If you nurture a passion for airing your opinions and have access to a computer, taking surveys for money is something you should consider doing. After all, doing so helps you make extra money while trying out new products and services. (More on that and how much I made in 2012 latter!)
Some of the biggest companies around the world pay research companies top dollar to hear the opinions of the average consumer through web-based surveys.
Practically, it’s not possible to list under one roof all the legit sites that offer online surveys. However, the list I’ve put together here contains names of survey companies I have personally been part of. These are also companies with impeccable legitimacy.
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You can also learn about more survey sites by browsing this website and reading my review of each site.
My personal favorites
These are the survey companies with whom I’ve been most successful:
Every survey company asks you to complete a small profile for demographic purposes. They do so to narrow the pool of surveys they’ve got as per your demographics, which will help you qualify easily.
For instance, if you are a non-smoker, there’s no point in sending you a survey based on cigarettes. Even then, however, there are many surveys where one still fails to qualify. I, for example, qualify for only around 40% of all surveys I try.
Can you really do it?
Yes, it is absolutely possible and doable. Making money by taking online surveys is something that anyone can do. I took out some time to see how much have I earned from online surveys in 2012 and the figure amounted to more than $2,000.
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That is not bad by any means for a person working from home answering surveys between taking care of chores like cleaning, cutting the lawn grass, taking care of my other online ventures and any other task that appears on my routine.
The amount of money you make doing surveys depends on the number of panels you join and studies you participate in. Having said that, it is also important to keep in mind that you can not get rich as a survey taker no matter how many sites you join and how many surveys you fill out.
What does a Survey Company do?
The services of a survey company such as Google Surveys, are sought by other businesses/companies to create paid online surveys about new TV ads or products before they are shared with the general public.
While this entirely depends on the kind of survey company you are dealing with, in a usual day of answering surveys, you could end up watching movie previews, reading about new cereals, sharing your views on cellphones, or even watching videos on current affairs.
During registration, survey companies require you to give out your personal as well as demographic information. Reputed survey companies will go the last mile to ensure the protection of this information. This data is used to choose participants for a survey based on any particular product or service.
On being chosen as a panelist, you are sent an email inviting you to answer a screening survey, which helps determine your suitability to that survey. In case you qualify, you are directed towards the extended survey and paid some sort of remuneration for the same.
What & how will I get paid?
Making money from surveys cannot replace a full time income. However, according to online survey veterans, it’s possible to make small but useful sums of money ($50-$400) either through free products or cash if you complete many surveys.
This can be accomplished by registering with many survey sites at the same time (of course, all should be free to register) as this boosts the likelihood of you being chosen for many surveys.
There is no one fixed payment mode followed by different survey companies. A few may pay you in points for every survey completed, which can then be exchanged for merchandise, cash, or even entries into sweepstakes/giveaways.
Some sites tend to payout the moment your account balance reaches a pre-set amount. Some others also restrict payments to giveaway entries only. Being aware of the payment terms of every company beforehand is helpful in deciding if it is worth your time.
It is also worth mention that nowadays, most survey sites that pay cash are moving towards paying their members via PayPal, although there are still sites that pay by check.
Another bonus with participating in online surveys is that every now and then you are asked by companies to try out some new products from them. Thus, you stand to receive such new products via mail and you are required to test them out before submitting feedback on the same.
Some of the products I’ve tested in the months gone by include shoes, deodorant, gum, frozen food, toilet paper, dog food and a few more.
Overall I’ve been part of many surveys over the years. Pay has mostly ranged in the region of $1-$50 for each completed survey. There were also occasions when participating in MySurvey.com online focus groups netted me $200.
How much time will this take?
The answer to this question is held by you. Personally, I registered at more than 50 different survey panels. Each of these panels informs you via email every time a survey becomes available.
While some companies might send you multiple emails per day, others might restrict to only one email per month. Most companies also inform you about the estimated time required to complete a particular survey.
In my experience, I completed most of my surveys well before the estimated time. Simply put, more is the time you devote to taking surveys, more are the rewards you stand to earn.
Do I need to pay anything?
Not at all! If ever there is a survey panel that asks you to pay money, steer clear of it. Legitimate survey panels need your opinions and will pay you money for the same.
Online survey veterans recommend interested panelists to sign-up with as many survey panel websites as possible (at least 5-10) in order to complete surveys on a daily basis.
Also, ensure that you sign-up with a frequently used email ID to facilitate a quick response whenever an email invite is sent. And yes, you ought to be accurate and honest when answering surveys. Failing to get past the initial lot of screening surveys is also something that usually happens with new entrants.
The key here is to not get disheartened and understand that it might take a while before a survey fitting your demographics comes along.
Locating legitimate survey websites is not an easy task. A lot of research and time is needed to know the difference between genuine sites and scammers.
For instance, there are certain sites that charge $30-$50 to provide you with a list containing the names of around 400-500 survey websites that usually promise exaggerated earnings.
However, you can locate many of the sites on that list by simply performing a web search of your own. Every survey site mentioned here is completely legitimate.
A Quick Heads Up
Having said that, one should also be careful to stay away from survey websites whose sole intention is to get hold of consumers’ marketing information. Later, such sites sell off this information to advertising companies.
We do not share personally identifiable information with other third-party organizations for their marketing or promotional uses without your consent except as part of a specific program or feature for which you will have the ability to opt out.
I wish I didn’t have to talk about this, but unfortunately its a reality. I am talking about scams. When it comes to taking surveys for money, it is a fact that sooner or later you will come across scams. But you can make sure you don’t fall victim by being realistic and keeping your expectation in check.
I know I mentioned this earlier but its worth mentioning again, yes you can make money taking survey online, but you can not make a living with it. OK, a few may be able to do that depending on what they consider “making a living”, but for the majority of us, participating in market research studies is not going to provide us enough income to quit our jobs.
Keeping that in mind will help you see through hyped up ads that promise thousands of dollars of monthly income for taking surveys, where the majority of companies behind those ads are scams and not legit marketing research firms that will actually pay you for doing online surveys.
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