I’ve never been very optimistic about making a living doing surveys. It’s not that you can’t make money, but I don’t believe you can make steady, regular income needed to pay the rent. However, if you’re looking to supplement your income or earn mad money, surveys can be a fun way to do that. Since I get asked about surveys a lot, I thought I’d answer the most common questions, and provide some tips on how to maximize cash and prizes from surveys. I’ve also posted a few survey companies you can check out if you’re interested in learning more about surveys.
What are surveys?
Surveys are questionnaires provided by companies who are seeking feedback from a specific market, usually about their buying habits. Surveys are not new, but in the past they came in the mail. Today, you can do surveys online or through mobile apps.
Are surveys a scam?
The short answer is, no. But like most work-at-home options, there are scammers who’ve figured out a way to game the system. In these cases, they charge you money for something you don’t need to pay for. Legitimate survey sites do not charge money. I have found that some sites will charge money to access their database of survey sites. You have to decide for yourself whether this is worth it. In my experience a little research goes a long way. And some of these pay-for-access survey database sites sneak in free-to-try programs that can cost you money.
Can you work-at-home doing surveys?
What do you mean my “work?” If you’re looking a for steady income to pay your bills, surveys aren’t the answer. I haven’t met anyone yet who supports their family on survey income. I’ve come across some who say they make $250 and one who said they made $1000, although I suspect that is not the norm.
With that said, surveys don’t require any skill or experience, and are a fun way to bring in a little extra. However, they can be time consuming. Most surveys will tell you how long the survey will take (usually 5 to 20 minutes). Further, to make any significant amount of money, you need to belong to several survey sites to have the most amount of surveys possible to take (I have a list of sites below).
Do I have to give them all that information about me?
Yes, but within reason. The survey sites need to fit you into a demographic (gender, marital status, age, home ownership status, interests, etc.) because companies survey specific demographic groups. The first few questions of a survey are often used to determine if you fit the group the company wants. But you always want to be careful about giving away too much information. The difficulty is that if you’re getting paid, the law requires the company issue a 1099 for which a social security is needed. This is true of any paid work in the U.S. (Incidentally, you’re also supposed to claim prizes and winnings as income on your taxes).
What do I need to know that isn’t usually mentioned?
Most survey database sites will say you can make $5 to $75 per survey, but what they don’t tell you is that you may only qualify for one survey a week or less. Or maybe more, but you’re not going to do five $25 surveys a day seven days a week. Many don’t pay per survey, but instead enter you to win money. And some give you stuff instead of money. I’ve gotten a portable CD player (before there were MP3 players) and a Victoria Secret bra. I also got paid $5 once to do a week-long log of my TV watching habits. It was fun, but I didn’t earn much.
They also fail to mention that you need to qualify for each survey. As I mentioned above, when companies survey consumers, they usually want a very specific group, such as married moms with children under 10 years who own a home, a computer, a gaming system, and watch 20 hours of t.v. a week (this is just an example). Further you don’t know until you start the survey whether or not you’ll fit the demographic the company is looking for. Usually the first few questions are used to identify if you fit the target group. If you don’t fit, you don’t do the survey. Many sites will enter your name to win money even if you don’t fit the demographic for the survey.
How can I make money with surveys?
The people I’ve met who seem to make the most money (or giftcards/free stuff) from surveys spend a lot of time at it and participate through more than one survey company. Many sites will email you about new surveys, while others you’ll want to set a time to check in with. Making more than a hundred dollars a month requires you to check for and do surveys everyday. While you may not have one you qualify for everyday, you don’t want to miss any either. A good plan is to check with your survey sites in the morning and evening each day.
Here are few survey sites you can try. I’ve divided them between online (using your computer) and mobile survey sites. They are free, BUT I cannot make any guarantees about their programs or your success in working with them. They are offered solely as information you can check out.
Remember to never pay money to join a survey site and be skeptical about the free-trial offers that will bill you if you fail to cancel. Some survey sites have those kind of offers as well.
Online/Website Survey Companies
e-Poll (ages 13-24 years only)
Inbox Dollars (surveys and more. $5 sign-up bonus too!)
Job2Spot (this site talks about “jobs” but it’s a survey site)
Phone App Surveys
Note that some of these pay in giftcards.
International Survey Options
These are divided by country, and in the case of Canada, by language.
Panel Station – AU
Survey Junkie (AU)
Global Test Market – Canada English
iSay Survey Panel – Canada English
My Survey – Canada English
Survey Junkie Canada
Global Test Market – Canada French
iSay Survey Panel – Canada French
My Survey – Canada French
One Opinion – Germany
One Opinion – UK
Panel Station – UK
Panel Station – NZ
Panel Station – Poland
Panel Station – Singapore
Some of the above survey sites above may pay an affiliate commission if you register.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
Note: Work-At-Home Success contains advertising as well as screened work-at-home jobs and resources. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive compensation if you register or buy using the link. Occasionally, WAHS publishes "Supporting Contributor" posts or paid reviews for which compensation is paid. These posts are marked as such. All opinions are my own. Click here for full details and disclosures.