US Ghost Adventures enlists freelance tour guides to give ghost tours and haunted pub crawls in more than 60 cities across the U.S.

Expected pay: $25 – $50 per tour, plus tips

Husl$core: $$$

Commissions & fees: NA

Where: 60 + cities nationwide (see review)

Requirements: Video and in-person audition; background check

What is US Ghost Adventures?

US Ghost Adventures is a tour company that specializes in the macabre — places where people were murdered or sites that are believed to be haunted. It enlists freelance tour guides, paying $25 to $50 per 90-minute tour.

How it works

Individuals who want to apply to be tour guides here must live within 15 miles of a US Ghost Adventures location. (You can check locations here.) You must be able to pass a background check and be willing to work at least three days a week.

To “audition” for the post, you’ll memorize a script and submit a video of you performing that “tour” online. These online auditions are aimed at seeing whether you can relay the information in the script in an engaging and animated way.

Assuming you pass this test,  you’ll be asked to sign a contract and learn a script for one of the ghost tours in your city.

You are not paid to learn the script. And will not be offered a paying job until after you complete an unpaid “supervised tour.”

After that, you’ll submit your work availability for the following month. Work assignments are based on that, so you have some say in setting your schedule.

US Ghost Adventures review

If you love drama and are good with people, giving ghost tours with US Ghost Adventures could be a fun way to earn a little money. However, like many acting jobs, you’re not paid to learn the script nor to perfect your delivery. That’s done on your own time. And this unpaid “training” could take two weeks.

Once you start giving paid tours, the site says it usually pays guides $50 per 90-minute tour. You also get 100% of the customer tips. With large groups, those tips could be substantial.

But the company will schedule tours that have as few as 2 customers, so you can’t count on tips. And there’s a caveat about the per-tour pay, too. (See “Pay” below.)

The job

Tours are generally walking tours that traverse about a one-mile circle. You need to be in good-enough shape to handle talking loudly and dramatically, while walking.

Most tours are given at night — typically between 5 and 9 p.m. That can make this a nice after-work side hustle for people with a 9-5 job.

Guides are expected to be available to work at least three days/nights a week. And they typically work with a single script or tour. But guides who do well could potentially pick up more types of tours in large cities where US Ghost Adventures offers multiple options.

The tours are year-round, and are not necessarily cancelled for weather.


Guides are paid every two weeks via direct deposit. And pay comes in three parts: Base pay; bonus pay; and tips.

The base pay is generally $25 per tour.

The bonus is another $25 per tour. According to the US Ghost Adventures contract, the $25 bonus is paid for “attendance and professional conduct.” If you no-show for any of the tours during that two week pay period, you do not get the bonus pay for all of the tours done during the entire pay period.

Indeed, whether a guide gets the bonus pay is up to the discretion of Zaal Ventures (US Ghost Adventure’s parent company). It is not guaranteed.

Tips are not guaranteed either. However, the site encourages them by providing each guide with a business card that patrons can use to Venmo a tip to the guide directly, if they don’t have cash. The cards also encourage patrons to review the tour and the guide.

The site does not reimburse tour guide expenses, unless they are pre-approved by the company.


Guides will need to pass a background check; as well as passing the in-person and online audition.

You must be a good public speaker. And, US Ghost Adventures prefers people with acting and customer service experience. This is not a job for introverts.

You must also purchase a $15 t-shirt and a $5 ID badge.


Contractors provide their work availability to US Ghost Adventures by the 18th of the month prior to the month that’s being scheduled. That’s roughly 45 days in advance, which is a long time in advance to book your schedule.

And, if you can’t work one of the days that you’re scheduled, you’re supposed to find a replacement to fill in for you, according to the contract. If you can’t find a replacement, it’s unclear whether this would affect your “professionalism” and ability to collect the $25 per-tour bonus.

The site’s contract also says that guides may sometimes be expected to take a last-minute tour that clashes with their availability. According to the contract: Contractor agrees to be available to give a tour when called on in 24hrs notice, regardless of their stated availability, no more than twice a month in the event they are needed for a last minute emergency, including on holidays.

Tour guide reviews

Tour guides generally love or hate this company. Some say they thoroughly enjoy the opportunity and earn great money — mainly because of tips. Others say they’re mistreated and underpaid.

