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Thread Tools. What's this? Read it in tandem with our Boost Your Income guide for more ways to make cash. Back to weeg's original post We're happy to help, but a LOT of the answers are right here. There is no 'right' answer to 'Who should I sign up with first? The Bell Works Blog | Work Inspired

Read some of the comments on post 2 and make up your own mind. Now enjoy - and play nice! The old threads are linked to below - it's worth reading as many of them as you can to get a feel for what you might need to know. They may be long but there is a lot of information in them and lots of your questions will be answered! An introduction to the mystery shopping thread The companies mentioned below are a good place to start. Don't worry if they ask you for bank details when you apply as this is only so you can get paid. Numbers of jobs offered seems to vary and very much depends on your location in the country so it's difficult to generalise.

The TK Maxx secrets and tips you need to know before you shop

Lots of the companies have training materials and tests which help you to know exactly what to do and the standards they expect on their reports. Most of us have worked hard to get good at this job so whilst we are helpful we are not keen to hand on a plate information to people not willing to do the legwork too. Please also note that there is a finite pool of MS work so respect that people may not be willing to share all their knowledge with someone who in essence will be taking work away from them or causing a decrease in fees.

Being able to read and digest information is a vital skill for mystery shoppers so the next stage is to read the rest of the thread and you should find people happy to answer specific queries you have. When you are ready pick a job: The first one is always nerve wracking.

The TK Maxx secrets and tips you need to know before you shop

Possibly try one without timings or many complex stages as those give you just that bit much to think about on the first time. Go for one close to home so you aren't going out of your way as the fee will probably not be worth it otherwise. You can always go back into most places with an excuse if you miss something or if allowed take someone else who can keep an eye out too for details such as name badges. Basics you should know before you begin mystery shopping There are a few things you should know; these will help you hit the ground running, or alternatively, not bother with hitting the ground at all as mystery shopping isn't for everybody!

I would say though and I'm sure most MSers would too that registering with as many companies as you can get your hands on is never a bad thing. My personal advice would be that GAPbuster's probably a good company to get started with due to the number of jobs available. They're not famous for high pay but the reports are great and not too laborious. Good and bad points of mystery shopping Mystery shopping will never make anyone rich - the pay is simply not high enough.

If you're just looking for some free meals or clothes, be aware that it's not just a case of buying them and getting paid.

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You need a good memory, you need to be objective and have a great eye for detail. Missing the smallest bit of information from an assignment can mean that you don't get paid for a job - this can be a nightmare if you've had to spend your own money on buying something as part of doing it too! The great thing about mystery shopping is that you can make a difference to shops' service standards and your comments are listened to! You do get a meal or two paid for and sometimes you're paid handsomely to do them. As long as you treat the job with respect, you'll be rewarded.

The more you work for a company and the better your reports get, you will be given better paying and more rewarding jobs. Companies aren't big on giving new shoppers the best jobs; these come as a reward for your loyalty and hard work, later on. It might be a myth but there's been word of mystery shopping companies passing names of their shoppers to HMRC before, which can spark investigations is said shoppers are not already registered as self employed. If you are not paying NI in any other jobs, it can be worthwhile to pay these NI contributions. It will count towards any benefits you may need in the future and contributes to your state pension record.

For example, the self employed get one of two rates for Maternity Allowance, regardless of their actual earnings.

It's a big difference! It's usually better to just call them! Tax rates can seem confusing but following the above information logically will help you work out your tax. If you earn more than this, it'll get figured out and paid along with your income tax on your self assessment return. There are a few accountancy trained MSers who regularly visit this board who might be able to help with a specific question that isn't answered here.

Or just ring your local tax office! This is for two main reasons — one is that the MSing company may call you potentially ages after the job has been completed to query your report, and the other is for your tax return information at the end of the year. When the MS companies state that the fee includes all expenses, it is up to you to work out how much you have actually 'earned', and how much you have legitimately spent on expenses. And yes, it is even possible to make a loss, on paper, for the odd job! Claiming expenses other than the direct costs incurred in the job meals etc can be a bit of a minefield, and requires a bit of educated guestimating sometimes!

If you buy something expensive like a laptop you can only claim a portion. There are some other things you can claim for though - these are more indirect costs and things you would have paid for even without MSing in most cases. These are simply contributions your business is making to you, for providing certain things. Line rental is done similar to broadband; calls are done either on this basis if you can't easily work it out, or using the exact costs if you can. Use of home - this is something most small businesses charge against their income.

Make money by assigning shops and entering surveys on the go!

The last one is definitely a guestimate one - it goes along the lines of using your common sense and making educated guesses. More info is available here from HMRC on allowable "other" expenses Reimbursement only You cannot argue you have done the job for a fee.

You have taken on the job and recieved goods for that job. Therefore payment in kind and is taxable.

If you can argue and prove that this was only done in order to gain access to fee paying jobs or build a reputation with the company, this will more likley depend on the strength of your argument. Taking on reinbursment only jobs and classifying it as an expense is not allowed. If you do this purposly to lower your profit margin, he was clear in that it would be classified as Tax Evasion. This is the answer I have received but please note this is not set in stone and very much open to interpretation. I believe the difference in opinions is due to the fact there is no right or wrong answer for SOME of the situations we come across.

As previously said, i think it depends on your interpretation. But I would for the benifit of the pizza.