“ The Grass Roots Group UK Limited (GRG) is a business services agency. GRG has been a major provider of Mystery Shopping services since the early 1980's. We have a wide range of clients across a variety of sectors including Retail, Restaurants & Fast Food, Leisure, Finance, Automotive and Transport. „
I joined grass roots about 6 months back. Everytime i try to be assigned to a task, even though i fulfill the necessary requirements, they never assign me a single shop..It's crap..a waste of time if you ask me.
Grass Roots Mystery Shopping
I joined the Grass Roots Mystery Shopping website back in 2009 and have so far completed 41 assignments. To get on board in the first place you need to fill out an application form and also give a brief summary as to what you think makes a good mystery shopper. Of course at this stage you can only guess or add in some research you have done as you probably won't have done any up to this point.
After being accepted you are then allowed to accept an assignment that is emailed to all mystery shoppers in your area. There is an ability to add two areas with times that you are in either to help the unwanted assignments to not land in your inbox.
***Quicker than a cat
You need to be almost on top of your email for the good assignments and this is fairly easy these days as most? People have some sort of smart phone linked to their email. If you don't have this facility then you will need to check email on a regular basis as the assignments tend to go very quickly from the website.
When you receive an email concerning the availability of assignment you log onto the website and the terms and conditions of the assignment can be read. This may be as simple as if you have a bank account with the bank that is being looked at then you may not be eligible to do the assignment. Other times it might be necessary to have an account with a particular bank or even branch.
Assignments can range from Banks to retail outlets, High St shops, travel agents or supermarkets. As I have found in the past it pays to read the assignment in its entirety as there is normally more than one job to do and at times this can go way past a normal shopping experience as you ask yet another question of a member of staff. I believe that members of staff are on the lookout for mystery shoppers as well, so it can be easy to be spotted on your first few attempts. My tip here is to keep to a story and don't deviate, act like you own the place and they will just think you're arrogant and try to resolve your issues quickly.
During the assignment you will need to keep a good eye on the time and also be able to remember detail of the people you have spoken to. It is not enough to just remember names you will need to remember height, build, eye colour, hair etc. This can be practiced just normally during the day and I found with practice that it comes easy after a while.
When you get back the report is filled out on the PC and this should be done in most cases within 24 hours of the assignment being completed. I find the sooner I do it the better as I retain a good amount but only in the short term. One good trick is to look at the building you are going to enter on Google earth or Google maps to get a good idea of the surrounding area and the layout of the street to see if you can loiter to make notes before and after going in.
These quick notes afterwards have proved invaluable on a couple of my assignments especially during travel agent ones as these can go on for a while. The report also has a spell check button that allows you to re-check your work and this I have found is very useful as it is easy to ramble when describing things at times.
You then submit the report for it to be checked by Grass Roots and they will call you or email you if there is a query. They have also phoned me previously concerning the accuracy of information which I believe was to allow a particular member of staff to be identified. If accepted you are then entitled to the fee that was stipulated.
Payment is made via BACS and I would suggest that you are not down to your last tin of beans in the kitchen when you see the words "payment pending" on the assignment that you have completed. Pay pal now takes about 5 min to transfer funds, Grass roots takes about 5 or 6 days to transfer funds.
Normal fee for a standard visit with no purchase requirement is about £10-£12.50. This depends on the requirement of the assignment. However some, especially supermarkets etc. will also reimburse mystery shoppers with any purchase they have had to make. This is normally between £1 and £5, the former for food shopping and normally the latter for electronic goods. Both the fee and reimbursement are paid at the same time, directly into the nominated bank account.
Don't do this to get rich - it isn't going to happen, however if you want to earn a couple of quid extra then it's not a bad choice of extra jobs. I personally do it to sharpen the memory and I find that you can train yourself to get better at recall the more that you do. Be careful not to spend more than you earn when carrying out the assignments.
I have been a member of Grass Roots Mystery shopping for a couple of years now.
I first became interested when I read about Mystery Shopping on Moneysavingexpert.com and thought I'd give it a try.
Signing up couldn't be simpler. Just pop along to their website and give a few details. You will receive an acceptance email very shortly afterwards.
As with all Mystery Shopping companies, I am not allowed to talk about their 'client's but will just say that there a wide variety, and they are local to you.
The job will entail visiting a shop/bank etc and making a purchase/transaction. You note how clean and tidy the surroundings are. Also other things like how polite the employees were, and how quickly you were dealt with.
One of the frustrations is being fast enough to accept an assignment. These are sent by email. Sometimes these go within minutes, and could arrive literally any day. Fortunately for me I spend a lot of time on my PC.
Rates of pay are good, and as soon as you have completed your assignment, you fill in a questionnaire on line and click submit. A PC is necessary.
I usually do a few a month and payment is made promptly through the BACS system. On occasions I have had to reschedule my dates, this has been done without any fuss.
It is only after reading another review on here that I have just realised, why I only receive a few offers a month. That is because my profile,was not up to date. In my profile it asks about my banking practices. It also asks what my supermarket habits are and which mobile phone companies I am with. I have now updated this and hope I now receive more invites.
