10 Tips for Finding Legitimate Work-From-Home

Photo (cc) by DavidMartynHunt

The appeal of working from home is powerful. Parents and those caring for elderly family members at home treasure the flexibility. The rest of us love the idea of shaving minutes or hours of commute time off the workday and working in the comfort and privacy of our homes.

Proof of the appeal is in the numbers: Between 1997 and 2010, the number of Americans working from home, part time or full time, grew by 4.2 million. Now 13.4 million of us – out of 142 million U.S. workers – work from home, according to the latest census data, from 2010.

There’s a downside to home-based jobs, however. You earn less, on average. Full-timers working from home earned an average of $25,500 a year, compared with $30,000 earned by those working exclusively at a workplace and $52,800 by those who worked in both venues, the census says.

Still, there’s great interest in work-at-home opportunities. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson explains how to find legitimate home-based work in the following video. Watch it, then read on for more details.

Now, some tips to help you land the right work from home job.

1. Avoid buying job leads

If you’re looking for work you can do from home, you probably know it’s hard finding legitimate jobs. An entire industry of scammers and less-than-legitimate companies is poised to take your money and give nothing in return. But there are also good jobs out there and smart, safe ways to find them.

That brings us to Rule No. 1 for your job search: Avoid paying for job leads. You’re trying to make money, not spend it, right?

“The more (money) they want, the more suspicious you should be,” Stacy Johnson said of companies that market job leads.

If you’re tempted nevertheless, make sure that any company you pay for potential employment follows these Federal Trade Commission rules. The rules require marketers to share lots of information with job seekers, including whether the company has been involved in legal actions. Another rule: The company also must give you a list of people who’ve purchased its business opportunities in the last three years.

2. Do the due diligence

When you find job postings that look promising, research the company. Well-established companies make it easy to find their specific contact information. Don’t reply to blind ads that offer no identifying information about the company or job involved.

When you find a job that looks worth pursuing, do more research. Use this link to research a company’s name at the Better Business Bureau. A BBB search isn’t infallible, but it’s a good place to start.

Legitimate companies include an “about” page on their websites, with specifics about the company, including its location, mission, staff and funding. Also, do a general search on the company’s name, to see what you can learn. Search, too, for reviews and complaints about the company. For example, do a search for (company name) and “complaints” or “reviews” or “lawsuits.”

When you talk with a company about a particular job listing, ask a few questions of your own. Ask about:

  • The specific job description and expectations for this work.
  • Any records you will be expected to maintain.
  • How you will be paid, and how often.
  • How your work performance will be measured.

3. Find legitimate companies

Rather than purchasing leads, search for types of jobs that lend themselves to off-site work and that require little supervision, says NextAvenue, a site for older Americans that’s affiliated with PBS.

These include phone-based jobs — financial product sales, telemarketing, tech support, customer service, billing and collections, for example — and jobs done primarily by computer, such as legal and medical transcription, Web design, research, freelance writing, translation and online instruction. Here are more ideas at AARP from personal finance expert Jean Chatzky.

NextAvenue offers this intriguing tip: Home in on large companies likely to use telecommuters:

Some big companies post work-from-home openings on their websites — but many of them don’t. That’s why it pays to approach large firms throughout the U.S. directly and suss out potential unadvertised jobs that haven’t been turned into official openings.

7 more tips

Here are seven more ways to keep your search for a home-based job safe and effective:

  1. When searching online, filter your results using the terms “telecommute” and “freelance” to prevent you from having to comb through all job listings to find work-from-home possibilities. Use online job boards with advanced search filters, such as Craigslist, Simplyhired.com and Indeed.com.
  2. Use only trusted online sites; don’t click on pop-up ads.
  3. Beware of claims that seem ridiculous or unlikely, especially promises that you’ll be making large sums of money.
  4. If you have a specialized skill, find online job boards that focus on job listings for your skill set.
  5. Don’t neglect the more traditional job search approaches: Check with your local employment office, for example, and use your personal network of friends and contacts.
  6. Look into the professional organizations in your field; many publish job listings for members.
  7. College alumni associations often have excellent networks for job-seeking members.

Do you have experience looking for work-from-home jobs? Share your observations below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

13 Affordable Products for a Better Night’s Rest
13 Affordable Products for a Better Night’s Rest

These Amazon products can help you finally catch 40 winks — or more.

What Brand Makes the Best Rechargeable AA Batteries?
What Brand Makes the Best Rechargeable AA Batteries?

The best battery depends on what you need it for and how big your budget is. Here’s how to find the cheapest brand that will do the job you need.

15 Things You Should Always Buy at Yard Sales
15 Things You Should Always Buy at Yard Sales

You can save a ton of money — especially if you spot any of these items.

7 Ways to Save Money Without Trying
7 Ways to Save Money Without Trying

Saving money doesn’t always mean drudgery and sacrifice. These tools make it easy — sometimes even fun.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday
12 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.