The Work At Home Guide

Finally, The Truth About Paid Surveys

Posted in Home Based Business October 5, 2006 ( Read | Bookmark )

One of the easiest ways to earn money online, as discussed on my website, is to use paid surveys. While not nearly as lucrative as affiliate marketing or auctioning on eBay, you can still make a nice sum of money with paid surveys.

The first thing I will say is that surveys will not make you an overnight celebrity or millionaire; it is simply a great way to put some extra money in your pocket without doing much work. One thing that irks me is when companies want you to believe that you can fill out a 5-minute survey and make 25 dollars. Let me tell you, I wish that were the case. Most surveys will take at least 20-30 minutes to complete and pay anywhere from $1-10 dollars. Yes, there are some $25-50 surveys, but they are not common.

But what if you were only to take the surveys that pay top dollar and forget about the lower paying ones? The problem with that is after you register with the survey company, you will need an invitation before you can take the survey—you can’t just choose any survey you want to take before you receive an invitation (if that were the case, everyone would only fill out $50 surveys).

Remember, you receive invitations according to your profile. And this goes for most of the survey companies.

As I mentioned earlier, the surveys you get invited to usually pay you anywhere from 1-$10 dollars. So common sense tells anyone that they will have to be registered with many survey companies to even make a decent amount of money. You don’t have to register with all the survey companies all at once—a few registrations a day will suffice. With that being said, the more surveys you sign up for, the more chances you will get to make money.

Side note…

Please don’t feel disappointed in the beginning because of all the $1 surveys in your mailbox; keep on registering with quality survey companies until you start to see those $6-$10 (even $25) offers. After a while, if you keep filling out the low paying surveys, you will see more and more of the much higher paying surveys. Patience is very important in the beginning.

Why would companies compensate me for taking a survey?

The purpose of a survey is to gather people’s opinions on different products and ideas that companies continually come up with; this can be anything from item design to movie scripts. These companies need opinions from “real” everyday people like you and me to get insight on their products before they hit store shelves. And they are willing to pay us for our opinions.

Have a good time…

Taking surveys, to me, is actually fun. It is not stressful and you can get make several hundred dollars a month doing it—assuming that you do things the right way.

Not only is it fun, you get to see products, movies, and services before they are presented to the public. I actually completed a movie survey on “Snakes On a Plane” 5 months before its theatrical release.

Register with the best research companies…

As fun as surveys can be, one problem that I found with taking these surveys is that not all of them are worth taking. This is why it is important for you to register only with quality research companies.

You can find some good paid surveys manually and it wont cost you anything.

On the other hand, you can join a paid database, like SurveyScout, that has all the quality paid surveys in one place. While some of the research companies in SurveyScout can be found individually for free, the simple setup, cohesiveness, and registration bonuses that SurveyScout gives you are more than worth the one-time fee they charge. I review SurveyScout on my site.

Here is your reward…

Let’s talk about what some companies actually give you when you successfully complete a survey. Many companies give you gift certificates, free music downloads, DVDs, and electronics; some will enter you into a cash sweepstakes upon completion of a survey (where you can win a portion of the prize money). You will usually know what you will get for completing a survey before you start (check your survey invitation for details).

Some people tend to decline these kinds of survey invitations because they don’t pay in cash; but do not dismiss the non-cash prizes. At times, they are just as good as cash rewards. Say you get a free DVD player or another type of electronic device (MP3 player) as a prize; most likely you were going to buy one anyway, so why disregard prizes such as these?  When a survey says you get a gift card or prize once it’s completed, don’t dismiss it.

I think we are about ready to start…

Now that we got some of the basics out of the way, you now know that paid surveys are a great way to supplement your income.

Lets move forward to the first rule…

Rule #1:  Create a separate email account for your survey registrations and monitor it everyday

Set up an email account with Yahoo so you can use it only for your survey registrations and invitations. Please do not use your main/primary email address when signing up for surveys. Often times, people are spammed if they are not careful when registering for surveys. This is the best way to protect yourself against spam.

