As you know companies spend a ton of money on marketing. A lot of it is now done on the Internet which is more cost effective. But many still market via the postal mail. Most of us refer to the mail advertisements we receive as ‘junk mail'. But on occasion you may find some useful offers or coupons. In any event, since companies are spending big bucks to get our attention they want to ensure that their mail is being delivered on time and in the condition it was intended. Delays or mail that is missing certain things can cost a company a lot of money.
So as consumers what do we care? We'd probably prefer to get less of this ‘junk'. Well imagine being paid to receive postal mail. If you're a loyal subscriber that takes action and follows my multiple stream of income approach, you're probably already getting paid for reading emails from companies like Hits4pay, Inboxdollars, etc. Now you'll have the option of getting paid for physical mail too by becoming a mail decoy.
How does being a mail decoy work?
US Monitor is a company that provides direct mail companies with quality control and efficiency information about their mailings. They do this by hiring mail decoys which are then added to one of their client's mailing list. Then a mail decoy will start receiving postal mail offers, newsletters, flyers, catalogs etc.
Once you start receiving these offers you log in and report in to US Mail when the mail came and what condition it was in. Sometimes they have you reply to an offer in a return envelope to monitor how long it takes for your mail to get back to them. They have special codes on their mail and you are shown how to identify them, so separating their mail from the direct mail offers you normally get will be no problem.
US Monitor asks that you keep this mail for a week or sometimes as long as a month. Some of it you will just toss, others they want you to return in pre-paid envelopes they give you. From time to time you will need to take a photograph of the piece of mail or scan a copy of it and send it to them.
What are the requirements?
There is no special training. But you need a computer, a scanner, a digital camera to document any problems you found, and a place to store the mail you get (100+ pieces) until you toss it or return it. Of course you need an address that can receive US mail! I'm not sure but I think a PO box would work too, it is the zip code that matters. In addition you need to be home to process mail each day, and if you are away, they prefer you have someone who can do it for you.
Is this opportunity available outside the U.S.?
They have mail decoy opportunities in the US, Canada and most other international countries.
What is the pay?
They do things a little differently than other non traditional work from home opportunities. Once hired they pay you a monthly stipend. No matter what, you get that money. Currently it is $10/month. Then you get paid per piece of mail you process which is about $0.25. When you first start you will only get a few pieces of mail a day, the longer you stay, the more mail you get, which could be up to 40. Between the monthly stipend and say 100 pieces of mail a month, you would might see $35 per month. It would definitely go higher when you are getting 30-40 pieces of mail a day. Ultimately it's not a lot of money. But when you consider you were getting paid nothing for receiving postal mail, you're already winning with this opportunity provided it's not a lot of work to manage.
How do they pay?
You get a check in the mail once a month. From what I can tell it is usually in the middle of the month. I am assuming that you would be an independent contractor with this company. Although I couldn't find any details to confirm this.
How do you sign up?
There is an application form to fill out, which gives you insight into their requirements. Here's a little tip that may help you if you happen to live in a larger city. Be sure to use the extra four digits in the zip code you provide since they will hire more than one person in those areas. You never know, it may help you get in!
Once you apply you either get an email that tells you they don't have any openings in your area right now, but they will keep you application on file for one year. Or you get contacted telling you they are looking for mail decoys in your area and the log-in details
Now we get to look at the things about this you should think twice about before signing up. There is no such thing as a perfect opportunity, the good comes with the bad, so lets get talking about the downside of being a mail decoy.
– The major con of course is the one person per zip code rule. Larger cities often will have several folks in different areas of town. But overall this opportunity is just easy enough to do that people tend to hold on to their spot, so there is not a lot of turnover. That is great for the people who are hired, but not so great for new people who want to get hired.
– They don't have an direct deposit or paypal option. Seems to be a waste of paper and postage to mail checks when you can easily pay people electronically. If you're anything like me you'd prefer to avoid waiting for a check and treking to the bank to cash it.
– You are kind of tied down with this thing. Every day there is mail, six days a week, you have to take the mail decoy items, and do your thing with it and log in to record. This is literally a work at home opportunity! You really need to be home to do it. If you're a home body that rarely travels then this is perfect for you. But if you're the type to take over night trips or week long vacations, you better have someone prepared to do the little work this involves when you're not home or risks losing your coveted spot with the company.
– I know some folks would just prefer one opportunity that covers all their financial needs. If that's you, then this is something you should probably pass on. Like many of these non-traditional work at home opportunities, you couldn't just make a living with this thing alone. It would be something that you could couple with some of my other recommendations or a supplement to a traditional work at home job.
– As I stated at the start of this review, more companies are shifting their budgets from traditional media of direct mail, TV and radio buys to the Internet. With that said I wonder how much business mail decoys have and will it dwindle as more people cut their spending on these older marketing methods. For now everything seems all good. But I wonder if that will change in the near future.
So is US Monitor Legitimate?
I give this one a big green light! However just keep in mind the cons I mentioned above. In any event, I would love to hear more from you on what your experiences with this company has been, and if they are hiring. This time of year leading up to the holidays is big for direct mailing companies so maybe the timing will be good to get hired!