If you like taking online surveys, there’s a good chance you’re also interested in participating in product testing from home.
Just like with online surveys, there are no product testing jobs per se – that is, you can’t make a living as a product tester, but you can certainly get free products to try, and sometimes even get paid to do so.
One day you could be testing out laundry detergent, the next day you could be eating pizzas, trying out skin products, or even testing an electronic fitness tracker. Conducting product tests is an important piece of the market research puzzle and it helps companies identify how a product performs outside of a controlled (i.e. lab) environment.
By becoming a participant, you can find out about new products before they are fully released, and to test out products without having to buy them first.
The compensation offered per product test will vary, but 95% of the time, you will get to keep the product itself. Sometimes the product alone will be your compensation for your participation, and at other times, you may receive an additional reward such as cash, gift certificates, etc. in addition to the product you tested.
Getting Paid for Product Testing
There are times when you may receive payment along with getting to keep a tested product. Most of the time this occurs if you’re asked to participate in a diary-like assignment where over a span of a few days or couple weeks, you are asked to submit online log entries where you relay your daily experience with a product. This could be especially applicable for something you’d use daily such as soap, a pillow, or even an electronic such as a phone.
Alternatively, if you’re asked to return a product after using it, it is practically guaranteed that you will receive some form of compensation for your time.
Returning Products After Use
If you are asked to send back a product once you’ve finished testing it, it will usually be for one of two reasons: either the product in an expensive item (such as a vacuum cleaner), or the manufacturer would like to examine how you’ve used the product.
For instance, you could be asked to test a handheld duster and to send it back once you’ve used it three times. On the surface, this may seem very strange, but your used duster contains invaluable information about how exactly you’ve used the product. Things like where the dust collected, what the dust consisted of, how heavily soiled it is, etc. are all really useful pieces of information for the manufacturer.
Again, most of the time, you will not have to send back a product. But if you are asked to do so, it’s easy to see the rationale behind it, and as shipping labels are provided, there is little hassle involved when you can return the item free of charge.
Qualifying for Product Tests
Like with online surveys, product tests usually require that you provide details about your household makeup, but information about your interest in the product itself is also key.
For instance, someone who doesn’t like or buy gummy bears will probably not qualify for a test for them. Not only does this methodology ensure that testers won’t be asked to interact with products that they don’t like, but this also saves the company money so that they’re not paying people to test an item they wouldn’t buy anyway. This is determined via a questionnaire which will “qualify” the right testers for the right test.
You may have better luck qualifying for product tests if you live in an urban area; it’s cheaper to conduct market research in bigger cities, so if you live in a rural area, you may be asked to participate less frequently. As well, if you or anyone in your household is employed with the manufacturer of the product, it is unlikely that you will be selected to complete a test for it.
What Product Testing Consists of
Once you have received a product and have begun using it, you may be asked to provide feedback on everything from the appearance of the packaging, to the ease of use, taste (in the case of food items), etc. This is typically done via an online survey which you will access after you receive your test. Instructions for this are typically provided in the same box as the product itself.
You may also be asked to use a product in a certain way. For instance, if you were to test shampoo, you could be asked to provide your feedback on how the product performs when you use exactly one capful. Instructions for this will be included as part of your test.
As part of the growing mobile phone trend, some tests are now starting to integrate pictures taken with phones as part of assignments. You could be asked to photograph the product you’re using, and even answer questions about it, right from your phone. Not only is this very handy and easy to do, but it allows the company to really see how their products are used in an actual household environment.
Common Things to Test
Some of the most common items tested by product testers are cosmetics, toiletries, household cleaners, food, and drinks. Less common, but very fun to test items consist of electronics, clothing, and more.
How to Test Products from Home
Your first step is to sign up for product testing companies. These are often companies who also offer online survey opportunities. Legitimate companies will be completely free to join. Some companies will have a separate section on their website where they will list all of the current product tests they offer, and you can select which ones to sign up for.
Alternatively, you may be e-mailed an online questionnaire where you will be asked a series of questions to see if you’re a good fit for a test. Still, in other cases, you may be asked to complete what may seem like a regular online survey, but which in the end will ask you if you’d like the opportunity to test a product related to the survey.
The best way to become a tester is to simply sign up with a few different companies who offer testing opportunities, and wait to be contacted with your first assignment.