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Can You Make Money Taking Surveys?

Yes, it’s true but before this ends up sounding like a bad informercial, let’s be clear. You’re not going to make a living taking surveys but if you’re looking for extra spending money, an income source for your emergency fund, or a way to pay for a piece of your family vacation, this may be worth a look.

If you didn’t know that marketers would pay for your opinion, here’s how it works. Marketing has never been a very efficient business. For every 100 pieces of direct mail sent, an average of 3 will get a response and how many advertisements do you see on TV that don’t fit your lifestyle? Companies pay a lot of money in wasted advertising just to find the few that will turn in to revenue but as marketing evolves, the old way of doing things is changing.

Manufacturers would rather pay you a small fee for your opinions before making a full investment in to a product. By picking out a group of people from their database that would be likely to use the product, they can get targeted feedback with minimal expense. They would rather pay you a small amount of money than invest millions in to product development and advertising campaigns.

How to Get Started

Hard core survey takers are like coupon clippers. They know how to work the system for maximum gain. First, you have to find the right sites. Among their favorites are Lightspeed Online Research, i-say, Valued Opinions and PineCone Research. Be careful of sites that sound too good to be true. If they want to give you an IPad for taking a few surveys, it’s most likely a con. You’ve heard it before but it definitely applies here: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Before registering with any of these sites, set up an e-mail account that you’ll use only for survey sites. You’ll get a lot of requests and if you sign up at the wrong site, a little bit of spam so don’t use your primary e-mail address.

Next, just like any business, your time is valuable so don’t waste it on sites that don’t pay well. In this article [3], the author says that she ditches surveys that offer 50 cents for a 40 minute survey or points that might take 50 or more surveys to add up to a substantial payment. Some sites will pay as much as $25 per survey but most will be much less than that. Others will pay you for your time and send you products to try before completing the survey. A little bit of money and free stuff isn’t such a bad deal.

The Tricks

According to “the pros”, the best way to make surveys worth your time is to multitask. If you’re watching tv, at the park letting the kids play, waiting for practice to end, or doing something else that doesn’t require your full attention, that’s when you complete the surveys.

Second, don’t lie when telling the company about yourself. Be honest and keep your profile updated. If you’re a male or in a minority group, you’re in the underrepresented category. You can expect to receive a lot of requests.


The pros claim to make $400 to $600 per year but don’t expect that right away. If you’re willing to devote a little time to learn the industry, expect $250 per year on average. Actually carving out time away from family or from higher paying work probably isn’t the best way to treat this type of income.