Can I Really Make Money Taking Surveys?

By Katie Adauto on 31 January 2010 59 comments
Photo: Don Hankins

Like many of you, I am always on the lookout for ways to earn a little extra money — and being a stay-at-home mom, I was looking for something I could do from home. I started my internet research approximately 1 1/2 years ago. The information I found along the way was interesting, encouraging, and a little disappointing. Here is what I have found.

What does a survey company do?

Survey companies are hired by other companies to prepare paid surveys for new products or television ads before they share them with the masses. Depending on the survey company, in a typical day you could watch a movie preview, read about a new cereal, share your opinions about cell phones, or watch a video about current affairs.

What will I get paid?

Survey companies pay in a variety of ways. Some will give you points for each survey that you complete that may be redeemed for cash, merchandise, or entries into giveaways. Some companies will pay you directly when you have reached a pre-set amount of banked money. Still others only give you chances to enter giveaways. Knowing ahead of time what each company offers will help you to make an informed decision on which ones to sign up with. An added bonus to participating in surveys is that many times companies want you to try their new products, so you will receive free items in the mail to test and give your feedback on. In recent months I have tested shoes, gum, deodorant, toilet paper, make-up, perfume, frozen food, and dog food.

How much time will this take?

That really depends on you. I have personally signed up with over 40 survey companies. All of the companies will e-mail you when there is a survey available. Some companies will send you multiple surveys a day while others might send you one once a month. Many of the companies will tell you ahead of time how long they estimate the survey will take to complete. I find that most of the time it does not take me as long as the estimate to complete the survey. The more time you have to invest in taking surveys, the more rewards you will receive.

How do I get started?

Here is a long list of survey companies that are legitimate. Each company will ask you to fill out a demographic profile. The reason for this is so that they can send you surveys that you will qualify for. If you don’t smoke, there is no reason to send you a survey about cigarettes. Keep in mind that there will still be many surveys that you will not qualify for. I qualify for about 40% of the ones I try.

I recently spoke to Brad White from United Sample, a company that hosts several on-line survey companies, and he said that 70% of the people that sign up with his company never take the time to fill out the profile and never do another survey. There could be many reasons for this. Perhaps the excitement of earning money wears off quickly, or the time commitment is more than some people anticipated.

Do I need to pay anything?

Never. If you come across a survey company that is asking you for money, stay clear. Legitimate companies need you and are willing to pay you for your time.

My Personal Favorites

Here is a list of survey companies that I have had the most success:

I took the time to calculate the amount of money I received in 2009 from taking on-line surveys and it was over $1,000. Not bad for a stay-at-home mom doing this in between cooking, cleaning, and shuttling kids around. I wish you the best of luck in your pursuit. You can do it too!

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Can I Really Make Money Taking Surveys?

This is a guest post by Katie Adauto. Katie is a stay-at-home mom of two great teenagers and is avid about finding the best deals! She enjoys sharing her tips at Mom's Fun Money.

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Guest's picture

Come on, really? I signed up for a couple of these sites a few months ago. After about a week, I did the math (based on how many surveys I was given each day and the number of points they were worth), and I realized that it would take me at least a year to make over ten bucks from each site.

Guest's picture

Do you know cashcrate accepts members from all parts of the world, though some country residents may not get that much surveys but recently they added cash tasks that are available to all over the world people but also they are plenty in number.

So no complaints anymore that you do NOT have many options to earn.

See what is going latest on CashCrate here:

Guest's picture

I generally fill out surveys when I'm watching TV or during downtime at work. (Or when I'm bored.) Mostly, I use the money I earn as gifts for friends or family. I've probably earned around 100 dollars worth of gift cards through three different sites in the last couple years, plus a lot of magazine subscriptions (usually cheaper to cash in than actual cash prizes.)

Guest's picture

I, too, am a member of many of those survey sites. After 2 years of filling out surveys, I ditched many of them and stuck with Pinecone Research because:

a) they have no payout minimum.
b) they pay fast - next day via Paypal.
c) they actually send you product samples to test.
d) I don't have you answer 40 questions before saying "Sorry, you don't qualify".

I've earned over $300 and I'm sticking with them only - the others just aren't worth my time.

Guest's picture

That was my biggest problem too, it was very frustrating to spend 10-15 minutes answering questions only to be told I didn't qualify for the full survey. It's been a few years now and I forget which company I was working with but I never actually qualified for the full survey, yet I had spent hours filling out surveys.

