Are Paid Surveys a Waste of Time?

Posted by Jarrod on May 24, 2012

Meet the new writers! Our final new writer is Jarrod. Jarrod realized at an early age that he didn’t want to spend most of his life climbing up the corporate ladder. He wanted to be the corporate ladder. By the age of 19, he owned four properties. Jarrod is now the founder and owner of a company specializing in real estate development, sales, acquisitions, and venture capital investments. You can read more about Jarrod in his bio. Welcome Jarrod!

Surveys: Are You Spending More Time to Make Less Money?

I am always trying to find a way to save or make a quick buck online, so I signed up for It’s a site that gives you cash back for making purchases online. You just click the link to the site you want to buy something from through Mypoints. Mypoints tracks the sale and gives you points for the transaction. When you reach a certain number of points, you can then use those points to get gift cards to various stores or even a Visa gift card that can be used at any store. Mypoints also offers surveys to their users in exchange for points.

How Surveys Work

Every day, Mypoints sends me surveys from various companies that research new products in order to gauge customer interest. Most of the surveys have screener questions. If you make it past the screeners, you can get anywhere from 50-200 points per survey. The most common reward is 50 points. If you don’t qualify you get 10 points. Most of the time you will screen out after you are asked your age, gender, and race. After a little “googling”, I found several companies that do research surveys. I have to say that most of them are fair with their payouts and are pretty reasonable when it comes to the time it takes to fill out surveys. But the big elephant in the room finally revealed itself to me after a year of doing these surveys.

Are Paid Surveys a Waste of Time?

I realized most of these surveys weren’t worth my time. Some of these surveys demand a lot of time for very little pay off. Check out this e-mail from This is a company I do a lot of surveys for…

Fifteen Minutes for $1?! That equates to $4 an hour: Much less than minimum wage and MUCH less than what my time is worth. Now this is not always what I get, but this seems to be the normal compensation for a survey. Rarely do I get surveys that come near to what my time is worth for my job or business.

Let me clarify something. What I require for my time may be totally different than what you require. What you require in compensation for your time is a personal preference. If you want to donate 15 minutes of your time for $1 then I say go for it. But be careful. Most of these surveys will take at least 5 minutes of your time just to screen you out. That would suck to spend that much time only to get paid nothing.

My Solution

So here is my quick solution to the problem. I use the 80/20 rule for these surveys. For every 10 surveys I get, 2 of them are actually worth me taking my time to fill out. So those are the two I will do. For example: I received a survey the other day from that paid $25 for 15 minutes of my time. Now $100 an hour I can get with. Although I screened out after 5 minutes, it was worth the effort.

There are times when filing filling out cheaper surveys benefit me too. I’ll fill out cheaper surveys if I’m close to a reward level I need. For example, if on Mypoints if I’m 100 points from getting a certain prize I may fill out a few 50 point surveys just to go ahead and get the reward. Also, some sites require a minimum amount of dollars before they cut you a check. I may take 10 minutes to get that last dollar to get my payout. One last thing to look for are sites that pay you in hotel points and airline miles. It may be worth working that hard for a few thousand points to get you to the next elite status quicker. Again it all comes back to what your needs are and personal preference.

What is Your Time Worth?

What’s your take away from this? It’s all a matter of personal preference and deciding what your time is worth. But make sure you don’t waste time filling out surveys for quick money when you can be using that time towards something that can benefit you more. It’s easy money to get, but what is your time worth?

Survey Companies

If you are interested in doing surveys here are some companies that provide them…

  • MyPoints: This is a good program. They even send out bonus e-mail that give you points for just clicking through.
  • Opinion Outpost: Probably one of the better ones. You will get a lot of surveys you don’t qualify for, but they pay quick and it’s paypal so you get your money instantly.
  • Survey Savvy: A little harder to get qualified for surveys but they pay well when they do. And they send checks.

There are others but these are a few I’ve used on a regular basis and I know they are legit.

From Madison: PineCone Research is my favorite paid survey site. I’ve been a member for years, but it’s hard to get in since they only accept new members periodically. I just got an email that I can recommend membership to my friends and and family. Since you are all my friends, here’s the registration referral: PineCone Research. Please note, they only accept one person per household.

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Comments to Are Paid Surveys a Waste of Time?

  1. I decided a while back that the online surveys just didn’t make financial sense for me. But I do call in for ones at Taco Cabana and Sonic to get $1 off my next order or a free Route 44 drink. Yep, now you know where my priorities are. 🙂

    Crystal @ Real Estate Grasshopper

  2. Crystal that’s funny. I’m the same way. I love to get those things.


  3. Thanks for the tips. I have participated in consumer surveys since the 1980’s beginning with focus groups from Suburban Associates. I have had good success with Vindale (cash) and (points for merch. or giftcards). i love accumulating pts for my amazon shopping! being retired helps. I do spend a lot of wasted time not qualifying.

    Kathy G

    • Kathy – That is the biggest issue. It’s not so much the time on the surveys. It’s the time you waste not qualifying for them.


  4. Thanks for letting us know they are legit. Ive spent/wasted time with surveys before – some are sooooo long. It was a good way I was temp layed off. I will check out some of them. I’ve had luck with erewards too. They give points if you don’t qualify BUT no cash 0- just gift certificates and stuff.


    • Katie- It sucks e-rewards doesn’t give out money. But they do have some solid travel rewards. And every once in a while they’ll get nice and give out some target gifts cards. 🙂


  5. A while ago, I had signed up for something similar but I stopped doing them because I seemed to never qualify to make any money and didn’t earn much. Actually, I don’t think I ever got a check. I might check these out and see if they’re worth my time.


    • Understandable. That’s why I toned down my activity. But there is a little money there if you choose wisely.


  6. I used to do surveys a few years back, but I got pushed out often because I only buy generic products. It wasn’t worth my time. I would sit infront of my computer for 3-4 hours a night doing surveys and only earning $45/month. Instead I’m going back to college. I think having my Bachelor’s degree will be more rewarding.

    Squeezer @Personal Finance Success

  7. I’ve always been intrigued with the thought of making my down-time pay. What has held me back is the personal information required to participate in surveys. My concerns are: incredible amounts of spam, potential identity theft, and vast amounts of junk mail…none of which I need.


  8. The quality of work defines how much it should be worth. Paid surveys are simple, money earning opportunities that may be too taxing to someone very busy but is a life-saver to someone who has more time on their hands. I agree that one should assess how much one’s time is worth but I would like to stress that paid survey sites can only give so much. It’s more of a take it or leave it thing – and it’s an “on you” earning set-up

    Paid Survey Secrets

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