“Get paid to take surveys online!”
I’ve seen this offer everywhere on the web and I’ve always wondered if it really worked. On one end, it seemed too good to be true. On the other end, as an online entrepreneur, I know first-hand that there are a lot of cool ways to make money online regardless of your skill set.
Three months ago, I asked my husband to try out a few survey sites so I could see if they are actually legitimate and so I could prepare a case study on his findings.
There is too much misinformation online about survey sites so I wanted to have the experience and research behind me before I wrote about this topic.
Last year around the holidays, I thought it would be a fun project to try out and hopefully allow us to earn some extra income since money is always tight in December and January due to all the end-of-year holiday festivities along with the group of family birthdays the following month.
I created a document so he could share notes and record his experiences and findings so we could weed through the survey sites that were actually legitimate and helpful and expose the ones that were pretty much B.S.
I’m all for helping people earn more money and taking online surveys seems like such an easy way to start if you could earn something more than pennies.
Related: Easy, Low-Effort Ways to Make Money
Here is the low down on some of the most popular survey websites that I asked my husband to try.
1. Opinion Outpost – Worthy
Opinion Outpost is a top survey site that allows you to earn points for the surveys you take. You can redeem those points for gift cards with major retailers or a PayPal credit.
My husband earned 15 points on this one during the first day.
It you’re looking to receive PayPal credit, you’ll need to earn at least 100 points which will convert to $10. Some gift cards require fewer points to redeem like 50 points for a $5 Amazon gift card for example.
Opinion Outpost also allows you the chance to enter to win a $10,000 quarterly sweepstakes. The odds of being selected are low, but you have nothing to lose so we entered just to see what happens. *Fingers crossed so we can get rid of these student loans in fell swoop, haha!*
2. Vindale Research – Best Option
Vindale Research is one of the oldest and most prominent survey companies and they are based out of New York. This one has been my husband’s favorite by far and they help you start earning money quickly.
As soon as he signed up, they sent an email with 3 survey options he could take along with how long they would take to complete and how much he would earn.
Once you sign up and complete your profile, you get access to more survey opportunities. Each survey pays a different amount since the time it takes to complete each one varies, but the site says you can earn up to $5 per survey in some cases. I think that’s rare though since we haven’t come across a $5 survey yet.
This site pays CASH but you have to have at least $50 in your account to redeem it. After taking 9 surveys the first two weeks, my husband earned $7.87 so you can definitely get to the $50 threshold with this site.
3. Pinecone Research – Best Option
Pinecone Research is my personal favorite. The company has been in business for 18 years and offers 10-20 minute surveys that pay up to $3 per survey. Plus, they don’t pre-screen survey-takers by asking them to answer certain questions to qualify for a survey.
You simply take the surveys and get paid out in cash after each one so there’s no waiting around to reach a certain threshold. We use the extra money earned from Pinecone Research surveys to supplement what we spend on gas for our cars each month.
I don’t drive much anymore now that I’m working from home but my husband does quite a bit.
4. VIP Voice – Meh
VIP Voice receives survey opportunities from their research partners and survey takers must answer a series of prequalifying questions before being selected for a survey opportunity.
For each survey you take, you earn points and each point is worth one entry into a SweepLand sweepstakes which allows you to win prizes like cash, electronics, and vacations. VIP Voice says that thousands of rewards are given away each month but I call B.S. on this survey site.
My husband has earned around 3,500 points so far and entered into the $1,000 sweepstakes and while all that is fine and dandy, he hasn’t really earned any money or prizes yet.
So far, he’s taken a lot of food and snack surveys which are super easy and right up his alley 🙂 One of the surveys threw in a random question to make sure he was paying attention and asked if he’d bathed in ketchup that day.
In all honesty though, we’re not so sure about how promising this site is. If you want to earn money from taking surveys instead of prizes, you should go with another option.
5. Swagbucks – Worthy
Swagbucks is another one of my favorites and my husband and I both have an account. You can earn money on Swagbucks from doing a variety of things but their surveys are always an easy option.
Most surveys take 10-20 minutes to complete and you can earn an average of 75 Swagbucks.
If you earn 100 Swagbucks, it’s equivalent to $1. You can redeem Swagbucks for gift cards from popular retailers, restaurants, etc. I shop on Amazon often so I like to redeem Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards. You can get your first gift card with as little as 300 Swagbucks.
Below, you can see an example of some of the survey offers I receive via Swagbucks.