I am also a member of other mystery shopping companies. The pay will not keep you in a full job. However it is a nice extra, if you have spare time to complete them.
Copyright stebiz 2010 - also on ciao.co.uk
I had been keen on doing mystery shopping for some time, so when I eventually plucked up the courage to go for it, I did a bit of research to find the best company as I did not want to get ripped off or involved in anything dodgy. After reading several reviews on here, I decided that Grass Roots was the best option. Their website looks professional, and I had only heard good things about them.
On the application form, it has a box where you have to state what qualities a good mystery shopper should have. What it does not tell you at first is that what you write has to be less than 500 characters long. After battling with it for some time I eventually cut mine down to well below the 500 character limit, but it would still not let me apply, telling me to keep my writing to less than 500 characters. This was incredibly frustrating as I knew I had already, but finally, I tried cutting it right down to a simple list of around 100 characters, and at last it sent off my application. This left me feeling both irritated at the system as I had done what it told me to but it would still not let me apply, and disappointed that I had not been able to present myself in the way that I would have liked.
When they (eventually) accept your application, you are directed to a page which says that they will contact you by e-mail within three working days. To this day, I have heard absolutely nothing back from them.
Clearly, they're unreliable. This just makes me wonder, though, what else they're going to be unreliable about. This is a business where the only contact with them is by phone or online, and to whom at some point you will need to give bank details so you can be paid. If you can't even trust them to get back to you at any point, let alone within the three working days which they specify, how can you be expected to trust them with your personal information and bank details?
When comparing my review to the rest that I had read, perhaps my experience was the bad egg. Maybe my application got lost in the system or something, as everyone else seems to be having lots of luck. However, this is exactly what this site is for - to give you varying viewpoints, both good and bad, to help you make an informed decision, and unfortunately for me, in this case I'm on the side of bad.
Based on my experiences, my advice to you is that if you don't mind making life hard for yourself, then go for it. However, if you don't, like me, this is a waste of time and you're better off keeping a wide berth and looking somewhere else.
I do work for quite a few mystery shopping companies (and may get round to reviewing the others ... watch this space!) but Grass Roots was the first one I signed up with, and seems to be one of the best.
To register you complete a simple form including a paragraph on what you think makes a good mystery shopper. Good observational skills, attention to detail, a good memory, and the ability to write clearly and concisely are all important.
Mystery shopping is a way for companies to get a real idea of how they are doing on customer service, as you act like a real shopper at all times. You are given a scenario to follow - e.g. an enquiry about Pay As You Go phones - and you have to keep a (mental!) note of such things as who served you (name and description), what they did or didn't mention, how busy the store was etc. Then within 24 hours you enter your results online. You see the questionnaire in advance so you know what questions you will be asked, and therefore what you particularly need to watch out for.
Your comments may result in someone getting a commendation or a reprimand so it is important to be fair. If, like me, you think customer service is important, then this is a good way to help companies improve.
I find it enjoyable to do - it doesn't earn a fortune (typically £10 per assignment) but if you register with a few companies you can sometimes stack a few up and have a mystery shopping day! It's flexible too - you can register up to five postcodes and can accept whichever assignments you choose. It's not a case of rejecting any - you just accept the ones you are interested in. I work part-time so sometimes do a shop in my lunch hour near where I work. Other assignments I accept for towns near where I live.
The downside is you need to register as self-employed, even if you are also employed - though this is simple to do. One point to consider depending on your circumstances is you can apply to be exempt from paying National Insurance if your projected earnings are low enough - and you'd have to be a pretty dedicated shopper for them not to be!
So far I've earned almost £250 in 7 months - that's doing 20 assignments in total. Not megabucks, but certainly reasonably substantial 'pocket money', even when you take into account the taxman's chunk.
Grass Roots is a Mystery Shopping company that operates all over the UK and is a great company in my opinion.
I was actually told about grass roots by someone who worked in my local Orange store when I went to get a phone upgrade, and I thought it may be worth checking out, if I didn't get anywhere, then I hadn't lost anything had I?
I went to their website, www.grassrootsmysteryshopping.com and registered my interest to be a mystery shopper. The form I had to fill out wasn't as long as I thought it would be, and it didn't ask anything that I didn't feel I could answer, or that I struggled to answer. It took me less than 5 minutes to sign up to the site.
Within a couple of days I got an email to say that I had been accepted onto the site and that I would recieve email alerts to notify me when mystery shopping assignments became available. Pretty soon I got quite a few emails a week, and I started signing up to take these assignments, as they all seemed pretty simple to do, and the pay for each assignment is always pretty good.
All assignments, once accepted, come with a full briefing and instructions so you know exactly what is required of you and what you shouldn't do also. This is all set out in a nice and simple way so its easy to understand, and if you have any questions you can get in touch with the grass roots team by email or phone with no problems.
Once you have visited the store/bank etc that you have been assigned to, you have to enter your results on the website. You have to enter your assignment number after logging in to enable you to do this. The results are usually asked for in the way of a questionairre based on the information and services you have been asked to review and report on. This usually takes less than 10 minutes and is simple and easy to do, and a help section is always on hand should you need it.
I have never had a problem with Grass roots and I truly recommend it to anyone who is looking to do mystery shopping work in their local area as a little bit of pocket money now and then.
