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Is It Possible To Make A Living From Online Surveys And Is It Safe?

Looking for a change in career or are you just interested in earning some extra money from home? Take a look at how much you could really earn from online surveys and whether it’s safe to do.

Can I make a living doing online surveys?

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to make money over the last few years is through online surveys. You can complete from the comfort of your sofa, in your bed or during your lunch break at work. But one question I am often asked is whether you can make a full-time living from surveys.

Take a look at how much you can really make if you put your mind to it and what the safety concerns are.

Why do survey sites pay?

You may wonder why a company would bother to pay you for completing surveys? After all, it’s not like it takes a great effort.

But like it or not, we live in a consumer society where cash is king. Companies are constantly scrambling to bring out the best products or improve their services. And to help them with this, they need your opinion.

Surveys can be a cheap(ish) way for companies to find out what people really think of a product before it’s brought market.

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 concerned about privacy matters, I would recommend sticking to the major survey sites.

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.


The last few years have been a bit of an eye-opener for us all. With the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal that saw millions of Facebook users’ personal data being harvested in 2018, and companies such as AOL, Apple, British Airways, Sony Pictures, and Twitter (to name just a few) all being hacked at some point, how safe is any of our data?

The fact is, there is always a risk with any data we share.

Why do survey sites need your address?

There are two main reasons why a survey company may ask for your address. The first is purely for demographic reasons. Companies like to know basic details such as location, age, sex, race etc. This makes it far easier to see if there are links between certain characteristics.

The second reason is down to security. There are plenty of people out there that will set up fake accounts and profiles to make some extra money. Having to provide a physical address helps to stop that.

However, you’ll find that not all survey sites will need your address. Some only ask for a postcode and some will only ask for the region of the UK you’re from.

How much can you make from online surveys?

This a little bit of ‘how long is a piece of string’ question. How much you can make from online surveys depends partly on how much effort you’re willing to put in and partly on luck.

I work full-time and have 3 children, all at primary school. As you can imagine, I have very little free time. However, there is still plenty of time for me to fill out surveys when I’m sat in front of the TV or waiting for the kids at clubs.

If you take a look at some of my income reports, you can get a general feeling about how much I earn. In May, for example, I managed to earn £769.55. Keeping that up for a year works out at just over £9000. Some months are better than others, depending on what else I was doing that month.

Earnings from survey sites
My earnings from Prolific

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.

A couple of important tips

Set up an email dedicated to surveys. I’ve never had an issue with spam, but it’s always best to keep your personal life separate from your working one. You can do this for free at sites such as outlook.

Although it may be tempting, do not keep a large stash of earnings in your survey accounts. If the company closes, you will lose it. Withdraw when you can.

Bear in mind you may need to pay tax. The trading allowance from 2017 allows you to make a side income of up to £1000 from online activities. Any more than this and you may need to register as self-employed.

So, can you make a living from online surveys?

This is actually a tough one to call. How much one person needs to live on can vary greatly compared to the next person.

I think the top limit you can earn will be around £15,000 – £16,000 per year with surveys.

If you can combine this with cutting your bills as much as you can, such as;

then you could be on your way to making a living from survey sites.

If you think that you fancy giving it a go, take a look at my post about the best paying survey sites to get you started.

Online Income – May
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