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If you’ve been trying to find out exactly how much you can make by taking surveys online, you probably haven’t come across a specific answer.
That is because the amount you earn varies depending on several factors.
The two big ones are the number of panels you join and the amount of time you spend taking surveys, but there are several other elements that can affect the money you make.
Can you make money on My Survey and other survey panels?
But the truth is that everyone is going to have a different experience depending on the panels they participate in, how much time they put in, and even their demographics.
Get Paid to Take Surveys: Is It Worth My Time?
Let’s make one thing clear: You’ll never find a legitimate, concrete number for a survey taker salary.
That’s because your earnings can vary so much from day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, etc.
And your earnings will most likely be very different from someone else who takes surveys, even if they use the same panels as you do.
There are tons of factors that can affect your earnings with online surveys.
That’s why, if you research what some people think about online surveys, you’ll see a broad range of responses.
Some people love them and earn money regularly by using them.
Other people are lucky to make $1 every month even though they’re a member of ten different panels.
Why the difference?
Some people spend a lot of time taking surveys, almost like a part-time job. Others only spend a few minutes a month taking them.
Some people are in very specific demographics that are incredibly helpful for market research companies, whereas other demographics aren’t as coveted.
The factors that can vary your earnings so much are sometimes within your control, but sometimes they’re not.
The answer here is that, yes, surveys can be worth your time if you know enough about them to make them worth your while.
Unfortunately, that answer may not be the same for everyone. Some people just don’t have the time needed to devote to surveys or their interests and demographics may just not fit a lot of research needs.
Let’s look at the biggest factors that can affect what you make with online surveys and how to fix what you may be doing wrong.
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The Number of Panels You Participate In
There have been plenty of debates about the ideal number of survey panels to join. However, the answer is always different.
I have a list of the best five to start with, but I know some people who only stick with one or two.
A lot of survey takers think that somewhere between 15 and 20 is just right. Others prefer to sign up for even more panels.
There have even been people who claim they’ve signed up with over 50 different survey sites.
The thing is that signing up with a bunch of panels doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get more invites or have a chance to make hundreds of dollars a month.
In fact, you could end up with a loaded email inbox that becomes so overwhelming that you stop responding to your invites at all.
I still recommend starting with the top 5 panels and adding more as you see fit. Only you will be able to tell when it’s too much or not enough.
Just in case you haven’t learned this somewhere else on the site, the number of panels you join is proportionate to the number of invitations you get.
Please don’t think that joining X number of survey sites will guarantee you Y number of invitations. It isn’t that consistent.
You could be flooded one day and have almost none the next day.
Joining more panels than just one or two can get you some more invites because you’ll have your information on more sites, which means that you’ll be connected to more market research companies.
Remember, though, that several survey sites work with the same market research companies, so you may get invited to the same survey several times if you’re a member of a bunch of sites.
Just because you’re invited doesn’t mean you’ll get to complete that survey multiple times.
Most surveys log your IP address, so they can cut down on fraud and prevent people from taking the same survey more than once for more rewards.
What Can You Do to Earn More?
Start with a couple of sites that you’ve heard great things about.
See how they work for you before you start joining every site you find. Give them a couple of weeks as a trial.
If you’re not getting any invites, sign up for another one and try that one out for a couple of weeks.
Keep signing up for more until you have a solid five panels that you really love and seem like they’ll work well with your demographic.
Then you can always cancel your membership with the other sites so that you don’t keep receiving emails from them.
The Time You Spend on Survey Sites
If you want to make a serious amount of money by taking surveys, then you have to put in a considerable amount of time every day.
You can’t get around this.
Most of the people making a lot of money taking surveys spend at least 4 hours a day doing it.
If you decide to spend more than 4 hours per day, then you will probably earn more than most other survey takers.
Maybe you plan to spend 8 or more hours every day taking surveys.