Assignments can be anything from buying clothes, checking out banks or getting information on phone contracts. The assignments do come on a first come, first served basis, so do get in there as quick as possible to avoid being left out. Payment amount varies from assignments but is always good pay, and grass roots pay twice monthly into your bank account using BACS. They usually pay on the 1st and 15th of each month, but clearing times for payment can depend on your bank.
I have never had a problem with payments, they always go into my bank when they are expected and the full amount goes in everytime.
Why a review on this
I joined Grass roots mystery shopping a few months ago following reading a review here about it and I have found it an interesting experience. So I thought I would share my thoughts on it. Plus in these credit crunch times I thought a review on money making opportunity wouldn't be a bad thing to do.
About the company
Grassroots is a mystery shopping company that has been established for 25 years. They are now an internet based company for mystery shoppers to join login into and accept assignments.
The data base of companies that they represent and send assignments out on includes Retail shops including supermarkets, restaurants, hotels banking and finical companies and automotive companies. You get paid per assignment the cost of which can vary depending on the assignment and what is involved.
How do you join?
To become a panel member and receive mystery shopping assignment you need to register with the company. This is a simple process and involves completing some questions including your name, email address and a brief statement about what qualities you have that would make you a good mystery shopper. This whole process takes a few days from you submitting your information to getting an email with your login id and password. I found it straight forward and self explanatory to use and had no problems at all.
Once you are registered you can then give further details of when and where you are available for assignments. Each day is broken down into times of the day and location. You can enter up to 5 locations so if you work for example in a different place to where you live you can save your work address to do an assignment in your lunch break. I have saved two addresses and received assignments for both of them with no problems.
There is also a section for you to fill in when you're not available for example on holiday. This is very easy to navigate and use.
How does it work and my experience
Where an assignment comes up in your area you receive an email telling you that a new assignment is available. You then log on and check the details to see if you are eligible. There is a box on the screen giving details of an assignment for you to check your eligibility this can vary from holding a bank account with a company to ensuring that you don't have family working at a shop. If you match the criteria then you can confirm you will accept the assignment and click on which day you will do the assignment. One thing that is always crucial is that you can log the information on the form on line within 24 hours. So if you know that will be a problem my advice is don't accept the assignment as it may affect future offers of work.
Once you have clicked on accept you receive a confirmation email and generally anywhere between straight away to 24 hours before the assignment you will receive the full briefing notes. This is a printable form of the information you will need to log on for your report and includes a full breakdown of what you will be looking for. For example if it's a bank assignment you may have to check the logos are correct, that the bank is clean how well the staff are presented queue lengths. I always make a point of reading these through as sometimes something can be a bit ambiguous e.g. which checkout to use and then I always seek clarity from the contact desk. This stops any problems as if you do it wrong you may need to repeat the trip which is frustrating. When I have phoned up the staff have been great and answered my questions straight away.
When undertaking the assignment I always read through the notes either in my car before going in or just before I leave my office if I am doing it in my lunch break. I find this is important as it makes all the details fresh in my mind before I go to the shop or the bank. As often you need to time how long you have been there I always use the stop watch on my mobile phone as I can just press it as I go in to set the time and repress for another "lap time" if I then need to approach someone for example in the shop to ask a question. I think by using a mobile phone it is more discreet than a stopwatch as if you are seen looking at it people assume you have just got a text message. But most of the time it just stays in my jacket or trouser pocket with me just pressing the button
After completing the assignment I always fill in the most pertinent details on my printed form in the car or office so I don't forget and then I can log these on the computer at later time that suits me.
Logging the details on the computer forms is very straight forward there is generally a next button so it logs one question at a time. You can save the form as you fill it in so it doesn't have to be filled in all at once. The form also has a spellchecker bit at the end and you have to review the details before submitting them.
After this it generally takes in my experience 2-3 weeks to be paid for you assignment. This is done through the banking system BACS so you need to provide the company with your banking details. I have never yet to date not being paid for an assignment so feel very confident in recommending doing mystery shopping with Grassroots. Some assignments just have a set fee for example a bank visit whilst others where you have to make a purchase have an amount to cover a purchase generally about £5-8 in my experience.
Pros of Grassroots
* Easy to use site to sign up and fill your details in
* Frequent assignments in your area
* A variety of things to do such as shopping and banking
* Can lead to improvements in customer service
* A bit of extra income
* A fun thing to do I have enjoyed all my assignments
* Payment is straight into your bank account
Cons of Grassroots
*I have yet to see a meal out or holiday become available in my area these may be more popular in areas such as a London though
*Don't forget to declare the income for the tax man as you are employed as a consultant hence you are self-employed
*It's not a guaranteed income earner as you have no control over when assignments become available.
*Depending on how many people are doing this in your area you may need to be quick off the mark before the assignments are taken.
This is a fun way to make some extra money but you do have to work for it and be observant about the services you are reviewing to ensure that you do this to the high standard expected. The website is easy to navigate to sign up and once signed up the company has a good communication system for let you know there assignments available. The staff if you need to speak to them are helpful and knowledgeable and I personally have never had any problems in all of my dealings with them. If you want to know how to be a mystery shopper for Grassroots the webpage details are below. I am still waiting for the holy grail of mystery shopping though a meal and a holiday who knows it may come soon.
