Surveys are an easy way to earn some extra cash. There are many companies offering surveys, either for cash payouts or vouchers. How do you know which ones are the best to use? In this post I will talk about the sites that value your time the most.
What’s good about answering surveys?
The number one benefit of doing surveys is how easily accessible they are. Surveys are always readily available too, especially if you sign up to a few different sites. I tend to get survey invites daily, even though I am only registered with a few companies. Your reward points or cash value in your account can build up surprisingly quickly.
The surveys themselves can be on all sorts of topics and they are often really interesting to fill out. Some of them, particularly the ones from YouGov or PopulusLive, really get you thinking as they tend to be about current political issues. Other surveys can be about anything from what household cleaning products you use to what mobile contract you have.
Surveys from a Mum’s perspective
As a Mum I find surveys are a very convenient little money maker. You can sneak them into your daily routine without much effort. They are easy to do during nap times, or when little ones are busy playing or eating. You can quickly fill surveys out while being a car passenger or on the bus or train. If you have a baby, they are perfect for entertainment during long feeds, or for keeping you awake during the night feeds.
What are the drawbacks?
The biggest annoyance with many surveys is getting ‘screened out’ after you answer multitude of profiling questions. This is where the survey has had enough participants with the same gender, age, job, salary and location as you, so they don’t want any more. You may also find that surveys ask screening questions such as ‘do you own a car’, do you have children’, etc. If you give an unwanted answer that’s it – you’re kicked out.
How can you avoid screenouts? Try to respond to survey invites as soon as you get them. That way you stand a better chance of being able to complete the survey to its conclusion. This is easier said than done though when you have an inbox cluttered with invites! Also, there are so many people registered on these sites, even the fastest acceptance doesn’t guarantee you’ll get to finish the survey. So aside from trying to respond quickly, your best bet is to choose better survey sites. That’s where this post comes in.
Another drawback is that the surveys tend to ask you the same profiling questions every time. These questions become quite tedious, especially if you are doing multiple surveys. It’s frustrating when you know you have already answered the profiling questions with the company so why do they ask for the information again? It’s because most sites are just providing links to surveys from other companies who won’t have your details, so you have to provide them again. There isn’t much you can do to avoid this, but with practice you do get quick at answering the profiling questions so they become less of a chore. Just watch out for any that are worded differently and actually asking for different details to normal.
How do I sign up?
There are dozens of sites to choose from. If you want to experiment with different companies, a good place to start is www.surveyspotter.com. This will very efficiently sign you up to all the main sites. Note that the claims of £5/survey and £300/month are somewhat unrealistic!
A word of advice: it might be a good plan to create a separate email address for surveys. You can get a bit overwhelmed by survey invites and they tend to clutter your inbox. Not great when you want to filter out the interesting or important emails!
After signing up you normally fill out a few profiling questions. These are to help the company send you surveys that are relevant to you. Once you’re signed up you get offered surveys that will vary in length and pay rate. The trick is to look through to find the ones that pay the most for the least amount of time! You may also only have limited time to complete a survey in which case you just look for the shorter ones.
How do I get paid?
As I mentioned in my post about Mummy Money Makers I found that lots of survey sites offer points as a reward. After accumulating enough points you exchange them for cash payouts or vouchers. Normally you get a bit more value for your points if you choose the voucher option. There are other sites where you build up a cash value in your account which you withdraw after reaching the payment threshold. Typically, cash payments are sent to you via PayPal.
How do I choose the best sites and surveys?
I have reviewed my favourite survey sites below. These are the ones that either provide the most interesting or best paid surveys. I feel that my time is worthwhile being spent by answering surveys from these companies.
Some of the other sites you will come across, such as GlobalTestMarket, MintVine and Swagbucks, are reviewed in detail on an excellent Money Shed guest post, The Survey Bible, by blogger KatyKicker. Katykicker is a big fan of paid surveys. When I asked her for her top tips she said, “Surveys can be quite time consuming, and can feel like a poor return on your time. For this reason, I stick to using the higher paying websites when I’m short on time.”
As well as prioritising the best paid surveys, KatyKicker also suggests filling out multiple surveys at once. This can make you more efficient at answering the questions and help to stop you getting bored! Find out more in Katykicker’s post, Tips for completing surveys.
Working out which surveys pay the best rate
In terms of ‘value for my time’ I like to work out the hourly rate for each survey I do. I try to choose ones that pay the equivalent of at least £5/hour. For quick reference, this equates to:
£0.84 for 10 minutes
£1.25 for 15 minutes
£1.67 for 20 minutes
£2.50 for 30 minutes
So if I have PopulusLive offering me £2 for a 15 minute survey I’m quids in! But if I have another company like Qmee offering me 30p for 10 minutes of my time I’m not interested.
