15 Things to Double Check Before Diving into Your First Survey

If you’d like to work as a survey respondent, you’d be glad to know that there are many opportunities online waiting for you.

There are many reputable survey panels that you can become a part of that will not require you to pay any fee.

Once you become a member of these panels, you’ll be sent invitations you can participate in surveys that are not only fit for your interests and skills, but will also enable you to influence the consumer market and help make things better for all consumers.

But before you get into paid surveys, here are some crucial things that you need to double check.

It’s imperative to have everything ready so you won’t encounter any problem or at least reduce the risk of having issues along the way.

# 1 – Internet Speed

Since you’re going to do most of the work online, it’s a must to double check how fast your internet speed is.

If not, any of these scenarios might happen once you get started answering paid surveys:

  • It takes more than a minute for each survey page question to load so instead of finishing within 15 minutes as prescribed by the researchers, you end up finishing the survey in 30 minutes or more. This reduces the number of surveys you can take in a day, and therefore, your earnings.
  • You’re in the middle of answering a 100-question survey. While you are answering the 67th question, the internet connection gets disrupted, and the survey disappears along with all your answers. All your efforts would have been useless and you will need to repeat everything from the start.

You don’t want any of these things to happen. You don’t want to end up as a frustrated survey taker.

To make sure that your paid survey work goes smoothly, your internet should be at least 25 Mbps. But this can still be slow if there are other people in your household who are also using the internet connection, more so if they are constantly downloading or watching online videos.

Check the speed of your internet using this online tool: Speed Test.

# 2 – Your Work Area

The next thing you have to double check is your work area.

It’s not enough to take one look at the couch at home and say “this will suffice”.

There are actually a lot of things you have to factor in.

For one, paid surveys require utmost focus and concentration. Both online and offline distractions can take a toll in the quality of your work.

Imagine answering a paid survey while at home in the living room, but every five minutes, someone will come up to you and talk to you.

One person will ask you to open the jar of peanut butter. One person will ask you what you think about the latest episode of the TV series you are both fans of. Another person will sit beside you and watch you go through your work.

It could be annoying.

Unless you are living alone, working from home may not work if you don’t set boundaries.

So aside from setting up a work space at home where you can work quietly and peacefully, you need to be clear with your housemates that you are doing actual work and you can’t be bother anytime they like.

If none of these work, then you need to go and find another place where you can work in peace.

# 3 – The Company’s Reputation

It’s true that there are many legitimate and trustworthy survey panels online today. Some of them include Pinecone Research, OnePoll, YouGov, and My Surveys.

But it’s also true that there are many scammers out there who are establishing fake survey sites to lure in unknowing survey takers.

To avoid becoming a victim of any online scam, take the time to probe the survey company’s reputation. Do this with the use of Survey Police, Better Business Bureau and other tools.

When you go to Survey Police, you can easily search the company that you are planning to join and get complete information about it in the survey company’s information page. When you scroll down the page, you will find the users’ reviews about it. This website also has a blog section where you can read the latest news and changes about various survey companies.

At the Better Business Bureau website meanwhile, you can check if the survey company is accredited, and if it has a high trust rating. The website also features complaints, reviews and feedback from people who have tried using the survey panel.

# 4 – Terms and Conditions

Aside from checking if the company can be trusted, you should also check its official website to get a copy of its terms and conditions.

This is an online document that contains all pertinent information about how the company works, what the rules and regulations are, how it processes payments and rewards and many more.

Don’t fail to read the fine print, as this usually contains vital information that you should know about but sometimes, the survey company wants you to miss out.

Always keep this in mind: the smaller the print is, the more important it is for you to read.

Usually, you will find the terms and conditions on one of the pages of the website, or you’ll be given a copy right before you submit your online registration form.

Do not click the “I agree” box without reading this online document so you know exactly what you’re getting into.

# 5 – Customer Support

It’s also a must to see how well the customer support is working before you get started with any paid survey company.

There are two reasons for this.

One is to determine if the company is legitimate or not. Fake survey sites usually have poor customer support. Most of them time, they don’t even have any. If the company’s customer support does not exist, then it’s an obvious sign that it is not real.

Two is to make sure that your problems will be addressed. You don’t want to wait until there’s a real problem to address before you find out about the company’s customer support.

Make a call or send them a message to address an issue or ask a question and see how fast and efficiently they respond.

# 6 – Privacy Policy

Did you know that some fake survey sites are only out to get your personal information so they can sell these to third parties? Unfortunately, some of these third parties are actually identity thieves. If not, they’re spammers who’d bombard your inbox with annoying messages.

So you don’t fall prey to these scammers and spammers, make sure that you read the survey company’s privacy policy first. Look for the guarantee that it will not sell or even share your information with any third party. If it says that it will, then go find another survey panel to work with.

# 7 – Payment System

Of course, you should not forget to check the company’s payment system.

There are five things that you have to know about this:

  • Payment system
  • Payment options
  • Payment threshold
  • Payment gateway
  • Duration of payment processing

First, check whether the company uses a point system or not. A point system may be an efficient way for the company to avoid converting from one currency to another especially with the case of international survey respondents. However, it can sometimes be confusing for the survey taker. If this is not a problem for you, then good. But at least you should know.

