Friday, March 05, 2010

the LeapForce experience

About six months ago, I got a contract with LeapForce to work at home as a search engine evaluator. I've written about this before, and consequently I've received a handful of emails from people asking me how it worked out. I don't mind answering LeapForce-related questions because I had a lot of questions before going ahead with the contract, and I found other people's comments to be very helpful. At this point I thought it would be better to update the blog with my experience rather than having to keep sending individual emails to curious folks. This post is substantially copied from emails I have sent.

In short: I have found LeapForce to be 100% legit and on the level. I will risk breaching my confidentiality agreement to say that for a 6 month contract negotiated in October 2009, they paid me $13.50 per hour. Note that does NOT include taxes or Social Security, and LeapForce does not withhold anything. You will receive a 1099 statement of your earnings. It is up to you to keep track of your earnings and make sure you put enough aside to cover the taxes and other fees normally withheld.

I did run into a couple of issues. Occasionally there are no "tasks", that is, there isn't any work to do. Saturday and Monday mornings were the worst for this, but at most other times of day, including late at night, there was usually plenty to do.

You do have to keep very careful track of your time worked, to the minute. It is generally easy to do because you're doing everything on your computer, and most computers display the time in the lower right corner. So just make a note of when you start and when you finish, because each entry on your invoice must be to the minute. LeapForce's AtHome website has an invoice application that helps you to keep track of your hours. I recommend entering your time(s) at least once a day.

Keep in mind that this work is self-selecting. If you take the test and it makes you think your head is going to explode, this is not a good job for you. Initially I thought it was fun, but it can be repetitive, and you have to make a LOT of decisions rather quickly. LeapForce has "task per minute" (TPM) expectations of productivity which I think are reasonable, but some people commented that they disagreed. Your TPM is displayed in a little indicator on your LeapForce toolbar, and if it's not green you know you're being too slow. It seems odd to think that an innocuous little indicator going from green to yellow to red could cause your stress levels to rise, but it can. Somedays I dealt with it, other days it really got on my nerves.

For my first six weeks working, I didn't have too much trouble with making the tasks per minute targets, and I didn't have any problems getting my invoices approved. Subsequently I did have a problem getting my invoice approved when I included time I worked on "experimental" tasks. These tasks were supposed to take around 20 minutes, but I could not get them approved on my invoices no matter what explanatory notes I attached (as directed) and I ended up just dropping them. Overall I'd say that I wasted about 3 hours of my time on them, and since those particular tasks were holding up the rest of my invoice, I just deleted them and decided never to do "experimental" tasks with big warnings about how long they were going to take, again. (Other experimental tasks were shorter and I had no problem getting the time for them approved.)

About adult content: when you apply, you tell them up front whether or not you're willing to deal with it. I said I did not want to see that kind of thing, and generally I didn't. However, in some lists of results, a pørn site would occasionally show up. You can never be sure whether or not you're going to run into something like that, just like in a web search you're doing yourself at home. Very infrequently, a query would show up in a task that was clearly looking for pørn, and then you're kind of stuck: if you release the task (drop it), you don't get paid for any of the work you've done on it. So if you've invested 20 minutes in a task and hit a pørn query, you have to decide whether you want to kiss that 20 minutes' pay goodbye, or just evaluate the pørn query anyway. This did not happen often, but it did happen at least once or twice over the few months I was working for LeapForce. It is entirely possible that I've misinterpreted this policy, but I seem to recall getting a warning about not being able to bill any of that task's time if I were to drop it. It didn't happen often enough to me for me to pursue this for clarification.

I will say, the few times I sent email correspondence with a question, I received helpful replies with good turn-around time. They also sent checks right away after the invoices are approved.

Finally, pay attention to the small print: you have to work at least 200 tasks per pay period (month) to keep your contract current. Around Halloween and the beginning of November, I was very busy and didn't put in many hours, and they suspended my contract. They said I could re-qualify if took the test again, but I decided not to. I had to wait until December 1st to submit my invoice, which was annoying since I was no longer working; this further delayed my last paycheck.

