If you want to get out of your 9-to-5 toil or find a way to make some money on the side, the idea of working from home may sound perfect. In many cases, the advertised tasks can sound easy and the idea gives you much more time around your house and your family. One common direction is work from home mailing jobs, which can seem like a good way to go. With these, you typically don’t need much training and the financial investment is minimal.
But, which of these jobs are actually legitimate? After all, many of the roles advertised online aren’t real. Some of them are outright scams, trying to get you involved in something that is never going to work while costing you significant time and money in the process. Others exaggerate the amount that you can earn and underestimate the work involved.
Here, we’re looking at the field of work from home mailing jobs as a whole. This includes the various types of jobs out there, what they have to offer and whether they would be a practical approach.
I don’t like using the label scam very often, mostly because it gets misused. In practice, many of the products or approaches called a scam do work, they’re just not nearly as effective as you’re lead to believe.
For example, network marketing companies (like Beachbody) are often called a scam (and I don’t ever recommend them) but you can technically make money from them. A subset of people even make considerable income, even though most lose money instead.
The jobs here are different. They are all approaches that I would consider an outright scam – ones that have no redeeming qualities. Most of these also have no legitimate variations. Now, you could theoretically make money with some of these but any income potential would be extremely short-lived. What’s more, you would probably be manipulating people or breaking the law to do so.
One of the oldest work from home mailing ideas is envelope stuffing. This concept is incredibly common and you may see it advertised both online and offline. The marketing often looks something like the image below, where you’re told you can make a significant amount for each envelope that you fill.
Many of the sites suggest that the role exists because direct mailing companies need envelopes filled and don’t want to hire actual workers to do so. The problem is that this doesn’t make sense.
For one thing, companies can outsource work like envelope stuffing with ease and at low cost. What’s more, there are machines and tools that make envelope stuffing almost entirely automated and extremely cost efficient. Even if, by some chance, a company did need envelopes manually stuffed, they’re hardly going to recruit random people online – and they wouldn’t pay much for the work either.
When you really get into it, envelope stuffing doesn’t operate like the marketing suggests. In particular, you don’t make anything from filling envelopes directly. Instead, your income is tied into recruiting.
This means that you’re meant to promote the concept of envelope stuffing wherever and whenever you can, at your own cost. Any income you do make comes from people that want to get involved.
For example, the 1200 Weekly site has you asking people to send you $5 and a self-addressed envelope. That $5 is most of the income you make, although you still have to pay to send proof to the company and to send a flyer to the person interested. The end result is that the process quickly gets expensive and the income potential is low. After all, most people aren’t going to buy into envelope stuffing scams, they’re too transparent.
A variation on envelope stuffing is work that is simply promoted as mailing. For example, you’ll often see marketing like the image below, which comes from a site called Hazel Peppergood.
As with envelope stuffing, the first indication of a problem is the high numbers. Legitimate work is never going to pay you such ridiculous income, it would make companies bankrupt quickly. For the most part, this type of job is the same as envelope stuffing. The main difference is just the terms used.
Once again, the underlying concept here doesn’t make sense and the job as written could never exist in the real world. Instead, most of these ‘positions’ use the same model as envelope stuffing. As such, your role would be to advertise and recruit other people into the system. Any income you make would come from that – not from mailing things out.
Another scam that’s been going around is re-shipping products. Here, you’re basically repackaging items and shipping to someone else. Theoretically, you get paid for doing so, although there are no guarantees.
The biggest issue is that you would often be helping people commit fraud. Most reshipping schemes are run by people who use stolen credit cards to buy items and have you act as a middleman to send them on. Doing so could easily get you into legal trouble and isn’t likely to be a good source of income either.
There may be legitimate reshipping schemes out there, such as companies trying to reduce packaging before shipping items on. But, such opportunities would be extremely rare and wouldn’t pay well. With so many scams in the field, it’s best to avoid this area entirely.
One variation on mailing is companies that pay you to assemble products at home. For example, I’ve seen advertisements for assembling lego kits for money, along with many other types of products, like jewelry and even electronics.
The idea is interesting because the demand for assembled products does exist. And, there may even be some companies that are worth trying out.
But, for the most part, the idea is a scam. Basically, individuals pay a fee for the supplies and instructions. They are then typically required to build the item and sell it back to the company for a profit.
While the idea makes sense, there are multiple problems with the execution. For example, many companies easily reject items based on quality standards. If that happens, you’re stuck with a product that you paid for, which you probably don’t want. You’d also be out of pocket. This could even mean that you operate at a loss if too many pieces are rejected.
