In July of 2019, I applied to work as a user tester at Usertesting.com on the advice of a friend. I was looking for small, non-time consuming side hustle to make a bit of extra cash in the evenings to cover occasional frivolous purchases that I could buy without guilt. “Beer money”, one might call it, except I generally do not buy beer with it. That said, we do, occasionally, partake. Enough about beer.
What is it?
Usertesting.com offers a user research service, allowing companies to use the UserTesting online platform to gain valuable “human insight”. Their customers include big names like PayPal, AirBnB, Facebook, eBay, and “niche”. Ok, that last one wasn’t a big name, but honestly I struggled to find a company I didn’t recognize in the list. Once you are approved as a tester, you can complete screening surveys that are typically a few questions long to try to pick up work testing websites for these customers.
What do you need to participate?
At a minimum, you need a PayPal account, PC/Mac, smart phone, and microphone. You can pick up more tests if you also have a web camera attached to your PC and/or a tablet, as some tests require video or tablet use.
When you sign up, you must complete a practice test. Your voice and screen are recorded to ensure you are going to deliver quality tests to Usertesting.com. It’s important to do the tutorial and follow the instructions closely so that you will score well on your test. During my first attempt, I was not approved – I believe due to a faulty microphone on my laptop. The tricky thing is, if you aren’t approved, they don’t tell you why. I tried again on my other PC, and the microphone worked fine. I was approved with a rating of 4 stars out of 5.
How to get User Tests
Once you are approved, “screeners” will start rolling into your UserTesting portal / app. You will not qualify for most of them. If you do qualify, you are required to start the test immediately. So, when you do your screeners, make sure you have ample quiet time to complete a test right away. I recommend a minimum of 30 guaranteed minutes of interruption-free time just to be sure – although, most tests are more in the 10-15 minute range. Each test pays $10 US (i.e. $1492 CAD…varies based on exchange rate).
Some helpful tips:
- It appears that if you leave the tab open on your PC/Mac while you are doing other things, you’re more likely to get tests.
- The faster you do your screeners when they come in, the more likely you’ll be able to access the test. It appears to be a first-come, first-serve type of approach.
- Make sure to complete any surveys listed at the top of your “available tests” dashboard, as this will potentially open up additional screeners for you. Also, these surveys “stack” so once you complete a survey, “x” out the box and there could be another one hiding under it.
- The higher your star rating, the more screeners you will receive! Therefore make sure to always do your best and follow each step in the test carefully. You also must talk about what you are doing and your thought process throughout the test.
- If you have a webcam, this opens you up to interview-style tests. These pay much more than $10. That said, they also take longer. Interview style tests will typically last 30 or 60 minutes, and pay $30-60. I have only qualified for one interview so far, and it was good fun (Update: I’ve done 4 more of these as of September 2020!)
- If you are interrupted by a loud child, dog, or roomie during the test, you are able to pause it temporarily without issue. This is very handy. Some other testing sites don’t have this option (ex. Validately, which I’ve also done tests for).
Is it worth my time?
Since I haven’t been able to get any immediate payout from side hustles so far (except maybe selling stuff online that we no longer need), I’m going to say yes. That said, it really doesn’t pay well enough or often enough to be considered a true side hustle that will help me get to FI/RE. This is why I call it my “beer money” – when I have an extra half hour in the evening, I can log in and make $10-30 quickly when my original plan was to watch Netflix.
How much have I made on UserTesting?
I haven’t diligently logged into the site on a regular basis, and have made $290 since August 2019. That’s about $48 per month on average, but I am truly half-assing it.
How much could I make if I actually tried? If I logged in each night for a bit, let’s say possibly double that amount? In which case I’d be looking at around $580 in 6 months, or $1160 in a year. Not bad!
If you are someone who is detail oriented, and enjoys getting paid for the odd small job from the comfort of your home computer on your own schedule, I would definitely recommend signing up for Usertesting.com. Typically you are paid within 5-7 days via PayPal. I will definitely continue to do user tests when I feel like it for quick money. That said, I have an extensive list of 2020 resolutions with multiple actions that I wish to complete, that should propel me faster to FI/RE. So, this will definitely not be a primary focus.
Have you tried user testing? What was your experience? Do you have further questions about Usertesting.com? Let me know in the comments below!