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How to Become a Consumer Tester

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Before products hit the market, companies try to get some initial feedback on how clients may react to the goods. As part of this phase, companies hire consumer testers. These testers receive free products from the company and tell the company what they liked or disliked about the products. The company then compensates them for their time. Although no consumer testing company is going to pay enough to cover all your bills, consumer testing is a fun on-the-side job that gives people a say in the commercial market. Virtually anyone can do this job.

Consider the products to which you gravitate. Think about the sections of a department store in which you spend the most time or review your spending history to identify what type of goods you buy most consistently. This will keep you from having to test products you wouldn't normally use.

Create a list of products you'd like to review based on Step 1. Identify manufacturers of those products and get the addresses, emails, website urls and phone numbers for those companies by looking at product labels. Look up the company name online if the contact information isn't on the label.

Write a short profile for yourself to use with your consumer tester applications. Indicate basic information about yourself such as your age, gender, whether you have kids and what type of products you use or have tested in the past. Include the reasons why you are interested in consumer testing and make known any allergies or medical conditions that may impact your ability to review products.

Contact the companies for which you would like to do some product testing. Ask for their quality assurance department. Then inquire if they have openings for additional testers and what the procedures are for hire. Give them your contact information and follow their instructions for application.

Wait for your application to process. Submit your consumer tests and update your profile to reflect your testing experience once you begin receiving items to test.

Tip

Every consumer testing program is different. Some companies only allow you to test a product several times per year, for example, while others have no limitations. Familiarize yourself with the terms of the program before you sign up and get them in writing.

Warning

Many consumer testing companies aren't really testing companies at all--they're scams. These companies promise to send you products to test for a fee, make you sign up for offers from partner sites, or want you to purchase the items you'd test. A legitimate consumer testing program has no charges, operates independently and doesn't require product purchase.

About the Author

Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website, Takingdictation.com, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.

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