Although most people know that earning money while taking online surveys is real, we regularly get asked whether it’s possible to have a full-time job taking online surveys. Admittedly, the answer is not a straightforward yes, or no, but we’d like to share our insights and tips about this popular topic.
The work at home dream
The idea of working at home at an online surveys job sounds idyllic; sleep in, eat breakfast, take a few surveys on your laptop, a few on your phone, run some errands, do a few more surveys and call it a day. Sounds easy, right?
The work at home reality
Although you can earn income from survey taking, earning a lot of income, or perhaps more importantly, earning a consistent amount of income can be difficult.
Survey opportunities are unpredictable. One day you might receive 10 survey invitations and are able to complete all of the them. The next day, qualifying for even a couple of studies may be challenging. Either way, having a ‘job’ taking online surveys will not compare to the income of a traditional 9-5 position.
Jobs in different scopes and sizes
If you’re retired, on disability, a student, or between full time positions, you might consider online survey taking your ‘job’, as it might be the only source of income for you.
Although a job typically refers to completing tasks using your skills and receiving money in exchange for the work you complete at an agreed upon price, jobs really do come in all shapes and sizes.
Full time, part-time, casual, contract positions – a job is flexible in its definition. Similarly, online survey jobs can be whatever you make them; you can take surveys for hours in a single day, or do them occasionally, here and there. A gig, a casual job – you can call your participation in survey taking whatever you want!
Making surveys work!
Although being a full-time survey taker is theoretically possible, taking surveys should be considered a supplement to any existing income you’re making elsewhere, or if you don’t have other employment, consider your earnings extra pocket money.
Although any income you make will fluctuate, there are some things you can do to legitimately earn as much as you can from your surveys job.
1. Start with a dozen panels
Registering with survey sites, or ‘panels’ is the first thing you need to do to get started as a survey taker. Start by signing up with panels that are established, well rated, and have good reviews. Joining a legitimate survey panel is always free.
2. Throw some variety into the mix
Survey opportunities are plentiful when compared to other types of research assignments, but exploring other options may help you boost your income. Consider signing up for taste testing companies, online video surveys and mystery shops. All of these will be harder to qualify for than surveys, but the pay is usually better and it’ll add something different to the mix!
3. Zero in on small, local panels
In addition to joining the big survey sites, consider joining some smaller panels who don’t operate outside your country, or whose main focus is on the local market. These small sites will offer fewer surveys, but the pay is often better, as the number of participants they have at their disposal is smaller.
Here are a few examples:
4. Get the app!
If a survey panel has a mobile app available, consider downloading it. Getting notifications of new surveys on your phone will help you see them faster, making it less likely that a survey will be closed (or full) by the time you try taking it. An added bonus is convenience – take surveys while you’re queued in line for coffee, riding the bus, waiting at an appointment, etc.
5. Log in daily
There are a number of survey panels that post surveys daily to their website, and/or post new survey opportunities to their user’s account dashboards first, before emailing them. Logging in daily to your account on such sites, will help you find online surveys to complete that you might otherwise miss. Some examples include: PaidViewpoint, Prolific, SurveyEveryone, and Surveynetwork.co.uk.
6. Hate gift cards, but found a great survey panel?
If you don’t like gift cards but like taking surveys with a certain survey panel and that’s all that they offer as a rewards option, there’s hope! First thing, double check the survey site’s rewards catalog to make sure there are no gift card options you really would use. Gift cards to Walmart or Amazon e-codes can be very useful these days, as both offer groceries and household staples like paper towel and cleaning supplies, we all need and buy.
If there are no useful gift card options available, consider redeeming your survey earnings for a popular gift card option that others may like, and sell it for cash or exchange it for a gift card you would actually use, using a gift card exchange website like CardCash. You will lose part of the gift card’s value this way, but for easy surveys with gift-card only panels (like Tellwut for example), this option might be worth exploring.
7. Plug away at what works
Not every survey site will work well for you; some may offer boring surveys, too many disqualifications, or cashout minimums that take forever to attain. Stick with what works, and dump the ones that don’t. There are literally hundreds of online survey panels to choose from, so there’s no point in wasting time on ones that don’t work for you.
Use our Survey Finder tool to easily keep track of the panel’s you’ve joined or left, and to find new panels available in your country.
People who have online survey jobs are also known as ‘professional survey takers’, or ‘professional respondents’ in the market research industry, and researchers are not fond of them.
The worry is that people who take surveys all the time are ‘gaming’ the system by being opportunistic by recognizing well paid studies, may provide poor, low-quality responses just to get through a survey, and may lie while answering survey qualification questions, just so they can take a survey they otherwise wouldn’t qualify for.
While we don’t necessarily endorse the idea of having a survey taking job, as per above, we recognize that the word ‘job’ can mean different things. There’s nothing wrong with joining a few panels and being a smart survey taker, knowing how to best make use of your time. As the research industry continues to mature and become more sophisticated, survey panels are implementing more and more safeguards, making any true ‘gaming’ more and more difficult anyway.
While in theory, a full-time online surveys job is possible, the probability of burnout and boredom are very high. Some people love taking surveys and can do it for a few hours a day, while others can only tolerate occasional study participation. Everyone is different. Find your flow with strategies that work for you, and you’ll surely find success.