10 legitimate ways to earn cash in metro Atlanta

From focus groups to secret shopping, there are ways to make extra cash all over metro Atlanta.



From focus groups to secret shopping, there are ways to make extra cash all over metro Atlanta.

Ode to the young entrepreneurs with their summer lemonade stands. But what happens when those adolescent financial titans grow up? Uber, of course. But that's not the only legitimate way to make some quick cash in Atlanta, with a very minimal, if any, upfront investment.

Here are a few ideas:

1. Holiday deliveries
Mother's Day is coming up. That's when Edible Arrangements and a number of flower shops will have more orders than their normal staff can deliver. Many places hire people for just a day or two to use their own car and gas to help out. They are paid a set fee per successful delivery. For example, one Edible Arrangements pays $8 per delivery. And it's possible to make no less than three deliveries each hour. It adds up. But take note: If a person isn't home and you can't find a neighbor to accept the arrangement, you will not be paid. The fee is strictly for successful deliveries.

2. Merchandising
Acosta, Crossmark, Convergence Marketing and SPAR are just a handful of merchandising companies that offer part-time jobs with flexible schedules. Flexible, meaning you decide the day and time you want to work. You simply have to report your results by the project's deadline. Assignments are in stores like CVS and WalMart, and can vary from stocking to building displays or attaching instant coupons to products. The pay differs with retail experience, but is typically higher than minimum wage.

3. Marketing research studies
Atlanta is home to a vast number of marketing research companies that will pay for your opinion. You can take part in taste tests, fill out a survey or offer your thoughts on a new air freshener, for example. The list is long. However, there's a limited number of slots for each study and a lot of people sign up for these opportunities. Check the sites often and be ready to apply more than once. A few sites to consider are: PVR Research, FocusGroup.com and FindFocusGroups.com.

4. Secret shopper
True to its name, a secret shopper goes into a bank, grocery store or retail outlet and reports on customer service. You won't earn a lot doing this, but it can be fun. A typical assignment pays around $14. However, the more complicated the task, the higher the fee. Sinclair Customer Metrics and BestMark offer work throughout the entire metro Atlanta region.

5. Sign spinners
We've all seen them; the infamous sign twirlers dressed like the Statue of Liberty standing outside a tax preparer's office. SpinnerDudes lists job opportunities and also hosts an index of sign spinners looking for work. In addition, there's another site called SignRockers that advertises jobs. Check Craigslist, too. The pay varies, but a lot of opportunities post minimum wage.

6. Online surveys
Okay. Filling out an online survey for money is the equivalent to a life coach kicking you off the team. Nonetheless, it's a way to earn 10 bucks while sitting in front of your computer. Just be ready to invest some time before you see any scratch. MoneySavingMom has six sites she's personally tried and recommends.

7. Background extra
Scores of television shows and movies are filmed in and around Atlanta at any given time. A lot of those productions need background extras. It will take about three weeks to get your check, but it's easy work. Most of the casting companies post on Facebook. For a partial list, click here, then scroll down to Casting Offices. You may see a notation of 64/8, or something similar. That means you will be paid $64 whether you work one hour or eight hours. After eight, it's usually time-and-a-half.

8. Dog walker/pet sitter
Animal lovers, this one's for you. Pet owners all over Atlanta are constantly looking for trustworthy, reliable people to take care of their fur babies. Care.com is a great place to find work, as well as build a profile to help work find you. The site also lists opportunities to care for seniors and children.

9. eJury.com (eJury.com)
If you have an "I love Nancy Grace" bumper sticker on your car, this side hustle is right up your alley. If chosen, you'll participate in an online mock jury to help attorneys prepare for trial. For each verdict rendered, eJurors are paid $5-10 depending on the length of the case.

10. Standardized patient
Think of all the medical schools in Atlanta. A standardized patient is much like an actor who portrays a patient, only the stage is an examination room. The standardized patient is given a specified health condition, which the medical student is not told and must diagnose. These specialized actors are used to help medical school students train and learn how to accurately diagnose ailments, and they must constantly stay in character. If selected, the pay usually starts around $16 an hour. Emory University has a program, as does the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.