Turn your smartphone into a money making machine
Ross McLaughlin and Sandra Hermiston, CTV Vancouver
Published Tuesday, November 15, 2016 6:00AM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 16, 2016 7:44AM PST
Looking for ways to make an extra buck? There’s an app for that.
Field Agent pays you to complete all kinds of small "mystery shopping" jobs around your city.
Consumer reporter Ross McLaughlin put it to the test. His first mission? Go to a nearby store, look for drinkware, take pictures and report back. The app gave him two hours to complete the job once he accepted it.
McLaughlin visited a Home Hardware store, found some Thermos mugs and took a few photos. He made some notes and uploaded the information. When the job was complete, he earned $5 for five minutes of work.
"Our formula is really simple. You do the job right you get paid," said Jeff Doucette of Field Agent Canada.
Next mission? Become a mystery diner at Milestones restaurant, answer a questionnaire and evaluate the experience.
“The quality of the food? Yeah, I’m satisfied,” said McLaughlin as he filled out the app’s dining survey. The Milestones mystery dining job also paid $5.
The final missions involved an audit at an IGA and Nesters grocery store. McLaughlin was asked to count the aisles and take photos. The job paid $10 for each store. In less than an hour he had earned another 20 bucks.
And he could have kept going as the Field Agent app showed dozens of grocery store audit jobs on a map all around Metro Vancouver. So it can be very easy to find jobs right where you live or where you may be shopping.
"In Canada we've paid out about a million and a half dollars to our agents,” said Doucette, “There are times in our system where it’s very, very easy to make a lot of money in a very short period of time.”
In the last year Field Agent says it paid out as much as $10,000 to one of their agents. But the average app user makes between $150 to $500 a year. Field Agent says it has almost 60,000 agents across the country.
“We target moms in particular because a lot of companies want to talk to moms. But our demographics are really wide in terms of age. It can really be anyone with a smart phone who's out doing some shopping," explained Doucette.
The app has been around for five years. It has caught on through word of mouth and is now in seven countries, including Canada, U.S, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, the U.K.and Romania .
The clients paying for the data could be the retailers you’re asked to go into, or their competitors or just market research. Field Agent wouldn’t disclose who was paying for the jobs that McLaughlin performed. But he quickly earned $30 in small "mystery shopping" jobs and received his money through PayPal.
But you’ve got to pay attention. He didn‘t get paid $5 on the dining job because he messed up on a photo. Field Agent says it’s important to follow the instructions properly and upload all the information using the app or you won’t get paid.
Once you get the hang of it, it’s not hard to make quick cash. The money made while testing the app for this story will be donated to charity.