Legitimate Paid Surveys
for Extra Money
by Peggy Deland
Many homesteaders wind up doing a little bit of everything to make ends
meet. Selling hand-crafted goods, running a fruit stand, working as a
freelancer, and even paid surveys can add to your family's income. Paid surveys
won't provide a full-time income -- or even a part-time one -- but it's
certainly possible to make a few hundred dollars a month being a "guinea pig"
for market research firms.
Watch Out for Scams
As with most opportunities to make money from home, there are more scams than
legitimate websites where you can do paid surveys. Most paid survey scams take
one of two forms. Either the company wants to sell you a list of places to take
paid surveys, or they offer a "survey" that involves signing up for trial offers
in exchange for a little money or a free product. To actually receive the
product, you must convince several other people to sign up for trial offers as
well. Although a few people manage to make a little money this way, it's a huge
hassle and rarely worth the payoff.
How Paid Surveys Work
It may sound a little far-fetched that companies really want to pay you for your
opinions. After all, we all have opinions and most of us are happy to share what
we think. But paid survey companies aren't usually interested in hearing what
you think about politics, religion, or gas prices. g what
you think about politics, religion, or gas prices.
Paid surveys are conducted by companies that specialize in market research.
Suppose, for a moment, that Joe's Restaurant is working on a new television
commercial. They've made mockups for a few different possible commercials, but
before paying actors, a filming crew, video editors, and buying screen time for
a major network, they want to make sure that the commercial works. They also
want to know which version of the commercial is most likely to bring in
Joe's Restaurant signs a contract with a marketing research agency called
Quality Research Services. The restaurant's advertising team works with QRS to
develop a profile of the target demographic. As it turns out, the people who
like Joe's Restaurant usually have a household income of between $25,000 and
$50,000 annually, love barbecued ribs, and have at least one child between the
ages of 4 and 10.
QRS creates two surveys -- a screening survey, to make sure that the person
taking the survey fits the right demographic and doesn't have any conflicts of
interest, and the real survey. Then an email announcement is sent out to members
of QRS's "research panel" -- the paid survey-takers. The email offers $5.00 to
anyone who qualifies for and completes the survey.
EEllen gets a copy of this announcement, and decides to do the survey. She passes
the screening questionnaire, answers questions about how she feels about Joe's
Restaurant, and then watches the mockups of commercials. She answers questions
about how she feels about each commercial, and whether watching it makes her
more likely to visit Joe's Restaurant in the next few weeks.
Based on the information from Ellen, along with that from a few hundred other
survey-takers, QRS compiles a report. The results are clear. The first of three
commercials is much more effective than the others, but many respondents
question whether $12.99 is a fair price for the new rib platter. Joe's
Restaurant decides to go ahead with production of the best of the three
commercials, and reduces the price of the rib platter to $11.99.
Paid surveys may offer anywhere from $1.00 to $100. The most common amounts
offered are between $2.00 and $5.00. The amount of money offered reflects the
budget of the company that contracted with the market research firm, the length
of the survey, and how difficult it is to attract the qualifying demographic.
Most survey offers include an estimated length of time to complete the survey.
Survey sites sometimes offer perks in addition to, or instead of, cash payments.
Product testing is a common perk. You may be given several full-sized products
to try out, and receive a payment for completing surveys about the products you
tried. Some companies offer a point system. In this case, you earn points for
completing surveys, which you trade in for products, gift certificates, or cash.
Keep in mind that you won't qualify for most of the surveys you're invited to,
and you won't be paid for completing the screening survey. Unfortunately, it's
common to spend hours doing screeners and only qualify for a few paid surveys.
Making a Difference
In general, the hourly rate for doing screeners and paid surveys is very low. If
you make $5.00 an hour, you're doing pretty well. But there are other reasons to
get involved in market research. The main one is that your answers really do
make a difference. You won't be cut from a survey panel, or not paid, because
you express critical opinions. Be honest -- if you wouldn't consider visiting
Joe's Restaurant because their food is over-processed and unhealthy, say so! If
enough people express a similar opinion, they may make the switch to grass-fed
beef. Because the company paid for your opinions, they're more likely to pay
attention to what you have to say.
Legitimate Paid Survey Sites
Here are a few companies to get started with:
Clear Voice Surveys
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