You may need extra income to save for a vacation, add to your emergency fund, or simply because you’re tired of living a frugal lifestyle. No matter the reason for the extra income, finding a gig-work can help you achieve just that.
The popularity of side hustles continues to rise. Studies show that one-third of Americans rely on side gigs just so they can pay their expenses. Income generated by side gigs can also help educate people on better budgeting and money management skills by showing them the value of a dollar — the harder they work for their money, the more willing they are to save rather than spend.
More people are starting to see the value of side gigs but they may not know where to start. Luckily, there are many side hustles to choose from — from making money by taking pictures with your phone, to product testing, and even ones that require little to no job experience.
Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to get paid to test products and companies that are looking for people to do so.
Table of Contents
What Do Product Testers Do?
People who sign up to test products do just that — test products. How they go about obtaining said products and what they’re supposed to do with them will vary depending on the company they are conducting the test for.
For example, some testers will receive the product in the mail and are asked to assess every aspect of the product including packaging, design, size, taste, effectiveness, and fit — tasks that can be done within the first encounter. Others might be asked to use the product for an extended period or are provided with specific instructions.
A real-world example of this would be testing a vacuum. The tester might be provided with instructions like, “Vacuum an area with little to no dirt and/or pet hair and then an area with an excessive amount of dirt and/or pet hair and compare the results,” or, “Use the vacuum every day for three months and report daily how well it sucks up debris.”
How Do I Earn Money Product Testing?
The amount an individual is paid, and the method in which they are paid, will vary as well. Some are paid via check, PayPal, or Venmo, while others are paid in the form of a gift card.
1. Vindale Research
Vindale Research is a company that primarily compensates people with real money for taking surveys and sharing feedback about various consumer brands. Other ways for users to earn money through Vindale Research include:
- Referring friends to participate in money-making activities on the Vindale Research website; you’ll earn $5 for each person that accepts the referral and engages with the website;
- Opening emails and viewing paid, promotional messages;
- Watching paid videos and providing feedback.
2. National Consumer Panel (NCP)
The National Consumer Panel (NCP) is, according to their website, “a market research panel that focuses on measuring consumer attitudes and behavior.” Once people sign up as members, they will then be given access to the NCP mobile app.
This app allows them to scan the barcode of products in their home that were recently purchased on a shopping trip. Then, they will provide information on:
- Other items in the home that don’t have a barcode (e.g. fresh produce, meat, and baked goods);
- Details about their shopping trip — what store they went to, whether the items were purchased in-store or online, if they used their rewards card specific to that store, and the prices of the items they purchased.
They must submit the above information once a week. From there, the panel member will earn rewards. These rewards, or points, can be redeemed for gift cards or items from their exclusive gift catalog.
3. Pinecone Research
Pinecone Research is a center that onboards individuals to voice their opinions on up-and-coming products. People are encouraged to complete online surveys where their results are used to help develop new and improved products.
They are compensated for their time with rewards points. These rewards points can be redeemed for cash or prizes such as home goods, movie passes, health and beauty products, and more.
4. American Consumer Opinion (ACOP)
American Consumer Opinion (ACOP) is a company that will pay users to take surveys and participate in different research projects. Memberships are free and they pay on a point-to-penny basis.
For example, on average, incentives for completing the survey/research project will range from 100 points to 5,000 points — each point is worth one penny. Common tasks that are accomplished by those who sign up for ACOP include:
- Voting on services and products they want in the future;
- Evaluating new products/product ideas;
- Optimizing existing products and packaging designs;
- Testing the effectiveness of new advertisements.
5. JJ Friends and Neighbors (Johnson & Johnson)
The popular brand Johnson & Johnson has a consumer perception program, JJ Friends and Neighbors, that gives consumers the ability to give feedback on current and future products. The program details state that consumers will participate in activities like a “home-use test for a new shampoo, or an online forum to discuss new ideas for a baby wash.”
Once prospecting participants have registered, they will be granted access to their home page — a website that has a list of studies and other opportunities. Types of studies they offer include:
- Product testing;
- Online surveys;
- Online discussion groups and forums;
- Focus groups;
- Consumer panels;
- Sensory panel.
They are then compensated with an honorarium through JJ Friends and Neighbors’ JP Morgan Chase payment system.
UserTesting.com offers an easy-to-understand program that helps those looking to make a little extra pocket money. Here’s how it works:
- Apply to join their community by taking a practice test;
- Once accepted, you’ll give feedback on the products that you currently love and use;
- Earn $10 for every 20-minute test you take with the option to earn more by participating in interviews.
SheSpeaks is a program that, according to its website, allows women to get a “chance to review products, share opinions, and partner with brands that market to women.”
There are multiple testing programs offered by SheSpeaks — applicants are encouraged to apply to find out which program is best suitable for them. From there, they will learn more about product testing and compensation plans.
Toluna users share their opinion by answering surveys about their favorite products. Surveys typically last between 15 and 20 minutes — beginning with demographic questions to ensure you’re what that particular survey is looking for.
Like many product testing services, Toluna offers users rewards in the form of points that can be redeemed for various gifts, gadgets, and getaways.
Swagbucks users get rewarded with points for shopping online, watching videos, searching the web, and completing surveys. People can use their points to redeem multiple forms of compensation such as Amazon and Walmart gift cards, or get cash back via PayPal.
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