Having my account suspended for not working the task minimum annoyed me, and I never really got over that. The experimental task issue and the TPM-pressure added to my negative impression. Neither of these was that big a deal, I just didn't want to deal with it anymore for the relatively tiny sum I was netting after taxes. I think this could be a great job for many people, but it's not one I would do with kids around to see the computer.

Labels:

52 Comments:

Blogger Rae McGaughey said...

Wow - great post. I was searching for information and you gave a very thorough understanding of what to expect should I move forward with this company. Thanks!

10:58 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Thank you for providing such a thorough review of leapforce. i just applied and awaiting the tests. I also write home based job reviews on my site. Before offering the jobs to my followers, I do a complete background check on the company and look for good and bad reviews by searching the internet...that is how I found you. I hope you don't mind, I will be placing a backlink to your page, so that my readers can read your review as well. Feel free to stop by my blog sometimes!

Thanks,

Shannon
http://theworkfromhomelounge.com

6:17 PM  
Blogger Renee said...

Hi Joan--thanks so much for the review of leapforce. After reading your review I have decided that this position isn't for me.

1:10 PM  
Blogger leslie said...

thank you joan for your post. I wish I had read it a week ago. I started working for LeapForce about five days ago, and just now realized I have to track my time to the minute (I guess that was in the small print). I only have a general idea of how much I have worked. Do you think there is any way I can get paid for that time?

10:45 PM  
Blogger Joan said...

Leslie -- hope you find this --
You may be able to reconstruct when you worked based on your browser history, but it may be a bit tedious -- in Firefox (which you're supposed to use), the "Show All History" button will give you a record of everything you've done since the last time you cleared it, and even if you've cleared your cache, that doesn't erase History. Choose the Date you want to figure your hours for. Under the "Views" menu, there's a selection for "Visit Date", which will show you the time you went to each site. You can sort by Date and hopefully figure everything out from there. It's down to the minute so it should be close enough.

Failing that, the Accounting people at LeapForce have records of when you worked. You could send an email to the invoice/billing dept and explain that you've lost your records, and ask if they can provide you with logs.

Good luck!

11:40 PM  
Blogger leslie said...

Thank you Joan! That helps a lot. I think I've managed to re-create it. I'll just wish for the best when I submit my invoice. thanks again!

6:10 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

I worked for Leapforce and was let go without notice and without cause. I've written numerous emails to them after examining all of my screen shots, (shich I took daily), of their on going ratings...mine were above average.

I got an email when I first started with them that cited six out of 794 tasks that they wanted me to examine, and besides that never got a negative evaluation.

Out of the blue, and coincidentally at the end of a bonus month in which we would be paid for working more hours, they cut me off just when I was in the last 20 hours when we got paid almost double the per-hour-rate.

The bonus wasn't to be paid to someone if they failed to work at a certain rate, (I'm skirting the detail as I did sign a non-disclose" with them)...but the thing is, they paid me the bonuses that I accrued up to the point that I was cut off. You'd think if I wasn't working to their standards, they wouldn't have paid the bonuses. Again, keep in mind that I tracked, (and have screen shots), of my productivity, as measured by them, and I was consistently above average.

I still don't know the reason they suspended my contract. In fact I'm have an attorney out in CA looking into it. I'll keep you posted.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

I tried contacting Leap Force to find out if I could use an apple computer, does anyone know if that is possible?

Thanks,
Carol

7:38 AM  
Blogger 4indie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:27 PM  
Blogger 4indie said...

thanks so much for the info. this was very helpful

2:28 PM  
Blogger April said...

I was working for LeapForce from May 2010 until August 2010. I enjoyed working from home because I am a single stay at home mom. However, when they were offering the bonuses they canceled my contract as well right before the end saying my quality was low with no notice. It was disturbing and tried contacting them, and they would not answer my emails.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Thanks for the review! It's hard to find much info about this company, your post answered many questions for me.

3:31 PM  
Blogger tony said...