Calculating the rate for reward point surveys
For surveys that offer points it is a bit more of a faff to work out the pay rate. Sites like SurveyBods make it easy because 1 point = 1p. However, others like GlobalTestMarket require different point values to get different rewards. For example, a £30 PayPal payout might cost you 1087 points, whereas you would need 1041 points for a £30 Amazon voucher. For this situation, choose your reward and use that points total to work out how much each survey is worth:
1087 points = £30 PayPal payout
1 point = £0.0276
1041 points = £30 Amazon voucher
1 point = £0.0288
So if a 15 minute survey will give you 50 points, you would get the equivalent of £1.38 (PayPal) or £1.44 (Amazon). That survey will be worth your time if you compare the rate with the £5/hour reference list above.
And now for the reviews…
PopulusLive is the best paying survey site that I have come across. They pay you £1-4 for surveys of 5-20 minutes in length. This always works out better than my £5/hour target. I do find their time estimates are a bit on the optimistic side. The surveys sometimes take up to 5 minutes more than they suggest. However, they are usually about interesting topics. You are able to do most surveys on your phone which I prefer to doing them on my laptop. I find the computer survey versions are easy to read but the buttons are spread out quite far across the page. It involves a lot of mouse movement which gets irritating.
Unlike with some other survey sites, PopulusLive don’t bombard you with invite emails. They only contact you when you are very likely to be a match for a survey. This means they rarely screen you out. The surveys come from PopulusLive themselves so it frustrates me slightly that they always ask the same profiling questions. Another disadvantage is that they have a high payment threshold of £50 (which they pay you automatically by cheque). Overall though, this is probably the best survey site you can join.
MfM Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
YouGov are another survey site that ask questions on current affairs and political topics. You frequently see them referenced in news articles. Like PopulusLive they only email you about new surveys that you are actually a fit for. YouGov very rarely screen you out. They leave most of the profiling questions until the end so they feel less tedious. You are able to access the surveys easily on your smartphone as well as your computer.
Surveys tend to take 5-15 minutes and you get 25-50 points per survey. The big disadvantage to YouGov is you need 5000 points in order to cash out £50. It takes a long time to get to that. It also means the cash equivalent for each survey averages out at a pretty poor £0.50. If you prefer, you can use your points to enter prize draws instead of trying to get to the cash out stage. Surveys tend to take 5-15 minutes and you get 25-50 points per survey. You get 100 points for signing up.
MfM Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
SurveyBods have a modern feel to their website, app and surveys. When logging in they present you with an attractive dashboard which shows you surveys you are eligible for. The dashboard also shows your progress towards the cash out value of £15. Surveys are often short but have good payout rates. You typically earn 75-150 points per survey. Each point is worth £0.01.
SurveyBods make an effort to only send you surveys relevant to your profile but I do still find they screen me out of a lot of them. If you are screened out you get a prize draw entry for that month. Most surveys are accessible on your mobile via their app. The survey format on both the mobile and computer versions is attractive and easy to read. They present the questions differently to other sites and vary the way you answer them. Sometimes you just tick boxes, other times you drag and drop cards into different sections on a page. It keeps things interesting.
MfM Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Panelbase have a lot of surveys on offer and you get paid £3 when you sign up. Most of their surveys fall below the £5/hour target but sometimes you get one that pays higher. They have a low payment threshold of £10 so even if you just try to reach that after getting the initial bonus it is probably worth your effort. There are quite a lot of profiling questions to answer when you sign up. You are still offered surveys without answering these, but you are more likely to be screened out. I do find I get a lot of invite emails from them which can be annoying. Panelbase redirect you to other providers to do the actual surveys. This means you get extra profiling questions at the start of them.
MfM Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Prolific Academic has completely different content to the other survey companies. Academic researchers use the site to find participants for research studies. It means the surveys on offer are varied and interesting. They also pay very well. The site shows the hourly rate next to each study you are eligible for, and it is usually more than £5/hour. You can cash out when you get to £5 but your cash out is subject to PayPal fees of 2.9% + £0.20 transaction fee. If you get up to £20 before cashing out, you can use Circle which has lower fees of 1% + £0.10 transaction fee. Unfortunately Prolific Academic studies only tend to be available during the academic year. You do get the odd one coming up in the holidays though.
MfM Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
As well as the sites above there are also a variety of survey apps available. To find out more, take a look at my post about phone apps here.
Thank you for reading!
I hope this post has given you a good insight into the most profitable ways to complete surveys. Although they do not generate a lot of income compared to other money making methods, they can provide a welcome top up to your bank balance. Many thanks to KatyKicker for her help in writing this post. You can read lots more helpful money making and money saving tips on her blog katykicker.com.
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