I got the details for Grass Roots from www.moneysavingexpert.com (more of that in another review I'm in the middle of). I work full time but wanted to have a bit of extra cash. I had done lots of jobs for Retail Eyes mystery shopping but found their payments were getting smaller and the reports getting longer and really not worth what they were paying.
*How do you join?*
When I applied to Grass Roots, I had to write a short paragraph about what I thought makes a good mystery shopper along with my details and hoped they would accept me. I got an e-mail some time later with my log in and password details for the site. You can choose several different towns/cities depending on where you are comfortable travelling to. There is also a questionnaire to fill in about your interests, who you bank with, where you shop e.t.c to ensure assignments are targeted properly.
When you see the assignment, there are list of instructions that you must adhere to before accepting the assignment such as having a certain type of bank account. This is so they can give the client measured information based on their specific requirements. You then click on a calendar as to what day you will do the assignment (there is usually a choice of at least 4 different days). The time you do it is up to you but it must be within the agreed frame.
The instructions are usually very clear and are followed by the questionnaire you will be expected to complete when you have finished. Some questions are generally always there such as what buildings are on the left and right of where you are going, what time you entered, how many customers there were, how long you spent in there e.tc. I usually stand a distance away and put most of the 'outside information' in my phone before I start so I can concentrate on being the customer once inside.
Once the assignment is completed, the questionnaire must generally be filled in within 24hours.
*How long does it take?*
Most assignments take less than 20 minutes. However, sometimes you are required to be in a store for 45 minutes if it is busy and you have not been served. It takes me about 15 minutes to complete the average questionnaire.The questionnaires are very straightforward and don't require a lot of free text. Most of the questions simply require a tick in the relevant box.
*How much does it pay?*
The average assignment pays £10 but if you have to purchase anything you generally get £5 on top towards it. It won't make you rich but if you have a spare 30 mins it's worth doing.
*Who are the clients?*
I have completed assignments in most of the mobile phone providers including Orange, 3, O2, Vodafone, Carphone Warehouse... Waitrose, Barclays, Halifax, A & L to name but a few.
*How many can you do?*
You can complete as many assignments as you like but they don't come around that often so you shouldn't rely on it as a regular source of income. Other times, you could do 3 in a week. You get an email informing you of new assignments but it's better to log in and check now and again anyway because they are up for while before the email is sent and can be taken quite quickly.
I find Grass Roots a good company to do assignments for as they keep it simple and you don't have to write reams. You must be aware that any earnings you make are subject to tax for which you are responsible for paying. They pay twice a month on set days straight into your bank account.
Grass Roots are a mystery shopping company, which I can highly recommend. In terms of what types of jobs these offer, they will vary widely. However I've completed jobs reporting on both banks and mobile phone shops among other things.
Registering for Grass Roots is relatively easy, and there is a straightforward application form to complete. As part of this, including your address details allows you to set the areas you are interested in completing jobs in. So for example if you work in a different town, you can set that you can do these on a weekday.
After registering it is a matter of sitting and waiting. Grass Roots e-mail you when a job becomes available in your area. This means that you can go weeks, and maybe even a few monthsh before hearing anything. Then when you get an e-mail saying that there are assignments in your area, you have to be quite quick. You may log on to find that another shopper has already taken it. However if you are lucky, it may still be available. You can then see a brief outline of the job, including details of the days it can be completed. If you are interested, accept the job.
Overall, I quite like working for Grass Roots. Their reports are relatively simple to complete, and the minimum number of characters per question is set very small. Some questions even have a maximum number of characters.
The downside is as I live and work in two different small towns, I find I can go 6 months in between jobs. That said, they do pay well compared to some of the other mystery shopping companies. Their reports are also easy to complete.
It is important to remember that mystery shopping is not for everyone. You have to keep clear records, and remember to register as self-employed. However I find I can fit mystery shopping around a full time job. For example a bank job on my lunchtime, which may only take 20 minutes. I can then write the report up at home.
As long as you know that you won't make a fortune, Grass Roots is fine for a little extra pocket money. I imagine however it is a lot better if you live near a city.
I've had a positive impression of Grass Roots so far as a mystery shopping company and, totally depending on your approach and in combination with other money-saving activities, it can be a little side-earner and good fun, but it's probably not for everyone depending on your lifestyle and what interests you.
********** What is Mystery Shopping? **********
This is the only real way that companies can assess the service that their employees are offering to customers. If a manager within a company informed a branch that they would be in the week later to assess everyone's service, of course everyone would be on their best behaviour and it wouldn't be a true reflection of the service that the branch was offering. A mystery shopper will go into a branch / shop / restaurant etc, act as if they are a normal shopper by either making an enquiry or a a purchase, and report back on the service that they received. To become a mystery shopper you need to register with a mystery shopping company who will give you assignments which you will be paid for (minimal amounts) but also often receive a free meal or product, and hopefully enjoy the experience in some way.
