When looking for new ways to make money online, many of us will eventually end up considering the idea of taking paid surveys. It’s one of those work from home options that, when legit, can be a solid way to put some extra money in your pocket. However, the majority of time that people spend online trying take surveys for money ends up being wasted, either by sites that are a scam, sites with very few actual surveys available, or starting survey after survey only to find out that you don’t qualify and will not be paid. Perhaps you have already been doing this and have gone through some of these struggles.
I’ve been taking paid surveys for about a year and yes, I’ve made some money doing it, but I’ve also wasted a whole lot of time. I am just now getting to the point where I have been able to make legit some legit money taking surveys to supplement my income in a few extra minutes per day. I’ve taken what I’ve learned and compiled it into a neat little list of survey tips below. My goal with these paid survey tips and tricks is to make sure that you are smarter than me, make good money and waste as little time as possible.
Taking surveys for money online can be a great way to earn a side income, or make money when you are underemployed. The heart of the online survey economy is that businesses are always looking for information about their consumers. This can include perception of their brand, opinions about their shopping experience, thoughts on new products, packaging or their marketing messages. To capture this information, these companies partner with marketing research firms that offer online surveys to consumers like you and me, who can take these surveys from home or a mobile device. To ensure that we fill out the surveys, they will offer incentives, usually in the form or cash or gift cards to compensate the survey taker for their time. There are literally thousands of survey sites and marketing research companies – some legit and some scams – that offer you the ability to take these surveys for money.
Paid survey tips and tricks
1. Treat taking surveys like a business
Chances are, you are taking surveys to make money. To do this successfully, you should think about this activity like you would think about any other business endeavor. Set up a separate email address to handle your surveys, set aside dedicated time to take the surveys, keep all of your logins in a documented and secure place and track your earnings with a spreadsheet. For a spreadsheet template, you can submit your email address below and automatically receive the survey profit tracking spreadsheet that I use.
2. Do your research
One of the most important online survey tips that I have for you is to choose wisely when deciding what sites to take surveys on. Since there are so many options, you will want to try out a number of them, then decide what style, type of survey and interface works best for you. The goal is to make money as easily as you can without wasting your time, so the best survey sites for you will be different than they might be for someone else. Before deciding which sites to start with, read reviews, look at how they pay out (gift cards, bank account transfer, points, etc.), look how many surveys they have available and get to know their interface. Do they have a mobile app? Can you take surveys any time of day or night? Do other people say good things about the platform?
3. Make sure the site offers legit surveys and payouts
When looking for sites, you can undoubtedly come across some that are less legit than others. I’ve seen sites that ask you to pay them a sign-up fee to be eligible for surveys. Don’t do this. There are plenty of legitimate survey sites out there that you can use to make money, so find sites that have plenty of surveys, allow you to sign up for free and pay you frequently and through a payment method that works for you. These typically include gift cards, Paypal or bank transfer.
4. Cash out as soon as you can
Once you start taking surveys and stacking up some cash or points in your account, you will want to make sure that you withdraw that money as soon and as frequently as it makes sense. What I mean by that is that many sites won’t allow you to withdraw until you have earned let’s say $10.00 or 3,000 points. Don’t collect $300.00 in that account and plan to withdraw it later. Many of these survey sites get acquired or shut down at different times and you don’t want to be left unable to collect a large balance that you had in your account. The caveat to this is that sometimes, you can purchase better rewards if you acquire more points or money in your account. For instance, with Swagbucks surveys, they will run promotions sometimes where a $5.00 Amazon gift card can be purchased for 500 points, or a $25 gift card can be purchase for only 2200 points. In that case, it likely makes sense to keep more points in your account.
5. Keep your information up to date
One of the biggest challenges when trying to maximize your hourly rate for taking surveys is qualifying for as many as possible. Disqualification from surveys will naturally happen, fairly frequently, but the more you can minimize it, the better. One of the best ways to do this is to keep your profile updated. If you move, get older, or have other life changes, your profile could still have old information, which would then conflict if you are answering qualification questions. Some of the sites will check these questions against your profile to make sure that you are being honest and you will be disqualified because you said that you were 36 as opposed to 34 in your profile or said that you had kids when your profile said that you didn’t. Keep it updated.
6. Be smart, but honest with qualifying questions
On the topic of qualification questions, it is best to always be honest. You won’t be helping the companies using the data, nor yourself if you are giving dishonest answers. The survey site could check your answers against each other in the future and you’ll have to keep up with the information that you’ve been submitting, so it’s always easiest to give genuine answers. That said, if you can tell that a survey is looking for certain information, try to give yourself the best chance of qualifying as possible. Don’t say that you hate or would never use certain products. Try to keep your answers as broad as possible. Try to identify questions that could disqualify you, then see if there is a way to get around them without being dishonest.
7. Take surveys that pay the most money
As you start experimenting with different sites and tracking your results, you will start to see which sites pay more for you than others. This won’t be the same for everyone. If there are online survey sites or apps where you find yourself getting through surveys faster, getting approved more, or getting higher payouts, use those sites or apps more frequently to take surveys. This seems obvious, but if you aren’t tracking it, then you may not be making the most efficient use of your time.
8. Stick with it
The vast majority of people will read these paid survey tips and tricks, sign up for a few sites, take a few surveys, then decide that it is not worth their time. With this approach, they are probably right. To actually make legit money taking surveys, you need to stick with it for a while, dedicate time and try to optimize your hourly rate. Don’t be discouraged if you have a day where you don’t earn as much as you’d like. Try to learn from it and keep working through it. After a few months and hundreds of surveys, if you find that you aren’t making as much as you’d like, then you have enough information to call it quits. Before that, stick with it.
9. Look for additional ways to earn
Most of the paid survey sites and apps will offer referral bonuses, affiliate programs or other types of paid surveys like shop-alongs or video journals that can earn you more money. Explore what these options are and see if you can increase your earnings without spending much more time.
10. Find time to take paid surveys
While setting aside dedicated time is the best method to make money, you can also look for breaks in your day where you can fill out a quick 5 or 10 minute survey to earn a few bucks. Download survey apps and use them when you are waiting in lines, sitting in a waiting room for an appointment, laying on the couch or at other times when you find a few minutes. This can certainly add up.
11. Enjoy it
Nobody is going to become a millionaire strictly by taking surveys to make money. It can be a good way to supplement your side income without a ton of work, so treat it like what it is. Find surveys that you enjoy taking, make a few or a few hundred dollars per month and enjoy yourself in the process. This is a great side gig to add to your arsenal that can bolster your income and savings.
List of online survey sites
For a complete list of the survey sites that I recommend, check out my post on legit paid survey sites. The three that I find myself using most are Amazon Mechanical Turk, Swagbucks and iPoll, but there are about 8 others that I have had success with in the past. Do you have other paid survey tips and tricks that you would like to add to this list? Tell me about your experience in the comments or contact us with questions.