Learn How to Make Money on Amazon Mechanical Turk
Looking for tips on how to make money on Amazon Mechanical Turk? Not sure where to get started?
In this Amazon Mechanical Turk earning guide, we'll break down how each opportunity on the platform works, ways to maximize your earnings (and waste less time), and more.
What is Amazon Mechanical Turk?
Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) is a crowdsourcing marketplace that connects businesses with workers who earn money by completing small tasks through the web. Founded in 2005, the platform is owned and operated by Amazon.com and is home to over 500k crowd workers. Learn more.
How Much Money Can You Earn on Amazon Mechanical Turk?
Before we get into the earning guide, let's set some expectations. What's the overall earning potential of Amazon Mechanical Turk? How much can you actually expect to earn? Is it even worth it?
According to our Amazon Mechanical Turk Worker Reviews:
Hourly earnings on Amazon Mechanical Turk range from $2.00-$15.00/hour. Average hourly earnings are $6.42/hour while median hourly earnings are $5.50/hour.
Monthly earnings range from $4.00-$1000.00/month. Average monthly earnings are $209.88/month while median monthly earnings are $50.00/month
Read all of our Amazon Mechanical Turk Worker Reviews to learn more.
Want to contribute your own data? Write a review!
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How to Start Earning on Amazon Mechanical Turk
If you're brand new to Amazon Mechanical Turk, here's the optimal way to get started:
First, before signing up, make sure you meet the requirements:
|Minimum Age:||18 years old|
|Supported Locations:||Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana |
|Supported Devices:||Computer, Smartphone, Tablet|
Amazon MTurk can be accessed via web browser on any device (user experience may vary).
If your application gets rejected (it's common), just wait it out. Many have reported getting an invite email days, weeks, or even months after applying, so it seems Amazon places workers on a waitlist when they have an overflow of applications. It sucks, but it's just how it is.
How to Make Money on Amazon Mechanical Turk
There's a wide range of work available on Amazon MTurk, from data entry to writing to data labeling to surveys and much more. We're not going to go over every type of work you might encounter on the platform in this guide, because that would take forever.
Instead, we're going to go over the fundamentals of MTurk so you know what to expect when getting started.
We're going to cover:
- Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs) – These are what jobs on MTurk are called. Some are better than others.
- Batches – These are groups of similar HITs. The tasks in them typically pay less each, but they're quick and easy which can lead to higher hourly rates.
And then below, we'll share some tips on how to increase your efficiency and earnings.
Every piece of work that a requester puts on MTurk is known as a HIT or Human Intelligence Task. These jobs are first come first serve, pay varying amounts, and each task has its own set of instructions.
There are several types of HITs available on MTurk, including:
- Academic surveys
- Transcription jobs
- Data capture
- Data entry
- Voice recording
- Database cleaning
- Writing jobs
- Content moderation; and more.
Because Mechanical Turk allows requesters to create their own tasks from scratch, pretty much anything a requester can think of can be posted as a HIT.
Are certain types of HITs better than others?
This largely depends on the skillset of the individual worker. However if you are flexible and willing to learn, the best HITs will be whatever pays the best rate.
Most people prefer working on a good batch to working on surveys, and tend to prefer HITs that don't require too much brain work to help avoid burnout.
How to decide which HITs to work on
Many requesters require you to have completed a certain number of HITs before allowing you access to their work.
When you have completed under 1,000 HITs your goal should be to get your HIT count up. This means working on batch HITs that don’t take long to complete and that you can submit a lot of, even if they don’t pay particularly well.
Afterward you should keep your eye out for qualification opportunities while keeping track of what requesters regularly post well-paid work.
A batch is a set of HITs grouped under a single assignment, of which you can do several. Requesters will break a large project into a number of small tasks to be submitted one at a time: this is a batch.
For example, imagine a requester who wants to collect information about the latitude and longitude of a large list of landmarks. They can put up a batch of HITs, with each HIT containing the name of a single landmark, and ask workers to find and submit the latitude and longitude of that landmark.
Pros of doing batch work
- You can quit anytime.
- You quickly get a feel for how well you are being paid.