Rule #2: Don’t entertain any bonus offers when registering for surveys.

When registering for surveys, sometimes you will see all sorts of “bonus” offers from other products/companies; my advice to you is to hit the “no, thanks” button and continue on with registration. If you don’t, you will most likely be subjected to spam—that is another reason why I recommend you open up a free email account with Yahoo or Hotmail: just incase you accidentally agree to one of these offers.

I have been a victim of this, where my name and email address were sold to a third party and I actually had to change my email address to stop the spam. No matter how legit some survey companies seem, some will still sell your information to third parties.

Rule #3: Don’t join a paid database until you read this…

You can find a good amount of paid surveys by doing simple searches for them for free. So the question is: why should anyone pay for something that they can get for free? In the beginning, I found several good paid surveys by doing some simple searches.

Being the lazy person that I am though, I still decided to join a paid database and have all the best paid surveys in one place. I felt more at ease selecting paid surveys from a paid database like SurveyScout because I knew every research company listed was a quality company that protected my information. The one-time price was very reasonable anyway so I didn’t find it much of a burden.  Some of my visitors use paid databases and love it because it makes everything a little bit easier.

Nonetheless, you can go either way when deciding between a free database and a paid database. Just be sure to know the difference between the two before you decide.

Rule #4: Don’t lie about your contact information

If planning on receiving payment, you have to use your genuine contact information. At first you may feel a bit strange giving out some of your personal details, but in most cases your information is well protected. If you are not honest when you register, you can’t expect to receive your payment. Don’t waste your own time—sign up with your real contact information. But be sure to register with a legit research/survey company.

Rule#5: Protect yourself; protect your information

This is really an extension of rule #1 on day one. But now we are going to focus on other security protocols. Always look for privacy policies and seals of approval to ensure your information is kept secret. When you see seals of approval such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) on a survey website, you know you are protected and are dealing with a company that values privacy.

Rule #6: Don’t fall for the promises of wealth…

In my experiences, it is difficult to make a full-time income with surveys (thousands a week for example). But you can still make a good stream of additional income to help with your bills and expenses.

The amount of money you make can, and will, fluctuate because the amounts of surveys you receive are very inconsistent. For example, I had one month where I pulled in over $400 dollars and another where I pulled in $88. It all depends on how many surveys you fill out, your profile, time of the year, the research companies you register with, and much more.

While you can make hundreds of dollars a month taking surveys, it will not make you a wealthy man or woman. I use surveys strictly as a supplemental income to help with some of my expenses: car payments, DirecTv bill, DVD rentals, and clothing. For me, it really helps to have an extra several hundred dollars pouring into my bank account every month.

You can easily make a couple thousand dollars a year just by filling out surveys. But once again, if this is your goal, you must fill out as much surveys as possible. While you won’t be a wealthy person just by filling out surveys, you can make a substantial amount of money if you constantly fill them out.

Bonus Tip #1: Fill out your profiles after you register. This will make your survey invitations more targeted and less general. This also increases your chance of be selected to participate in the next survey.

Bonus Tip #2: Use focus groups and product testing to your advantage.

Focus groups can be very lucrative. You can actually earn several hundred dollars to complete one project. While paid surveys are short, focus groups will definitely take up more of your time. Focus groups may require you to actually visit a location or talk on the phone in a group discussion. This may take more work, but the reward is much higher, as you will get high cash prizes for your participation.

My best friend in college makes a killing with focus groups and this is how he pays for his books. So look for focus groups that are in your area.

Product testing is something else you might want to look in to. What happens here is a research company sends you a product and wants you to review/survey it. The good news is after you send in the complete review forms, you get to keep the product. These products, at times, are pretty neat.

Chris Walker is the owner of: Get all the best advice on great home businesses that really work. Gain access to essential tips and resources. He is the owner of all said material in this article. You can distribute his material on a non-exclusive, royalty-free basis, while he retains full rights to his work. You can use his article as long as you do not change any of the content without his permission

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