Follow this step-by-step guide to get started with getting paid to test products online.
The number of patent applications in the US has been constantly growing for a while.
2020 saw a staggering 597,175 utility patent applications. What does this say to us? A lot of new products are being delivered to the market at any given time. How many of these products fail? Most of them. According to an article by Harvard Business School, about 95% of new products fail simply because companies do not look at their products the way consumers do.
Thus, to make sure that a new product has any chance of survival in this oversaturated market, feedback is crucial. A lot of it.
You are probably familiar with the concept of beta testing in video games, apps, and websites. Well, physical products need to go through their own form of beta testing to avoid a catastrophe upon launching.
Joining the ranks of paid product testers is not hard. All you need is a computer, some patience, and a dedication to giving great feedback.
That being said, you do need to know some things before getting started. This is where we come in – hopefully, this article will help you decide whether this gig is for you and what you need to get started.
Without further ado, here is our 8 step guide on how to get paid to test products:
- Gather the equipment needed to provide feedback on the products you test
- Choose one or more product testing websites to work with
- Apply to the chosen product testing websites
- Wait to receive invites to product testing
- Wait for the review products to arrive
- Start the product testing process
- Give feedback on products tests
- Get paid for your work
1. Gather the equipment needed to provide feedback on the products you test
The first part of the process of becoming a paid product tester is checking whether you have the necessary equipment to communicate with the product testing website.
The requirements vary – some product testing websites will verify your tester profile without any direct communication. Some will want to conduct a live interview. Some will want a short verification video from your end.
But, basic audio/video capabilities are not only necessary for verifying you.
The equipment is also crucial for providing feedback. There are sites that will gather your feedback in written form (surveys, social media), but most product testing websites will want your feedback in video form (live or recorded video review).
Thus, to make sure that you will have access to as many product testing websites as possible, I would suggest checking whether the video/audio capabilities of your computer or smartphone are up and running. Pay special attention to the audio, as poorly recorded audio is the most common reason for disqualified product testing reviews.
2. Choose one or more product testing websites to work with
To get started with reviewing products for cash, you will first need to find reputable websites to work with.
If you are new to remote product testing, you will quickly learn that most product reviewing websites offer a reward system instead of cash.
For example, providing your input on the beauty website Influenster can reward you with various gift boxes and freebies.
This kind of reward system is fairly common in product testing, but it is useless for someone looking to earn a side income.
For a more detailed list of product testing websites recommended by Analysia, read our article on the best product testing websites.
Also, be on the look for scams. There are sites out there that will promise you easy money for reviewing expensive products. Of course, these sites also say that you can keep the product. But, think about it for a second – would it make sense for a company to send you a PS5 along with $500 for a 15-minute feedback video?
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is – this old saying should always be in the back of your mind when you want to earn money by testing products.
3. Apply to the chosen product testing websites
The sign-up process to your chosen product testing websites will be relatively straightforward. You will be asked to provide the following information:
- Full name
- Contact information – E-mail is mandatory, and some sites will also ask for your phone number.
- Preferred payment method
- Home address – You will need to provide your address so that the websites can send you the products you will be reviewing.
Once you have gone through this first sign-up process, you will also have to provide some demographic details about yourself. Anyone who has ever conducted remote usability tests for websites and apps should already be familiar with why your demographic profile matters.
In short, it is to pair you with products that are relevant to your profile. The products sent for testing, the mailing process, your payment – this is all valuable time and money. Time and money would go to waste by sending you a product that you simply can’t give feedback on.
For example, a vegan couldn’t possibly test a food item containing meat. And, a 40-year old single man wouldn’t be a great candidate to test a children’s toy.
The following are an example of demographic data that product testing websites might be interested in:
- Your marital/relationship status
- The number of children living in your household
- Your employment status
- Information about your hobbies
- Your expertise on various skills – cooking, internet skills, et al.
In addition to demographic information, some sites will also want to conduct a live interview before sending you the product. These interviews are short and you will not have to prepare for them in any manner.
In general, the interviews merely serve as a sort of insurance policy to ensure that you are indeed a real person with good interests in heart.
4. Wait to receive invites to product testing
Seeing as it is highly unlikely that you will receive any product testing invites in the first week, this is the part where you are going to have to rely on some old-fashioned patience and luck. Still, it is possible to slightly stack the odds of quickly receiving paid work in your favor.
Make sure your profile is as complete as possible, react to offers quickly, and most importantly, do your best when you eventually conduct your first product test.
