Newest Review: ... So when you realise the work involved for the token fee offered, you will realise that the effort and time and complexity of work in... more
Useful extra money!
TNS Mystery Shopping
Member Name: hypno06
TNS Mystery Shopping
Advantages: Fits in well with a busy lifestyle, providing extra money for treats!
Disadvantages: Can be time consuming and you won't get rich!
I have been mystery shopping for about 6 or 7 years now, having been tempted in to it when I saw my sister in law getting paid for going shopping!
I am registered with a number of sites, including TNS. The application process for TNS is longer than the other sites I belong to, and is quite thorough. When you apply, which you do online, they give you lots of information about what is expected of a mystery shopper and why comments from a mystery shopper are so useful to the companies involved etc. From that you are expected to answer a number of questions in a very full way - mini essays really!
I did feel that the application process was quite detailed but this really is a good thing, because at the end of the day you are expected to write thorough reviews on your visits which can be passed on to the relevant companies for them to analyse, so I think the process early on is a good indicator of their expectations.
Once you have got through the application process, it is then up to you to check the TNS website for jobs available in your area. One good thing with this site is that you can choose the area in which you look for jobs, county by county. So for example, I am in South Norfolk, so can pick Norfolk on the drop down menu, or can choose Suffolk, which is very close. Or, if I am away in Devon on holiday I can choose that area to see what is available to do while I am away!
Jobs range from visiting a mobile phone shop and assessing the staff's attitude when you are trying to choose a new tariff, through to supermarket shops where you are asking staff members to point you in the direction of frozen pizzas, and assessing whether the bananas are good enough to eat, and, best of all, going to restaurants with a partner or the family and assessing food, drink, and service - and getting your bill paid for you as your fee!
You are given full instructions, and can print a copy of the questionnaire before you start, so you know exactly what it is you are looking for.
When you have completed your visit, you simply log on when you get home and answer a questionnaire online, then send your receipt in the post (freepost too, so no need to rummage for a stamp!) to TNS.
Payment is made about once a month - I haven't been able to see on the system any record of payments due etc, but I have kept my own records and have never had anything missed. They send you a "payslip" too so that you can keep accurate records for tax etc.
Fees range from £5 plus expenses through to those restaurant jobs which don't pay a fee, but will cover your bill (up to a maximum level.......no ordering champagne unless it is on your instructions!!). So you won't get rich on this type of work.
Although it doesn't pay a huge amount, I find that the odd £5 etc adds up nicely as an extra - I work full time so do jobs that fit in at lunchtime, or immediately before or after work. This means that I am basically being paid to mooch round the shops at lunchtime, and saves me spending money in the process - can't be bad!
Also, the restaurant and coffee shop visits give you and a friend an opportunity to basically eat out for free - in these days of recession, that is not bad payment at all in my opinion, and we certainly look forward to these visits!
Mystery shopping jobs with TNS, as with any other site, are a bit hit and miss - some months there are lots, other months there is nothing that you can fit in, so don't get to rely on the income - see it as a very useful "extra" and you won't be disappointed!
Of course, you need to weigh up the time and cost of getting to a job - there is little point in accepting a job that pays £5 if it costs you £6 in bus fares to get there and back, and takes you all day to do so. But if, like me, you are already at work and are able to wander down the road at lunchtime, it is a different matter entirely!
TNS have an excellent support process so if there is ever a problem with completing a job, the assigned staff member will help you out.
If you are interested in becoming a mystery shopper for TNS then you can find out more on their website:
Summary: Useful extra money which makes a difference when times are tough!