It seems likely that tour guide experiences will differ markedly depending on the city where you work.

In big tourist areas, such as Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami, Boston and Honolulu, tours are likely to be more heavily populated and likely to generate nice tips. In Kansas City and Omaha, Nebraska, there are fewer tours and, likely, fewer customers to tip. Moreover, the year-round nature of the tours makes it likely that you’ll suffer in bad weather for some lightly-populated tours. And, given that the only guaranteed portion of the pay is the $25 base (for 90 minutes), that could make you feel mistreated and underpaid.


If you’re an extravert who loves people, history, and the macabre, this could be a fun side hustle during warm-weather months. You can sign up with US Ghost Adventures here.

You may also want to check out ToursByLocals and Viator, which both allow you to create and list tours on their sites in exchange for a portion of the revenue. But, be aware that US Ghost Adventures’ contract has a non-compete clause that allows you to work for an established competitor, but does not allow you to start your own ghost tour for at least a year after leaving US Ghost Adventures.

What their workers say (from Indeed)

I absolutely love being a tour guide for US Ghost Adventures. The time commitment is low and I can make great money in just a few hours. They also gave me the option to do more tours and expand.

An ideal job for the mature, responsible, self-motivated person. Maximum freedom to do your job well; good communication and support from experienced supervisors.

I really enjoy my time with US Ghost Adventures. There’s lots of wonderful locations to explore, training opportunities, fun props, and a supportive work environment. I recommend it often.

This is really a job for someone who likes to work on their own and with people. You will make most of your money in tips, so always have a good attitude.

Never dull

Never a dull day touring a group of people! Walking tours allowed me to keep physically fit and entertained. Watching my audiences’ faces react, as they learn about history and ghosts, is priceless.

If you are going to consider this career or job, the most important thing is to be passionate about the subject matter. You are required to learn a lot of information in a short period of time. However, if you love what you are talking about it will come easier.

I’ve always wanted to try tour guiding as a career. US Ghost Adventures allowed me to showcase my performance skills and knowledge of a city I love. My passion for ghosts and the paranormal were encouraged. While the tours I gave were at night, I usually had enough advanced notice before giving a tour.


The hardest part of the job is dealing with the weather! Bad weather means no work!

They want you to give tours even in a dangerous thunderstorm because they don’t want to give refunds.

The tours are given year-round so be prepared to work during the winter. Management is great and does its best to work with your schedule. They were supportive and I felt like they did their best to make things easier for me when giving a tour.

Help is AWOL

If you are looking for a fun and exciting work experience with this group, you will be extremely disappointed. They lack communication, organization, and follow through and leave us hanging in case of emergency on tour. They give you a number to call “customer service” and no one answers. The HR department is also horrendous with pay. I have had to submit my checking account numbers three times before they properly obtained the information and I was paid.

Their contract for guides is terrible, please make sure you read.

Working for this company has been a nightmare. There is no local management, leaving you in an embarrassing bind whenever an issue arises. The most common issue is that the tour is set to start in the middle of a busy market, making it difficult for guests to find. This immediately makes things awkward when you first manage to engage with guests. Management is aware of this issue and has done nothing to address it.


If the management issues are not bad enough, the advertised pay and gratuities are also greatly exaggerated. The idea of walking away with over $200 a night is laughable. I’ll be taking my leave from this company soon, and I recommend that everyone stir clear of them. It has been a disappointing experience from beginning to end, as it never came close to living up to what they promised from the onset.

(from Glassdoor)

Good pay, good tips, fun job

You meet interesting people, sometimes the tips are nice.

Great Tips. Good base pay for hours worked. Fun job giving tours.

Autonomy to make the tour what you want is nice as a performer. And there are good tips if you know how to get them. However, because of the low pay, you depend on this. And it is hit or miss. But the scheduling is a nightmare. And they have no customer service so people get angry which can hurt tips.

Not a fan

The company regularly retaliates against its employees and does little to prepare guides for their tours. Any city they operate in likely has a competing tour that will treat you better, pay you more, and be able to actually offer support and training. They also act like getting tips makes up for the poor pay, even though tips are unreliable compared to other tour companies because they do little to promote their tours.

This job was a complete waste of time and even though it sounds really fun and the stories are captivating and intriguing, I would not recommend that anyone waste their time.


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