Thinking about taking the plunge and trying to earn extra from home? Take a look at this 7 step guide to survey sites before you get started.
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 – Reviews
When you come 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.
Step 3 – 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 4 – 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 5 – 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 6 – 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.
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 7 – Ermmm…
There is no step 7. But who has heard of a 6 step programme? But at least you got through it quicker.
If you want to take a look at some reviews of survey sites and get an idea of how much they pay, click on Survey Sites which is listed under categories on the right.
Alternatively, you can just take a look at my top 5 paying survey sites.