“Good Afternoon. Can I interest you in a sample of our Savory Chicken Tacos? This is an easy and delicious meal that your whole family will love. Take some home tonight.”
If you frequently do your grocery shopping on the weekends, then chances are you have been approached by someone who is saying something similar to this and offering you a sample. If you live in the Columbus, OH area, then there’s a possibility that I was the one offering you the sample.
My official title is “product demonstrator” but I prefer to call it “sample passer-outer.” It has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?
How does it work?
I am an independent contractor for a company called New Concepts in Marketing (NCIM). It is the largest in-store marketing company in the country. NCIM works with brands who are interested in getting their products into consumers hands. They arrange for demonstrations in certain stores based on the specifications of the brand. Their job is to arrange for contractors to work as well as providing other services to companies and their brands.
As a product demonstrator, I receive a call from my area scheduler who offers certain dates and demonstrations to me. If I’m available to work then I will take the demo. If I’m not interested in working that day, then I pass on the demo.
(Schedulers will usually offer you demos that are closest to your home to avoid driving too much. I do not drive farther than 10 miles from my home and within that distance I have 3 stores to choose from.)
What do you need to get started?
Getting started is pretty simple but you will need to locate a few items to get going.
For NCIM we have a simple uniform of black pants, white shirt, black hat, black apron and black shoes. All of these items can be purchased inexpensively or you may already have them at home. Eventually though, you will need to purchase an official shirt, but it’s not essential to start.
You will also need to find a card table. You can borrow one from a friend if you do not have one. I do not suggest going out and buying one unless you had already planned on it. Eventually you will be buying a professional demonstration station for about $40. This may seem like a lot of money but it really makes your demos go more smoothly.
Depending on the demo, you may need a crock-pot, an electric skillet or a toaster oven. Again, borrow from a friend if you don’t have one. The nice thing about NCIM is that they will be renting that item from you each day that you use it. You will get a $2.50 rental fee from them on top of your regular fee.
You may also be bringing other items from home to use such as spoons, mixing bowls, a cutting board, etc. It really depends on the demo that you are doing.
What does a demo look like?
A few days before the demo is to take place, you will receive a package from NCIM with some of the items you will need. It could be coupons, signs, recipe cards or any additional items to pass out. You will also receive gloves, napkins or cups if they are needed, although some times you will be buying those at the store with money that NCIM provides you on a debit card.
About 5 days prior to the demo, you give the store a call and remind them of the demo that is coming up and request that they order enough of the product to cover the extra sales you expect to occur.
On the day of the demo, you gather all the items you need, head over to the store and let them know you are there. The store manager will instruct you on the best place to set up, usually it is in a main aisle where everyone is sure to see you.
You will gather all the products that you need and purchase them with your NCIM debit card. Then you are ready to go, just set up and start demo’ing. In your package earlier in the week, you will have received some directions, which include the script you will use for each consumer you encounter.
Demos usually last for 6 hours and once the time is up, you clean up your area, pack your items and head over to the customer service desk to get a signature and you are done.
There is a follow-up phone call and some paper to mail out on the next business day. You can expect payment within 48 hours after they have received your forms. For a demonstration that happened on a Saturday, I usually receive my payment on Thursday.
How much can you make?
The pay can range depending on the demo that you are doing but it is usually $54 per demo, which works out to be $9.00 per hour. I worked one over the weekend where I made $75 per demo, so the hourly wage was a bit higher.
Because I am an independent contractor, I do have to pay the taxes on this income at tax time. I’m not certain on this but items you have purchased to do your demos, such as clothing and appliances may be tax deductible (check with your accountant for clarification though.)
I’m a freelance writer and a graduate student. I’m also a single mom who shares custody with her ex-husband. I have the luxury of having every other weekend free and it is these weekends that I work my side hustle. However, if I have something that I’d rather do instead, then I don’t work.
If you are someone who likes to talk, has a great smile and can stand for up to 6 hours at a time, this might be the side hustle for you. You can sign up for NCIM as a product demonstrator by using this form. If you decide to do so, I’d love for you to use my name as a referral (Jessica Streit – thank you!).
Demonstrators are needed nationwide. If you are in the Columbus, OH area, I know personally that you could be working next weekend. There is a great need for product demonstrators!
Jessica Streit is a freelance writer and the owner of The Debt Princess. She writes about her financial mistakes and a journey into debt in the hopes of educating others before they make the wrong choices. Her goal is to prevent young adults from becoming addicted to credit cards & debt.
(photo by Panegyrics of Granovetter)