How Much Can You Make Taking Surveys?

In this feature, we try to answer our readers’ questions in a thoughtful way. If you have other questions you would like to see featured in a later post, please leave them in the comments below!

Q. How much can you make taking surveys a month? Also how much time should I spend taking surveys? Also how many survey panels should I join? – Walter Brady

A. You are going to find people making wildly varying claims on all of these questions, but the truth is you have to spend a significant number of hours per day, almost every day, and very few people will earn more than about $200 per month, even if they join hundreds of survey panels.

How many survey panels should I join?

One very large, well-respected forum dedicated to making money online has a list of 1800 legitimate survey panels. I am certain that there must be at least as many scam sites and probably many more. It would be ridiculous to try and sign up for that many survey panels because you would get so many email invitations that you would quickly lose sight of the most profitable panels and end up spending way more time relative to the amount of incentives you might earn.

You might also overlook higher-paying surveys in your Inbox while struggling to complete a 30-minute survey worth 100 points and it’s very difficult to determine exactly how much a survey is worth if the incentive is given in points. MyView points are only worth $0.000714 cents each so 35,000 points equals $25. Toluna points are only worth 1/30 of a cent so a 3000-point survey is worth a $1. GlobalTestMarket “market points” are a nickel each. The point is (pun intended) that it’s much easier to keep up with 25 good survey panels than 100 survey panels that may or may not be worth your while.

In my opinion, it is really not practical to sign up and actively attempt to complete surveys from more than 30-40 panels, maybe 50 tops. After a few months you will realize which panels pay the best with the least amount of effort for your particular demographic and you can probably whittle your list down to about 20-25 really good paying survey panels, as I have done. No two people will have the exact same 20 panels, but there will be at least five to 10 that will appear in just about everyone’s list.

Yes, I am a member of at least 50 panels and every now and then I get a $5 survey from Baker Street Solutions or a $50 contest win from Netverdix, but, in general, I really only have time to focus on 25 really solid high-paying panels. If a survey panel pays less than $50 per year I will not bother with it, and unsubscribe, unless they are particularly short, easy and well-designed with not too much extra effort on my part taking screeners, updating profiles, emailing customer support, etc. Examples of these types of panels are American Consumer Opinion Panel (ACOP), HCD and Pinecone Research.

I would join the ten best survey panels mentioned on this forum like GlobalTestMarket, OpinionOutpost, MySurvey, SurveySpot, Toluna, Surveyhead, IPSOS-ISAY, and Valued Opinions, SurveySavvy. Alternatives that I would recommend investigating later after you have established your survey-taking routine would be Global Opinion Panel (Synovate), Mindfield, OnlyCashSurveys, ViewPoint and American Consumer Opinion Panel (ACOP).

How much time should I spend taking surveys?

I get severe eye-strain after about five or six hours, but I used to spend eight to ten hours per day staying up until 2am in the morning or later. That leads to severe survey burn-out after a few months for me and I realized that the hourly wages for spending 40 hours per week taking surveys usually works out to about $1 per hour or less. Now, I get up in the morning, fix a cup of coffee and take a look at my Inbox, deleting low-paying surveys of less than $1 and determining if there are any really good high-paying survey opportunities such as Invoke Interactives or any surveys paying $3 or more. I take these immediately and usually I am able to break for lunch after a couple hours.

After lunch I will spend another couple of hours, sometimes longer, finishing up the surveys in my Inbox for $1 or more, then methodically completing surveys from the panels I have bookmarked on my browser in this order: OpinionOutpost, Surveyhead, OnlyCashSurveys and Toluna. I used to have MyView on the browser right after Toluna, but I no longer have time for that panel. When I reach $20 in earnings or four hours in time, I quit for the day, unless I have an Invoke Interactive scheduled for later.

On weekends, I complete any higher-paying surveys that may have arrived or be left over from the weekdays, but I really don’t spend more than an hour or two on Saturday and Sunday because I have better things to do with my time, like spending the money I have earned! I only earn about $2 to $5 per hour, at most, taking surveys, but it’s easy and it’s on my own time schedule. I also enjoy expressing my opinions, influencing new products and receiving free test products.

How much can you make taking surveys a month?

Unless you are the CEO of a large company earning millions of dollars per year or work in IT (Information Technology) or the medical field it would be extremely difficult to earn more than $200 per month from taking paid online surveys alone. There are many other schemes, scams and legitimate online opportunities for earning more, but I have stuck with surveys because it fits my temperament and I not too interested in referrals, spamming people or getting paid to click, etc.

