Side hustle spotlight: Field Agent
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
The first time I attempted mystery shopping was in college. We’re talking like 2001, give or take, and I cannot remember where I found the job. I was supposed to go into an auto-repair shop and act like I needed my windshield replaced. I don’t remember the result of this undercover gig, and I also don’t remember getting paid. I then took a 17 year hiatus from this kid of work because it was awkward and not easy to actually get paid.
Note: this does not count the time I pretended to be a drunk tourist on behalf of the FDNY. A story for another time…
Mystery shopping and store audits have had a complete makeover thanks to the world of apps. I started poking around in this space earlier this year. My first experience was a turn-off. The app I used sent me to Target to do an end-cap audit. This entailed taking photos of the end of 100 aisles and scanning bar codes of the items on each end-cap. The estimated time for this gig was 90 minutes and the pay was $25. It took me three hours, my battery almost died and I made my husband late for a job interview. I have not done a single job on that app since. I think there are people out there who need the $25 more than I do and who have more free time than I do. It’s not a terrible app, just not for me.
After that I started poking around with an app called Field Agent. The interface took me awhile to get used to, as they could use some programming updates, but the result has been much more lucrative and entertaining. Here are a few examples of jobs I have done on Field Agent:
1) Ordering groceries from Walmart and having them delivered. This requires taking screenshots of the order, taking pictures of the delivery and filling out a survey about the experience. The pay on these gigs is usually $4-6, but in a couple cases they also reimbursed $30 of my groceries. So, $36 to get groceries from Walmart. Not a bad side hustle.
2) Insurance audit photos. Just today I drove by a house two miles up the road from me, took three pictures of the house and drove off. The pay is $5.
3) Restaurant audits: I have done mystery shopping at both Little Caesars and Einsteins. In both cases the pay was $6-8 and my food was reimbursed. I did the Einsteins audit on my way home from a long run, when I would have eaten there anyway, and received almost $15 a few days later.
Here is what I have made on this app this year doing mostly stuff that I needed to do anyway:
As always, I only take jobs that are convenient and I try to take my kid with me when it makes sense so that he can “earn” and extra dollar in his allowance. This gives us an activity to do and teaches him the art of the side hustle.