Note: Job Spotter closed (it looks like for good) in April 2020. I’m leaving this post up just as a record of what it was!
Earning extra money is great. I’m long past the point of spending hours to earn an extra dollar, though. So, when I write about an extra app or recommend a side hustle know I only do so if it’s worth my time and yours.
Also, I will never lie and claim you’ll make a fortune using apps or side gimmicks. Let me be clear, what I’m writing about today is not going to make you a millionaire. But… if you can earn a few extra dollars doing something that fits into your life, it’s worth a try. With this thought in mind, I installed Job Spotter after hearing about it from a few friends on Twitter.
I expected to play with the app a bit over a weekend just to experiment and learn a bit about it. Maybe I’d even use it from time to time for an extra dollar here and there. Instead, I’ve been surprised how well it integrated with my life and has benefits for me above and beyond the financial. In today’s post, I’ll tell you how I combined exercise and Job Spotter to earn a little easy extra money.
Let me say that again: a little extra money. I want to be clear from the start that this will not earn you millions of dollars. It will not replace your income or even dramatically increase your savings. But, it might add a few dollars to your pocket from time to time.
What Is Job Spotter?
Job Spotter is an app from indeed.com that pays you a few cents to a few dollars to take pictures of hiring signs and upload them. Sound too good to be true? I thought so as well but decided to experiment with it. It turned out to actually be exactly as described and astonishingly easy to use.
Submitting a New Job
When you find a sign you use the following screen to take a picture of the hiring sign. The app even helpfully gives you guidance on how big the sign should be in the picture.
It isn’t always possible to get the sign to fit in this box (and that’s okay) but it’s a helpful guide. After capturing the sign you click the green check to submit. It takes you to the next screen where you take a photo of the hiring business’s sign.
Then you click submit again and your job uploads.
Note that I sometimes had problems with this upload process and got an upload fail notice. However, it always corrected itself and I never lost a job spot because of it.
How Do You Earn Money Doing This?
Each job you submit is assigned a value by the reviewers at Job Spotter. The app even has helpful advice on which signs are valued more. In general, chain business signs, generic hiring signs, and recently submitted signs will be worth the least.
First time signs, especially those for small businesses, are worth the most. My job spots ranged from five points to a high of 263 points. This variation in points became important as I decided how and if I would use Job Spotter.
Points can be redeemed for Amazon gift cards. There are probably options and tricks in the redemption process that I haven’t yet explored. I stuck with redeeming them for Amazon gift cards.
The redemption process was simple and straightforward. I redeem each time I reach $20 but that isn’t necessary. You can redeem at any point.
After a few days, I was emailed a gift card code which I then loaded into my Amazon account. The redemption process was so straightforward I won’t spend any more time on it. I trust you can figure it out.
How I Used Job Spotter Successfully
My original intent was simply to have the application loaded and take a picture when I happen to notice a hiring sign in the normal course of a day. This is a perfectly reasonable way to use the app but I quickly realized it would be a matter of a few dollars a month or less.
During my short experiment, I happened upon a different way that worked well for me. I combined Job Spotter with my favorite form of exercise! In my experiment it earned about $50 a month with very little extra effort.
This won’t make me rich but a few hundred extra dollars isn’t negligible. Here’s how it works for me:
I like to long-distance cycle. Cycling is both my preferred form of exercise and a healthy brain break. As an introvert who spends days constantly surrounded by people, the ability to get on my bike and just ride is one of the great pleasures in life.
Here’s the thing though, having lived in the same metro area for 20 years I’ve ridden my preferred routes hundreds of times for thousands and thousands of miles. I’m always looking for ways to keep interested – particularly on those rides that are just a solo training grind.
Right now, you’re wondering what in the world this has to do with Job Spotter. Remember earlier when I described how points are assigned? The highest points are assigned to jobs in less-trafficked areas. Not because they are less trafficked but because they are less likely to be noticed or frequently uploaded!
To find long uninterrupted routes in my metro area I often ride to small towns nearby or through industrial areas on the weekend when there is no truck traffic. These areas turn out to be Job Spotter gold mines! (Again – gold mine is relative here.)
I ride early in the mornings on weekends when it’s easy to get the pictures without interrupting others or looking incredibly awkward. This makes the combination of distance cycling and Job Spotter almost ideal.