I am also a Leapforce agent (since May 2010) and i confirm everything Joan says. One thing she forgot to mention is that in addition to meeting the TPH minimum of 32, they also want you to maintain a constant level of average or better quality of work on two major task types - URL and side by side - so you have to work fast and good. It all sounds fun and easy, but its not!

12:47 PM  
Blogger Katherine said...

Thank you so much for your insightful and candid take on what Leapforce is about and what it's like to work with/for them! I was really on the fence about proceeding with my application. After much thought, I'm not too sure this would be my cup of tea. But thank you again! I'm sure many people appreciate your review and some of them may have even applied! :)

12:09 PM  
Blogger Joalanna said...

Does anyone know anything about Butler Hill? I see almost the same job description as the one with Leapforce.

12:47 PM  
Blogger Teps2442 said...

Thanks for a very informative post. I am in the process of submitting the contracts (already passed the test) and now that I know more about the details, I don't think it is for me.

One question: Are you allowed to work just a few hours a day?

Thanks.
Emy

8:25 AM  
Blogger dljwriter said...

This is great info!! Could you provide a short description of what a "task" is? I assume that if you apply and take the test, that the test gives you a taste of a task, but I haven't applied yet.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Wow I saw the W@H posting and wanted to check them out prior to applying. I am so glad you blogged about this company. It is disturbing to think the eliminate employees during bonus times. I have young teenagers so this may not be the job for me. I also run on a MAC and didn't see an answer to that question. Lastly, I understand work is in a que, and that you are timed on your work as well as recording it to the minute but not as clear on what your TASK are and how they vary.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

I was curious if you could work this job at off hours, for instance when my children are in bed? I am a stay at home mom with two young children, but need part time income. Thanks for all of this info!

3:19 PM  
Blogger Kristen Emery said...

Thanks for the great post. I really appreciate the info.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Please do not work for Leapforce. They have really caused so much heartache with many very nice people that I know.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Dusky said...

Super posts folks!
Bottom Line: LeapForce is legitimate, quick moving, repetitive task oriented, low paying, demanding, and stressful opportunity that may drop you if you do or don't meet their expectations. Hmmm, sounds like a job in a Mexican Fast Food joint in Hong Kong (no disrespect intended to my southern or eastern relatives).

I think we can rate this opp as "Busted"!

Thanks Very Much.
Dusky

11:51 AM  
Blogger Wayne said...

Joan, I have to say your evaluation and commentary was outstanding. It appeared fair and allowing people to see both sides of an At Home Work program. Kudos to you for this effort which I am sure will save others a lot of grief. The reason I found your post was I was during research on Leapforce after reading a classified Ad posting. I am a manager for FarSuperior.com which is "looking into" the possibility of hiring at home workers to help our business clients analyse and improve their Google rankings. We have not start the program so I was looking for the pit falls and ways to address at home worker concerns. Basically, YOU HELPED me with those issues...SO THANK YOU.

Best wishes for your continued success. Wayne Warrington

10:30 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

yes, you can work on a MAC, as long as you have firefox browser.

12:27 PM  
Blogger flapri said...

Butler Hill Group is sooo much better than Leapforce. You have support there. There is a project manager and weekly meetings where they answer your questions, show examples of ratings, show the weak and strong points of the ratings, clarify the Vitals, etc etc. Also they pay more than Leap (15$) and they know you by name (small company) so there is no "getting fired out of the blue for no reason" like Leap does. YOU HAVE to work 4 hours/day (not less/not more) and the TPH is 130!! Yes people... 130 TPH!! of course, the tool to rate is different and it was designed to help you go MUCH faster than the Leapforce tool... good luck people!

7:41 PM  
Blogger Lisa Marie said...

This is such a great thorough review of Leapforce... Thank you. As a single parent I have been looking for some extra income but I think I better keep looking because of the porn site "pop-ups" even though you said it was occasionally... that is not for me...

