All you need to know to make money from surveys

Business is hungry for knowledge about the people who buy or could buy their products and services. The great news is they're willing to pay for it!

So, if you're willing to tell them about you or your family's consumption of ready meals, your preference for washing powder brands, or even your sex life, you could be in for making hundreds of dollars or more a year.

Why should businesses pay?

Marketing, product development and product testing are a huge expense for any business and any way of reducing them is a great thing. So, by understanding their customers, they can be more sure about having the right products to keep those people happy and buying.

As a consumer - we all are, of course - your opinions and knowledge are valuable to a huge number of businesses.

How to earn money

There are three main ways that businesses find out about consumers:

1. Focus groups - usually you need to be there in person, but sometimes you'll be able to take part online. They pay probably the best, but you need to be available for perhaps two hours continuously, and you have to add travelling time.

2. Paid reviews - here, you're asked to try out products and write a review. Payment is often the product you test

3. Online survey sites - sign up, and you'll be asked to complete questionnaires online. The pay per questionnaire will not be as high as the other two options, but there's no travelling, you can do them any time you like and it's easy to rack up a good number - and therefore a good income - by squeezing a questionnaire in every time you have a few minutes spare

The way to make $100s from home

To give you some idea of how much they pay, surveys are worth between 10c and $2 each, sometimes more. You build up your balance with the survey site to a set amount - say, $20 - before they pay out. Your earnings are generally paid into your PayPal account (if you don't already have one, they can be set up for free at

Some sites pay in gift vouchers. You'll have to make up your mind which suits you best. The gift vouchers, while being limited in terms of what you can buy with them, will be something that you can spend on yourself as a treat for taking part in the surveys.

Top tips

Find a survey site that offers you questionnaires regularly - if the supply dries up, so does your income! You can sign up for and be active on more than one site, but then you'll be spreading your activities and may take more time to reach individual payment thresholds.

Cash in as soon as you reach the payment threshold - if the site shuts down when you have a large amount of money in your account with them, you'll be out of pocket. Get your earnings safely into your PayPal or bank account and you won't have any worries.

In conclusion, survey sites are a great way of making some spending money in your spare time. They won't make you rich, but it's easy money earned in your own home. What could be better than that?

Rob Thomson is an expert in making money online.

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