Field Agent Review: Make $10-20/hr Mystery Shopping?
This is my review of the popular Field Agent app.
I’ve heard about the app on various lists of side hustle ideas for years, and was excited to finally put it to the test.
The tl;dr version of what I found is that the app is legit (they do really pay), it’s easy to use, and is actually pretty fun. But don’t expect this to replace your day job!
Field Agent Review
- Sign-Up Process
- Ease of Use
- Earning Power
- Gig Availability
Field Agent won’t replace your day job, but is a fun and interesting way to make a little extra cash. Check out the full review below to learn how the app works, how to maximize your earnings, and some potentially better-paying alternatives to consider.
How Field Agent Works
Field Agent connects brands and businesses that want feedback with Agents (like you!) to collect that feedback.
What that looks like in real life is getting paid to:
- Check inventory levels
- Verify store displays and product placement
- Test employee knowledge by asking a few questions
- Provide feedback on packaging and marketing
- Try new products
If that sounds like fun, you can download the app for free and see what jobs are available nearby.
Is Field Agent Legit?
Yes, Field Agent is a legitimate mystery shopping app that pays you for completing small jobs around town. Since launching in 2010, the app has paid out more than $20 million to Agents like you.
The company is headquartered in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and facilitates jobs throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
How Much Can You Make with Field Agent?
Most Field Agent gigs pay between $3 and $10, depending on the complexity and estimated time to complete. On an hourly basis, that might optimistically pan out to $10-25 an hour — not counting your drive time.
It would be difficult to turn Field Agent-ing into a full-time income stream, but the app is a fun and interesting way to make extra money.
Personally, on a recent “mission” I made $9 for about roughly 30 minutes of actual work.
Finding Jobs on Field Agent
Finding jobs on the Field Agent app is simple.
To get started, download the app and create an account.
Then you can either use the “list view” or “map view” to see what Field Agent jobs are available. I’m more of a visual guy, so I like the map view:
At press time, there were lots of gigs available, but of course that will vary based on your location.
To learn more about the nearby jobs, you can click into each one to see what it entails. This description will tell you how much the job pays, how long you have to complete it, and a rough idea of the work required.
Types of Field Agent Jobs
There are several different types of jobs available through the Field Agent app. Those include:
- Buy and Try – Get paid to test out new products and share your opinion. Field Agent will reimburse your purchase.
- Buy, Try, and Share – the same as above but with the added requirement of posting about the product on social media.
- Audits – Check the status of a product display, availability, or section of shelving.
- Mystery Shop – You may be given sample scripts or questions to ask employees. (And you must not divulge your secret agent status!)
- Ticket Jobs – These are unpaid gigs, but don’t require any travel and enter you into a monthly prize drawing. (More on these below.)
Accepting a Job
If you find a gig that looks good, there will be a button to accept it at the bottom of the screen. As soon as you do, the countdown timer starts ticking.
Important note: This is your time to go to the location, complete the audit or purchase (if necessary), and try the product. This didn’t end up being an issue for me, but just something to be aware of. If you miss deadlines, it can hurt your rating within the app or cause you to not get paid.
Completing the Job
When I embarked on my first Field Agent mission, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. When I pulled up to Target (my first stop), I opened the app and just followed the instructions.
It told me to:
- find the product in the aisle
- take a picture of the whole shelf display
- answer a few questions about first impressions / packaging
For Buy and Try gigs, you’ll want to get your purchase on a separate receipt to make it easy. I was able to use the self-checkout so this wasn’t a problem.
(At my second stop, the cashier had no problem ringing the item up separately.)
The app was very straightforward walking through the steps. For the jobs I accepted, most of the questions were multiple choice, which made it pretty quick. During the product testing portion, it asked for 2-3 sentences of personal feedback on a couple questions.
In my case, Field Agent also requested a picture of the opened product next to the packaging, and a picture of my receipt for reimbursement.
When you’re all done, you’ll have a chance to review your answers before you submit. If everything looks OK, you can send off your job for approval and you’ll see a screen like this:
How Long Do Field Agent Jobs Take?
For this first $3 gig, it was about 10 minutes from the time I entered the store to the time I was done checking out. If I tack on the additional product trial questions when I got home, those added another 5 minutes.
So $3 in 15 minutes (not counting drive time) rounds out to the equivalent of $12 an hour — and we got to try a new product for free.
Do They Really Reimburse You?
One concern I had with Field Agent Buy and Try gigs was getting reimbursed. Here I am fronting my own money for this app job, with the hope they end up paying me back.
But yes, within a couple days of submitting my job for approval, the app approved and issued the full payment and reimbursement. I got an email notification like this:
And inside the app I could see the payments credited to my account:
Important Note: I’ve found that alcohol gigs don’t offer full reimbursement. I’m not sure if this is for legal reasons, but the job description will specify your reimbursement amount.
I did a hard seltzer Buy and Try that paid $6 for the job and $10 in reimbursement. Essentially that meant I got the hard seltzer for about half off and made $6 for my time and feedback.
So don’t go crazy accepting Field Agent alcohol jobs and buying stuff you know you won’t consume!
Field Agent Gig Strategy
What can you do to optimize your Field Agent earnings?
For starters, I probably wouldn’t make a dedicated trip for one job. But if you’re already out running errands, it might make sense to see if there are any nearby.
Beyond that, here are some ideas.
Stack Multiple Gigs in the Same Location
The most common Field Agent strategy is to complete multiple jobs in one stop. In fact, the app seems to encourage this.
For example, when multiple jobs are available, you’ll see a message like this in the job description:
“Earn up to $20 more at this location!”
Read the Job Description
See if you can find hints as to how time-intensive a job is going to be. When you click into a job for more info, Field Agent does a pretty good job of summarizing the work required.
But not all jobs take the same level of effort.
For example, I was excited to find a peanut butter Try and Buy near me, until I saw this:
That’s 57 questions about peanut butter for $4?? I mean, I love the stuff but what could you possibly have 57 question about?
In the app settings, make sure you have push notifications enabled. I’ve only received one of these so far, but if you want to be the first to know about new gigs, this is probably the best way.
I’ve never gotten any emails about new jobs, so you might just have to make a habit of checking the app before you head out the door.
Consider Your Drive Time
Think about these jobs in terms of their hourly rate.
One $3 gig took me about 15 minutes of actual “work,” (equivalent of $12 an hour) but if I factor in the 10 minutes drive time to and from the store, it starts to look much worse.
Unless it was a really great-paying job or a product I really wanted to try, I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to complete these. Instead, see if you can work the app into your existing trips and errands.
How Does Field Agent Pay You?
You can cash out your Field Agent earnings directly to your bank account.
After I input my account information in the app — complete with security codes and even a small test deposit to verify — it took a couple days to for the money to hit my account.
At press time, it does not appear that PayPal is an option.
Field Agent Taxes
Yes, the money you earn on Field Agent is taxable.
Now it’s true that you won’t receive a 1099 unless you’re on track to earn over $600 in a calendar year, but keep in mind that there’s still an electronic record of your payments. (Since they pay via direct deposit.)
On the plus side, your independent contractor status with Field Agent means you can deduct expenses related to your work. The biggest of these will be mileage.
If you’re diligent about tracking your mileage and strategic about aligning Field Agent jobs with trips you were going to make anyway, I can see this being a potentially creative way to save on taxes.
Disclaimer time: I’m not an accountant, nor do I play one on the Internet! Please do your own due diligence here and consult with a professional.
Stack Your Cash Back
If you’re working on a Field Agent gig that requires a purchase, make sure you’re maximizing your cash back outside the app.
Credit Card Rewards
For starters, use a rewards credit card. This is a solid choice:
Cash Back Apps
On top of your standard credit card rewards, I recommend a handful of cash back apps as well. Here are my top choices:
- Fetch Rewards (available on iOS and Android) – You earn extra cash back when you buy any of 250+ popular brands, just by snapping a picture of your receipts. Then redeem points for gift cards to retailers like Best Buy, Sephora, Staples, Gap, and more. (I’ve been cashing in for Amazon gift cards.)
- Ibotta – Not as easy to use as Fetch, since you have to scroll through each store or search to see if you bought any eligible products, but I still use it after every trip.
- Dosh – With Dosh, there are no codes to scan or receipts to upload. You’ll earn automatic cash back at lots of locations locally.
- Pei – This is probably my favorite new automatic cash back app. After you sign up and sync your card, you’ll automatically earn an extra 1-10% cash back at many stores and restaurants.
Other Ways to Make Money with Field Agent
Inside the Field Agent app, there are a couple other ways to make money.
1. Ticket Jobs
When you open the “Find Jobs” section of the Field Agent app, you’ll notice a heading for “Ticket Jobs.”
These are unpaid jobs, but completing them enters you into Field Agent’s monthly cash prize drawing. Per the app, the more of these you do, the higher your payout if you win.
Here’s how it breaks down:
- 1 Ticket = entry to the drawing and $100 prize if you win
- 2-3 Tickets = $200
- 4-5 Tickets = $300
- 6+ Tickets = $500
The good news with these is you can do them from anywhere — no travel required. That, and they’re super short. I did 6 of them (to max out my potential prize money!) in about 10 minutes. I’ll let you know if I win big!
The drawings are held on the 5th of every month for tickets earned the previous month. According to the Field Agent site, the final drawing is January 5th, 2021, so this potential earning option may be discontinued in 2021.
2. Refer Friends
Field Agent has a built-in referral program where you can earn money for recruiting new “agents.”
When friends of yours join through your specific referral link, you’ll earn 10% of each approved job they complete, up to a maximum of $10 per invite. If you have a large network, you can see how this might start to add up.
Field Agent Alternatives
The two apps that are most similar to Field Agent are Gigwalk and EasyShift.
However, neither app had the volume of available jobs near me that Field Agent does. Gigwalk had nothing within 15 miles, and EasyShift had 3 … and (at least at press time) EasyShift’s user reviews were decidedly worse.
But what else can you do to earn some extra cash?
Remote Market Research
If you enjoy this type of market research work, there are a couple companies you should know about that specialize in online focus groups and paid consumer studies.
My two favorites are Respondent and User Interviews. Both cater to more of a professional, business-to-business style of research, but do general population studies as well.
And the best part? The average compensation is in the $50-200 an hour range, and most of the time you don’t have to leave your house!
Other Survey Apps
The survey apps below don’t pay as well, but can also be done from home on your own schedule.
- Survey Junkie – Earn gift cards or cash out via PayPal.
- InboxDollars – Get a $5 bonus just for signing up!
- Pinecone Research – Earn $3 for each 15-20 minute survey. They’ll send you a $3 check after your first one.
- Opinion Outpost – Cash out at just $5 via PayPal or Amazon gift cards. Each survey enters you into a $10,000 quarterly drawing.
- Swagbucks – With this mega-popular app you can earn up to $35 a survey and get a $10 bonus just for signing up!
- YouGov – Long-running survey panel, with data often cited in the media.
- American Consumer Opinion – Join millions of free members and earn up to $50 per survey.
If you don’t mind driving, delivery apps tend to pay $10-25 an hour, with similar flexibility. These include:
- Postmates – Ride, drive, or walk to make local deliveries in your town and earn up to $25 an hour. Here’s our full Postmates driver review for more.
- DoorDash – Make up to $25 an hour as a food delivery driver for DoorDash. For more, check out our full DoorDash review.
- Instacart – Earn $14-18 an hour delivering groceries around town. Here’s our full Instacart shopper review, featuring one side hustler who brought in $10,000 doing this in his first 6 months.
Mobile Notary Service
Loan signing agents have much higher earning power than Field Agent workers. Of course, there’s an upfront investment in education and equipment here, but this is a popular gig among Side Hustle Nation.
Several listeners have reported earning thousands of dollars a month with their mobile notary business, including Brian Schooley, who first learned about it on The Side Hustle Show podcast.
The free Field Agent app is a legit way to make a little money on the side, but it’s not going to replace your day job.
Where it makes the most sense is to accept jobs where you’re already going, or to try free or discounted products you’re already interested in.
Have you tried it? Let me know about your experience in the comments below!
Secret agent photo courtesy of Depositphotos.