10:46 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

"So if you've invested 20 minutes in a task and hit a pørn query, you have to decide whether you want to kiss that 20 minutes' pay goodbye, or just evaluate the pørn query anyway. This did not happen often, but it did happen at least once or twice over the few months I was working for LeapForce. It is entirely possible that I've misinterpreted this policy, but I seem to recall getting a warning about not being able to bill any of that task's time if I were to drop it. It didn't happen often enough to me for me to pursue this for clarification."

This is absolutely NOT true! You can let go of any task you want and still bill for all the time you were on the clock before that task came up. They will only warn you if you're letting many tasks go in a short period of time and/or cherry picking what tasks you do.

I've been working with LF for almost a year now and I am absolutely thrilled with the job. I get paid almost twice minimum wage, I can choose my own hours, I always have plenty of hours (unlike another company that hires for the same thing that limits their employees to 20 hours per week) and the minimum per month is easily attainable in 8 hours. If you can't set aside 2 hours a week for the job, it's probably not the best job for you. Then again, if you aren't working more than 2 hours a week, can you really call it a job?

I will say though that due to illness, I only worked 1 hour 2 months ago and they did not let me go nor did they limit how many hours I can do.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

"Butler Hill Group is sooo much better than Leapforce. You have support there. There is a project manager and weekly meetings where they answer your questions, show examples of ratings, show the weak and strong points of the ratings, clarify the Vitals, etc etc. Also they pay more than Leap (15$) and they know you by name (small company) so there is no "getting fired out of the blue for no reason" like Leap does. YOU HAVE to work 4 hours/day (not less/not more) and the TPH is 130!! Yes people... 130 TPH!! of course, the tool to rate is different and it was designed to help you go MUCH faster than the Leapforce tool... good luck people!"

I've heard they are much better to work for but they are also almost never hiring. I tried for 2 years to get in and never even got a "no thanks". I tried 3 times with LF and finally got in. I passed the tests with flying colors and have been very happy working for them. It sure as heck beats working for minimum wage in retail and it definitely beats being yelled at all day in a work from home customer service job.

2:13 PM  
Blogger allen said...

I spent 10 hours preparing for and then taking the exam. I became an agent. Im no sucker so I completed the min. required tasks for the month, just to make sure I will get paid.



On the 1st of the month I filled out my invoice. Then I waited and waited and waited. finally after 2 weeks I was informed that some errors existed on my invoice. I take a look at the errors as it turns out they do track your time, and accoring to leapfarce I worked about 55% of the hours I invoiced. Under closer inspection leapfarce has no record of some of the days invoiced for work, and at the same time they credited me for days I did not work. What gives?



Any way I refilled out my invoice exactly according to what leapfarce claimed I worked. Now it has been 2 more weeks and I am waiting waiting waiting. Good Thing I have a wife with a good paying job. Turns out I may be a Sucker.

7:09 AM  
Blogger allen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Regina said...

thanks

1:34 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Allen, are you SURE you were logged into the toolbar the whole time you were working? That is how they track your work so if you got logged out or if you forgot to log in, they can't track your work. If you keep your internet history, you can make screenshots showing your work times and send them in. That should definitely help the process.

2:51 AM  
Blogger rebkaa said...

question-- i signed my leapforce contracts from my parents home, but i will be working from my place in DC. does this matter with the IP addresses and all? do they care if you work from different places?
thanks!!

12:52 AM  
Blogger Devi said...

Thank you for taking time to explain. It was very helpful in making a descision.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Devi said...

Awesome!very insightful. Thanks for taking the time.

11:25 AM  
Blogger WikiArise said...

If you want a great work from home job, your contract will not be terminated.

www.FultonBayGroup.com

2:21 AM  
Blogger Lothar said...

Leapforce is a joke. They pay you $13.50 (1099)while they make millions and millions off of the services you provide them.

They are a "legit" work from home business, but after only a few months I got sick of fighting with them over hours and task per minute and types of tasks.

My checks were always 15-30 percent less than I thought they would be.

I do not work for free

Leapforce = Foxconn

If don't know Foxconn look it up.

4:35 AM  
Blogger Jonny Matt said...

This is a very fair and well constructed review. I'm taking the exam for Leapforce at home this week. You've definitely given me something to consider. Thanks!