6. Toluna – Average
Toluna is a survey site you might not have heard of but it’s pretty great. You earn points right off the bat to taking surveys to fill out your profile and share more about yourself. There are 100-point ‘get to know you’ surveys about travel, your internet usage, automotive, your mobile device, etc. There are also surveys about lifestyle topics and food.
You can redeem points for gift cards starting at 30,000 points which converts to $10. My husband just started with this site and already has 6,000 points just for registering.
7. Survey Junkie – Worthy
Survey Junkie was another site he tried and liked. You get 25 points just for signing up and 50 points when you complete your profile. It literally took less than 5 minutes to do this.
Survey Junkie sends surveys on a wide variety of topics depending on your experience and lifestyle. The average survey on this site ranges form 3 minutes to 20 minutes and you can earn an average of 50-100 points per survey.
You can redeem your points for cash once your reach a $10 threshold. Every 100 points usually equals a dollar so if you take a survey almost every day, you can redeem your earnings at least twice a month, maybe more.
What to Expect When You Get Started
My husband’s experience with taking surveys online pleasantly surprised me and he was actually able to earn a little money. No, he didn’t earn hundreds or thousands of dollars, but we didn’t expect that.
If you’d like to get started with taking surveys online, here are a few things to keep in mind.
You must complete your profile – You can’t just sign up and expect to start earning money. You usually have to complete your profile and answer certain questions about yourself. This will help the survey company send you survey offers that are relevant to you. Some survey sites will pay you in points or cash to complete your profile, which is always a bonus.
You may have to prequalify for surveys – Many survey sites require you to take a pre-survey to see if you’ll qualify for the paid survey opportunity. This annoys some people which is understandable, but they do this to make sure someone who doesn’t have any pets is not answering a survey about being a dog owner. My husband didn’t really mind pre-qualifying as long as it was a quick and easy process. You should definitely try Pinecone Research if you want to skip the pre-qualification process altogether.
Answer the questions honestly – This should go without being said, but don’t feel like you have to give a certain answer just to get more survey opportunities or earn more money. Taking surveys is supposed to be easy and painless and you’re supposed to give your honest opinion. Don’t waste time and energy giving conflicted responses that aren’t entirely true because that will just spoil the whole experience and won’t help the company who is looking for honest feedback.
Best Strategy to Optimize Your Earnings
After going through this experience over the past few months and seeing a positive outcome, we’ve come up with a specific strategy that will allow you to optimize your earnings when taking surveys online.
Step 1: Sign up with a few different survey websites – Each survey site has its own pros and cons and different payment terms and thresholds. You can get more earning opportunities by signing up with 2-4 different survey websites to start. That way, if one isn’t providing you with a ton of options at the moment, you can focus your attention on another site.
Step 2: Check your email and follow up regularly – You won’t know about survey opportunities if you don’t check in on the website and check your email for opportunities regularly. Most survey sites send out opportunities daily so it’s best to check in at least every other day to get more opportunities.
Step 3: Make the most of your spare time – Decide how much time you can dedicate to taking surveys each week. My husband has a busy schedule and very little spare time. He dedicates about 2.5 hours per week to taking surveys and he spends an average of 30 minutes each week browsing through opportunities to see which surveys interest him.
You don’t want to spend every waking hour looking for surveys, but maybe you can take one during your lunch break and another in the morning after breakfast instead of sitting at the table and looking at social media on your phone.
I don’t think anyone can say that they don’t have any spare time at all because there are always moments throughout our day where we experience downtime or do something unproductive. Make the most of that time by taking surveys instead.
Taking Surveys Won’t Make You Rich
As a final word, taking surveys online will NOT make you rich or result in you being able to quit your day job. It just doesn’t work like that and I’ve never heard of anyone becoming a full-time survey taker. #sorrynotsorry
If anyone tells you otherwise or claims that you can earn thousands of dollars per month taking surveys, they’re lying. The only types of consumer research that pay out a significant amount of money include focus groups and panel studies and perhaps I can talk about those in another post.
Taking surveys will provide you with extra money that you otherwise wouldn’t have made in a short amount of time which is nice. You should try to overdo it though seeing as how you can spend an hour taking surveys and not even earn minimum wage in some cases.
My husband also drives for Uber on the side and he earns way more per month than he does from taking surveys so that’s where most of his time and energy goes.
Related: 5 Reasons to Start Driving For Uber
All in all, if you’re looking for a super easy way to make extra money that you can use for one-off purchases, lunch or an outing with friends, or to help supplement a regular bill, online surveys can definitely help. Just don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Have you ever heard of any of these survey websites or tried to earn money by taking surveys online?
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