No one’s going to get rich doing surveys online.
But if you’ve got free time, you can make some extra cash.
They do have a few nice benefits:
- Anyone can do them
- All you need is an internet connection
- Complete flexibility, stop and start when you want
When looking for a side hustle that is completely accessible and flexible, surveys are your best bet. Other side hustles are more lucrative but none of them are as easy to start.
Be careful to only work with reputable companies, less scrupulous survey sites might sell your personal data. There’s also plenty of scams out there.
How Do Surveys for Money Work?
“Earn money for online surveys” might sound like one of those too-good-to-be-true opportunities. After all, what kind of legitimate business pays people to answer questions over the internet?
As it turns out, quite a few. Companies want to know what consumers think, and online surveys are a quick, cheap, and easy way for them to gather large amounts of data. To get this data, businesses contract with survey companies.
In most cases, participating in an online survey for cash works like this:
- Register with an online survey provider – There are several reputable online survey companies. To work with them, you’ll need to register at each site.
Before you go in, know that most survey companies will ask for quite a bit of information. This is because they tailor their surveys to specific demographics.
For example, a company running a survey about baby products will probably want to target parents of babies, with an emphasis on moms in particular. If you’re a retired male with no children, you probably won’t get picked for that survey.
- Get notified about surveys – Once you’ve registered and completed your profile, most survey companies will let you know when you’ve been picked to participate in a survey. In some cases, you simply answer questions online. In others, the company behind the survey wants you to try out a product and then answer questions about it.
- Get paid – This is the part you’ve been waiting for. Once you’ve successfully completed the survey, you receive payment for your efforts. Many survey companies will transfer cash directly into your PayPal account, while others reward you with points, free products, or other rewards.
How Much Money Can You Make from Surveys?
Surveys won’t net you a significant income or make you financially independent.
The reality is they’re good for accumulating some extra spending money you can use for a monthly dinner out, your weekly coffee runs, or a savings account you grow over time. Another strategy is to use online surveys to save enough to pay off a debt like a credit card.
The payment for online surveys varies from company to company, and some reward you with points or coupons rather than cash.
How much you can earn also depends on how much time you can invest. According to one Reddit thread that asked survey-takers how much they earn, answers ranged from $10 per month all the way up to $300 per month.
Your earnings also hinge on how much data you’re willing to provide. Some surveys ask for a significant amount of personal information, including address, birth date, health history, and home ownership. This is because companies want to know if you fit their target demographic before inviting you to participate in a survey.
At the end of the day, filling out an online survey can be an easy way to earn some extra money, especially if you’re someone who already spends a lot of time online. If you can answer a few questions instead of checking Facebook or scrolling through Twitter, it might be time well spent.
Legitimate Options for Making Money with Surveys
If you’re up for taking online surveys, the good news is there are plenty of places to do it. Here are five sites to check out.
Swagbucks is actually much more than an online survey site. When you sign up, you can choose from a host of options to earn Swagbucks, which you can then use to redeem for discounts, coupons, and rewards, including Amazon gift cards.
You can also install the Swagbucks browser extension, which lets you earn rewards just for surfing the internet.
If you choose to participate in online surveys, some reviewers say it can be difficult to meet the demographic requirements. Additionally, Swagbucks will send you to third-party survey sites, which means you often have to fill out another personal profile to start the survey.
Many users say they like Opinion Outpost due to its no-frills dashboard. The design is straightforward, which makes it easier to navigate compared to other survey sites. Once you sign up, you simply click on which surveys you want to take.
Opinion Outpost compensates users with points, which you can cash in for gift cards and other rewards. If you’re not into gift cards, you can also cash out your points for PayPal deposits.
Toluna is a bit different than other online survey sites in that it allows users to choose which types of surveys they want to take. For example, tech-savvy individuals can focus solely on surveys that cover digital products or electronics.
As with many other survey sites, you earn points you can redeem for rewards or cash. On average, you can earn about $1 per 3,000 points.
Formerly known as MySurvey, LifePoints is a survey site that lets you earn points by taking surveys, tracking your experiences with a particular product in a “diary entry,” or testing products at home and then giving feedback.
Several online reviews note that it can be difficult to get a handle on how much a “point” is worth, as different surveys assign different values to points. For example, one survey may offer an exchange rate of 2,400 LifePoints for a $24 PayPal payment, while another might give you $5 in PayPal after you earn 5,500 LifePoints.
Survey Junkie encourages users to “be an influencer” by participating in online surveys. In exchange, you can earn points you can put toward gift cards or cash payments. Each survey tells you exactly how much you’ll earn for your time, so you never have to go into a survey guessing how much it’s worth.
Even better, the points system at Survey Junkie is straightforward. Each point is worth one cent. You must earn 1,000 points before you can cash out. Points have an expiration date, though, so be aware that you might lose your points if you let your account sit stagnant for too long.
How to Approach Surveys to Maximize Earnings
If you want to give online surveys a try, it helps to practice a few time-saving tips. After all, your time is worth money when you’re taking surveys.
To maximize your profits, you want to do everything you can to avoid wasting those precious minutes and hours. Here are five tips to keep in mind.
Be Wary of Sharing Too Much Information
If an online survey site wants to do a deep dive into your personal information, it’s more likely to be a data-mining site than a legitimate rewards site. While it’s normal to see a few personal questions on survey sites, you should steer clear of any survey that wants to know your social security number or bank account information.
Install Virus Protection on Your Computer
Many survey sites are actually survey aggregators, which means they use your personal information to match you with surveys hosted on third-party sites. To avoid pop-ups and spam, it’s a good idea to have virus protection or an anti-malware program on your computer.
Create a Survey Email Address
Most survey sites will email you when they have a survey that fits your profile. If you sign up for several sites, this can mean getting bombarded with multiple emails a day.
It might save you some time and sanity to have a separate email account just for online surveys. This way, you can check in whenever you have some spare time to complete a survey or two.
Some surveys will disqualify you halfway through the survey, even if you initially matched the survey’s demographics. Assuming you’ve already invested 20 or 30 minutes in the survey, this can be a huge waste of your time.
To cut down on this happening, try to work with sites that let you choose which types of surveys you want to take. Some survey sites will also let you know up front if you’re definitely matched or just “pre-qualified.” If a survey says you’re pre-qualified, this usually means you must answer a bunch of questions before you even get to the actual survey.
Set Aside Time Just for Surveys
As with any other part-time gig, you’ll probably earn more if you carve out a set amount of time for completing online surveys. Keep in mind that most individual surveys don’t pay that much, so you’ll need to complete several to start seeing any real payoff.
Creating special time just for filling out surveys can also stop you from racking up too many hours staring at a screen and clicking little boxes online. For example, if you set a timer for one hour, you can race yourself to see how many surveys you can complete. Once the hour is up, you’re done for the day and can move on to a different task.