I’ve been taking surveys for a few years now and have learned a lot of tips over the years about how to be successful. Although tips can vary by survey panel, I have come up with some general tips that apply to all survey panels out there.
Here are my top five tips for getting the most out of your survey-taking experience:
- 1) Focus on the survey panels that work best for you
There are a lot of survey panels available online and it’s very easy to get overwhelmed with so many to choose from. What I find that works best for me and other survey takers is to sign up with several of them and then watch your email inbox (and/or survey dashboard on their website) for the amount of surveys they send you. Keep track of what most of the surveys pay for the time invested and which companies you make the most money from. Eventually, you will find what panels work best for you and you can concentrate on taking surveys from them.
I am signed up with a ton of survey panels, but I mainly focus my attention on the five or more that are the most profitable for me. I still stay registered with the panels that don’t do so well for me in case a survey comes along that pays a lot, but I tend to not take many of their surveys.
I found myself wasting a lot of my time trying to take surveys from all the panels I was registered with when I first started taking surveys, so I decided to concentrate on just a few and my earnings went up quite a bit. When you’re too busy sifting through lots of low-paying surveys to find higher-paying ones, you miss out on a lot of better opportunities from other companies. You have to learn to manage your time well and focus on specific companies since a lot of surveys fill their quotas very quickly.
- 2) Don’t take too long on one survey or, on the other hand, rush through it
This is something I still have issues with as a long-time survey taker. There are times when I take a survey and then get interrupted for a little bit. Then, when I come back to the computer to finish the survey, it tells me the survey has expired. This can happen even when being away from the survey for just a few minutes and depends on the survey company. Sometimes you can restart the survey or click the link in the invitation email to reenter it, but most of the time you can’t go back to the survey. Sometimes I can leave a survey open for a half hour to an hour and can continue it from where I left off, but you’re better off not taking the risk. You should complete the survey in one sitting just to be safe.
On the other hand, sometimes survey companies will penalize you for completing a survey too quickly. If you rush through a survey without thoroughly reading the questions, sometimes the survey will end prematurely or the survey company will not pay you (SurveyHead tends to do this quite a bit). It’s a time balancing act and you just have to try your best not to take too long on a survey or move through it too quickly.
- 3) Always keep your demographic information and profiles up-to-date
This is something a lot of people tend to forget or put off. It’s very important to update your information and profiles regularly. I try to update mine for each survey company I belong to twice a year (or more frequently if something major changes in my life). That way, I don’t miss out on any new survey opportunities or get surveys that I don’t qualify for because I didn’t update my information (such as no longer subscribing to a specific television or Internet service). For example, I’ve noticed there are a lot of surveys out there for people who use iPhones or iPads, so if you purchase one of those devices, you will want to make sure you update your profiles as soon as possible so you can take part in those surveys and earn more cash.
It can be tedious to keep everything updated, but I find it to be worth it. Also, I’ve noticed that I tend to get more surveys immediately after updating my profiles, but perhaps this is just a coincidence.
- 4) Keep a record of all cash-outs and other important information
This is incredibly important, especially if you’re a member of a lot of different survey panels. I keep a record (in a Word file) of all the times I cash out with a company. I include the company name, date of cash-out, and how much I cashed out for. I also sometimes take a screenshot of the cash-out process (if necessary) so I have proof that I cashed out in case something goes wrong.
All of this really helps to keep track of all my cash-outs so I know what to expect in the mail or in my email in the coming days or weeks. If I don’t receive a payment that I know I’m supposed to get, all I have to do is email the company with my information (and screenshot, if I took one) and the issue is soon (hopefully) resolved. I make sure to cross out the payments I’ve received so I know not to worry about them anymore.
I also keep a record of all my login usernames and passwords for each survey panel in another Word file. It just helps to have all that information available in one place in case I forget something and can’t log in to a survey panel anymore. It’s helped on several occasions when I’ve been particularly forgetful.
- 5) Always cash out when you reach the minimum payout level
Survey companies come and go, and a lot of them get taken over by others or make major changes to how they pay survey-takers (such as getting rid of gift card options or PayPal). When a survey company goes under and you still have money left over in an account with them, you’re almost always out of luck and you lose that money. This has happened a couple of times in my experience of taking surveys (although, thankfully, it wasn’t a huge amount of money that I lost) and it’s incredibly frustrating.
Therefore, I highly recommend that survey-takers cash out whenever they reach the minimum payout level. Each survey company differs on what this level is (such as Global Test Market, where you have to reach the 1000 point or $50 level to cash out), so you have to do your research and keep track of how much money you have in each account. As soon as that level is reached, I make it a priority to cash out just in case something happens to the company or a certain redemption option I like is removed. You never know and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.