If you scan the Internet and search for the answer to the question above you will find many people making outrageous claims about how much they make per month taking surveys. Some people claim to make $800 or more in a single month and I believe that is possible, but you will never make that much every month. My best month was February 2009 when I took a $200 Invoke Interactive and also won an Apple MacBook ($1200) and an Apple iPod Touch ($200) from a Capitol One online forum that had been paying me $20 Amazon giftcards every month for the previous eight months. I also won $500 from the IPSOS I-SAY sweepstakes in May 2010, but that does not happen very often. Many people claim to make a lot of money taking paid online surveys, but very few do what I do and show you exactly how and where I earn my money.

I think it might be instructive to take a look at my earnings from the very beginning. I meticulously recorded my earnings so I can go back and see just how much I was earning at any given point in time. My first entry was on July 3, 2008 after five months of taking surveys. In the last entry of the table, December 31, 2011, I decided to simplify my system by removing my earnings from forum moderation ($2308) and writing articles ($1100), thus reducing my total earnings by $3408*. Most people will not get those opportunities.

Date

Earnings

January 28, 2008

$0.00

July 03, 2008

$730.66

 August 3, 2008

$1055.43

October 9, 2008

$1473.32

January 22, 2009

$2253.20

July 3, 2009

$2997.58

November 2, 2009

$3370.31

January 16, 2010

$3983.63

May 11, 2010

$4722.70

November 17, 2010

$8679.49

May 6, 2011

$10597.22

October 3, 2011

$11904.79

December 31, 2011

$9235.92*

 

Here are my earnings for each of the four years I have been taking paid online surveys.

Year

Total Earnings

2008

$2217.20

2009

$1746.43

2010

$4695.86

2011

$3245.30

 

As you can see, you can earn money taking surveys, but you aren’t likely to get rich; however, you are very likely to be able to pay for your Internet, your cable TV, your cell phone and landline phone bills, as well as having a lot of fun doing it (for the most part). If you are not willing to spend at least two or three hours almost every day in front of your computer, you probably aren’t going to make enough money to justify taking paid online surveys. Although you can do quite well with just five to ten top survey sites, you will probably earn the most with about 15 to 20 really good survey panels.

How many survey panels do you belong to, how much time do you spend taking surveys each day and how much money do you earn per month? I’d love to hear your point of view! Please leave those comments and other questions you might have below!

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28 Comments

  1. Michael L Wheelhouse February 23, 2014 Reply

    I’ve been doing surveys on my phone for a couple years and I don’t earn much. It takes me several months to get to a cash-out amount. I earn about $1,000 a year never win anything. But its fun and its extra money. Great article.

  2. Lauren August 8, 2013 Reply

    Why do you need to put your mailing address on your details? and do they use it for anything??

  3. BW June 30, 2013 Reply

    I made over $8000 last year on surveys. Most months I make about $600. My highest month this year was just over $1000 and my lowest was $250.

  4. Simone June 11, 2013 Reply

    Beware of points expiring. I was a member of survey village. I was doing it for years. Last July my points were up at the 12500 mark. Today, it is down at the 3200 mark. I now find out after years of my points accumulating, that they expire after 18 months. That’s 9000 points (about $70.00) down the drain. No warning – just a change in the terms and conditions. Nothing about it in the FAQs. There was no warning that the points were expiring. How hard would it be to automate a warning system? Any company that doesn’t do that nowadays is basically choosing not to. And where do the lost points go? Straight into the pocket of the owner (?Penny Wong). No offer to give it to charity either. Just a pompous reply saying that “we advise people to redeem their points regularly”. Actually, no such advice was received. Nor is there anything that I can see on the website about this “advice”. They are happy to just pocket the profits

  5. Daniel Omino May 21, 2013 Reply

    Im a beginner but I m ready to be on between 25-40 but depending on how competetive the survey may be. The last survey I undertook though might not be of the same nature,I used to spend 4-6 hours with community. I used to earn about 15 dollars per day for 20 days a month which translates to 300 dollarś in a month.

  6. Rodney March 24, 2013 Reply

    please how many survey panels do you work with in a month, is it possible to make up $500 in a month by joining like 30 survey panels. Please help me good survey panels with plenty survey opportunity per day. Thanks

    • Hannah April 2, 2013 Reply

      It may be possible (though unlikely) to make up to $500 in a month, but that would require a LOT of time (and probably some luck in getting some higher-paid survey opportunities). I would recommend checking out the sites we have listed on GetPaidSurveys.com, as we already list the best we know about.

  7. raul northcote velasco February 24, 2013 Reply

    Hi. Excuse me,but if we add the amounts in all months ,would be the next result:

    2008 3259.61
    2009 8621.09
    2010 17385.82
    2011 31737.93
    ¿Can you explain

  8. Kade February 20, 2013 Reply

    In order to receive benifeits for being an IT. Does that mean you have to be a professional certified IT guy or does that mean you just need to have a advanced understanding of technology?

    • Howard February 25, 2013 Reply

      I’m pretty sure they are looking for people who work in IT, but it couldn’t hurt to see if you are what a panel is looking for. Nothing ventured, nothing gained is my attitude.

