The Money Shed recently had the time to have a chat with Chris Pearson who is the head honcho at Field Agent UK. For those that don’t know, Field Agent is an App available exclusively for iPhone (Available here) that pays you for going out and doing tasks such as audits in shops, photos of billboards and all manor of weird and wonderful things.
I myself have been a Field Agent for a number of years and have earned a LOT from the the App.
We asked him a number of questions and are going to split this interview into 2 parts with the following part going up next Friday.
What is your position in Field Agent and how did you come to work there?
I am the owner of Field Agent and came to work here because back in July 2010 I had a crazy idea.
Can you give us a brief overview of Field Agent UK and how it works?
The principal of Field Agent is very simple and a great description is that we are the ‘eBay’ of local data. We put people who want information and people who can get that information together.
Example, certain business’s have a need to collect information at multiple locations around the UK, typically that might be information in a supermarket about a promotion they are running and that brand wants confirmation it is in place with the right message and price. The job is posted on the app which shows on a map a list of locations where the information is needed. You reserve that task and follow the simple set of instructions when you are at that location. We collect all that data and pay you for it. The client then gets the data and pays us. The data in this case may have been some photos, price confirmation and how many are on display.
Today of course we can say things like we have 50,000 people waiting for your instruction – what information would you like them to collect today.
Have you seen a shift in clients over the years looking for more responsive auditing like this and away from the more traditional mystery shopping?
The shift is probably the client type, collecting data in supermarkets has been going on for at least 30 years as has mystery shopping, so it seems obvious to gain business there. We win this business on the basis of speed and deployment execution eg. collecting data only between 4pm and 6pm on a Friday but there are easily over 100 companies already competing in this space either with a traditional field source or some technology element.
This is not the future for crowd technology as it can be far more effective than just going into shops and we need to utilise the technology in our smart phones and show that we have 50,000 people with cameras, spirit levels, counters and even a device that can check your heart rate. A crowd of skilled individuals can be very powerful.
If you were to describe the opportunities that Field Agent offers someone looking to earn money using their iPhone how would you do it?
The opportunities are different for so many people but the main area is being able to control your involvement. Just do 1 visit a week and spend the money on an expensive coffee or as a recent agent wrote thanks for helping to pay for the family holiday. Start and stop when ever you want, fit it in around school hours, only do tasks on your days off, supplement your main income by picking tasks up as you travel about.
We do try to set a realistic expectation. This is not a full time activity (yet)
Is there an average for how much a Field Agent usually makes in a month/year?
A good comparison is to see how this has increased over the years as our agent count has gone up along with the number of jobs.
2012 – £66.46 average earning – £5200 highest
2013 – £76.20 average earnings – £6500 highest
2014 – £133.34 average earning to date – £7600 highest
The average of course would turn out to be quite small as the vast majority of agents, 90%, do a very small number of jobs with 10% being the much bigger users.