********** Approach to Mystery Shopping **********
What you get out of mystery shopping totally depends on your approach to it, and also your interests. You will never become a millionaire this way as payments are normally pretty minimal. However, if the assignment is nearby and you aren't either having to spend much / anything on transport or you are in the area anyway (for example combining it with something else you have to do, or making sure you pick a date when you will be there, as the assignments are normally quite flexible when it comes to dates), I think it's a good project to get involved in. Also, if you are an extremely busy person mystery shopping probably isn't a good idea for you, but if you have time on your hands, then why not? From the few assignments I have done so far, I have quite enjoyed them, not because the topic has been hugely interesting but because I've found it quite interesting learning to be more observant about things around me, and every little thing I get involved in helps me get a bit more knowledge, even if it is only about banks or mobiles or restaurants etc - maybe I'm just a bit sad like that!! Also, Mystery Shopping is a great talking topic among your friends, everyone is always really interested to hear about it!
********** Myster Shopping Companies **********
There are many of them out there, but be careful that you select the most professional. First off, you should never ever pay to register with a mystery shopping company. Secondly, you may want to do a little research around the mystery shopping companies you decide to go with. I have mainly gone off a list that I found on Martin Lewis' website, MoneySavingExpert. The companies I have registered with so far are Grass Roots (which I have done 2 assignments for), GAPBuster (which I have done one assignment for, but they seem to pay lower and seem to be mainly fast food outlets which I'm not so keen on), Retail Eyes (which also seem like quite low payments and seem to be often at airports at pharmacies - I haven't done an assignment for them yet), and BARE International (which in my opinion doesn't seem to be as straightforward as the others). I could go into more detail about these other mystery shopping companies, but seeing as my review is about Grass Roots I will try to stay focused - I just thought it would help to try and put things into perspective.
********** Registering with Grass Roots **********
One of the main reasons that I'm writing this review now only after just a couple of assignments, is that I'm already starting forget what the registration process was like. From memory, it was pretty straightforward and I had to fill in my details on their website and there were a couple of questions about why I thought I would make a good mystery shopper. I don't think it was hugely lengthy, and after I had filled in my details they emailed me confirmation a couple of days later that I was now a mystery shopper for them. With some of the other companies, the process is more lengthy - for example with BARE International, there are a couple of fairly lengthy tests to take (by lengthy I mean maybe 1/2 hour each), and with GAPbuster, some of their customers ask you do go through an induction on-line before doing any assignments for them, which again takes 20 minutes or so.
********** How you get Assignments **********
After you have filled in your profile on their website and what areas you are happy to mystery shop in, they will email you to inform you when there is an assignment on their website that may interest you.
It is all very much self-service with Grass Roots, like with most mystery shopping companies, which suits me fine. When you get an email notifying you of a possible match, you go onto the website and have a look at what it entails, and you then accept it and choose the day that you want to do it (normally there is a week or so of different dates to choose from, and normally any time is fine as long as the shop is open). You will then get an email confirming that you have accepted the assignment and you are asked to print off the details and read through them before your visit.
In terms of regularity, I would suggest that about once or twice a month you will get an assignment that matches you from Grass Roots, but I guess that also depends largely on where you live - I am in South Manchester.
********** Types of Assignments and what they involve **********
I have done two assignments for them so far, one for a bank and one for a mobile phone company. I could also look back at other assignments that had taken place over the last couple of months and they seem to be similar, and I also spotted one on their for a major clothes retailer.
For the mobile phone company, I had to go into their branch and make an enquiry about a particular product they offer and see how much information was volunteered from the salesman in-store, and how good their customer service was. I was only in there for about 5 minutes.
For the bank I had to go in and make an appointment to talk about mortgages, which I later had to cancel. I would have only been in there 5 minutes but there was a queue so I was in there about 15 minutes or so.
Then, within 24 hours (I think it's 24 hours) I had to go on-line and fill out a questionnaire about the service that was offered. To be honest, there are quite a lot of questions and they are quite specific, but it still only takes about 5 minutes to fill out unless you are quite slow at filling out questionnaires on-line. During the visit you have to make an effort to pay attention to detail and you will be asked what time you went in and came out and if the person you talked to had a name badge on and if so what was it etc etc. However, before you do the visit you are supposed to read through the questions you will be asked afterwards so it's not like you don't know that you have to keep an eye out for these things. It is quite easy to forget to look out for these things but I guess once you've done a few assignments it becomes like second nature.
********** Payment **********
Out of the two that I have done, I received £12.50 for one of them and £10 for the other one. So again, it's not a fortune but if you're in the area anyway and it's only taking you 5 minutes, it's a nice little side-earner every now and again. Grass Roots make payments twice a month, once at the beginning and once in the middle, by BACS straight into your bank account. I have been paid on-time both times, no issues.
***** In Comparison to other Mystery Shopping companies ****
I only have a couple of months experience so far, but Grass Roots seems to be one of the higher payers and seems the most straightforward to work for. It may not have quite as many assignments as some companies, but seems to have had more than have matched me so in that sense, for me, it has had the most assignments that are valid - of course over the next few months I will get a better idea and can update this review. With some of the other companies, it seemed like they had quite a few to choose from but then on further scrutiny they did not match for one reason or another, or I did not get accepted and I felt like my time spent scanning through them was a bit of a waste - at least with Grass Roots generally when they email you an assignment, it will be right for you.