  9. Mark May 26, 2012 Reply

    I wanna say thank you for writing such a thorough and informative post about this topic. I’ve started to research it as I am interested in making money from taking surveys and I found a lot of contradictory information and things that seem like scams at other places. It’s good to find a post that properly explains the subject and now it makes a lot more sense.

    I do have a question about something, if you don’t mind. The part where you say “Unless you are the CEO of a large company earning millions of dollars per year or work in IT (Information Technology) or the medical field it would be extremely difficult to earn more than $200 per month from taking paid online surveys alone.”

    I’m in the IT field. Does this mean I’ll potentially have more earning opportunity with surveys?

    • Lee May 28, 2012 Reply

      Mark, you will have much better earning potential with some panels. I would recommend that you sign up for SurveySavvy.

  10. Jenna April 27, 2012 Reply

    Thank you for sharing, it helps me find other paid surveys that are worth my time.

    • Hannah April 27, 2012 Reply

      Glad you like our site!

  11. Daman March 24, 2012 Reply

    good information man, looks like you had good luck with global test market.

    • Lee New March 26, 2012 Reply

      Thanks Daman, but I’m not at all certain it was luck. :-)

  12. saifuddin March 20, 2012 Reply

    I would like to receive a daily survey to earn money!

    • Hannah March 21, 2012 Reply

      If you would like to begin taking surveys, I recommend you sign up for our free seven day course and sign up for our email list. The course lists some of the best survey companies to sign up with, along with a lot of tips and tricks on making the most of your time and maximizing your income. I highly recommend it to anyone starting out. In addition, we have some good articles about survey-taking in our blog (http://www.getpaidsurveys.com/blog/)

      I’d also recommend that you read our FAQ http://www.getpaidsurveys.com/faq/ if you haven’t already, and then pick out some survey companies from the surveys available for your country (http://www.getpaidsurveys.com/paid-surveys/) and sign up there. You’ll find all the information you need to get started there!

  13. Hannah March 20, 2012 Reply

    Great post, Lee! One other comment I would add to this is that if anyone would like to learn about taking surveys, a great place to start is with our free 7 day course. This course gives lots of tips on maximizing your time and earnings.

  14. LapisLee March 20, 2012 Reply

    Thanks Hannah! We worked very hard on that Seven Day course and I think it will benefit most people who are taking paid online surveys.

    • Kim April 11, 2012 Reply

      Great course. I went through it and it’s pretty thorough. Thanks everyone!

  15. Larry March 20, 2012 Reply

    Hi Lee.First I want to say thanks for sharing all of your savy on surveys with us. It is very beneficial to be able to get valid info and recommendations of the best surveys to attempt to make some spare money. My second reason for writing you is to ask you if you can recommend any surveys for me. I am 69 y.o. retired, disabled and unable to survive on my mear S.S. monthly check so I decided to try surveys. Been doing this since Nov.2011 at that tome not successful at all, took a break and in January 2012 decided to give it my full attention and have started to do a little better. I know the average age of most survey people is between 30 and 50. Any hope for me?

    • LapisLee March 20, 2012 Reply

      Thanks Larry! Maybe your younger 54-yo brother could help you fill out a few surveys?

      • Larry March 20, 2012 Reply

        No brothers, sisters, or wife. Noone but me. I have to fend for myself.

        • LapisLee March 23, 2012 Reply

          Time machine? ;-)

    • Hannah March 20, 2012 Reply

      Larry- I’d say definitely try our free ecourse and sign up for our email list as that has a lot of our tips and tricks that could help you out.

      The next thing I’d suggest is trying multiple panels. You didn’t mention how many (or which ones) you’re currently using. That would be interesting to know.

      We generally recommend having at least 10 panels, probably more like 20, and then you can learn after a few months which ones really need your demographic. But you don’t necessarily want to start 10 all at once, as it can lead to being overwhelmed.

      If you find that you’re not getting any (or many) surveys with the panels you are currently using, you might want to just try adding one or two survey panels each month and see if they work better for you. And just spend time on the ones that are worth your time.

      • Hannah March 20, 2012 Reply

        I’d recommend trying SurveyHead (http://www.getpaidsurveys.com/surveyhead/), and GlobalTestMarket (http://www.getpaidsurveys.com/globaltestmarket/), if you haven’t already. Both will take a while to get to the payout level, but both have good surveys and seem to have a lot of them for many demographic levels.

        • Larry March 20, 2012 Reply

          Hannah thanks for your suggestions. I am using Surveyhead and Global plus I have signed up with all you recommended in your course..My view, one opinion,only cash surveys,opinion post, send earnings,…………………….None seem to accept 69yo male.Thanks, maby some of your readers may have some suggestions.I have nothing but time. Thanks,everyone.