When you’re looking for side hustle ideas to make extra money, one constant recommendation is online surveys. After all, they only take a few minutes to complete and you earn real cash. While online surveys are a legit way to make money, they might not be the best option for you.
We’ll show you when online surveys are worth your time and when you should pursue other side hustles.
How Much Do Online Surveys Pay?
There are dozens of online survey sites. I’ll be honest, I’ve taken more than my fair share of surveys in the last 20 years, primarily as a college student. What I can tell you is that you won’t get rich taking online surveys. If you’re doing good you might make minimum wage on a per hour basis. The only problem is that you will probably run out of daily surveys before you go to bed. So if you need a second job to feed the family or pay the bills, online surveys shouldn’t be your primary side hustle.
Now, I still do an occasional survey today, but not as often as before. The main reason is that I pursue other side hustles that are more productive. Secondly, my interests have changed and I don’t care to answer surveys as much as before. Call it “survey fatigue” if you will.
Average Online Survey Pay
Below is a screenshot from one of my favorite survey sites of how much you can earn from surveys.
For most online surveys, you’re going to make the cash equivalent of a few cents per survey. Most surveys only take 15 minutes or less to complete and you only have to click buttons to complete the survey. So, making money is quick and effortless. The only problem is that you don’t make a lot of money.
Most survey sites pay you points you can redeem for cash or gift cards. Each point is worth 1 cent each. So, you need 100 points to get paid $1.
Let’s look at how much money you make from a couple examples above:
- 3-minute survey pays 2 points (2 cents or 40 cents per hour)
- 15-minute survey pays 75 points (75 cents or $3 per hour)
- 26-minute survey pays 88 points (88 cents or $2.03 per hour)
- 35-minute survey pays 120 points ($1.20 or $2.05 per hour)
While the survey selection changes daily, the income potential is roughly the same. You might find better opportunities on weekdays instead of weekends, but don’t expect the earning potentially to be much higher.
What About Focus Groups?
You can make good money being selected for a focus group. It’s possible to make between $50 and $150 depending on the time commitment. The only catch is that these surveys are only open to a select audience and are hard to qualify for. I qualified for one in 2008 and earn $75. They mailed me a separate check.
These surveys are usually if you have a unique medical condition, use a certain product, or have another unique situation like a mountain of student loan debt. You have to answer more questions than a regular survey, but you can also make a real wage.
Who Should Take Online Surveys?
Online surveys serve a purpose. If you’re old enough to remember phone surveys, you used to give your opinion for free. Now, you at least get paid something to take online surveys to answer the same questions.
In these cases, you should take up online surveys as a side hustle:
- Only have 15 minutes or less at one time to work
- Want a side hustle that requires minimal effort
- You like offering your opinion (even for free!)
- Currently don’t earn money in your free time
Online surveys can be more productive than watching tv  or surfing Facebook. When you’re watching tv, you can actually take surveys at the same time, so it’s a way to make money while relaxing.
If you decide to take online surveys, join one of these online survey sites:
Who Shouldn’t Take Online Surveys?
First off, run away from any online survey site that promises you can get rich from online surveys.
You should also avoid online surveys for these reasons:
- Don’t like taking surveys
- Can earn more with physical side hustles 
- Don’t feel comfortable sharing your personal information or opinions about certain topics
The main reason not to take online surveys is you make money from other side hustle ideas. Another reason is that some surveys ask your opinion on topics you don’t feel comfortable with. You can get paid more to share your health history or political beliefs, but maybe you like to keep this information private.
If you still like doing online surveys and need to be more productive with your time, you should pursue those activities first. In your free time, you can take an occasional site. This is why Swagbucks is one of my favorite ways to get Amazon gift cards . I (and you) earn points by taking surveys and shopping online.
Summary: Are Online Surveys Worth It?
You shouldn’t take online surveys for the money. But, it’s a good way to make money if you only have 10 or 15 minutes at a time. It’s more productive than looking at Facebook memes or watching tv. Something is better than nothing, but just take online surveys knowing you won’t get rich.