********** Tax **********
I won't go into massive detail about this but, if you are doing mystery shopping you are supposed to pay tax on your earnings otherwise you could face a fine of £100. This therefore means registering as self-employed. Actually, not many of your earnings will be taxable once you've taken off costs, petrol, price for printing documents etc. Again it's about approach - at first I thought I might just sack off the mystery shopping idea as I couldn't be bothered to register as self-employed and keep track of my earnings. But then I thought, if I want to try out other things it could be worthwhile just biting the bullet and doing this, and so far (and who knows I may be updating this next year!) it hasn't been difficult to do at all.
********** General **********
Working for a mystery shopping company is quite funny as you don't seem to have any direct contact with the people that work at the companies, it's all very much self-service. I don't mind this at all, in fact it suits me. I think if they have an assignment that is very urgent or if there is a problem they may contact you directly, but otherwise everything is just done by you through their website.
Mystery Shopping has definitely encouraged me to start paying more attention to detail and view things in a slightly different light. It does feel like a bit of a game and you do always wonder if the person has figured out if you are a mystery shopper or not.
I have worked for grass roots as a mystery shopper for a couple of years.
A mystery shopper is someone who does visit an establishment and check out how they are performing this relates to décor, tidiness and customer service. You never reveal your identity just submit a report once you have evaluated the business.
I do about one assignment a month which often I don't need to purchase anything so get £10 paid directly into my bank account although I did complete one a couple of months ago that required me to visit a high street electrical retailer and had £5 to spend in store as well as an £8 payment.
I thought it may be useful to explain the process of a visit.
Grass roots do send out emails to let you know that jobs are available in your area and you really do need to log onto your account as soon as you receive the email as jobs do go very quickly.
I logged on two weeks ago and the opportunity to visit a travel agent in my local town. With this job like many others they require one mystery shopper for each day of the week. I chose the last date available which was Monday as that suited my schedule.
Once you have accepted the assignment you receive an email confirming the information. I tend to write it on my calendar to ensure I leave time free to complete the assignment. A few days before the date of the visit you are sent an email informing you that the full assignment briefing is available. You need to make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to read the assignment and can contact Grass Roots should you have any queries.
I take a note of the things I need to write down to remind myself what I need to memorise as soon as I get chance to sit down and to write some notes. It is best to prepare yourself in your head what you want. That way you aren't stood there struggling to remember the brief and what information you need. I used to print out the briefing and fill out notes in the car but now I don't have a printer I just put bullet pints of what I need to remember. It is important to have a watch as you are expected to time how long you were there and how long till you were served.
The first thing to note is the buildings to the left and right of the building this is to ensure that you did actually visit.
You are expected to assess both the outside and inside of the building. No matter what the assignment they always want a description of the person who is serving they do prefer names but sometimes this isn't available. On this particular visit the lady serving me did have a jacket and name badge but before I got chance to read it she removed her jacket. I already was giving the scenario that I could use that gave a budget for either a couple or a family.
I had my son with me and to be honest I think it helps when doing mystery shopper work as you get to have a good look around while staff often coo over him. On this occasion he was asleep in his buggy and even though I do say myself he does look exceptionally cute asleep and we had the attention of all the shop staff while he slept. I generally just go wearing jean and a t shirt so that I don't stand out from other shoppers.
I travelled a great deal during my late teens and twenties so discussing travel was quite fun for me. I did talk about safety of travelling aboard with children which will be important for me when my son is older. It sometimes is necessary to steer the conversation to ensure you are able to fully complete your report.
When my son woke up from his nap he was in really miserable and started wailing and throwing himself on the floor. The staff was lovely and went and got him a large balloon. I did need to wrap the visit up quickly due to my sons tears and distress. This in itself can be quite useful as a mystery shopper.
One outside me made a couple of notes with a crayon, as I didn't have a pen and like any godmother can't leave home without a crayon. I had to time how long my visit was and it was 46 minutes and noted the names of these shops either side before returning home.
I completed the report within about half an hour during the evening. I would that this was one of the shorter reports I have completed. Unfortunately there was nowhere to add the extra special touches from the staffs which seem a shame.
Once the report is completed there is a spell check to work through a final review before submitting the report.
Grass Roots pay once a fortnight but you do need to allow time for your report to be checked
I have never had any problem with any of my reports or payments and although there aren't a huge amount of jobs in my area it is something for a bit of fun and a few pennies.
For more information visit www.grassrootsmysteryshopping.com
Well, today I became a Mystery Shopper so I thought I would tell you all about it. It was great - who doesn't want to be paid to shop? Although it's not as simple as that! There is much more to it than meets the eye......
The assignment I did today was for a web-based company called Grass Roots. Going back to basics, a mystery shopper is a person who vists a shop/bar/restaurant to monitor the level of customer service received. There is no point having great products when your staff are not doing their job properly and giving good customer service. Everyone knows if the big boss is in town the staff will always act as if they are perfect little angels. BUT, who knows what they are like on a day-to-day basis?
