How Much Can You Make Taking Surveys?

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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 GlobalTestMarketOpinionOutpostMySurveySurveySpotTolunaSurveyheadIPSOS-ISAY, and Valued OpinionsSurveySavvy. 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.



January 28, 2008


July 03, 2008


 August 3, 2008


October 9, 2008


January 22, 2009


July 3, 2009


November 2, 2009


January 16, 2010


May 11, 2010


November 17, 2010


May 6, 2011


October 3, 2011


December 31, 2011


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


Total Earnings









 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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