- Can often be optimized for a better pay rate.
- The best batches tend to pay better than the best surveys.
Downsides of doing batch work
Good batches are highly competitive and the HITs can be taken by other workers very quickly.
How to spot good batches
It’s normally easier to tell a good batch from a bad batch than it is to tell a good survey from a bad survey.
If what they are asking you to do seems like a ridiculous amount of work for the reward offered, avoid! If you can’t tell, you can do one to test how long it will take. If it doesn’t seem possible to make the batch pay well, close the tab!
Sometimes you can work faster after some practice on a particular batch, or a batch can be made faster with a script or macro to help automate repetitive tasks.
Amazon Mechanical Turk Tips and Tricks to Earn More Money
Ok, now that you know how to make money on Amazon Mechanical Turk, let's look at some tips to help you earn more in less time.
1. Always Go For Qualifications
A requester can create a qualification and require that workers own said qualification before working on a particular HIT.
Having a qualification that allows you to work on quality work is prized by experienced turkers as there is much less competition for work that is behind a qualification. Only workers with the qualification can work on it.
This allows you to do many more of those HITs than you otherwise would have been able to do.
There are two primary ways a requester will hand out a qualification:
- Through a “qualification test” – A test the requester will put up with qualifications handed out to people who pass. These can be in the form of a HIT, often with “qualification test” or something similar in the title, or in the form of a test published using MTurk’s built-in qualification test system.
- By randomly being handed one after working on a batch that was not originally behind a qualification. Sometimes a requester will post a batch that is open to everyone as a test run and then give qualifications to people who submit good work.
2. Safeguard Your Approval Rating
It's important to keep a high approval rating as many requesters will only allow people over a certain threshold to work on their HITs.
In essence, the lower your approval rating, the less work that will be available to you.
Luckily, keeping a high approval rating is pretty easy. If you work on batches, you will be submitting HITs by the hundreds. The vast majority of these will be approved, and you will end up requiring a very large number of rejected HITs to bring you to a low enough level for them to hurt.
The people who are most vulnerable are beginners who have not yet submitted many HITs, in which case you should be extra careful to submit quality work and to work for established requesters.
In general, if you submit good work, you don’t really have to worry about approval rating, especially after you have a decent number of approved HITs under your belt.
Tip: If you feel your work was rejected wrongly, send the requester a friendly email asking for more feedback. They may allow you to re-do the work or they may reverse the rejection completely if it was an accident.
3. Use MTurk Scripts
In regards to turking, scripts are tools that provide functionality that makes turking more efficient in some way. They are normally installed directly in your browser.
Since Mechanical Turk provides very few quality of life features, navigating the main HITs page in an attempt to find good HITs can be difficult and involve a lot of clicking on bad HITs, reading how much work they expect you to do for a nickel, cursing under your breath, and closing the tab.
Scripts provide a variety of features that help to ease this pain. These include:
- Displaying available HITs in a more scannable format
- Auto-refreshing the available HITs for you
- Displaying information based on review aggregates
- Allowing you to block requesters you know only post bad work from showing up; and more.
Note: Before installing a script, spent some time to fully understand what a script is doing to avoid any potential problems.
Two scripts that are highly recommended for beginners include:
1. Mturk Suite
The default HITs page looks something like this (white by default, I’m using a dark theme):
When using HIT Finder, HITs will be displayed like this:
HITs are color-coded based on info pulled from review sites (green = good pay, red = bad pay, etc), with more information available at the click of a button.
You can add requesters or HITs to your “block list” stopping them from being displayed and can add them to your “include list” to highlight them and alert you when they are posted.
HIT Finder also automatically refreshes the available HITs for you and can interact directly with the next tool I’m going to talk about…
HIT catcher is all about sending Pandas (learn more about those here).
It allows you to repeatedly send a request in an attempt to catch a specified HIT at a custom time interval. You can add the HITs you are trying to catch to HIT Catcher manually or you can do so by clicking a button in HIT Finder.
This is what it looks like:
To learn more about MTurk suite, check out the wiki.
