The Ultimate Guide to Online Paid Surveys

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If you are looking for a way to earn extra cash online, you have probably come across paid surveys as an option.

When I first wanted to make some extra cash online, this was one of the first options I decided to try.

However, I quickly realized it was difficult to find trustworthy advice and recommendations online and I ended up wasting a lot of time on sites that were not worth it at all. 

After a lot of trial and error, I figured out how to quickly spot the good from the bad and leverage legit survey sites to make money. Now, I am making some nice extra cash on the side every month by sharing my opinion.

I now decided to write this guide to share all the tricks I wish I knew when I first started taking surveys. If you want to start earning by taking surveys without wasting time, read on

How do survey sites work?

Getting paid for taking surveys online sounds like one of those sleazy ‘earn fast and easy money online’ scams that end up costing you time, money, and even your sanity. I understand your skepticism, but let me tell you why paid online surveys are a safe and genuine side-hustle.

Surveys are often conducted by market research companies that act as the ‘middleman’ between company and customer to collect consumer insights about a product or experience. 

Companies typically pay or use these survey sites directly to figure out how to improve their marketing, decisions, products, services, etc. from the people that are most qualified to advise them: their own customers.

This is why surveys often have pre-screening or demographic questionnaires before you actually qualify for a particular survey. They want to make sure you are the ideal target.

As you can see, there is no free lunch here. Companies pay for your time and opinions to improve their businesses. 

Are survey sites free to join and use?

You should never pay to join a survey site. If a survey site charges a fee to join, it is a clear sign it is a scam. It will never be worth it to pay for joining a survey site no matter what kind of promises they give. 

The great thing is that everyone can join and participate in surveys. No special skills are needed to start earning right away. Surveys are a very easy way to start making money online while making your opinion heard at the same time. 

Most popular survey sites cater to the U.S. and Canada, so most of our content revolves around those countries as well. If you are interested in opportunities from other countries or territories, let us know and we will do our best to include them! 

How much can you make by taking online surveys?

After vetting and joining several sites, you can earn a pretty decent side gig and have fun while you’re at it!

Each site will offer different surveys and payment/reward options. Some sites may be themed, or offer more surveys that match more with your demographics, interests, or personality. By joining several of the best sites, you increase your chances to qualify for more surveys… which, of course, means more money!

Occasionally, there may be a unicorn opportunity where a survey offers a lot of money for an ordinary survey. Sometimes, a company places extra value on certain information from certain people, or at a particular time.

If you trust the site, then this is a great, rare find that you should take advantage of. Otherwise, be wary of the requirements to complete or qualify for the study.

We talk more about how you can increase your chances of finding and qualifying for these ‘unicorn’ studies below.

If you join many sites and are very active, you might be able to earn up to $500-$1,000 per month but not much more than that. And earning this much will require quite a lot of time and effort. In our experience, the average person can earn about $100-200 per month.

Will survey sites share my private information?

Short answer: not the legit ones! 

If a site asks endless questions that you feel are (or should be) irrelevant to surveys such as your social security number and bank information then abort mission! 

Online Survey Privacy Symbol
The legit survey sites will not share your private information.

But there are also scams where you run the risk of your data being compromised. That is why it is good to check out a site’s reviews and reputation before joining,.

A good practice before signing up for a site is to check for an A rating on BBB and favorable reviews on Yelp, Google, and Facebook. Of course, some panels may not have a presence on all of the above, but red flags on these platforms is cause for scrutiny.

Also make sure to look at the fine print before joining. This is the most reliable place to find if a company will sell your information. 

If all this sounds overwhelming – don’t worry. At Stan’s Gigs we do all of this pre-work for you so you can confidently sign up and start earning from reputable sites. 

Can you cheat survey sites to earn more?

You might be wondering if it is possible to cheat survey sites with bots or use other tricks to complete surveys automatically and faster and earn more.

I admire your hustle, but this is NOT something you can do. Remember, surveys are a value exchange. Companies pay these sites for real, person-driven data to improve their businesses.

There are high security systems in place that detect fraud to avoid sabotaged data. This protects both the survey site and the paying company/business’s reputation.

How do you get paid?

How you can get paid will depend on the survey sites you use. Usually, you will find several choices. Some of the most common payout methods are: 

  • Gift cards, 
  • Cash via PayPal or check
  • Bitcoin/cryptocurrency
  • Products and discounts
  • Game codes
  • Direct bank transfer
  • Donations to charities, and more.

Each site will have a specific payout threshold you need to reach to get your earnings out. On some sites, it is as low as $1 and on others, it can be as high as $50. But usually, the minimum cashout amount is $5-$10.

Also, make sure to check the expiration dates. Some survey sites have terms that you forfeit your hard-earned points if you don’t cash out within a certain period.

How to maximize your earnings with paid surveys

Register with many companies

As noted before, the more survey sites you sign up for, the more available studies to choose from. Sites vary on the frequency of surveys available. If you only sign up for 2-3, you can get maybe 10 opportunities a month. That’s not a lot at all. Remember, you won’t qualify for every survey, so volume really counts here. 

Respond quickly

Respondents are quick on the draw, and surveys usually have a limited number of participants. Increase your chances of qualifying by being one of the first to respond. I recommend you study a site or company’s posting habits. Do they post most surveys in the morning? Afternoon? Night? Then make it your business to check at that time. If there’s no recognizable pattern, then just set a schedule to apply and complete a few at a time. If this sounds like job-hunting advice, well… it’s not too different actually. Early birds get the worm – err- cash. 

Refer Friends and family

Some companies offer pretty generous rewards and incentives for referring your friends and family. Bring your loved ones in on the fun so you can earn even more! Plus, a night spent making money together almost sounds better than pizza and Netflix.

Just be aware that some survey sites do not allow more members from the same household so check this in their terms before inviting your brother, sister, parents, children, or whoever you live with.

Complete and update your profile… accurately

Some survey sites hit you upfront with a pretty lengthy demographic survey upon sign up. It’s in your best interest to complete this as thoroughly and accurately as possible 

Niche down

The highest-paying surveys are typically special interests or medical conditions. If you are into collecting bottle caps from 1942, or have rheumatoid arthritis, then you have a ‘niche’ that companies are willing to pay more for. It’s a common business cliche: ‘the riches are in the niches.’ Often you’ll get lucky to stumble upon a few of these surveys randomly, but if you sign up for special sites or platforms that cater to around your ‘niche’ you may strike many more unicorns (not literally – please do not harm any unicorn).

Hit the sweet spot

Most often, super short surveys are not going to cut it as far as payout goes. Super long surveys MIGHT pay more but are a bit too labor-intensive for some casual pocket change. And if you break them down into an hourly rate – also not great returns on your time investment. Average length studies – about 20 to 30 minutes long – are a good place to start. You’ll find your own sweet spot along the way, but remember – you are doing this to earn money and have your opinion heard, not provide cheap labor.

Where to find the best survey sites?

There are plenty of popular survey sites to choose from. A quick Google search will reveal the most prevalent choices. However, even some well-known names offer a less-than-desirable experience, such as low-pay, infrequent surveys, bad email etiquette (aka spam), etc. It can become exhausting pretty quickly.

Of course, that’s why you’re here!  At Stan’s Gigs, we extensively test, research, and even participate ourselves before we recommend any survey to you. We put in our time and years of experience to work to ensure these companies are legit and will pay you fairly for your time.

You can find our list of the best paid online surveys here

Remember, paid online surveys aren’t a get rich quick scheme or your gateway to six figures. They ARE, however, a fantastic way to make supplemental income as you pursue your main goals.

Will you make some extra cash today? Let us know in the comments!

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