Well, thats were I come into play. I am sent to various retailers to test the staff. We pose as normal customers, but after the visit write a detailed report of the experience from everything from the shop environment, how the staff greet me, the level of care and the overall customer service.
To apply as a mystery shopper you can log onto the Grass Roots website. You have to fill out quite a lengthy form with a lot of personal information to determine which mystery shops you will be suitable to.
Once you are accepted you will be on the Grass Roots shoppers database. They will not contact you directly with assignments, however you will be notified via email when an assignment in your area becomes available and you need to log-in to accept the task. This is the trickiest bit! You have to be so quick as the jobs get snapped up within minutes! My handy hint is that I use a Blackberry mobile phone so I receive notifications on my phone when I get an email. As soon as I inbox flashes I have a mad panic to log onto the nearest PC where ever I am to get first pickings on the assignments available.
The assignments range from shops, to banks, to bars, to restaurants -anywhere you will be getting customer service really! Part of being a mystery shopper is we cannot divulge which retailers they are, but they are nearly always main high street chains. On average you will get around £10 a job.
Now you have accepted an assignment you will be sent detailed breifing notes. It's important to read these and familiarise yourself before the job, as you wouldn't want to say the wrong thing or give yourself away. You must also make sure you know exactly what the task is and what you are looking for.
My first assignment today went really well. To be honest I was a little nervous as I thought I would stick out like a sore thumb, but of course that was in my head and I was just like a normal customer. I got really into the role and almost convinced myself it was me who was making the purchase. I also felt quite excited going 'under cover'!
As soon as I was finished at the shop I walked ten minutes down the road into a coffee shop to fill out my report. The report eventually needs to be completed online, however I took a print out with me to fill out immediately so all the information was really fresh in my mind. I later typed this up.
The reports are quite long and detailed. Being a mystery shopper really does require being obvservant with a really good eye for detail and a good memory too!
Another benefit from Mystery shopping for me is that I already work in a sales/retail environment, so now I am seeing customer service and analysing it from the customers point of view. I feel like this is going to be a great learning experience for me and will help me within my current job to get in extra sales and provide my customers top-notch service. It also looks great on your CV!
Overall I am really pleased with my mystery shopper experience! Yes, £10 is not a lot of money, but the whole process has taken me less than an hour and fitted into my lunchbreak, so if anyone is looking for a little bit of extra cash, this is an excellent and fun way to do it!!
If anyone wants any information or tips etc, feel free to contact me :)
Bring on my next assignment!!!!
I have been a "mystery shopper" for about 7 years now, and do work for a number of mystery shopping companies, including Grass Roots.
First, for those of you who don't know, I will give you a little information about mystery shopping in general, although there is a category for that as a review on its own, so you can easily find more detail on dooyoo.....
It is no good just offering a good product, or just offering the cheapest price in town - customer service and ease of use are incredibly important. If you provide shoddy service, rude or inefficient staff, or can't provide the items you promise, then your customer may well look elsewhere.
Head office cannot keep an eye on all their staff all the time, and can't visit each branch every day to check out what they are doing, so need to enlist the help of Mystery Shopping Companies to provide undercover agents to do the work for them. The mystery shopper will provide a full report of their visit, good points and bad, and from that the Company involved can assess whether there are any training shortfalls that need addressing, or whether a particular staff member is working "above and beyond" the expected level and therefore due a bonus or letter of recognition.
To be a good mystery shopper, you need to be able to blend in with all others visiting that branch/shop/restaurant in order that the staff act normally with you. If you can't blend in, you will stand out as a mystery shopper and the staff will pick up on this. You will therefore not be able to get a true picture of the service and that would be no good to those appointing you to do the job.
So, who are grass roots? Well, they are one of many mystery shopping companies, and for me they are one of the simplest and easiest to use.
*how to apply*
Simply go to www.grassrootsmysteryshopping.com and click on the FAQ button to the left hand side of the screen. There is a link that will take you to apply online. Application is done online and is very easy - you fill in your personal details together with a statement of why you would be a good applicant.
*what happens next?*
When assignments are available in your area, and that match your profile, Grass roots will send you an email to let you know. Be warned, that others in your area will also be sent an email so you will have to be quick to accept, as these assignments don't hang about for long!
*do I have to accept?*
No, once you know an assignment is available, you can view it before deciding whether to accept it. Perhaps it needs to be done on a day that doesn't suit you, perhaps it is just outside your area, or maybe you just don't fancy it. By being able to view the assignment before accepting it, there is less chance of you completing it badly, or not completing it at all.
Please do not accept assignments if you do not think you will complete them - it is unfair on other mystery shoppers in your area that might be able to do that job without a problem.
*I've accepted, what now*
Grass Roots will email you confirmation and a questionnaire. Read through the questionnaire and make sure you are familiar with it before you carry out your visit. Remember, that you want to look as natural as possible, so having to refer to notes while you are on the job will not do you any favours!