I'll have to give Pinecone a try, thanks for the tip.

Guest's picture

They are open now briefly for new members...try again.

Guest's picture

Hi Simon,

I read your comments on Pinecone Research, I have been trying to get on their signup website and on the Scott website to try and signup and not been able to get on either one. Is there a better website that I can go on.
I would appreciate your help and Thank you.


Guest's picture

They only open up for new members occasionally. I just read they opened up again today so try it soon!

Guest's picture

As much as I try, most of the surveys I try to do don't want my opinion. I've tried over a hundred surveys at Surveyhead and only have been able to complete ONE. So unless the other websites are better about actually wanting your opinion, I don't think it's worth my time.

Guest's picture

I've tried pinecone research just to see what it was all about, but ultimately I find myself ignoring most of the survey requests that I get. They make it easier to get paid by adding a paypal method. Each survey there takes about 10-15 minutes and you get paid $3 per. I think for some people this could be a nice activity to do while sitting in front of the TV, but don't expect to quit your day job.

Guest's picture
Sara A

I also have tried surveys and found them to be too much time for too little money. It would come out to less than $1/hr for my time. Also, the ones that give you only entries into a drawing are a total waste of time! Even if you only go for the cash or points surveys, they still have very little payout for your time. You will have to take a ton up front and will only qualify for a few.

Guest's picture

Pinecone is a great survey site. I also like I've gotten several gift cards answering tv trivia questions from that site. They also have short surveys for extra points.

Guest's picture

I've tried several of those sites over the past year and haven't received a single survey. Surely there's something I qualify for, yes?

Guest's picture

I am about to give surveys a try and had planned on researching which ones were the best ones. Thank you for highlighting the ones you have found most successful! Between your list and the comments, it sounds like PineCone is the one to start with.

I'm curious, do you know how much time you spent actually submitting surveys in 2009? Are they time consuming to do?

Thanks again!

Guest's picture

hi i just saw that u wanted to give surveys a try..u should try fusion cash..this site is easy to use and pays u how u want to be paid: cheek, pay-pal, or even direct deposit..most other sites don't do that.. u even get 5 $ for just signing up..i gave u my reference link.. the surveys don't take that much time to do.. and what i really like about FC is that u don't just get payed to take surveys thats just a small part u also get paid to watch intro video' games..its a very cool site..i think the best one i have found so far!! so if you are interested just use the link i gave u to join..and have fun!!!


Guest's picture

But as I know, making money by taking surveys is a long-time job and you need to spend many time and vigor to fill out the form or answer the question. If one day you were sick , then the income stopped.

I think build a website and put some Google adsense maybe a better choice , because the website is hardly "sick" and would serve there 24 hours a day , and 7 days a week.

But anyway, thanks.

Member of Amazon Coupons Center

Guest's picture

Not sure, but I bet you work on those surveys a lot to make over $1,000 on them. Most of us probably wouldn't want to put in the time you do to make that. Not that I'm saying it's bad; I think it's cool that you do it, but I kinda put that up there with Amazon's Mechanical Turk. You can make a lot of money with that, too, but 10 cents at a time.

Guest's picture

In my point of view online surveys are waste of time!!!!!!!!!!

Guest's picture

but there is a lot of money to be made in affiliate marketing for the same amount of effort put in if you'd rather do something like that.

Guest's picture

In my experience, if you're extremely frugal like we are, and buy used with cash, cook from scratch, don't own a home, don't have cable, or rent movies, don't eat out, don't smoke or drink, you rarely qualify for surveys. By it's very nature surveys are used to zero in on consumers and their preferences.

I use MyPoints because you qualify for points (which are redeemed for gift cards) by doing Internet searches, exploring free offers, in addition to regular surveys. It's certainly not much and IS time consuming. But it's something, and I'd do Internet searches anyway. May take a whack at the other sites you mentioned though. Thanks.

Guest's picture

I signed up with a lot of survey companies and weeded out the ones I didn't seem to qualify for. So now I am down to about 10, and I admit I don't take all the surveys sent to me. But I do take about 50%, and have a pretty good qualification rate. I have noticed that sometimes I take a long survey I don't qualify for, and then get a follow-up survey question that leads to a product test, so I wonder if they use that as a weeding out process at times. I dunno.

