Believe it or not, online surveys have been around for over two decades now and even today, it’s still pretty easy to find claims of making a living doing surveys, or even getting rich taking surveys. If you know that these kinds of claims are unrealistic, but are still looking for surveys that do pay better than average, here are some tips!
How do you actually find legitimate high paying surveys?
First, the first part of the equation – finding legitimate surveys
Naturally, nobody wants to get involved with a company that isn’t legitimate. There’s nothing worse than taking a bunch of surveys and then having your payment declined when you submit your request to receive your cash. So how do you find truly legitimate paid surveys?
We’ve covered this topic many times before, but the easiest way to find legitimate survey sites is to access our free user-generated list of the top rated survey panels. This list will automatically display a listing of survey panels who offer surveys in your country, according to how well the survey taking community rates them. Don’t take one person’s word for whether a site is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – read multiple reviews, go over what rewards are offered, and decide for yourself. If you like what a panel has to offer and want to become part of their database of survey takers, simply click the green button on their listing to join their community.
Now for the second part – finding actual ‘high paying’ surveys
If we broaden the term ‘high paying surveys’ to ‘high paying market research’, the number of options for better paying opportunities increases. Even so, let’s start with some options for finding the highest paying surveys.
Always state your specialty and anything that makes you unique!
If you apply to be a survey taker for a survey site, you will notice that there will typically be a section in your online account that will be entitled, ‘about you’, ‘profile information’, or ‘profile surveys’. Profilers are actually short surveys that you can take that provides information about yourself to a survey company so that they can not only better match you to surveys, but also so that if there’s a new study that comes up and your profile indicates you might be a good fit for it, you’ll be contacted first.
You don’t have to fill in all the profilers listed. Some websites offer dozens of them, and unless points or another incentive is offered for completing all of them, you don’t have to spend your time filling out each and every one of them. However, if there are things about you that might be a bit unusual, try filling out a profile for that very thing or topic.
For instance, if you own a classic car, you might want to fill out the auto profile. Work in IT? Try filling out the employment or technology profile. Maybe you take trips to Disneyland every few years? Fill out the travel profile if that’s the case. And if you’re a new mom, be sure to complete the household profiler – new moms are always a high demand demographic!
Try applying for focus groups
Because focus groups are more difficult to qualify for than surveys, take longer to complete, and in-person ones require traveling to the interview spot, the pay can be quite generous. Most in-person focus groups will pay anywhere between $50-$500 per hour, depending on qualification criteria. As a general consumer, that range is more like $50-$150 per hour, but if you’re a specialized physician or other working professional, you can expect $200+ per hour!
It can be challenging to be lucky enough to be selected to participate in a focus group, but persistence pays off (literally). If you try applying enough times, and live in a major city, there’s a good chance you will selected.
Find in-person focus groups in your area
In-person focus groups involve meeting at a specific time and location such as the market research company’s corporate office and spending 60-120 minutes answering questions, brainstorming, and participating in short activities that pertain to a specific topic. The client who is paying for the research is sometimes on-site, and may observe participants through a one-way mirror.
Find online focus group opportunities
Although lower paid than in person focus groups, online focus groups are typically easier to qualify for, and you don’t have to travel to do them. These can offer compensation anywhere from $25-$125 per hour. Again, the more specific the study, the better the pay.
Online focus groups involve connecting to online focus group software with other participants in a sort of online chat. There can be online survey-style questions, and media sharing at times, and the discussions are facilitated by a moderator through online chat, or sometimes by webcam.
Try taking video surveys
As broadband speeds have increased, video surveys are one of the newer forms of market research. They consist of answering questions with recorded video rather than typing out responses. This can be done via a cell phone or webcam. Researchers may ask questions in text format and then when ready, respondents can record their answers and upload them via the software. Because of the more personal feel to these surveys, the pay tends to be higher than traditional typed online surveys.
Major product tests can pay
Product testing, or at home testing is when you are supplied with a product that is delivered to your home, that you then ‘test’ for a certain time period, after which you then provide your feedback and experiences. The compensation on these can vary greatly; sometimes the product itself be your compensation, or at times you may have to mail the product back (at the market research company’s expense of course) but will receive a cash incentive for the online questionnaire portion of the study. If you are testing a large product such as a vacuum cleaner versus yogurt for instance, the compensation offered for the vacuum cleaner product test will far exceed that of a food-related assignment.
Survey diaries – longer studies with higher rewards
Survey diaries are basically a series of mini-surveys that are completed after performing a certain task, and/or at a specific time or interval. They can be filled out once a day, multiple times a day, or even once a week for six weeks for instance.
The idea behind survey diaries is to have participants provide their feedback shortly after performing a certain task, or at a specific interval so that they can relay their experiences without a time delay (which can potentially cause feelings and memories to change). A survey diary could be about food (ex. how did you feel after eating that piece of chocolate?), or even about tasks such as driving, shopping, etc.
Mystery shopping – lucrative if you’re picked!
Mystery shopping is a high demand activity for survey takers (and there are a lot of scams out there, so be careful), but if you’re chosen to conduct one by a legitimate research company, the rewards can be attractive. As a secret shopper, you will generally be tasked with having a conversation with an employee at a store (based on questions memorized from a script), whether while roaming the aisles, or at the till when paying for a purchase. A report will then be written that will evaluate the worker’s overall knowledge, helpfulness and friendliness, as well as the condition of the store.
Online surveys can pay well, but because there are hundreds of millions of participants worldwide, the pay can be lean at times. If you’re looking to find the highest paid surveys, a strategic option is to find survey panels who offer more than just surveys. Look for websites who offer different types of research opportunities – ones that will potentially pay more. The more open you are to participating in different types of research, the better your chances of succeeding at reaching your survey income goals.