Second, know what the payment options are. It would be frustrating if you’ve been expecting to get paid in cash only to find out that you are only going to receive gift cards or entries to raffle draws.

Third, find out how much is needed in your account before you can process the payment. You don’t want to choose a company that imposes an extremely high payment threshold such as $100 and above as this would mean that it will take very long to get your payment.

Fourth, inquire about the payment gateways available. If you’d like to get paid in cash, the best option is PayPal, which is the most efficient and secure payment system today.

Finally, learn how long it will take for your payment to be processed. Go for companies that give quick payouts.

# 8 – Your Current Income Source

It’s also important to check your current income source.

Are you working at the office with a 9 to 5 job?

Do you have an online or offline business?

Or do you currently work as a freelancer?

Why do you need to take this into account? You see, paid surveys are just a side gig, and not a primary source of income. If you do not have a reliable primary source of income, you should not rely on paid survey income to cover all your needs. Your earnings won’t be enough even if you manage to join 10 companies or more.

Establish your main bread and butter first, and then just use paid surveys as an extra source of cash or a way to make practical use of your spare time.  

# 9 – Your Financial Situation

Related to the previous tip, you also need to look into your financial situation.

How is your financial health? Are you stable financially? Or do you have plenty debts to tackle?

Getting into paid surveys can help augment your income, but since the earnings are not that big, you’d definitely want to consider another route if you have plenty financial issues to deal with.

Paid survey income won’t be enough to cover your debts and get you back into top financial health.

It’s a good idea to get into this method if you are doing well financially.

# 10 – Accounts You Need

There are two accounts that you need to set up before you start with any paid survey company.

These include:

  • A new email account
  • A PayPal account

So here’s why you need a new email account: to secure your current email as well as to track survey invitations more easily.

Your current email is likely to contain sensitive information that you don’t want hackers and scammers getting their hands into just in case you make the mistake of signing up with a fake survey website.

It’s also easier to monitor incoming messages when there are no other messages in your inbox. You need to respond to invitations right away before they expire.

As for the PayPal account, you need one, because as mentioned earlier, this is a highly secure payment gateway that many survey respondents prefer. It’s also efficient and fast.

# 11 – Availability of Opportunities in Your Location

While there are many survey panels and GPT sites that welcome members from different countries, you still have to check if there are survey opportunities for people who are residing in your location.

Don’t waste time with survey companies that will not send you any survey invitation because your country is not in their list, or those that favor residents of other countries that does not include yours.

# 12 – Your Typing Skills

Yes, your typing skills also matter when you’re a survey respondent.

Being able to type quickly is one of the ways to ensure that you’ll be able to complete surveys faster.

If you’ve heard about survey takers’ cheating tactics, then you know that it’s never all right to become a “speeder”. However, it’s still important to be as quick and efficient as you can answering surveys. It’s acceptable to be quick as long as you’re able to provide good quality answers, as these are what researchers are looking for.

If you want to succeed as a survey respondent, you’d definitely want to brush up on your typing skills.

# 13 – Your Work Temperament

Another factor that can significantly affect your success as a survey taker is your own temperament and work attitude.

Yes, paid surveys are simple in a way that there are no right and wrong answers for the questions that will be asked. But this method does take a lot of time, effort and patience on your part.

If you’re not the type who can patiently probe each company’s reputation, read online reviews, keep your profile updated, pay attention to instructions and so on, then it might not be a good option for you.

This job is only ideal for those who have a lot of patience, an eye for detail, and a positive mindset.

# 14 – Other Earning Opportunities

Paid surveys are not the only opportunities that you can get from survey panels. There are also other consumer research methods that can also be lucrative. These include:

  • Product testing
  • Mystery shopping
  • Focus group discussions

In product testing, you will be sent products that you will test, use and provide feedback about. You will be paid for each product that you will test. Sometimes, the researchers will also let you keep the products.

In mystery shopping, you will pose as a customer in a store or restaurant so you can provide feedback about the business, particularly about the customer service.

In focus group discussions, you will be invited to participate in discussions whether online or offline about a certain product or topic.

You need to check all these opportunities so you know if there are other ways to make money with the survey panel other than paid surveys.

# 15 – Friends Willing to Join

Aside from the other consumer research methods mentioned above, another way you can earn from a survey panel is through its referral program.

When you invite friends to join, you will receive a certain amount of bonus. And when they complete their surveys, you will also get a portion of their earnings at no expense to them. Plus, when they refer other people to join, you can also earn money from their referrals.

A referral program is a good way to establish a passive source of income with survey panels. This is why, it pays to double check if you know anyone who will be willing to get invited to these types of side gigs. This way, you’ll know right away how many people you can invite, and how much earnings you can potentially make.

It’s always a good idea to choose companies that have multi-tiered referral programs.

While there are many other ways to make money online, many people choose to answer paid surveys for the simple reason that it’s easy and effective, and that it doesn’t require any special skill or training. You can also give this a try if you like, but just make sure that you double check on all these things before jumping into your first survey.