Guest's picture

Great article and right on target! I've been taking surveys for about seven years now and love them. A big mistake a lot of people make is to register with just one or two companies to "try it out". You will never get a decent amount of surveys that way!

Guest's picture

First off you wont get rich on any of these sites. And many sites extolling the virtues of these survey companies don't mention they get some of kind of kickback themselves when you sign up through their link.

I got spoiled as the first one I tried was Pinecone Research. They are fast, courteous, professional, and they must do better at filtering my surveys just for me because I qualify for most of what they send me. And I have had the opportunity to test some new products as well.

The other ones I have tried are timewasters. I don't qualify for anything they send me. Surveys that have only been in my box are already closed in less than an hour. They say surveys take 20 minutes and it ends up taking an hour. I fill out a lengthy survey (not just a screener) only to be told at the end of it that they already have all the responses they want from others. WTF?! Why didnt you say that before I took the hour survey. They redirect you to other less savory survey companies like OTX/OpinionShare. You tell them you dont travel by air and they send you air travel surveys etc.

I used to check out before signing up but they list 'Opinion Outpost' at number 3 currently and they are one of the worst offenders.

I have gotten a better payback through Swagbucks and MyPoints than most of the legit survey sites.

Guest's picture

Thank you for compiling the list. I've only tried opinion outpost from your list and haven't had any luck from them. I took the time to fill out all the profile information and set everything up which took a fair amount of time. Then I started receiving surveys that required a survey to take the survey... after getting rejected about 20 times I eventually quit... just wasn't worth it and in the end I spend several hours and made a big whopping zero.

Guest's picture

Hi everyone,

If you are trying to access the list of surveys, my site is currently down. The company that hosts my site had been attacked by a hacker and is hoping to be back up and running by 7pm PST. Thanks for your patience!

It has been very interesting reading all of your comments on taking surveys. I have only shared my story and the success I have had. My husband does say I am a very patient person. I will watch a bad movie and finish a book even if it is slow. I truly have had success with most of the companies and have not posted the ones I hardly ever hear from. Surveys are not for everyone. We are all different and have different priorities. But for me, as a stay-at-home mom, the little extra income and free items to try out have been lots of fun. The surveys are my time to get away from cleaning and cooking and just unwind.

Thank you for taking the time to read what I experienced and I wish you the best of luck in whatever venture you find rewarding.

Guest's picture

I'm not trying to promote myself here but truly am a WAHM who loves to save money. I am an Unfranchise owner with my own shopping portal. My "mall without walls" has over 3500 partner stores and pays my preferred customers between 2%-35% CASH (not points, but real CASH) to shop through my shop portal. And, preferred customers earn 1/2% on purchases for every person they refer - forever.
There are no gimmicks, scams, fees - it's FREE to register and there is no limit to how much you can make or how many people you refer. There is no pre-paid legal to buy into or any catches. Our company has been named by Internet Retailer as #13 in total retail online sales. We are a cross between Amazon and QVC, but with people power because I am your personal customer manager.
Check it out at and start earning money by doing what you currently do and shopping where you currently shop. If you have any questions, email me at
a Mom with a plan and a vehicle to get there!

Guest's picture

I know that Lightspeed and Pinecone are good--I'll have to check the others out!

Guest's picture

I have done these surveys online for years now. Whenever I'm bored, I go through all the survey emails, and do a bunch.
I have earned a little money here and there. Recently, I checked my account in one site, that I forgot about, and I had enough points to get a $50 check in the mail. That was pleasant! I've also tested products they've sent me, such as deoderant, feminine pads,'s always nice to have a freebie.
But yeah, the amount I earn, and the time it takes to earn it, isn't very good.

My friend sits and does them ALL DAY long, and in one year, she earned enough money (she saved it in a separate account) to buy a large LCD TV.
But that's a LOT of time taken!!
And she's gotten some good products from them, too, to try out and report back on how they work. One of them was a "Flip" video camera.
It just takes a LOT of time, is all.

Guest's picture

Great article!

I agree with most of the comments above. Doing a bit of research before you start and picking reputable survey companies is very important.

Having realistic goals is important, too. Unless you are very persistent, have a lot of time to invest, and pretty lucky, you might find it difficult to rack up $1000 a year. It can be done, as the author shows, but it ain't easy!

