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Can You Make Money From Online Surveys? All You Need to Know

Thinking about taking the plunge and trying to earn extra from home? Take a look at this 7 step guide to survey sites to find out all you need to know before you get started.

can you make money from online surveys
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Can you make money from online surveys?

The quick answer is yes. Surveys are a genuine way to make money from the comfort of your own home, using your phone or computer. But don’t just jump in with the first survey site you find. Some sites pay far better than others, whilst other sites should be avoided altogether.

How much can you earn from surveys?

It often surprises me, but quite a few people head into the survey business thinking they can make a full-time wage. Try not to think of it as any more than some extra spending money. This isn’t to be scoffed at though. Give it some time and find the right survey sites for you and you can easily make over £2000 per year. And with a bit of luck, you may get to trial a few products too.

As an experienced survey taker, my biggest earning year was 2020 when I managed to earn over £7,000. It takes some doing, but there’s no reason why most people can’t get there.

If you’re interested, you can read about my survey taking featured in the Sun back in 2019.

Are paid survey sites safe?

If you’re new to surveys, you’ll probably be a little nervous as to why survey companies are interested in having so much information about you.

This information is vital to them as not only does it allow them to collate data more accurately, it will allow them to send more suitable surveys to you. For example, they wouldn’t be too keen on sending a survey to an 80-year-old retiree about what they would expect from a football boot.

The amount your household earns may also seem a little pointless, but it gives companies a good indication to what families will see as value in relation to their income.

If you’re unsure about a site, always check the privacy page. Here, it should tell you exactly what happens to your data and contact details if you have an issue.

The major sites will sometimes direct you to some smaller sites that you may not have heard of. The fact is with survey sites, this is your data and you are in control. If you don’t want to share something, then don’t. If you’re uncomfortable with a question, then don’t answer it or close the survey.

Where to start

The great thing about surveys is that you can do it when you want and where you want. I love the idea of being able to earn some extra money whilst watching TV or pretending to talk to my wife.

But first, you need to find some decent sites to get started with. Start with my top 10 paying survey sites and I recommend you join as many as you can as it gives you a good base to start earning. Also, take a look at my list of online focus groups and panels. These do require you to be interviewed, so are not for everyone, but you can earn up to £60 per hour.

And if you find you have even more time on your hands, why not take a look at my full list of survey sites?

A quick guide to taking surveys

But it’s important that you don’t get scammed or waste your time on pointless sites. That’s why I have written this quick guide to survey sites.

Step 1 – Email address

Create a new email address just for online earning activities. Two reasons for this. Having a dedicated email address means you can keep a closer eye out for new earning opportunities, without it getting mixed-up with pointless offers from Next.

But more importantly, if you sign up to a site that isn’t legitimate, there’s a good chance your email address will be sold onto some unscrupulous people. That will mean lots of spam and you will find yourself getting angry every time you open your inbox. If you find that your email address is getting too spammy, you can just open a new one.

Visit Outlook or Gmail and you can open a new email address in a couple of minutes.

Step 2 – Signing up

Different survey sites have different requirements when you join. Most require your address or at the very least, a postcode. This can be to check that you are a genuine participant or just so they can send you location-specific surveys. Some will even want to know your mobile number, again, either as proof of identity or to send you surveys by text.

All I can say is only share information that you’re comfortable with sharing. This could limit the sites you’re able to sign up to but I have known people to use false details when joining. I will leave it up to you on whether you want to choose to be creative or not.

You may often wonder why you’re being asked how much you earn, your interests, work and how many children you have. The fact is, a lot of these surveys are created by companies with a specific demographic in mind. For example, you wouldn’t ask a family that earns minimum wage about what they would like from a luxury car.

Step 3 – The more the merrier

This probably sounds obvious, but the more sites you join, the more opportunities you have to earn. But another advantage is that you can find sites that are better for you. I often find people that swear by certain survey sites, whereas I think there are better alternatives. I enjoy using Swagbucks but know plenty of people that think it’s a waste of time.

Step 4 – Value your time

Nearly every survey will tell you how much you will earn and the length of time it will take. Make sure that you are not being ripped off! I have seen some surveys that offer 25 pence for 25 minutes. No matter how desperate you are for money, avoid poorly paid surveys. There are always better alternatives to earn extra money and if you do complete surveys for such a small amount, it will only encourage companies to keep dropping their pay.

Step 5 – Don’t build up a huge balance

There’s a good chance that you’ve started completing surveys with a specific goal in mind. Perhaps you want some extra money towards Christmas or you’re using it for a holiday fund. The temptation is to leave your earnings in your survey account so that you don’t withdraw and spend it. I would advise against this for 2 reasons.

Your account could be closed for violating T&C’s. This is very rare, but if they think you haven’t been using their site fairly, they will close down your account. You can complain all you like, but the chances are nobody will listen. Take a look at my Lifepoints review to see how it happened to me.

You’re never sure how financially viable some of these companies. By this, I mean that they could close down without any notice because they have run out of money.

Step 6 – If you’re unsure…

Obviously, although I have reviewed a lot of survey sites, there are still plenty about that I’ve never seen.

If you stumble across a site you like the look of, make sure you find some reviews first. This way, you can get a better understanding of whether the site is worth joining and if you’re likely to be scammed. If you can’t find any reviews, then it’s probably best that you leave it alone.

Bear in mind that you may find legitimate sites that have some bad reviews. The issue with the internet is that when we receive bad service, we rush onto there and give a bad review. Yet, when we have a good experience, we often keep it to ourselves.

I can find bad reviews for every survey site I have joined, where people have screamed “scam” when really they’re not. If a site has bad reviews dating back more than a couple of years, if they were a scam, the chances are they would have been shut down by now.

I would always take a look at Trustpilot to get a general overview of a site. But with that said, I don’t think you can always rely on Trustpilot reviews.

Step 7 – Ermmm…

There is no step 7. But who has heard of a 6 step programme? But at least you got through it quicker.

How can you earn more from survey sites?

There are several factors that impact on your earning potential when it comes to completing surveys.

  • Your demographics – age, sex, location and income can be important factors, although there’s little you can do about that. Having children will improve the number of surveys you receive, but the cost does outweigh the reward…
  • Number of sites you belong to – with survey sites, it’s certainly a case of the more the merrier. You’ll also find that you’ll soon find preferred sites to take surveys from.
  • Taking part in focus groups and interviews – this is where the big bucks are. More and more I’m finding surveys that are looking for recruits to take part in online chats, either in groups or as individuals. These generally pay anywhere between £20-£60 per hour. And you don’t need to be an expert.
  • Don’t slog away – the temptation is to set yourself a target to earn each day. If you do that, you’ll end up completing surveys that pay you £2 per hour and it’s just not worth it. Give it time and you’ll soon get into an earning routine that is comfortable for you.

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