There are many creative ways to make money online. However, some ways are more involved than others or require a special setup. If you have free time on your hands, surveys for money could be a simple side hustle idea. All you need is a phone or computer and an internet connection. Surveys don’t take long to complete, making them ideal if you have a daily bus or train commute to work, or just like to relax and unwind online.
How Surveys for Money Work
Your favorite brands will typically hire a market research or survey company to produce a survey for a few reasons:
- To find out what the general public thinks about a service, product or even the company itself
- To help them decide between “Product A” or “Product B”
- To get insights into how people think about certain things
- To figure out the best way to advertise or sell something
- To learn more about what type of person likes their goods or services most
People don’t necessarily want to provide their time and opinions for free. That’s why companies will pay a fee so they get enough respondents willing to answer some questions. You can leverage that need into a side hustle. Surveys for money typically work like this:
Survey Providers Creates Surveys
A company or brand has hired the provider to collect data that could be used to launch a product or improve something offered, for example. The survey is typically geared towards a certain demographic that may be very specific or general. That’s one of the big selling points of taking surveys — nearly anyone may be a good candidate. Some examples are:
- Stay at home moms
- College students
- First-time homebuyers
- Residents of a specific area
- People who have a home aquarium
The provider adds the survey to their online platform with the target demographic in mind as participants and hopes they get a good sampling of people. Interestingly enough, a company probably surveyed how to set up a survey that people are willing to take.
You Register to Take Surveys
If you’re interested in making a little money in your free time, you can register to take online surveys from the provider. To register, you will need to answer a few general questions about yourself such as your ethnicity, age, hobbies, education, family and income.
Your answers will help the survey provider create a demographic profile about you. You don’t have to answer all of them if you feel uncomfortable, but the more complete your response is, the more surveys you’ll probably receive.
Imagine you don’t want to answer an education-related question about yourself. You went to high school, and completed some college but don’t want to answer this question. If you leave it blank, you may be disqualified from all the surveys looking for someone who attended high school and higher.
Wait for a Survey Invitation or Notification
Once you complete the profile, you wait. If you match the type of respondent the company is looking for, you’ll be notified that there is a survey you can take. You probably won’t get invited to all surveys.
For example, an infant food company is thinking of launching a home delivery service for baby food. They would probably be looking for moms with infants or toddlers already, or women who may have answered in the initial questionnaire at registration that they plan to have kids in the near future. If you are a 70-year-old retired male, you probably wouldn’t be the best candidate.
You Accept the Invitation and Take the Survey
The invitation usually includes a brief description of the survey and details about how much it pays. Some companies even tell you how long it should take.
Some surveys are simple online multiple-choice questionnaires. In other cases, the company will send you a product to try out or ask you to check out a website, video or product and answer questions or give your opinion about it.
The best part of completing a survey is — getting paid. You may get paid through PayPal or receive free products or some type of reward for completing the survey. The best companies will usually tell you how much you’ll earn for the survey in advance so you can decide whether it is worth your time.
How Much Do Surveys For Money Pay?
How much money you’ll make depends on how many surveys you match with and how much time you invest. Swagbucks, a survey app and website, claims its surveys pay 40 cents to two dollars on average, although some longer, more involved surveys could pay as much as $50.
Are Surveys for Money Legit?
Many people ask “survey for money real?” Surveys don’t pay a lot of money. Any website that promises you’ll make $1,500 per week from taking surveys is probably too good to be true. There are surveys for money that are legitimate, but there are also a few that you need to steer clear of, for several reasons:
If you’re not careful about who you register with, the personal information you provide could be used in ways you wouldn’t have wanted. Never give overly personal information, such as your social security number or driver’s license details. Answering that you have three kids is ok. But responding with the names and birthdates of all your kids is far too much info to provide.
Detailed personal information requests should be a red flag — data mining sites can collect and sell your information or use it for identity fraud.
Not Getting Paid
Some websites may also waste your valuable time by collecting your data and opinions and never paying you. Two things can happen: you start a survey and 15 minutes in, it disqualifies you because it found you aren’t the right audience to continue. You just wasted 15 minutes of your life and will probably not get paid for your effort.
