Can you really earn money answering surveys and participating in consumer research? Yes, you can.  And No, you can’t.

Ok, what I mean by that is this:

If you work at it, yes, you can make money at it – not anything comparable to working a “real” job, but if you’re just looking to make a little extra spending money (comparable to your average mom who’s selling Avon or Mary Kay, for instance) then it’s possible.

Before you start to rail on me about me using the terms “real job” and “average mom” – understand what I mean: I AM an “average mom,” and I’ve worked a “real job.” For years I worked outside the home, but then I just wanted to be at home. I am using “real job” in quotation marks to signify that I don’t believe that the term “real job” has to be outside the home, 5 days per week, 9-5. I believe being a mom is a full-time job in itself, and one that I LOVE and don’t regret one bit. However, I’ve tried everything possible to bring in a little bit of extra income since I became a stay at home mom because our family needed it. I’ve done Avon, Creative Memories, and Tastefully Simple. I’ve done surveys and consumer research. I’m not using the terms to insult anyone. I’m speaking of myself – a busy, normal, average mom, who’s tried a whole lot of stuff to try to earn an income in my free time. Anyways, there are lots of people out there, just like me, who have tried these things I’m mentioning, and succeeded and actually created an incredible career out of them. More power to you if that’s you – I applaud you. But that’s not me. I’m trying to be honest and upfront here – if you’re like me, normal, tired, worn out, but needing a few extra dollars, and want to know the truth about what you can honestly expect – then continue reading.


You get out of it what you put in.

Back to making money with surveys and consumer research: Just like a “real” job, what you put into it, you’ll get out of it.  In other words, if you spend an hour a week, you’ll only make a few extra dollars at the most.  If you’re happy with that, great.  That’s what I used to do myself, and it was mindless to do it during my daughter’s dance class, or while I was watching a television show.  The most I’ve made in 1 hour’s time was about $6, for the simple, mundane surveys. Participation in research panels typically pays better per hour, depending on the task given.  That’s the reality of it if you’re a busy homeschool mom. If you want to earn more, you’ll have to work at it.


Work toward your own goals.

What you “earn” also depends on what rewards you’re looking for:  if it’s cash you want, look for the companies that pay in cash; if it’s prizes and sweepstakes, participate in those instead. You don’t have to do *everything* that they send you: Only pick the things to complete that meet your personal goals.


Be Choosy.

Try several companies, and when you find a good one, stick with them. I have one favorite company, local to me so I don’t need to list it here, but I’ve been with them for ten years. One time I earned $1,700 for testing a mattress for two months with them – now THAT was pretty cool! With the same company, I also once received a $75 gift card to my local grocery store in return for completing an interview about my shopping habits. I also taste-tested some doughnuts one time, and got paid about $20. I have learned to ALWAYS open my emails from them, because I’ve learned they have some great offers that I don’t want to miss.

So pick several of your favorite companies to work for, and stick with them.  Since I only spend 1 hour per week, I’ve chosen three that I regularly participate.  I’ve tried over 30 different companies to find my favorite ones, and I’ve listed them here.  If you spend more time per week, then you’d have time for participating in companies’ offers.  But if I spent all my time split between 20 different companies, it would take forever to earn rewards from each one. That’s why I’ve chosen my personal top three that I love and faithfully participate.


Top 8 tips for earning money with survey and consumer research companies:

  1. Put in the time necessary to earn what you want to earn.
  2. Try out lots of different companies to find out which ones you like best, then stick with them.
  3. Don’t forget to keep track of what you make and report it on your taxes, if necessary.
  4. Watch out for scams – if a company promises big bucks fast – it’s probably not legitimate.
  5. If a company charges a membership fee to participate or to learn how, it’s probably a worthless scam, or at the very least, a waste of money. There are lots of free opportunities out there.
  6. Set aside quiet time to complete surveys – they usually take quite some time to complete – usually 5-20 minutes each, and you could get disqualified if you are just clicking without thinking about the answers.
  7. Use a separate email account specifically for the purpose of receiving research emails.  Most companies send you a ton of emails, and it can quickly fill up your email inbox.
  8. If you’re interested in participating in legitimate research and survey companies, I’ve listed my personal favorites here.


Please share if your experience with survey and consumer research companies has been similar to mine, or different. My visitors and I would love to read your comments.


You might enjoy these related articles: