When you run a business off or online, besides earning a profit, the next most important thing is how the public views your business. That's because if the company develops a bad reputation among its customer base, it will lose profits and could even end up having to go out of business.
So these companies hire businesses to get people to fill out surveys. Besides wanting surveys to learn what people think about their business operations, these companies will also arrange to have surveys done to find out what people think about their products.
They want to hear opinions about existing products but they also want to know what survey takers think about their new line of products. That's because if a lot of people are praising something about the item, they know they've got a winning formula.
But on the other hand, if a lot of the survey takers are pointing out the same flaws or dislikes about the product, then the company can address the issue and save themselves a lot of money.
These companies have the surveys done to benefit themselves - but that doesn't mean that you can't earn some decent money by helping them get the information that they need.
How Can I Get Started?
There are eligibility requirements in order to be able to take some of these surveys - but that's only because the company is looking for a specific audience. They may want only people in a certain geographical area.
Or they may want people in a certain age or income bracket or educational level. Sometimes these companies only want households with children or homes where there are pets.
The reason for this is because that's who they're going to advertise the product to and they want to know if the product meets the needs and expectations of that audience.
So before you fill out the survey, make sure that you fit the requirements. You'll know if the survey is going to be that kind of survey because they'll use a pretty detailed screening process before you even get to take the survey.
If you fit the criteria, then go ahead and fill it out because the more surveys you do, the more money you'll make. When you find surveys to take, you want to figure out how much time it's going to take you to fill out the survey.
If it takes you a few hours to complete all the information, you're going to want to weigh that in light of what you're going to get (or earn) in return so that it's worth your while.
Understand that the first couple of times you fill out a survey, it might take you longer, but the more surveys you take, the faster you'll get at it. There are many sites you can find that are what's called paid survey sites.
These sites have many different companies on their roster but they may or may not have anything available for you at that time. So what you want to do is to get on their email list so that when they do post something, you'll get notified and can make money.
What to Avoid
While there are so many good survey sites online, not all of them are honest - and some of them are out to deliberately take advantage of you. But, there are a few red flags that you can look out for so that you don't get sucked into that trap.
If a company wants you to pay them to let you do their surveys, don't. Any survey company that wants you to pay up front is not legitimate. You should never have to pay to take a survey - even if it's for an expensive product.
When you go to fill out a survey, if there's a spot that asks for you to put in your social security number, don't do it. Even if it says it's for tax purposes, don't do it. You can still claim this income on your taxes without handing out personal information.
The same goes with your banking information. Never give out your bank routing number or checking account number. If the company says they need that information in order to deposit your earnings, don't do it.
Your bank account can be wiped clean if they have that information. Avoid any survey company that doesn't have a Term of Service clearly stated. The reason for this is because you want to make sure who's getting your personal information.
You don't want to get tricked by a company that sells the information it collects about you to someone else. Some companies do this to get email addresses and physical addresses which they then turn around and sell in order to make money.
You may have wondered in the past how all those weird, hyped up email messages keep flooding your inbox. It's because at some point, you filled out something and your email address was sold.
If there's no disclaimer on the site or within the Terms of Service that clearly says they do not engage in this practice, then don't do it. Don't get involved with sites that have weird payout policies.
Some sites have minimum amounts you have to earn before they'll send out a check. That's because they don't want to be sending out a lot of $1 or $5 checks. While this is legitimate and standard policy among many survey companies, look for sites where this payout amount isn't too high.
You don't want to have to earn $200 before you get the money that you've earned. You also want to steer clear of companies that go on and on about their company - but when you search their site, you can't find definitive information about what you can expect to make.
There's no mention of earnings anywhere on the site. This is usually a red flag as well. The company should be open about how much you'll earn by filling out surveys - even if that amount is minimal.
You don't want to use your main email when you fill out your contact information with any survey site. You want to keep any contact from these companies separate.
So create an email just to use for the purpose of taking surveys. That way, if you do happen to sign up with a company that does sell its email list, you won't end up with your main email inbox flooded with spammy offers.
How Much Money Can I Make
How much money you can make is going to depend on what the survey is. Some surveys will pay you better than others. But there are some sites that will give you a double way to earn.
What these sites do is they will send you out a product for you to use. Once you receive the product, you use it and decide what you like or don't like about it. When the time period is up, you go online and fill out the customer satisfaction survey.
You'll get paid for filling out that survey, but you also get that product and don't have to return it. There are many survey takers who get a lot of products that could be quite expensive if they had to go out and buy them.
This is a way for you to help your budget and earn at the same time. Some companies will offer to send you cash. They don't mean literally cash. They mean that once you've filled out the surveys, you'll get a check in the mail.
The more surveys that you complete, the more money you'll receive in your check. If a company does offer cash, you want to be very careful about that because the odds are high that it's not a legitimate source of income and it could very well even be a scam to get your personal information.
Not all of the survey companies will pay you with a check, but they more than make up for that in the items that they offer. You can get personal items, food products, cosmetics, pet products, food, clothes and even small kitchen appliances.
You'll get to keep those items - plus, as you build your survey profile, you'll also earn gift cards to many online stores. The more survey companies that you sign up with, the more income you can expect to receive.
However, searching for these companies can take a lot of time. You want to find someone that has an extensive list of tried and true companies that you can get involved with.
How Do Secret Shopping Surveys Work?
Not everyone has the ability to be a good secret shopper. You need to be a keen observer of what goes on around you so that you can remember what you experienced - since you can't fill out information at the store.
You need to be able to be on time when you do the shopping. These surveys have a certain window of time that they have to be filled out - and if you can't do that, the company wants someone who can.
Secret shopping surveys are only slightly different than filling out other surveys. With these kinds of surveys, you can do a survey on a grocery store, restaurants, clothing stores, hotels, movie theaters, airlines and even amusement parks.
What these businesses are looking for is the same information. They want to know what's going on in their business and they want to be able to take care of any problems that may be happening.
A lot of businesses want people to be their secret shopper. You may think that this is something geared more toward offline stores but this is also something that online stores do as well.
Though they are surveys, many of these companies will title them as customer satisfaction reports. They're looking for answers to questions about the experience the secret shopper had with the company.
Offline stores want to know if the store was clean. They want to know if the customer could easily navigate down the aisles or if the aisles were cluttered with boxes in the way as the employees restocked.
You may be asked if the products were easily accessible or if they were out of reach. You may also be asked if the store had the products you wanted or if they were out of stock.
You'll be asked to tell which area of the store you visited. For example, if you visited a grocery store, you may have stopped at the deli or the bakery. The report will want to know if the employee you interacted with was pleasant and helpful.
Some questions will include how much of your time the visit took. In other words did you have to wait in line a long time or did you have a speedy checkout experience?
You'll be asked in the survey to rate your overall experience. If you're asked to do a secret shopping experience at a restaurant, you'll be told a set amount to spend at the restaurant and then you'll be reimbursed for the cost of your meal.
Some companies will also give you extra money to cover the mileage it costs to drive to the restaurant. For surveys that involve movie theaters, you can get tickets to see movies for no charge and you'll be asked to rate some of the same things you would have rated for a grocery store.
If you do a secret shopping survey for a hotel, you can get free nights at various locations. Online companies will often do secret shopping surveys to check for quality control - but if they notice that a lot of the traffic to their site is bouncing off, they know there might be a problem with the site itself.
When you do secret shopping for an online store, these businesses want to know how easy it was for you to locate the items you needed. This lets them know if their search functions are too difficult to use.
They want to know if the shop is set up well. You'll also be asked if the check out process was easy. There may also be a part in the survey that relates to whether or not your items were shipped in a timely manner and if the packaging arrived at your home free of any damage.
When you take part in secret shopping, you're doing a service for the company because the people in the home offices don't often know what's going on in their stores.
Managers won't often let the home offices know about problems that customers experience so this is a good way for a business to check to see how they're doing and if customers are being treated well.
What you can earn filling out secret shopping surveys can sometimes pay better on average than filling out other surveys. You'll get paid by the survey just as you would with any other store.
Making a Steady Income with Surveys
Like all money making opportunities, there is a way that you can maximize what you bring home. But when you're new to the practice, it can be hard to even get your foot in the door.
You can grow a reputation as being a survey taker who fills out surveys on time and can be counted on. You'll start getting invitations to fill out select surveys for well-known companies. Many of these companies will not advertise to the public and they pay well for completed surveys.