Paid Surveys: Are They Really Worth the Effort?

Taking paid surveys online is great way of earning extra money to supplement your income, or to earn points towards vouchers to spend at your favourite High Street or online stores. The only qualification you need is the ability to air your opinions, and you never have to pay any money upfront for joining. However, if you are thinking about signing up, you need to know what to expect, and how to make the most of your earning opportunities.

Couple taking surveys online

Are All Paid Surveys the Same?

Not every survey will take the same format. Some surveys are more like polls that ask you five or six questions in quick succession, and are usually fun to take part in. There are also surveys that need more thought and insight and will often include viewing advertisements and making assessments about statements presented to you. But whatever surveys you decide to take, they will usually come with an estimate of the time involved as well as a general overview of what's required.

Are You Ready to get Involved?

If you think you don't have any spare time to take paid surveys, you might be surprised to learn that you don't need to commit to taking part at a given time during your day. You can take part when it suits you, and you don't even have to leave the comfort of your home.

To help you weigh up the pros and cons of getting involved, the following list is a balanced view of what to expect from the experience.


1. You Call The Shots

Take part in surveys at times that suit you, and with no pressure. Do it when the kids are at school or in the evenings when you have some quiet time to yourself. Either way, it's completely flexible and won't make demands on your time.

2. Top Up Your Income

Who wouldn't want to make a little extra here and there? It won't be enough to allow you to give up your regular job, but it's certainly a bonus when the payments come in.

3. Collect Vouchers For Special Occasions

Christmas, birthdays and other anniversaries throughout the year can put a dent in your finances. High Street vouchers can really help with those expensive times of the year - or for those times when you just want to treat yourself to something new.

4. Receive Products to Test at Home

Surveys sometimes include testing a new household or food product at home, especially when a more detailed opinion of the product is needed. The products are usually full sized, and you will often be sent more than one of the product to be tested. Adding up the cost of these products over the course of a year will give you an indication of how much you are making in 'extras'.

5. Mystery Shopping Tasks

Keen shoppers are always in high demand; and if you combine your shopping trips with a trip to a fast food restaurant, then you could be making even more money. Tick the box for mystery shopping tasks when provided in your profile questionnaire, and you could be making money from assessing how stores and restaurants are performing.

6. Be Part of Vibrant Communities

Some survey companies have forums or communities for their members to engage and discuss the topics of the day. These forums will often run prize draws and competitions. There will be plenty to get involved in and more ways to add to your survey earnings.


1. Staying Motivated

Surveys require concentration and it can sometimes feel like it's not worth your time, regardless of the reward offered. Avoid boredom by taking your surveys in manageable chunks and do something else in between.

2. Screen Outs

This is an inevitable part of the survey taking process. Not everyone's demographic will fit each project, and accepting screen outs as part of the ups and downs of taking paid surveys online will keep you from giving up too soon.

3. Technical Errors and Other Blips

Most survey companies do get it right, so you won't experience technical errors very often. Make a polite complaint to the support desk when an error occurs; the more complaints they receive, the better the chances of improving things.

4. Blink and You Miss It

Some surveys close early, i.e. depending on the target demographic, the quotas can fill quite quickly. As a general rule, try to complete surveys as soon as you can to avoid disappointment.

5. Poorly Constructed Surveys

There will be times you'll come across an illogical sequence of questions that makes you want to give up! If this happens, just work your way through the survey as best you can, and leave a polite and constructive note in the feedback section at the end. Most survey companies want to improve things and your comments will be helpful.

6. Still Not Cashed Out?

It can take some time to reach the cash out threshold, and each survey company will have a minimum amount at which you can claim your earnings, as well as different methods of paying out. Paypal, cheque, BACS transfer, e-vouchers, and High Street vouchers are all ways of cashing out your earnings. However, you may find that it can take anything between one month to six months, and sometimes longer, to make it to the point where you can draw on your earnings. Try to think of the excitement when you do reach the cashing out point; it all adds up!

Keep an Open Mind

Taking part in paid surveys online can be both fun and rewarding; but it does take time to build up your points and pennies. However, keeping an open mind as to how things work, and not allowing your expectations to run away with you, will keep the process from becoming a headache and allow you to just enjoy it.