital mystery shopping jobs are increasingly common and they are designed to test and evaluate the online services and presence provided by a company.
Mystery Shopper Earnings
Unfortunately, the rate of pay for mystery shopping has fallen over the past few years and there is no standard rate of pay. These days some agencies only offer you free products or a budget. Make sure you read the brief thoroughly before taking on a job because it might not be as beneficial as it seems. Some vouchers might not even the required spend, so be careful!
Mystery shopping will not give you a full-time income, but if a little extra cash is all you need it is a fantastic opportunity!
Mystery Shopping Companies
Ipsos is the largest customer research company on the planet and they have lots of opportunities with Ipsos Mystery Shopping across the whole UK.
The application process is extremely simple, so you can begin your mystery shopping journey within a few minutes. You will just need a mobile phone to complete your assignments using the Ipsos Mystery Shopping App.
Ipsos do tend to ask for a lot of information but this is rewarded with payment.
Payment: Good but undisclosed
Invite Only: No, open to all
Market Force is one of the UK’s most popular mystery shopping sites. The jobs available are very varied and you can be sent anywhere to review your customer experience from a clothes shop to your local pub.
Market Force asks you to complete a questionnaire about your interests and hobbies, so they can match you to suitable assignments. Applicants are also required to take a short spelling, punctuation and grammar test to ensure that their reports will be well written.
Payment: Low averaging at £5
Invite Only: Short test necessary, but open to all
New to the mystery shopping world, Clickworker, is a great and flexible option.
Clickworker do not give their mystery shoppers a specific address to go to and they can choose from a list of options. The majority of jobs just require you to take pictures of the shop and you are not required to make a purchase.
All payments are made in Euros and must be withdrawn via PayPal or bank transfer, so UK shoppers must take exchange rates into account.
Payment: Typically, between 8 – 12 Euros
Invite Only: No open to all
Neilsen Homescan aims to research the nation’s shopping habits.
Once you become a member, they will send you a hand-held scanner and you will be asked to scan any purchases you or a household member make when you shop. Your data will be collected weekly and you will also be invited to complete various surveys.
Payment: Depends on what you buy
Invite only: Free to join for everyone
Mystery Dining by HGEM
This one is for the foodies! With Mystery Dining, you could eat free at a range of restaurants in exchange for feedback on the experience.
Joining can be tricky though and they tend to be selective about who they pick. You will need to ‘pass’ the application process before you are accepted.
Your time and effort will be rewarded however if you submit well-written and detailed reviews you will receive a reviewer rating badge – the better you are the better the places they will let you visit.
Payment: None, but the cost of the meal will generally be covered.
Invite only: Yes. Anyone can sign up but you will need to be accepted after a tough application process.
The temporary recruitment agency, RedWigWam, offers mystery shopping roles across the UK.
Mystery shopping jobs are listed within the main job notices and with 130,000 people registered to the site you will have to be quick on the mark. There are opportunities to get paid for writing online product reviews too.
Payment: You will be paid via a payslip as if it was a job role
Invite Only: No, available to all once you have signed up to the temporary work agency.
If you have just become the legal drinking age you can earn a little bit of extra cash with Serve Legal.
18- and 19-year-olds can get paid to test if they are being asked for ID required. As a mystery shopper, you will be asked to go into a range of businesses to try and purchase age-restricted products.
Payments: From £5 - £40 per shop
Invite Only: Open to all 18- and 19-year-olds.
Become an evaluator with GBW today and take on a wide variety of assignments.
The company formally GAPbuster known as has arranged over 14 million mystery shops for globally recognised brands including McDonald’s. There might even be a free McFlurry in it for you.
Payment: Monthly pay with each job ranging from £5 - £35 per job.
Invite Only: No, anyone can take part.
Retail Maxim is a well-liked agency with a range of Insight and Mystery Shopping jobs available all over the UK.
You may also be given the opportunity to undertake exit/intercept surveys and ask shoppers about their experiences as they leave shopping centres. The agency will provide you with an identification badge for any fieldwork.
Payment: Around £7- £12 for each assignment
Invite Only: No, open too all
Join more than 3 million people and become an ’eye’ with BeMyEye and earn extra cash by completing a range of small missions.
All the work can be done through their app and you will just need to ask a few questions and to take an image of the shelves. After your feedback is approved you will receive a reward in your BeMyEye wallet. Money can be transferred to your bank account or PayPal.
Payment: £3 - £6
Invite Only: No, open to all
Offering around 40,000 mystery shopping assignments a year, there are loads of opportunities to choose from with Tern. You could be given mystery shopping tasks for iconic brands including Specsavers, Just Eat and the Co-op.
If submitting long feedback isn’t your thing, you can take advantage of audio and video-only mystery shopping, and just submit a recording of your experience.
Payment: £10 - £35
Invite Only: Applications open to all
International Service Check
Boasting a client list including Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Lindt, International Service Check, have helped some very well-known brands improve their customer experience and you could be part of that process too. The agency even matches you to assignments based on your age, shopping habits.
The majority of assignments should be easy to complete within half an hour and the agency will send you a personalised list of jobs to suit you.
Invite Only: Anyone can apply but the agency will send you specific jobs available to you.
Despite being a relatively small company, the St Albans based agency has a number of big clients including Tesco and Iceland to boast. They offer a wide range of interesting and unique assignments ranging from visiting casinos to recording bank meetings.
Payment: Completely dependent on the task, but generally around £10
Invite only: No, open to all
If the mystery part of being a mystery shopper does not appeal to you, Assosia might be the right fit for you! As a member of their field team, you will be expected to ask staff a range of questions and let them know you are the mystery shopper.
Payment: Generally, around £10
Invite Only: No, open to all
Proinsight is another great UK based mystery shopping company, offering a wide range of different assignments. Some assignments can be completed totally digitally over email, live chat, and social media. Pay rates are generally good and you might even be lucky enough to get a free gym membership for a short period.
Payment: Usually about £12
Invite Only: Anyone can apply.
Mystery Shopping Tips
If you take on mystery shopping assignments regularly, you will be able to build your reputation quickly and more opportunities will follow. Companies will reward you with bigger and more high paying jobs once they know you are reliable. Plus, it means more cash in your pocket.
Remember the Admin
Don’t get caught up by the fact it is just a side hustle. HMRC will consider you as self-employed, so make sure you tell them what you earn if you make over £1000. You should also keep any receipts you get whilst on the job, as the company might ask you for them.
Being a mystery shopper is relatively easy, but there are some things you can concentrate on to make sure you do it well. Having a good memory is particularly important because you will need to remember lots of things about your visit to write about them later on. Make sure you are not late in submitting your reports either.
Always make sure you understand What you’re signing up for before taking on any sort of mystery shopping work, you should get all the information you need. Ask yourself, what am I exactly signing myself up for? How exactly will the company pay you? Will I be reimbursed for any travel? It is also important to remember that responsible companies will never ask you for payment upfront, don’t fall for it.
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If you have any questions or know of any other good UK-based Mystery shopper companies that you think should be added to the list, let us know in the comments below...