If that is the case, then you should proceed with caution. Staring at a computer screen for that amount of time could lead to things like headaches and fatigue.
You might also experience some survey overload. It’s similar to writer’s block, but you just don’t want to look at another survey.
If you really want to put a lot of time into this, then I suggest taking surveys for no longer than 8 hours a day.
Even at that you should split those 8 hours up into 2 or 3 sessions.
What Can You Do to Earn More?
I suggest, instead of spending hours every day taking surveys for cash, you pick two days each week to focus on surveys.
There are some survey takers to treat these sites like a regular job. They’ve mastered the art of knowing what panels release new surveys at optimal times and they’re quick to jump into those surveys before they get filled.
Not everyone has the time to do that, nor should you plan to spend all your waking hours trying to make money this way.
It’s simply not realistic.
Choose a couple of days – maybe your days off work – to focus on surveys.
Check your email first thing in the morning to see if there are new survey invites, or check the websites of the panels you signed up for.
Take as many as you can without feeling like you’re working.
Remember, the point of online surveys is that they’re supposed to be a fun way to make money. You shouldn’t feel like you have another job!
They’re also supposed to be a flexible way to make some extra cash, so be sure to value your own time and not make surveys take up all of it.
The Amount Each Survey Pays
Another reason it’s so difficult to give an exact number that you can make from surveys is that each panel pays differently and even surveys within the same panel will have different amounts!
Also, some panels pay with points, and others pay with cash.
Although points have a cash value, it can be a little trickier to determine how much you’re actually making because you’ll first need to determine the cash value of the points.
The earnings you make from each survey typically depend on the survey length and how in-depth it is.
You might make $10 from each survey on one panel but only $1 from most on another panel.
However, the $10 survey took you an hour, and the $1 survey took you 5 minutes.
Technically, that $1 survey is worth more because, taking more surveys like that, you can earn $12 an hour.
What Can You Do to Earn More?
Always, always pay attention to how much surveys pay and the estimated time it will take to complete them.
Most survey panels provide an estimated time along with the survey invite so you can decide if it’s worth your time to complete it.
I stay away from any surveys that take more than 10 minutes but only want to pay $1. It’s just not worth my time.
Honestly, I find that a lot of the shortest, lower paying surveys are more worth my time because there are usually more of them available and I can get them done quickly to rack up money faster.
I also suggest staying away from sites that have confusing point values.
Some are super easy to figure out, like 1 point = $1.
Others are super confusing and can make it difficult to understand how much you’ll actually earn from your surveys.
When you sign up for a site, you’ll need to fill out a profile that asks everything from your most basic information to your household, job, income, and interests.
Fill out that profile as much as you can!
Your profile is key to getting matched with surveys that make sense for you.
Survey sites will comb your information to make sure you’re a good fit for a survey before it sends an invite.
The more information you provide, the narrower your demographic will be, which will help you get matched with highly targeted surveys for people like you.
These are usually the most high-paying opportunities too.
If you aren’t getting a lot of invites, make sure your profile is complete.
If it is, then you just might be one of the unlucky ones whose demographic isn’t needed at the time. There’s not much you can do about it.
What Can You Do to Earn More?
If your hobbies, interests, and demographics aren’t needed for surveys, there’s nothing you can do to change that aside from lying in your profile, which is a big no-no.
But, you absolutely can make sure that your profile isn’t holding you back.
It’s always a good idea to check your survey profiles every few months, just to make sure your information is current and accurate.
Sites occasionally add some more questionnaires and polls for members, too, so if you find any new ones, take them.
The more information you fill out, the better your chances at getting matched with surveys.
The Potential Ways to Earn Money
You’ll notice that some of these websites offer more than just surveys to make money.
Some will also have more community-type activities, like polls and forums that can help you earn cash.
Others will have games, paid videos, and cash offers.
These are technically known as Get Paid To (GPT) sites, but some of them are largely based around their surveys, so they can still be considered survey sites.