If you are already online a lot anyway, and especially if you are unemployed, you can make surveys pay. If you stop and analyze how much you are earning an hour it might seem like a pittance. But then again, how much money do you usually make surfing the web? Zero, right? In my book, something is better than nothing. A LOT better.

Plus, sometimes surveys can be a heck of a lot of fun. Sometimes you get the chance to comment on products you actually use. Sometimes you get to see new products before anyone else. Someimes you they send you these products to test before anyone else has seen them in a store. How cool is that? Very!

Guest's picture

You can make money online doing surveys- you have to be careful who you trust & watch out for spam.

I just came across this really helpful resource the other day and they seem really reliable and trust-worthy

Guest's picture

i don't know much about surveys but i have tried one company and i was get scammed. am afraid to try again

Guest's picture

pinecone is hands down the best

Guest's picture

Great information thanks for sharing this.

I think that paid surveys are the best way for people to start making money online.I can tell that from my own experience.Last year I started that online business, now I make more than $1000, and I work only several days per week.The good things about surveys is that you can start working immediately.Absolutely no skills needed.Typically there are two types of survey sites - paid and free.I would recommend you to join free survey site at start, because there is no need to pay for membership.Here is one site that is 100% legitimate and 100% free for registration:

Guest's picture

Some time ago, I needed to buy a house for my business but I didn't earn enough cash and could not buy anything. Thank heaven my mother proposed to try to get the business loans at reliable creditors. Hence, I acted that and was satisfied with my short term loan.

Guest's picture

I've been with LightSpeed for a few years but they have really deteriorated, recently. In the last few months, I have taken several surveys which mysteriously crashed after they had collected actual sample data. And I have taken a bunch of surveys where they collected real data and then told me I didn't qualify. In the past, these kinds of deal-breaker questions were always the first ones asked, not long after your age, income, ZIP-code and whether or not you're planning on buying an "X" in the next six months. In the beginning I was so happy I sent friends to LightSpeed. Now at least one says she lies on surveys, to get paid for the ones that she feels they've stolen information from. Until this last year, they always paid quickly, though. In the last year I had to wait three weeks for a $10 reward to, once.

Guest's picture

I have started to sign up for surveys several times, but I always stop after a few screens once I realize how much personal information is being sent to an unknown source.

How do you justify revealing so much detail that will be stored on a system that could get hacked for a few dollars?

Guest's picture

I cant tell what sites ( on your page are the ads??and which ones you are saying we should look at?
Can you please clarify for us? Which are the adds and which are not?

Guest's picture

I probably make at least $500/year on surveys. I didn't go gung-ho and join a whole bunch of sites because I didn't want to waste my time taking surveys for a site that would take me a year to reach a payout point (and by that point have forgotten about the site). I decided to choose a handful that I could definitely remember and keep track of my progress.

There were a couple that I decided to drop after reaching a good cashout point since it had just taken too long. One is Memolink... goodness, it must've taken me 2 years to get $20. I'm about to drop MyPoints; it took me 3 years to get $100. I don't think I want to use InboxDollars or SnapDollars after I reach the cashout point with them since it takes forever to get cash by clicking emails and I'm not interested in taking surveys with them.

My favorites are: ZoomPanel (their rewards used to suck until they started offering Amazon gift cards; now I'm flying through the cash), GlobalTestMarket (just cashed another $50 check), SurveyHead (TONS of new surveys, good payout, make over $100/year), Lightspeed Panel - now MySurvey, Ipsos i-Say, and e-Rewards.

Guest's picture

I've had success with both SurveySavvy, Esearch and GlobalTestmarket.

Guest's picture

I have been on almost every survey sight online

I made 15 dollars in 3 years you can use your time more wisely

than taking these hyped scammy type surveys

be bette off learning to sew or cook dinner every noght
instead of going out than doing any of these surveys


Guest's picture

I've been doing these survey's for almost a month and everytime I do a survey they say I'm not qualified. I don't know which company is good and which one is bad. I'm a stay at home mom of five and I thought this would be a good source of income to make. But now I feel like it was a mistake. Will I ever make money off of this? How come you have to buy something in order to get gift cards for "FREE"?