But worse, you complete a survey but never receive the money you were promised. Or you find out that the $2 survey that took almost half an hour is in your account, but the company only pays out when you reach a $50 balance.
Here’s a Tip
Before you register, do a quick search for the company and add the word “reviews.” Read what others have to say and if they actually pay as promised.
You might end up doing a survey and getting paid, but then your inbox is bombarded with random emails. Some of the less scrupulous companies will collect your information and sell it to marketers who will send you tons of unsolicited emails.
If you plan on doing surveys for money, set up a free, disposable email address just for surveys to protect your personal one. If your survey email address ends up compromised, you can disable or delete it without having to update contact information with your bank, utility companies, friends, family and so on.
5 Surveys for Money That Actually Pay
Now that you know what to look out for and what to expect, it’s time to register to get started. The following five companies are some of the most popular because they have enough surveys to keep you busy and the participants are generally satisfied with the experience.
There are many more surveys for money app and company options to choose from, but if you read the fine print, you may decide to skip them. Some don’t pay you until you hit a specific number of surveys, others can disqualify you at any time during the Q&A process without reimbursing you and quite a few have more complaints than positive reviews.
The top five surveys for money that actually pay are:
Swagbucks could be considered a side hustle superstore. You’ll have the opportunity to earn Swagbucks that can be redeemed for gift cards, discounts, merchandise and rewards, or install the web browser extension that pays you for surfing and shopping online.
Surveys pay an average of $0.40 to $2.00, which you can supplement with the other ways the website offers to make a little extra money.
2. Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie may be the most transparent online survey site. Surveys usually take around 15 minutes, so you can accept knowing what you’ll get paid for your time. You’ll receive points instead of money, but the points are easy to understand — each point is worth one cent.
You’ll earn points that you can trade in for gift cards or request a cash payment, which would be transferred to PayPal or your bank account. However, the points expire after 12 months and you’ll need to have at least 500 points to cash out. Stay on top of your balance and consistently take surveys to collect your $5 or higher balance.
3. Opinion Outpost
The Opinion Outpost website is nice and simple, reducing the visual clutter you’ll find at other online survey sites. You’ll earn points for each survey you complete, which can be redeemed for online vouchers or cash out to your linked PayPal account.
The survey invitation emails spell out how much time the survey should take and how much you’ll earn. This takes the guesswork out of choosing the surveys you think will be the most profitable. You can also add a little variety to your day by watching ads or trying out products.
4. Branded Surveys
Branded Survey is best for committed participants who want flexible payment options. You can build up to Branded Elite status to get weekly bonus points when you take enough surveys and remain active.
Branded Surveys has more cash-out options than the average survey site — choose from direct deposit, gift cards, PayPal cash or even donate your points balance to charity. Surveys pay between 50 and “several hundred” points, for earnings of $0.50 to a few dollars.
5. Inbox Dollars
Most survey sites pay in points that need to be converted into cash. Inbox Dollars keeps it simple by actually paying you in dollars instead of points so you don’t have to do mental calculations of how much a survey will actually pay. Best of all, Inbox Dollars claims to pay out $0.50 to $5.00 per survey — and some pay $20 or more.
You can cash out by requesting a check, e-gift and Amazon gift cards or PayPal. However, you’ll need to have a balance of $30 before you can request your money. Fortunately, getting to $30 can be achieved by taking surveys, trying out new video games or shopping online. Having a few ways to make money online can save you from survey fatigue.
You won’t get rich taking surveys for money online, but if you stick with it, the extra cash can buy you lunch or help you build an emergency savings fund. Anyone can be a good survey participant — companies are in search of people with all kinds of interests, hobbies and life experiences.
Before you register with an online survey company, make sure you do a little research about the company. Set up an email address just for surveys to avoid having your inbox flooded with requests, especially if you chose a less-than-scrupulous survey company.
While most surveys will require you to answer a few questions about yourself, the questions are typically generalized. Avoid websites that ask for overly personal details, such as your home address or your social security number.
To make the most money, set up a consistent schedule to complete the surveys. Surveys take time — if you invest yours properly, you can add a little extra money every week to your pocket.
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