GPT sites are usually the best for earning money because they give you so many other ways to earn if the surveys aren’t necessarily working out for you.
Many people who claim to earn a lot from surveys are actually members of a few of the top GPT sites, so they may take surveys occasionally, but they’re also making money from the many other avenues the sites offer.
What Can You Do to Earn More?
One of my favorite ways to make money on GPT sites is through referrals.
Some have really great referral programs that work in tiers. This helps you earn money not just from your own referrals, but also from their referrals.
I suggest signing up for at least one GPT site (Swagbucks is one of my favorites) in addition to your regular survey panels to maximize your earnings.
Some sites that focus only on surveys also have referral programs, so be sure to seek those out if you think you’ll be able to get your friends and family to join underneath you.
Other Rewards as Payment
Not all surveys offer just cash or points as their rewards.
Sometimes, you may receive prizes and free products in addition to cash. These will most likely be things you already use in your home, so getting them for free can reduce what you have to pay.
If you get enough free products sent your way, then your living expenses could drop drastically.
Just for an example, let’s say you make $200 with paid surveys, get free pet food, and win a laptop all in the same month.
If you don’t need the laptop, you could always sell it for another few hundred dollars.
You wouldn’t have to buy pet food, so you’re saving money there.
Finally, you have an extra $200 on top of that.
Basically, it may not look like a big difference on paper, but the reality is that taking surveys can make a huge difference.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of being an online survey taker.
What Can You Do to Earn More?
Look for sites that offer the most rewards for your time!
And, look past just the cash or points that you get from surveys.
Some sites give you a free entry into sweepstakes in addition to your payment for every survey you take. If you take ten a month, you’ll get ten entries into sweepstakes for cash or another prize.
Some panels also give out free products to test in exchange for your honest opinions.
These are helpful when they’re things you tend to use anyway because they’ll save you from purchasing it.
Check out the FAQ sections of panels before you join to learn more about all the rewards they offer in addition to payment, so you can make sure they’re good options for you.
What Can I Expect to Make from Surveys, Realistically?
I’ve known some people who only make about $10 from all of their panels combined each month.
I tend to average between $50 and $100, but I also don’t spend more than a few hours a week taking surveys.
However, a lot of people have been known to make about $200 or more a month.
That still seems a bit low when you consider things like focus groups that may pay $100 or more for an hour to an hour and a half of your time.
Maybe all of the other survey takers that make nice money are too busy taking surveys to talk about how much they make.
The upper limits of what you can make really depend on what you are willing to do.
If you dedicate a fair amount of time to this and go about it the best way possible, then you may be able to make as much as $500 a month. That’s pretty good if it’s all extra income.
Remember, though, that people who make that much from surveys usually dedicate a lot of time to them and have a highly sought-after demographic that makes them very valuable to market research companies.
Not everyone can expect to make that kind of money because they won’t all have a valuable demographic.
Still, that much money can make a serious difference in your cash flow, especially if it happens every month or almost every month. So, it could be worth your time to at least try to work your way there!
Conclusion: How Much Do Online Surveys Pay?
Most survey panels don’t claim to give you a full-time income.
Those that do probably aren’t legitimate.
Surveys should be used as a form of extra cash. A little more spending money than you had before.
Don’t let the raw numbers from your earnings fool you either.
You might also get free products, entries into sweepstakes, and other rewards that make your time worth your effort.
Taking surveys is good for making more money and saving money.
Once you add in the prizes and free products, you will see the real effect of your earnings.
If you spend a fair amount of time taking surveys and you do it the smart way, you can potentially see a good, positive impact on your financial situation.
My suggestion is to play around with the panels you’re in. Give them some time to see if they’ll give you a good return for your time.
Once you find a mixture of panels that work for you, give it about six months and keep track of what you make and how much time you spent making it.
After that time, consider whether the time spent was worth it for the money you made. Only you can decide if online surveys are a good option for you!