Every day in the U.S., each household receives approximately 6 pieces of junk mail. If you’re like the vast majority of people, you probably just throw it in the trash. If so, you might be interested to know that you can actually sell your junk mail for money.
But can you really make money from junk mail? Yes, you can make actual money selling junk mail. Some companies, like SBK Center for example, pay you a small amount to send in your useless spam mail for market research purposes.
But before we get too ahead of ourselves, let’s look a little deeper to figure out why anyone would buy it, the process of selling it, and if it’s really worth it.
What Exactly Is Junk Mail?
Junk mail – everybody knows it. It’s those letters saying you’ve been “pre-approved” for a new credit card, or those packets full of tons of local coupons, even those magazines you’ve never subscribed to.
One thing’s for sure: if you have a mailbox, you’ve probably received some unwanted spam mail.
You’ll probably do one of two things with it: get drawn in by the cleverly designed cover or cool feeling envelopes, or toss it in the garbage and wonder how anyone got your address in the first place.
But actually, you should hold on to your junk mail. Not with the intention of falling prey to their marketing tricks, but because you can actually earn money from it!
Why Would Someone Buy Your Junk Mail?
Here’s a surprising and little-known fact: there are actually companies that pay you for your junk mail!
The first thing that popped into my head was, “Why?”
Well, one company states it’s so their “insurance and financial services clients” can use that information for “competitive intelligence and product development purposes.”
That might sound a bit confusing, but it basically means that they collect data from average people like you and me via our junk mail, then analyze that information in order for organizations to make more strategic marketing tactics and more useful products.
In short, it’s a form of market research.
How To Make Money Selling Your Junk Mail
There are actually companies that will pay you for your junk mail. The most widely used and most reputable is a market research company called SBK Center, and it is fairly easy to start making money through them.
Here’s a quick overview of the steps involved:
- Become a Customer Panelist
- Send in your junk mail
- Get rewarded
1. Become a Customer Panelist
The first step is to go on SBK Center’s website and sign up to become what’s called a Customer Panelist.
This step is fairly simple: all you’ll need to do is provide some basic information like your name, address, and date of birth. Then you’ll be asked to complete a Panelist Profile.
One thing to note about this company is that not everyone who applies will be accepted. That’s because they’re looking for specific demographics from their panelists. The demographics do vary, so there’s not a clear answer as to who will be accepted or not.
2. Send in your junk mail
If you do get accepted, the next thing to do is to send in your junk mail.
The company will provide you with pre-paid envelopes to send things back in, so you’re not required to pay for shipping.
There’s a list of mail that applies, so you’ll have to make sure your letters are on that list in order to earn points for them. Thankfully, the list is pretty extensive, so the chances of you getting an obscure piece of mail that they wouldn’t accept isn’t very high.
A cool thing about this company is that you can also send in your junk emails! That’s great news, because most people get more spam email than they do paper mail. So, this is another way to start earning more points faster.
3. Get rewarded
Their rewards system is probably what you’d expect. You earn points as you send in acceptable pieces of mail, and the points get converted to gift cards.
But before you get too disappointed that they only give out gift cards instead of cash, they offer Visa gift cards which get sent to you directly. So, in a sense, it’s not much different from getting cold, hard cash at all.
How Much Can You Make?
How much you can make would really depend on how much mail you are sending in to SBK Center.
They state that if you participate regularly, you can earn up to $20 in gift cards every 6-10 weeks. They also state that if you’re a business owner or are self-employed, you could earn rewards even faster than that!
Unfortunately, they don’t state how many pieces of mail is equivalent to one point, but we do know that it takes 2,000 points to earn a $20 gift card.
But let’s say you made that $20 every 6-10 weeks like they say. You would be earning an extra $100-$160 every year for something that otherwise would’ve likely ended up in the trash. Which isn’t much, but every bit counts, right?
What Are the Startup Costs?
There are virtually no startup costs involved in selling junk mail. That’s because you are already receiving the mail, and that doesn’t cost you any money. And sending it in to SBK Center is done with envelopes that they pay for, not you.
The only startup cost to consider would be your time investment, but even that is relatively small.
What I Like
- Get paid for something that you would probably just throw away
- No startup costs
- Very easy to do
What I Don’t Like
- Not everyone gets accepted
- It can be slow to build up points
- Not all pieces of junk mail are accepted
Overall, the ease of selling junk mail coupled with the lack of startup costs and the earning potential make this an excellent consideration as a side gig.
Sure, you would earn more money doing door-to-door sales or selling experiences on Airbnb, but you really can’t beat the simplicity of this money-making idea.
But if you don’t get accepted, or are one of the lucky few who isn’t plagued by junk mail on a daily basis, you might find success with a different method.
Either way, hopefully this article gave you some unique insight on what you could possibly do with all the useless junk cluttering your mailbox!