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Can You Really Make Money Doing Online Surveys?

When looking into side hustles, online surveys are mentioned in nearly every article to be found. From Swagbucks to Survey Junkie, people suggest a lot, that taking online surveys can be a “great way” to make extra cash. But, is it as simple and easy as it seems? We’re going to break it down and see if online surveys really are a lucrative side hustle worth jumping into. 

Types of Surveys

First, let’s understand online surveys and how they work. There are several types of survey companies you can sign up to; the rewards system and questionnaire can differ significantly.

Some survey companies have a point system for rewards, some may enter you into sweepstakes, and others transfer the earned money straight into PayPal. The rewards can range from free products to gift cards to cash, depending on the company.

Another distinguishable factor is the questionnaire portion. You may be asked to fill out multiple-choice questions, type long-form answers, or even get shipped a product to review. This depends on the company and what consumer information they need.

Getting Started

In order to start making money with surveys, you have to sign up and create a profile with the company of your choosing. Many times this process requires you to take a preliminary survey to match your information with the right demographic, therefore letting the company send you surveys where you fit the target audience. Other times, the company will have you answer the personal questions right before the survey to ensure you’re the right fit.

The information you will be giving these companies can include your age, gender, race, living situation, health problems, etc. Users have to be wary about which company they are signing up to, as this personal information can be sold to third parties in many instances.

Once your demographic is figured out, companies can match you with relevant surveys. Keep in mind that these surveys will most likely not be quick, they can take as long as 20 minutes each sometimes.

Important to note!

Because the demographics can be quite particular, some companies may not have any surveys for you right off the bat.

How much can you make?

The companies that reward users with cash are the most popular choices for those of us looking to do surveys as a side hustle. Many online survey companies use a point system, where you can earn points by taking surveys and redeeming them for cash. Usually, online survey rewards will range from $1 to $5, many times on the lower side of that range. Stay away from sites that claim to pay $25 for every survey – they may not be legit.

A group of three authors from NerdWallet put online surveys to the test; after more than 50 hours of surveys, their combined earnings didn’t even break $90.

3 people, 50 hours, less than $90 total!

To put that into perspective: a typical work week is 40 hours, and these testers averaged less than $2 per hour working overtime. These survey sites will pay somewhere between $0.40 and $1.80 for every hour of survey time.

When analyzing if online surveys can be a profitable side hustle, we have to look at the original intention; how fast do you need to make money, what’s the goal, and how much money do you need to make? Answer the questions for yourself. Then answer, if making less than $2 for every hour of work what you are looking for?

Can online surveys make you money? Yes.

But the real question is – is it worth your time and effort?

Are online surveys worth it?

to Let’s take a look.

The pros

Doesn’t require skills or education
Can be done from anywhere with an internet connection
Free to sign up

The cons

Risk of giving out personal information
Low profit to amount of work ratio

Although online surveys are marketed as a great way to make extra cash when the pros are weighed against the cons it is clear that it is not as easy as it seems.

The amount of time you will put into taking surveys is probably not worth the small amount of money you get in return. There are other, more efficient side hustles that can help you cover expenses.

However, if online surveys are what you’re looking for, make sure to be aware of potential scams. Never pay to sign up for an online survey company, or one that offers suspiciously high cash or product reward.