Turkerview is a review platform allowing turkers to leave reviews on HITs and requesters.
The Turkerview script will display review information directly on Mechanical Turk and will allow you to leave your own reviews.
Here is an example of what it looks like:
Note: You may need to purchase a TurkerView API key to access full functionality.
4. Get to 1,000 Approved HITs
When you first start out on MTurk you'll be on a probational period for 10 days. You'll only be able to submit 100 HITs a day during this time rather than the typical 3,800.
To get access to better, higher-paying work, you want to focus on getting to 1,000 approved HITs as soon as possible. It will be a grind, but a necessary one.
To speed things up, work on batch HITs that are quick to complete, and don't worry about pay too much at first.
The most important thing to do while building up to 1,000 HITs is to keep your approval rating high. Since you'll have barely any approved HITs at this point, just a single rejected HIT could affect your approval rating quite a lot.
Here are a couple of tips to help avoid rejections:
- Provide high-quality work, read instructions carefully, and contact requesters if you're unsure of something.
- Be wary of working with requesters who have high rejection rates (you can check this with TurkerView). You want to work with requesters who rarely hand out rejections, at least in the beginning.
Of course, some rejections are bound to happen at some point. When they happen, send an email to the requester, learn from it, and keep grinding.
5. Keep Setting Milestones
5,000 approved HITs and 10,000 approved HITs can unlock even more exclusive work.
At this point, you can start optimizing your hourly rate now too. Decide the lowest amount you'd be happy with per hour, and don't settle for less.
If there's no good work on the platform (and assuming you're doing this for side cash), log off for a bit and do something better with your time. For example, learn a high-income skill or find another money-making platform to try.
6. Connect with Others
One of the best ways to learn more about MTurk is to connect and socialize with other turkers. There are a ton of helpful resources and people out there willing to answer any questions you may have about the world of turking.
A few good places to start are the MTurk subreddit, the MTurk forum, and MTurk Crowd. Check them out! You'll find people sharing HITs worth turking for, tips, and more. As you have questions going forward, you can ask them there as well.
Here are some of the popular communities to check out:
- MTurk Crowd – One of the most well-known MTurk forums. Find resources, discussions, and more.
- MTurk Forum – One of the first Mechanical Turk forums created, still active to this day.
- TurkerView – Tons of guides, MTurk HITs, and more.
- /r/mturk – The main subreddit for MTurk questions and discussions.
- Turker Nation – Another subreddit for general MTurk tips and discussions.
- Reddit HWTF – This is the HITs Worth Turking For subreddit mentioned above. HITs submitted pay at least $0.10/minute.
- Carefully read and follow task instructions to prevent task rejections. If you have questions about a task, don't hesitate to contact requesters for clarification.
- Use third-party scripts/extensions. These can be used to increase efficiency, avoid bad requesters (ie. those who reject a lot of tasks), and more.
- Be cautious about working with requesters who frequently reject tasks. Especially when you're new to the platform (ie. haven't submitted many tasks), you want to avoid task rejections as much as possible.
- Take qualification tests when they're available. These can give you access to exclusive and higher-paying tasks.
- Leverage forums like Turker Nation and MTurk Forum for staying informed and up-to-date with the latest news and developments on MTurk. These forums can help you learn from the experiences of other workers.
How to Cash Out Your Amazon Mechanical Turk Earnings
The minimum payout/cash out amount on Amazon Mechanical Turk is $1. So, you'll need to first earn at least that much before being able to redeem your earnings.
Payouts on Amazon Mechanical Turk can be received via Direct Deposit or Gift Cards.
Note: Direct deposits are only available for U.S. bank accounts and are only available for some non-U.S. workers.
After hitting the payout threshold and/or requesting a cash out, you can expect to receive your reward/earnings in 3 days.
Note: Workers can choose to receive payouts every 3, 7, 14 or 30 days. Payouts are sent automatically.
Hope you found this Amazon Mechanical Turk earning guide helpful. You should now have a much better idea of how to make money on Amazon Mechanical Turk + all of the different money-making opportunities available on the platform.
If you have any questions, or if there's something we missed, please send us a message!
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