Guest's picture

well i know i been doing surveys online for maybe 1 year now and i started off makeing 40 to 50 a mounth,
now i make 250 a mounth not bad and i could earn more maybe say 350 to 400 a mounth but i get tierd sometimes on the computer and want to go out lol
but i heard of people makeing around 500 too 600 a mouth doing this not bad at all
i ask no one for cash this is my way of keeping money in my pocket

im plaing a trip and every doller i spend for my trip is from doing surveys its even great when you learn to save this money in time always builds up

those people saying they earn 15dollers in 3 mounths arent doing it right ill say this its not for everyone
what works for me may not work for you! but those doing it knows!
good luck

Guest's picture

I was really worried about making money with surveys at first because I kept hearing scams. But when it comes down to it you can't get scammed unless you send your social or CC out there. Just be smart about it people and keep your head on! I started using this (in which I heard from my friend) He did it on the side and eventually just made extra money to pay his bills and stuff. It worked for me to and all ya reall need to do it confirm your email. See if its for you.

Guest's picture

points2shop is a great site for making money. it is the easiest site to make money on and, unlike many other survey sites, it actually does give you valuable rewards. You can get just about anything from points2shop, as they have a joint partnership with amazon. You can also earn money, which you can get via a cheque or paypal account. there is no better site than points2shop, it can be guaranteed. You can make money in a short period of time. You just have to do simple surveys and do offers for example, order a free brochure and you will get more than 100 points.
Have a look at the site and see for yourself!

Guest's picture

I Love Cash Crate. They have an app so I can do them on the go. Waiting in line or stuck in traffic, they pay on the 1st and 20th and the minimum to cash out is only 20.00
. I love it because they tell you ahead of time which offers ask you to pay money and it is so easy to do.

Check it out you will love it!

Guest's picture

I really have to recommend Iconzoomer as one of the most underestimated survey sites.

I hate questionnaires so I prefer sites where you answer otherwise. I use their android app and receive assignments every week which I answer with photos. And the good part is that I can cash out with paypal. Try it out and let me know if you find anything that beat this.

Guest's picture
Lara B.

I understand that there are lot of sites out there that promise lots of money and most of them would just give you disappointment. I myself is a stay-at-home mom and I do online surveys on my spare time. The ones that are listed in this article are good, but for me, that is not the whole list. There are handfuls of other survey companies that do a good job and will really pay for your time. I tend to look at survey review sites like or in deciding if a survey site is good and it helps me a lot as a starter. You could also try the BBB, but they are not specialized in evaluating survey companies. I hope this helps someone out there.

Guest's picture

What are some of the companies that send you free stuff to test?

Guest's picture

Have problems with coursework writing? Do not realize where to come? Worry no more! Custom writing services propose to order coursework online of premium standards.

Guest's picture

yep, they work.. I used this company to sign up. Good Luck!

Guest's picture

Pundzter is a free service that lets anyone with a phone (including a cell phone) get paid to take calls from pollsters and other businesses that need to talk to the public.
When you sign up with, you set your own rate. We then connect you to businesses that agree to pay your price. And you're paid your rate for as long as you're on the phone. All your information stays anonymous. You can set specific times when you are available to take calls. It is perfect for someone looking to earn extra income.

Guest's picture

I have tried so many survey sites. I finally found three that I have good luck with: Opinion Outpost, Inbox Dollars, and Cash Crate. I have received a check or paypal credit from them all so I know they pay. You won't get rich with them, but I have made $50 in just the past 10 days. Surveys take patience, but if you have the free time and will already be on the internet, it's worth it.

Guest's picture

Great article. Survey is a great way to make money online. Although you might not get rich, but at least you can pay some of your bills, and they are all free to work with.

Guest's picture

Surveysavvy is legit and they actually pay cash. Best one I've found so far and I've tried quite a bit lol. I've been a member since 2010 and I average around 4 to 5 hundred a year.

Guest's picture

I use They pay through PayPal for each completed survey. I also like Toluna but sometimes they send to much e-mails.

Guest's picture

I have been participating in Paid Online Surveys for around 2 months now and just cleared $450 only spending half an hour here and there taking surveys. It helps if you are in a high demand demographic :)

Guest's picture
Michael "Mike"

The best survey site for me at least is Swagbucks. It is one of the few legitimate sites that I have encountered in my 5+ years of experience, making me close to $1000 last year with minimal effort.

Using this link and entering the code “freegiftcards”, you can start out with a load of free swagbucks

Good luck making money!!

Guest's picture

One site that people have success with making money from surveys is surveyhomebeginnings. The results vary from person to person but people do make money off completing surveys.

Guest's picture
Katherine jennings

This is a great way to make money, I love it