It always seems anywhere you go, you'll see some type of ad offering to pay you cash for your opinion. Whether it's a paid survey or focus group, the idea is the same - market research companies want your opinion and are willing to give you cash and free merchandise for you to spend your time filling out their surveys.
In this article, we will review the most frequently asked questions about paid surveys.
What is a paid survey?
A paid survey, or "market research survey", is a series of questions that are presented to either an individual, or group of individuals, to see how they perceive and respond to certain products or services. Each and every person fits into some type of demographic (segments of human populations broken down by age, sex, income, etc.), that certain products or services are marketed to. For instance, athletic equipment may be marketed towards a younger, physically active demographic, while luxury cars might be marketed towards a higher income demographic. These online surveys are offered for free as a means to understand certain markets better.
What is a focus group?
A focus group is another type of survey where a group of individuals are invited to discuss a certain topic related to the company that sponsors the focus group. You may or may not know the point of the discussion and they are often hosted by a moderator that will guide the discussion. These focus groups can be held at a physical location or online and usually lasts between 30 minutes to 2 hours. The compensation can range from up to , depending on the topic and time involved.
Why is my opinion so important?
Companies spend hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars on advertising for new and/or existing products and services. These "advertising campaigns" can sometimes be a complete waste of time and money if the company does not research the market that they are trying to capture. So it makes sense for a company to see how it's products or services are received by the public, before it invests the money and time on advertising. This is where the market research survey comes in, and this is why your opinion is so important.
I understand all that, but why would they pay me money?
The answer to this question is very easy and boils down to one thing; Your time is worth their money! Think about it this way...if you are going to introduce a new type of tennis racket into the market, but you're unsure if it's needed or wanted, would you rather spend thousands of dollars on advertising, or simply pay 50 tennis players and find out their opinion about tennis rackets?
Okay, so how much can I really make taking paid surveys?
Compensation from survey companies can range from up to per survey, and most surveys take around 6-12 minutes to complete. There are some companies that offer points for completing a survey, and those points can then be redeemed for gift certificates, merchandise, cash and prizes. You can even be entered into raffles for prizes after completing certain surveys. No matter what the compensation, all legitimate survey companies will tell you up front, before you begin the survey, what the compensation will be. The more you take, the more you make.
How am I paid, and is that money taxed?
The market research company that sponsors the survey or focus group will send you your compensation, usually by mail. The money that they tell you the survey is worth is the amount you will receive by check. It is entirely possible to receive multiple checks from multiple research companies at various times of the month. Since you will be operating as an independent contractor, you are responsible for filing taxes on all the money earned you have earned.
Is there a limit to the number of paid surveys I can take?
There is no limit to the amount of surveys or focus groups you can participate in online. You can offer your opinion every day, all day and get paid for it.
Who is eligible to take a paid survey?
Almost anyone is eligible to sign up for and take online surveys, although some companies may have certain age restrictions. Most companies require the survey to be completed by persons 18 years of age or older.
Do I need to fit a certain profile to participate in a paid survey?
When you register with a market research company, you are asked a preliminary set of questions to figure out what type of profile you have. That profile will be used to determine what surveys and focus groups you will be invited to participate in. Since there are hundreds of research companies that sponsor surveys, the more you sign up with will increase the number of paid surveys are offered to you.
What kinds of questions are asked on paid surveys?
You are asked a wide range of questions, such as where you prefer to shop or what kind of shampoo you use. You will be asked about products that you have tried and what products you continue to buy. The questions on research surveys are given to better understand the different markets the company is trying to capture, which is why your answers are so valuable to them.
Will I be ever required to pay to take an online survey?
No. If you are ever asked, or required, to pay a fee to participate in a paid survey or focus group, don't participate.
I heard that paid survey programs are a scam - Is it true?
The simple answer is no. But of course, nothing is that simple. A lot of people want things for free, and when they have to pay, they end up expecting the world. They want to sign up, pay the money and then go to their mailbox and start collecting checks. They don't realize that there still is work involved. But the underlying point is that these paid survey programs deliver on exactly what they advertise - access to their database listing 100's of market research companies. Remember, the bottom line is that if you don't like what they offer, you are entitled to your money back and they deliver on that, too.