While many people are looking for work from home jobs that will provide a full-time income, there are many others who are perfectly happy spending a little extra money in their spare time. Perhaps you don’t really need or want an hourly position with a schedule. Maybe you’ll be happy making $10 a day online if it’s on your own terms and on your own time.
If this sounds like you, you may have come across a site called Amazon mTurk (or Amazon Mechanical Turk) during your research. It’s a legitimate marketplace powered by Amazon that offers what we commonly refer to in the work-at-home world as “small jobs” or crowdtasking.
Pro tip: There are tons of other work-at-home jobs on Amazon.
What is a small task?
As the name suggests, these are tasks that take a short time to complete. Within the mTurk platform, all types of tasks are available, such as transcription files, identifying photos, data entry or research tasks, and more. Businesses may have hundreds of tasks that need to be completed, and since they don’t require a lot of expertise or a dedicated schedule, they don’t really care that they’re being completed by hundreds of different people as opposed to one dedicated staff. They usually focus on low rates and a quick turnaround instead.
So, that’s bad news. As with most entry-level, non-scheduled work-at-home jobs, the trade-off is usually minimum wage or less once you’ve finished your piece of work.
How does mTurk work?
Like many task marketplaces, a buyer or requester submits the tasks that need to be done and the rate they will pay for each completed task. These tasks are referred to as HITs, Human Intelligence Tasks. These HITs are then listed on the mTurk site, and you can hire them as a mechanical Turk worker (commonly called a Turker).
There is no set schedule or minimum time for the job although you must complete at least one HIT per day during your first 10 days as an employee (there is also a 100 HIT limit per day during your first 10 days). You can pick and choose the jobs you like. As mentioned earlier, you will find everything from surveys to categorization tasks inside. There is some incentive to keep some time. Better paying HITs are available once you hit 100/500/1,000 full HITs. During your first 10 days, focus on hitting these milestones rather than money.
Full HIT payment must be approved by requester before release. This usually happens within 24 hours. Once approved, the payment will be available on your dashboard. There is an initial hold period of 10 days for new employees. After that, you can request a payout of earnings to your Amazon Payments or Amazon Gift Card balance once a day if you want.
How much can you earn on mTurk?
There is no fixed hourly wage for every job, and for the most part, people report average earnings below minimum wage. Those that focus on the simplest tasks, such as surveys, often report hourly averages.
There are things you can do to increase your earnings.
Increase your mTurk income
will stay. The best paying HITs usually come during business hours and weekdays. That’s when most applicants submit their jobs online, after all.
Get your numbers up. While there are no required minimums to work on mTurk, there are benefits to being active. Many high-salary requesters only make their HITs available to experienced workers with 5,000 or 10,000 HITs under their belt.
Follow a subReddit. If you’re not familiar with Reddit yet, you might want to change that. The best HITs of the day are listed in the subreddits this is. Users let you know what’s hot, and they’ll let you know when a HIT is complete, so you don’t waste your time trying to grab something that’s no longer available.
Use scripts, bots and extensions. Fortunately for us non-programmers, some people have created third-party scripts, bots, and browser extensions to line up HITs and help us work more efficiently.
Some popular ones include the MTurk Suite Chrome extension and Panda Crazy Max.
Find your comfort zone. As with almost any type of job, the more skills involved, the higher the wages. Many of those who are happy with their part-time mTurk income are doing HITs like transcription.
Please follow the instructions. HITs must be approved by the requester before you can pay. In addition to the possibility of not getting paid for rejected work, this number also goes against your overall score. Most requestors require workers approval rates of 98-99%. While this is really flexible work without a lot of supervision, you still need to put your best foot forward if you want to keep the option open.
Qualify whenever possible. You will see many HITs that require qualifications. This means taking a test or performing a sample HIT before such HIT is available to you. Take advantage of this opportunity. Also, check your Eligibility tab to see what tests are available to you and what you’ve been approved for Becoming “qualified” will also reduce your competition for qualifying-required HITs.
Find your personal groove. There are many methods to this madness that you can read about in the forums and the r/mturk subReddit, but you’ll quickly find there’s no one way to do it to achieve the best results. Every Turker has found a rhythm and HIT that they enjoy the most and can do faster that allows them to achieve their goals. There will be a learning curve.
Sites like mTurk
If you like this kind of work, there are some similar sites that you should check out.
- Clickworkers – This is a very popular site similar to mTurk. Take the preliminary assessments seriously, because you have to pass in order to pick up the jobs.
- Crowdflower – This is a very large crowdsourcing site that deals worldwide. This is a unique setup in that they offer their jobs through third parties like InstaGC and Clixsense
- fancy hands – This site is well known for offering small task virtual assistant services. If you’re looking for something a little more challenging than surveying, the jobs here often involve research, making appointments, and answering emails. You’ll likely see the payment a bit higher. Maybe not much. but a little
- iSoftStone – Although this site is best known for its search engine ranking positions, they also offer crowdsourcing jobs.
- Microworkers – Much like mTurk. A quick scan of the buyer templates available on the site will give you an idea of the most common types of tasks – categorization, surveys, content moderation, data mining, etc.
- Onespace – Onespace is the workforce side of crowdsource. Their jobs primarily fall into the fields of writing and research.
- Rev.com – Transcription is the name of the game here. Pick up the file as you like.
Can mTurk be a full-time job?
You can make mTurk a full-time job, but the better question is, should you?
Even with the best tips, I wouldn’t rely on mechanical turks to pay your bills. It’s not going to happen but could be a quick way to make some extra money from home. If you’re looking for something more reliable and with a flexible schedule, I’d consider other side hustles that better match your skills, like writing or virtual assistance.
Is mechanical turkey legal?
mTurk is an Amazon platform, so it’s definitely legit. But the downside is that the pay per job is pretty low, and most people struggle to even make minimum wage.