Chris Pyle is an auto mechanic who used to work on transmissions at a Ford dealership. Now the 45-year-old from Tennessee answers car repair questions on JustAnswer and earns more than he ever did as a mechanic. Pyle agreed to share the secrets of how this mechanic earns $12,000 a month with what used to be a mere side hustle.

And, while you might not know anything about car repair, Pyle’s insights can help almost anyone earn a generous income from this unique online platform. Experts in everything from tax to home repair can earn thousands of dollars a month with JustAnswer. The site says that the average pay for active experts in health and animal care is $3,000 – $4,000 per month; in law, about $6,000; appraisals, $9,000. But success is not guaranteed.

Here’s everything you need to know — what you can do; how much you can earn; and how it works; and the keys to success.

What’s JustAnswer?

JustAnswer is an online platform that connects freelance experts with people who need to solve a problem, ranging from fixing a leaky washing machine to understanding a home appraisal. Consumers sign up for the service, sometimes through a $5 promotion, and generally are opted into a monthly subscription.

Monthly subscription prices vary based on the type of question you’re asking. Most questions are billed at a $55 monthly rate, but legal questions cost $79 per month and tutoring costs $125. For that, you get an unlimited number of answers and up to two phone calls.

How it works for experts

Experts like Pyle, sign up and provide information about their background and specific expertise. After you sign up, the site conducts a background check to ensure that you have the proper credentials to answer questions in your stated area of expertise.

In other words, if you say you’re a legal expert, the site expects you to be a practicing attorney. Assuming you pass that background check, the site will accept the application and set you up on the site.

At that point, you’ll get access to questions in your stated specialty that you can choose to pick up and answer or ignore.

Pyle started working with Just Answer 18 years ago, while he was still working in car repair. And within a few months, he was earning upwards of $1,500 a month. He dropped out of answering questions for a few years when he launched his own business. But he came back in 2012 and started answering questions full-time.


JustAnswer is an international platform, so you can sign on and ask — or answer — questions at any time of the day or night. Experts don’t need to commit to particular hours. You simply sign on when you want and determine whether there are any questions open when you’re working that you’re qualified and willing to answer.

Pyle breaks his work day into two sections. He works from noon until about 5 p.m. and then takes a break to hang out with his family and do other projects at home. He signs back in at 11 p.m. and stays on until about 4 a.m. Why?

“The night shift is quiet. But I am usually the only car expert online at that time,” he says. “I can take whatever questions I want to grab.”

How pay works

JustAnswer experts are paid by the answer, not the hour. The site is secretive about the pay-per-answer ranges, however, experts maintain most questions now pay at least $7 and can pay as much as $24.

The amount of pay you get for each answer depends on the topic and the expert’s “tier.” (See “Expert Tiers” below.) So, for example’s sake, let’s say you answer general wellness questions and you’re in the bottom pay tier. You may make $7 per answer, while a top-tier expert in the same category could make $16.

Clients can also tip their experts.

Experts are paid once a month.

Answering questions

Typical questions require anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes to answer. Questions that require more than 10 minutes time get incrementally more money, experts say.

However, you are not paid an additional amount for following up to ensure that your client has resolved their problem. Pyle says you should follow-up anyway for four reasons:

  1. It’s the right thing to do.
  2. Your clients will be more satisfied, and likely to rate you highly, which can impact your “tier.”
  3. It might lead to a tip.
  4. And, clients can request you for future answers, which creates an ongoing source of revenue.

By and large, experts can answer whatever questions come in during the time that they’re working. That’s to ensure that clients get prompt answers to their questions.

The one exception is if the client requests an answer from a specific expert. When that happens, the chosen expert has up to 12 hours to answer. After that point, the question could be thrown to the other experts in that group.

Big, complex questions

What if a question is too big or complex to answer? There are a couple of options.

Experts can suggest that the client break the question into bite-sized pieces. Or they can suggest that the client pay for a premium service, which can include a web conference, document review, or phone call. If the experts suggest a premium service, half of the client’s payment will go to the expert. The other half is retained by JustAnswer.

Expert tiers

JustAnswer has five “tiers” for experts, ranging from the top tier — “platinum” to the bottom tier, “tin.”

New experts generally start at the middle tier and can work their way up (or down) based on their answers and the number of questions that they accept. By providing good answers to the vast majority of questions that you pick up, you rise tiers. However, if your answers deteriorate, or if you pick up a bunch of questions that you don’t bother to answer, you can also drop tiers.

Answers are judged based on a combination of ratings and artificial intelligence.

And every Monday, experts are advised about what tier they landed in as the result of their answers the previous week.

How this mechanic earns $12,000 a month

Pyle’s Recipe for success starts with working a lot. He typically works 10-hour days, broken into two five-hour shifts. And he works pretty much every day of the year. Even when on vacation, he’ll sign on to the site and check in on whether any of his regular clients has popped in with a query, he says

This is important, he says, because he has a number of regular clients who request him. But, even when a client requests a specific expert, they only have 12 hours to respond. On any given day, Pyle says he could have 5 to 15 questions waiting for him when he signs in.

“When my family wants to do something, I will change my work hours,” he says. “I still have a normal life. I just don’t have a full 24 hours without working.”

On the bright side, he mostly works from a recliner in his living room and never comes home covered in oil or transmission fluid from this job, he says. So, despite the long hours, he loves the working conditions.

Getting details

One of the challenges of answering car-repair questions online is you can’t physically see, hear or smell the car. So Pyle asks his clients to be his eyes, ears and nose. If the car is missing, he might ask the client to film and show the gauges while they’re driving. If it’s an odd sound, he might ask for an audio clip.

In other words, he asks a lot of questions before he answers a question. That improves the quality of his answers.

“I always ask questions before I put an answer up,” he says. “You have to be dedicated to listening.”

Checking back

The other thing Pyle says he does regularly is check back with his past customers to make sure that they fixed their problem. This doesn’t necessarily generate any income for him. But it does generate a loyal customer base, who come back to him time after time.

“I have a customer in Hawaii who buys used cars, fixes them up and rents them out,” Pyle says. “I think I’ve answered 3,000 questions just for him. He asks maybe 20 questions a month.”


You May Also Like…

Need a Bit of Guidance?

Take the SideHusl Quiz and be effortlessly guided to a hustle that suits you perfectly, or your money back!

450 Ways to Make Money on the Side

Subscribe to see news and new reviews every week.

Share via
Copy link