Are Online Survey Jobs Legitimate? What Does It Pay?

By Heidi | Making Money

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Apr 03

You have probably seen them pop up on your Facebook feed or maybe you have been searching the internet for ways to make money online working from home.

Taking online surveys is often suggested as an easy side hustle to make a few extra bucks. But are online surveys legitimate? And if they are what sort of money can you make?

A few years ago I did indeed try online surveys to make extra money. Initially it seemed like a really easy way to make some additional cash. I signed up to hundreds, probably bordering on 400 companies so that I would have access to enough surveys to make some really good cash.

So from my experience and following extensive research into what is available online today let me share with you my thoughts on online surveys.  

If you are interested in one particular area you can use the Quick Guide below to jump straight to it.


When I started doing online surveys my plan was to do them after hours while I sat and watched the TV at night. 

You see I already had a full-time job and was running our small boarding kennels after hours also.

You probably know the feeling when you have so much debt you can't seem to find a way to climb out of the hole. Well that was pretty much me! 

So the only spare time I had was after all the other jobs had been done, dinner had been eaten and I could sit on the couch and relax. So what better than to put this time to good use and earn some easy money while I was "relaxing".

This is what I found out during my time filling in surveys. 

How It Works

The whole concept is actually really cool - marketing companies will pay you for your opinions on various topics. It's basically market research and you don't need any other skills apart from your life experience to be a good candidate for taking online surveys.

So a company will want to know what a particular group of people think about their product or brand.  They may be looking to target males in the 18 - 24 year age group with a new product so they want to get their thoughts on certain aspect of existing products, how they shop, what adverts they see and like, what products they use now, what would make them change products, do they buy on price alone etc..

They will probably also want to know more personal information like what your median income is, your marital status, are you currently employed, what hobbies you might have, do you rent or own your own home?

Depending on the company and the information they are seeking obviously the questions will be different.

Big Brother and Privacy

If you have a problem with who gets your personal information and what they might do with it then the thought of all your personal details being given to a faceless company might scare you off.

Reputable survey companies collate the data and none of your personal details eg. name, address, phone number are attached to that data. Only a summary of the research results are forwarded to the actual company commissioning the survey.

You will note I did say reputable. There are plenty of scam companies out there, who do pay you to take the online surveys but they then also go off and sell your personal information to others!

There has always been a very lucrative market out there for this type of personal information.

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This personally didn't worry me as I researched and used reputable firms, plus I figure probably all my info is out there anyway. But when I told some close friends what I was doing they were horrified, and said they would never even consider giving a complete stranger that type of information.,

It's something to consider at any rate.

How Many Surveys ... How Many Companies

What I quickly found out was that I had to find and sign up to hundreds of companies to get anywhere near enough surveys to even keep me busy.

Often the company will want you to fill in a comprehensive survey about yourself to start off with, so they have all your details to know what surveys to send to you from their clients.

So while signing up to hundreds of companies doesn't sound like too onerous a chore, realistically it takes a lot of time to sign up and get authenticated before you can even get a look in at your first survey.

I spent weeks and weeks signing up and getting approved. Then I sat back and waited for the surveys to pour in.

Nothing!

Maybe I am too common being a middle class woman in the over 40's age bracket. It seemed none of the companies were interested in my opinions.

That is a bit of a blow to the ego, but more importantly I just wasn't getting the number of surveys I needed to make any sort of decent money. 

Show Me The Money!

How Much Can You Really Make?

So while I didn't get many offers of surveys to take when I did I found the compensation plans to be really quite dismal. 

Most of them paid anything from $1 to $5 per survey. I've done some research into current trends now and it appears to be no different.

Even today you are usually only getting a few cents to maybe $1 or $2 per survey. Very occasionally it seems if you are a part of a special minority group, you might score a survey worth $5. 

Cash or Card?

The other area to thoroughly investigate when you sign up with a company is are they actually paying cash? 

Many will provide you with points or some sort of system where you can then redeem your earnings for a gift card, no real money ever comes to you.

blue gift card

Now obviously this is OK if you actually want to buy products from the store in question but invariably your gift card will be for a few dollars and you will have to put up your own money to have enough to actually buy anything.

I thought this was suppose to make me money not make me spend more!

The other area if they are paying real cash is to know how much you need to earn before they pay you. There is usually a threshold you need to reach before they pay out.

I know with many of the companies I was with, I only did a few surveys and so I never earned enough with them to actually get paid. So I never saw the money I had legitimately earned anyway.

Time

Realistically these surveys are very thorough. They can be anywhere from 30 - 100 questions. Yes most of them will be tick box type questions, but some will ask you to elaborate on your answer and you will be required to provide more information.

Your surveys are reviewed once you submit them so if you don't fill in every section and provide the info they request, most will not pay you. 

The biggest problem I found was not the time it took to actually fill in the surveys, (although in the end I was only earning about $4 per hour!) the real problem was I was just not getting enough surveys to make any money worth talking about.

I would go for weeks without any, so over say a 4 week period I was still only earning maybe $10 - $20, and that had taken 4 - 6 hours of my spare time!   

A Word Of Warning

You should never be asked for any sort of payment to join an online survey company. They are suppose to pay you, not the other way round.

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I know of quite a few scams online where they promise you lots of surveys at really high rates, where you can make plenty of money, but you have to pay to join.

This is a huge red flag! These are fly by night operations and they will take your money and then disappear and you will not see one survey and you won't be able to track them down to get your money back.

Reputable companies, there's that word again "reputable", will not ask you to pay to join.

So What Is The Alternative?

I looked at online surveys because I could do it from home, in my spare time and from my laptop. If that is what you are after then I have an alternate suggestion for you.

Affiliate marketing

If you haven't heard of it basically you build a website, write blogs that inform and help people and market products that those people might be interested in purchasing. When they buy through the link you provide you receive a commission from the company who is selling the product/service.

I have provided a graphic below which shows the process a little simpler.

Orange Infographic Affiliate Marketing

The real beauty of this is you don't need to buy stock, hold it, arrange freight or handle any payments. This makes this a really low risk, no capital outlay, way to get started with an online business.

All you need is a website and if you haven't done affiliate marketing before you will need some training. 

If you would like a through run down on affiliate marketing and what it really entails you can click here to read my Ultimate How To Guide On Affiliate Marketing.

I would love to share with you the platform I am a member of and that has taught me so much, given me so much inspiration and enjoyment, and given me my start from knowing nothing to owning an online business. 

As always I do not expect you to take my word for it, and they offer a free Starter membership so you can check it out for yourself.

There is a Premium membership upgrade, so once you have checked it out for free and if you think this is the way to go for you, you get access to all the training you need to be successful in affiliate marketing.

There are no tricks and no hidden secrets. You don't have to put in your credit card, there are no upsells, no risk and no obligation to stay. 

I speak from experience when I say affiliate marketing is a much better way to make money online than taking surveys for a few cents per pop. With affiliate marketing you can earn a full-time income and even more.

You can still work from home and in your own time, but the rewards for your time are so much greater.

Just as a side note you also get me as your personal mentor and coach when you join me. I would really love to help you build a successful online business and make some real money. 

If you have tried online surveys to make money online how did you go? Did you make money? How much time did you spend doing it or are you still doing it now?

I'd love to hear your thoughts, and also, if you would like to share any other make money online from home tips or tricks pop them in the box below.

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About the Author

It doesn’t matter where you are starting from, what you currently have or don’t have, if you too feel like there is more to life than what you are currently experiencing and you want to take charge and create a better life for yourself (and your family) then join me and we will do this together.

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