12:10 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I came across your article while researching work-from-home jobs. I had hoped Leapforce would be a possible consideration as I don't want a "call-center" type job (which a lot of home jobs seem to be). After reading your article and the pro/con comments above, I think I will continue to look for other options at this time. Thank you all!

1:46 PM  
Blogger Christy Warren said...

Joan, you rock! Thanks so much for your perspective and taking the time. Makes me realize I just need to put more effort into my part time home-based business that I truly love which is helping others to preserve their memories, photos and everyday life events. If anyone seeing this likes technology but needs some creativity and personal interactions, I'd love to have you join my team as a Personal Publishing Consultant with Heritage Makers. It's the best! www.preservedinprint.com

6:30 PM  
Blogger Editor said...

Joan, is there anything you say about the nature of the "Experimental" tasks that won't violate the NDA? It's too bad they were frustrating - jobs that don't let you get into a rhythm and a zone are that way for me too.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Saad Ali said...



Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your site and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed
reading your site. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.
flights to Umrah
cheap flight to jeddah
flights to jeddah
umrah jeddah flights
umrah flights from London
cheap flights to umrah

2:14 AM  
Blogger Theukflights said...

Extremely informative post.Thanks for provide this kind of informative stuff. it really helpful for us.
regards
Budget Flights to Bangkok

9:26 PM  
Blogger Aaliyah theukflight said...

The tool to rate is different and it was designed to help you go MUCH faster than the Leapforce tool... good luck people!
Cheap Flights To Sydney

9:23 PM  
Blogger Sell My Rolex said...

Thank you for taking time to explain. It was very helpful in making a descision.
Sell Rolex watch

1:03 AM  
Blogger jim smith said...

If you keep your internet history, you can make screenshots showing your work times and send them in. That should definitely help the process.
Sell patek

12:26 AM  
Blogger Sell Omega Watch said...

It appeared fair and allowing people to see both sides of an At Home Work program.
Omega watches

1:10 AM  
Blogger sell cartier said...

Awesome!very insightful. Thanks for taking the time.
Sell cartier tank

1:42 AM  
Blogger Audemars Piguet Watch said...

That helps a lot. I think I've managed to re-create it.
Sell Audemars Piguet Watch

2:18 AM  
Blogger petersmith said...

keep in mind that I tracked, (and have screen shots), of my productivity, as measured by them, and I was consistently above average.
Pawnbroking

11:53 PM  
Blogger Malinda said...

I have worked for Leapforce for two years and have experienced both the positive and negative side to working for this company.

For the first year and a half I didn't have any major complaints. I did the work, submitted my invoices and they paid, no questions asked. But it was far from an ideal working environment.

They advertise flexible working hours, but working hours are only flexible if there is work available whenever the rater wants to work. Days may go by without a task to do, so the rater becomes a slave to their computer, having to login hour after hour to see if there is work available. And since the work is timed then a rater can only work for so long before they need to take a break or their quality of work may be impaired. But Leapforce forces the situation where a rater may be afraid to take a break for fear that when they login again that there will be no more work to do.

So even though I became a slave to my computer with no security at all about how much work I would be allowed to do, I kept at it month after month, because I needed the income however much it was.

But then a couple of months ago things changed. The company's format changed and the way they presented their tasked changed. Now when I did the work and submitted my invoices, they rejected my invoices and demanded that I take off several hours of work or they would not pay my invoice. I am meticulous about recording my time, so I know that the time I submitted to them was the time I worked, and for a year and a half they had no problems with my invoices. Now they give me a time differential from what I reported and what they had recorded, but when I asked them to give me a detailed report of my start times and stop times, so I could compare them against my own records they refused to give me that report.

I am considering legal action against this company since, so many other people seem to be having the same problems as I am encountering.

5:18 AM  
Blogger piercy solicitors said...

Thank you Joan! That helps a lot. I think I've managed to re-create it. I'll just wish for the best when I submit my invoice. thanks again!
Divorce Solicitors London

3:10 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home