Early in my exploration, I decided to try going to a shopping center where I knew a lot of stores had hiring signs. Other shoppers or perhaps intentional job spotters had a similar idea. You end up with a spot list that looks like this:
Remember points translate to cents. Yes – I was earning a whopping five to ten cents for every two pictures I took. You can decide if that’s worth it for you if you are already at the shopping center. It certainly isn’t worth going to the shopping center just to job spot, even if you bike there.
Contrast that to these spots which I got on a single ride through an industrial area.
A much different story and actually worth it under the right circumstances.
A quick tip – the map option in Job Spotter is really useful. You can click it open and scan quickly to see if the spots around you are recent. This is how I primarily use it, so I don’t expend extra effort grabbing signs uploaded in the last few days or worth low points. These signs are in light green or grey.
Here’s an example map.
You can upload the light green locations and get a few points. Sometimes this might be worth it to you. It’s a matter of balancing your effort.
It will also show you signs (in dark green) that are worth more points. These are generally non-chain store signs that haven’t been updated in at least ten days. Sometimes, these are real opportunities. Other times, it means the sign has been removed. I rarely go looking just for these signs, but it’s helpful to know if you are already in the area.
After I hit upon combining job spotting with my exercise I’ve averaged over $50 a month. I’m heading into the winter months now. So, that will drop off as I ride less outside and when I do it’s rainy and I’m unlikely to stop.
Yet as I go into cycling season next year I expect it will pick up and perhaps even make more. Not bad for a little extra effort.
I primarily made this money two ways.
I mentioned that cycling is my preferred life-balance activity. I wouldn’t ruin that even for a few dollars.
Maybe that will cost me my personal finance credibility. However, your time and mental balance is important too. Fortunately, Job Spotter fits well rather than interrupts. Here’s how I make it work:
What I Do
As I’m riding, I always prioritize paying attention to the road.
When in safe conditions I scan for hiring signs as I’m going through industrial areas and small towns. Depending on where I am in my ride sequence I either make a mental note or stop right there.
I’ve found that busy urban areas are frequently spotted, but these small towns just outside the metro area are much less picked over.
You can submit jobs up to two times per month. So, I tried to space my rides along the same route. This is a benefit to job spotting but also for that training grind I mentioned earlier. Job spots reset to higher values about every 10 days. This allows me to maximize the points I get for each upload.
Sometimes I’ll skip a sign and make a point of returning either on my route back or on a future ride.
What I Don’t Do
If I happen to be riding with a group I do not look for hiring signs. Pay attention to the road and the group. Don’t be that person.
If I’m in the middle of a hard push or working on a specific piece of fitness I don’t allow job spots to interrupt that.
Similarly, if I need a total mental break, I don’t bother looking for jobs and just let my brain cycle. It’s a rolling meditation. A few dollars isn’t worth giving that up.
My wife and I try to travel over a weekend at least one weekend a month during the school year. This is another great opportunity to pick up job spots. When we stop in a small town for lunch, to look in a store, or at our destination I make it a point to check the map or walk around town looking for hiring signs.
Sometimes, especially in frequent tourist stops, the signs may have been recently captured. But in general, I found these quick stops and towns often yield a few new signs or signs that haven’t been updated for some time. These signs are worth a hundred or two hundred or more points.
We’ve joked that Job Spotter is paying for our quick stops. This also has the added benefit of a little extra walking around these towns. That’s an upgrade to my usual activity of sitting on a bench scrolling Twitter while waiting for TFI to browse through some store.
How I’m Using Job Spotter Rewards
I’m redeeming the points for Amazon Gift cards. I’m currently on a mission to replace my laptop with only extra earned money. The $120 dollars I’ve earned so far in job spotting is going into that fund.
Once I make that goal, the rewards will be ideal for bike maintenance costs. A nice way to support a beloved hobby and free up some extra money for savings!
Summary – My Experience With Job Spotter
After setting out just to understand the app and expecting to make a few cents before deleting, I’m surprised at my positive experience.
Job Spotter will not make you rich. In my opinion, Job Spotter is not worth doing as a primary side hustle.
However, if you can integrate it into your travel or exercise routine (I think frequent walkers could do this well too!) it can be a real way to earn some extra money.
I’m a Job Spotter fan. It won’t make you rich, but it’s a little easy extra money.