How much can you earn from online surveys?

Now that I am aiming for financial freedom, I have been considering how we are going to increase our income. One of the things I have been doing for some time is filling out online surveys for rewards of either cash or vouchers. In the past I have dipped in and out of this when I’ve felt like it, but now that we are seriously planning for our financial future, I need to decide where to direct my time and energy. I need to decide – are survey sites worth it?

What are survey sites?

For those who haven’t heard of them before, survey sites enable you to answer a bunch of questions aimed at gathering the thoughts and opinions of consumers. Usually you have to answer a few introductory questions to see if you fit into the particular demographic from which the surveyor is wishing to gather opinions. If you meet the necessary criteria, you go on to complete the survey. Surveys can vary in length but generally take between 5 and 20 minutes to complete, and are rewarded with a certain number of points. Generally speaking, the longer and more involved the survey, the more reward points you receive. Once you have collected a certain number of points you can exchange them for rewards. These are usually vouchers, but a couple of survey sites allow you to exchange points for cash.

Some sites to get you started

YouGov

Surveys get emailed to you maybe once or twice a week. They are worth a reward of either 25p or 50p, but you can’t ‘cash out’ your rewards until you reach £50, which can take a year or more. On the plus side, you can receive it in cash, straight to your bank account.

Valued Opinions

This is a site you can visit whenever you want and choose from a list of surveys. There are usually plenty to choose from every day, with most surveys bringing rewards between 25p and £1.50. You can exchange these rewards for vouchers for a number of different places. I usually get Amazon vouchers, as they are handy for buying gifts or bits we need around the house.

Onepoll 

These are short and sweet surveys for 10 – 30p usually. I find I get maybe 4 or 5 a day, although I get screened out of some. They only seem to be available Monday to Fridays, and not late evenings. They are handy to do in those brief few minutes you get here and there throughout the day. The payout level is £40, which I receive in cash to my bank account. When I have made the effort to consistently log on and do as many surveys as I can, it has taken about 4 months or so to reach the £40 payout level.

Swagbucks

There are always loads of surveys to try on Swagbucks, although I find I get screened out of a lot, but you can cash out your rewards at a low threshold, which is handy. I usually get £5 in Amazon vouchers as soon as I get enough points, but there are many different vouchers to choose from. There are other things you can do via Swagbucks too, such as watching videos, playing games, or data entry type tasks, but I’ve yet to spend any time on these.

So, here’s a list of the good stuff:

Flexibility

The thing I like most about survey sites is the flexibility. You can fit it around the needs of your family and other responsibilities. I often do them in the evening, in my pjs when the kids are in bed. If one of the children wakes and needs me, I can simply put the computer aside and go to them.

You can pick and choose your work

You don’t have to commit to completing a certain number of surveys, or putting in a set number of hours, you can do it as and when you feel like it. There are also so many survey sites that there will always be surveys to complete when you want them.

Easy peasy

Completing surveys doesn’t require a great amount of concentration, so I can do them while relaxing and watching TV with my husband in the evening. It doesn’t matter if I’ve had a difficult or trying day, and am feeling somewhat ‘brain dead’ from tiredness, because the surveys are not mentally taxing work.

Of course, there are downsides, too:

Boredom

Answering questions about your shopping habits is not scintillating work. Answering similar questions again and again becomes increasingly irritating.

Getting screened out

At the beginning of every survey, you will answer some questions to see whether you are in the desired demographic group. If you are not, you will be ‘screened out’ and will be unable to continue to earn your reward points. If you’re lucky, this will happen after just a few questions, but in some cases you can spend several minutes on a survey, only to be told you do not meet the criteria. Most annoyingly, you will occasionally find yourself answering almost all the questions in a survey before being told that the target number of respondents has already been met, so you’re responses aren’t needed. This is all wasted time and effort that earns you nothing.

Pay

Rewards per survey can vary from as little as 10p, up to £1.50 or more for longer surveys. They may take a couple of minutes, or up to half an hour. I have always known that in terms of pounds per hour  the pay is poor, but in the past I’ve always considered it worth it due to the flexibility. Recently though, I’ve been questioning this, so I decided to track it for a week to get a rough idea of an hourly rate.

So how much does it make?

To get a more accurate idea of how much money I am earning per hour doing surveys, I tracked what I earned for a week, using my four main survey sites: YouGov, Valued Opinions, Swagbucks, and Onepoll. Here are the results:

YouGov: A total of £2.50 for 45 minutes of work.

Valued Opinions: £3.75 earned in 2 hours and 1 minute.

Swagbucks: 358 points (approximately £2.50) in 2 hours and 17 minutes.

Onepoll: £1.20 earned in 49 minutes.

That means I spent a total of 5 hours and 52 minutes for a measly £9.95! That makes my hourly rate for the week a paltry £1.70 (approximately). That is about half of what I would have estimated it to be, if you had asked me a week ago. For me, given my goals for paying off the mortgage and becoming financially independent, the rewards just aren’t worth it. There has to be a much more lucrative way to earn a bit of cash in my spare time, whilst working around the needs of the children. So, it’s time to put my thinking cap on and come up with some new ideas to earn a bit of cash.

I’d love to hear your experiences of using survey sites – where they worth it for you? What other, more lucrative ideas have you come up with for growing your savings? Let me know in the comments.