Companies also tend to dramatically underestimate how long it takes to build an item, So, they may think it takes 5 minutes when the actual time is closer to 30 minutes. It could be even longer if you experience any issues along the way. This issue dramatically decrease the money you get for your time, which makes the income potential much less significant.
And honestly, there is never going to be much money for you in the process. If there were, the company would never be able to turn a profit.
Approaches That May Work, For Some Situations
The following ideas are all methods that can let you make money with mailing work, to some degree or another. However, they typically have significant limitations. For example, some only include mailing as a small fraction of the work you do, while others may have fairly low income potential or considerable start-up costs.
Even with those issues, these ideas are much more realistic than the scams from above. However, it’s important to pay attention to any issues and to research the concepts carefully before you get involved.
Offering Home Mailing As A Service
An interesting alternative is to take matters into your own hands and actually market home mailing as a service. For example, a local business may benefit from someone who is able to help them advertise more effectively, especially if it is clear that you can take initiative.
However, in this case, there would be much more involved than just mailing out letters. You would need to be able to provide something that is valuable to that business. One way to do so would be offering to type a personal letter that accompanies flyers that you can send out for the business. If you have graphic design expertise, you could also use your skills to make something creative and unique.
There are many variations that you could try as well but the key theme is that you need to develop a value proposition and then pitch it to local businesses. You could also work on building your own website to promote what you offer.
Another possibility is to join Amazon Flex, which pays you to help ship their packages to reduce load of carriers like UPS, and help them meet deadlines during busy times of the year like holidays.
Legitimate Work From Home Mailing Jobs
Legitimate work from home jobs do exist, in pretty much any field, including mailing. After all, many companies will have various tasks that don’t need to be completed in their offices. Plus, having people work from home can sometimes save the company time and money, especially as that employee won’t take up any physical space in the company’s offices.
But, this type of work is fairly difficult to find and you have to sift through all of the scams to find work. The most realistic example is an actual paid position from a regular company. The best place to start looking for these would be a job site, such as Indeed. For example, you may find positions like this one here:
But, such positions are rare. And, when they do exist, mailing would typically be only one fraction of your role.
That aside, this type of position has many of the benefits and limitations of a conventional job. For example, you wouldn’t be your own boss and you may have very little control over your hours and the work that you do. The pay rate also wouldn’t be as amazing as what many work from home mailing sites claim – although you would be getting at least the minimum wage.
Additionally, you would have to go through the hiring process, which could include background checks, interviews and similar processes. There may also be high competition for the role, as working from home is highly desirable.
For some people, the idea could still work. After all, these roles are legitimate and they do let you work from home. For anyone who is a caregiver or has young children, this type of role could be more appealing. Likewise, working like this means that you have some guarantees about the money you will make each week.
Starting Your Own “Mailing” business through Amazon
Sometimes it's hard to interpret what people mean by “home mailing jobs”, even though it's a popular search term in Google. Though I'm sure a lot of readers on this post are thinking of envelope stuffing or other “side gigs”, there's actually a legitimate way to start your own mailing business through Amazon.
The catch is that it's a business, that involves a lot more than just sending out packages.
You can leverage Amazon's FBA program, which would allow you to purchase inventory, the ship the packages to Amazon to be sold through their website. Amazon stores the products for you and ships them for each order. You are “mailing” the products to Amazon, so technically it's a mail at home job in some way. However, you are not paid per item shipped to Amazon. You are paid per item sold on Amazon, so there are other things you need to take care of like purchasing inventory, listing your products, and providing customer service for product issues.
What Else Could You Do?
With the exception of starting your own Amazon selling business, mailing items from your home is one of those ideas that sounds much better than it actually is. Even if you find an approach that is entirely legitimate, the pay is likely to be fairly unappealing. And realistically, the only systems that rely entirely on mailing are the scams. Everything else has you completing other tasks as well, such as being a general assistant or selling products.
Personally, I make money through affiliate marketing. I build a website about a topic, write about the topic, then recommend related products. For example, I could make a website about grilling, then recommend the best grills for camping, or the best grills infrared grills. Each time someone clicks my links and goes to another website to buy, I make a commission.
Because affiliate marketing is online, it is also scalable and you’re the one in charge of the process. For some people (myself included), the idea can even become a full-time income, as long as you’re willing to put the time and effort into it. You can learn how to do what I do here.
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