Some of the biggest websites offering remote product testing also have other freelance work (paid surveys, website/app usability testing) available for their partners. If that is the case, I suggest trying your hand at these other gigs offered by the platform. You will get paid, prove yourself as a reliable partner of the platform, and also pass some time while you wait for offers for product reviewing.
For example, UserTesting.com consistently offers reliable and often well-paid work for their product testers, but you are going to have to prove yourself first. Since their focus is on digital products, the remote website/app usability testing is where you will have more opportunities starting out.
Learn the ropes of website usability testing, prove yourself as a highly reliable and capable tester, and you will ultimately start receiving offers for testing products as well.
5. Wait for the review products to arrive
Once you have been chosen as the reviewer for a certain product, the item reviewed will be sent to you. Depending on your location and the policies of the sites you work with, you can expect to receive the item anywhere from a week to more than a month.
Reliable product reviewing websites will also provide you with a contact e-mail/phone number you can use in case something goes awry. For example, you should always contact the product reviewing website if your package has not arrived on time.
Even if the product should get lost during transit, you will not be held responsible. If the website you are dealing with mentions penalties, it is a surefire sign of a scam. Avoid these sites!
Once the package finally arrives, the fun part starts. You can start reviewing the product.
6. Start the product testing process
How do I actually test the products sent to me? This is possibly the most common question asked by new freelance product testers.
Unfortunately, there is no concrete answer to this question. It largely depends on what product you will be asked to review.
Still, to be as helpful as possible, I would like to give a few tips for new testers:
If you are selected to test the product, you have already won. Your feedback will be valuable no matter what because you fall into the demographics that the manufacturers of the product target.
No detail is unimportant. The package is difficult to open, the font of the manual is too small, the item smells funny. All of these details matter to the manufacturers. Basically, think of product testing as you narrating your experience with the product in minute detail.
You can praise and be harsh, as long as you are specific. If you honestly love every aspect of the product, you can say so. But, the manufacturers need to know WHY you love it. The same goes for criticism. You can’t just say “everything about this electric kettle sucks, I hate it”, there is no value in feedback like this. However, if you make the effort to let the manufacturers know WHY you hate it, your criticism will be just as valuable as praise.
If you are providing feedback via video, make sure that your gear is properly set up and working. Most modern smartphone/computer cameras and microphones do a good enough job. And, most product testing websites that want video feedback will also run preliminary video interviews for their testers. If you managed to go through the interview without any issues, you will be fine. Just make sure that everything is good to go once you start recording your feedback video.
7. Give feedback on products tests
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly how you will be giving feedback for your test. It comes down to many variables – the websites you are working with, the orders of the manufacturers, and the product you will be reviewing.
Still, to give you some idea of what to expect, allow me to list the 3 most common examples of how product testing websites get your feedback:
- A questionnaire. Many sites that offer product testing also offer paid surveys. If you have ever participated in a paid survey website, you already know the drill. In short, you use the product and fill a survey based on your experience with the product. As a rule of thumb, these questions will not be about any technical or industry-specific details. So, you will easily be able to answer all of these questions. Still, always be honest and avoid spamming random answers.
- A video survey. In this case, you will be interviewed via live video. Usually by someone from the marketing team of the product you are reviewing. Remember, you are in the shoes of the end customer of the product. Thus, there will be no right or wrong answers, just be as specific as possible about your experience using the product.
- Social media feedback. Some product testing sites will want you to post a few words on the product (or even a picture of you with the product reviewed) on your social media. This tactic is especially common for products in the beauty niche.
8. Get paid for your work
Once you have successfully completed a product test and provided your feedback, it is time to get paid.
Product reviewing sites that will pay you in cash will generally have PayPal as their preferred method of choice for processing payments. So, if you do not have a PayPal account yet, I suggest signing up before getting into the side hustle of product reviewing. Signing up to PayPal is free and will take only minutes of your time.
While it is more uncommon, some sites (for example, Vindale Research) will also offer checks as a method of payment.
It is also useful to know that most product testing websites will let you keep the product you are reviewing. While it is not cash, it is still a rewarding little perk, especially if you genuinely found value in the product.
Looks like we have reached the end of the line. The aforementioned steps cover the entire process of getting paid to review products.
In comparison to something like reviewing the usability of websites, the side gig of reviewing products seems more complicated to many. It really isn’t. The process of getting started is pretty much the same.
And, I suggest trying your hand at them both. From my experience, there is a snowball effect to these gigs. At first, you will find little to no perks in being a user tester, but over time your possibilities will increase. Soon enough, these side hustles can provide you with a considerable stream of supplementary income.