It is vital you do your visit when you say you will. When you arrive you will have to take note of various things like the buildings to either side of the one you are visiting, the time you enter and exit the branch, descriptions of those who served you etc. If you have not got a good memory, then come up with some covert way of recording these details as they WILL be needed when you submit your report. I find that I can pretend to be texting someone on my phone, when really I am entering *left-post office, right-shoeshop, female aged 30ish brn hair nicola*........! You also need to be thinking about the way that staff interact with you and other customers, whether the surroundings are clean and tidy, etc so don't switch off while you are in the queue to be served!
*after the visit*
As soon as possible after your visit, log on to the website and submit your report. Grass Roots have some of the simplest reports to do, and they are very user friendly in my opinion. You need to be detailed in your report otherwise they will come back and question it. Be objective and not insulting. Remember, that the person who served you may even get to see a copy of it, so you must be fair at all times.
Grass roots typically pay about £10 for a visit, and once your report has been submitted and verified you should receive payment in a couple of weeks. Sometimes it takes longer, but not often. They have a payroll run every two weeks, and you can see on your homepage what you are due, so you can keep an eye on it easily. Remember, that you are responsible for tax on this as it is paid gross, so have a word with your tax office before you start so that you don't fall foul of the rules.
For me, almost all of my assignments with grass roots have been banks - simply assessing the branch, the availability of information, the counter service and the personal bankers. A typical assignment would not take more than half an hour, so if you can pick one up to do in your lunch hour, it is ideal! Other assignments would include shops, but as I say, mine have almost all been banks.
Sadly, Grass roots don't come up with the jobs as often as other mystery shopping sites, - perhaps I get one every other month. But then sometimes I can get four for one day! That is the reason I register with several companies, because you never know who will have assignments available for you.
If you need help or have concerns, then grass roots have an excellent helpdesk and I have never found them to be unhelpful. If you are not sure about how to do an assignment, give them a call or email them - they are very good. Once you have done a few, however, you will know exactly what you are doing!
Overall - Don't rely on mystery shopping as a way of making a living.....it can be a bit hit and miss, but if you are after an extra bit of occasional cash, then Grass Roots is one I would look at, for certain.
Mystery shopping is always something that fascinated me - you get paid to shop - right?
Well yes, but its more than that!
I do nearly all my mystery shopping via Grassroots - I find their payment system fair and speedy, and their assingments interesting.
To join, you have to register and give Grassroots a lot of personal information to enable them to build a profile of you so they can see if you fit into the demographic their client wants opinions from. This doesn't take long to do but they do require quite a lot of information so if this makes you uncomfortable this might be the time to pull out.
Grassroots send e-mails when assignments become available in your local area. You do need to be quick however - these assignments are handed out on a first come, first served basis and several times I haven't been around when the e-mail came in so I missed out.
The e-mails do not tell you what is involved - they take you to a page where the client name is listed and the address, along with the dates they want you to do the mystery shop. You have to accept, and only then will they tell you what they want you to do.
As a mystery shopper you cannot divulge who the clients are but invariably they are familiar high street names.
You need to be observant and prepared to mystery shop.
Grassroots send you the Assignment Briefing which they recommend you print off and read over several times. This is excellent advice as it gives you the opportunity to go over what they require of you and to get straight any "scenario" they want you to follow when you do the assignment.
You are advised you must wear a watch and know exactly where you are going. You will invariably be asked which establishments are to either side of the place you are going to do your mystery shop so they can confirm you did indeed visit the correct store. It pays to double check exactly where you are going because if you visit the wrong branch you won't get paid!
There can sometimes be very specific questions they want you to answer in your results so you have to be 100% certain of what is expected of you.
Grassroots request you fill in your results from your mystery shop within 24 hours of the assingment taking place but my advice is to do it as soon as possible. If you cannot get to a computer hand write the details into your printed Assingment Brief (in a private place!) as soon as you can and then enter them online at the first opportunity.
Grassroots pay £10 per assignment and this is paid directly into your bank account. You are responsible for tax on this so you need to consider contacting your local Tax Office for advice on this. They pay twice a month, on the 1st and 15th of the month.
I have found contacting them to be quite easy - I had to reschedule one mystery shop due to my daughter being ill and this was not a problem. I also had to contact them after I went to perform a mystery shop but the establishment I had been sent to was closed for refurbishment!
I am pleased to say however that they were happy to reschedule this shop and paid me double so I was happy and they were too.
Mystery shopping won't make you rich but its a nice way to earn a little pin money and to let your voice be heard by retailers and I highly recommend Grassroots as the place to start.
I began Mystery Shopping about 9 months ago, It fits in perfectly with my family life being a stay at home mum. On some assignments i can take my child with me, if not i try and do my assignments at the weekend when my partner is home.
I am registered and work for many different companies, it is very exciting I have even done secret video mystery shopping. Since doing mystery shopping i get very frustrated with companies that have no customer skills and dont care about us consumers they just want to take our money.
I think mystery shopping is imperative for todays market. For the consumer, everyone enjoys a happy polite sales assistant. Making the shopping experience a more pleasureable experience.
For the employer so they understand what a customer really wants, and to have constructive feedback on staff training areas.
For the employee to be recongised for outstanding customer service skills.
I enjoy my job very much and take it very seroiusly especially in this day and age when people can be so rude and when they are it ruins your own mood. It is true to say a smile dosnt cost anything and it makes peoples day.