This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click through to a website from a link found here on my blog and register or purchase something, I may get a commission at no extra cost to you.
This post explores whether completing surveys for money in the UK is a lucrative side hustle, or a complete waste of time.
When looking online for quick ways to make a bit of extra cash, chances are you’ll have seen suggestions for completing surveys. By giving your views on certain topics, your demographic details, or preferences on particular products, you can certainly make a bit of pocket money or giftcards that are a great way to top up your cashflow – but is completing surveys for money in the UK a lucrative side hustle?
What does completing surveys for money in the UK involve?
Brands, government institutions and academics all benefit from conducting research involving the general public. By utilising survey sites, they can reach a large audience in a quick and efficient manner – allowing participants to make a bit of cash on the side.
Typically, surveys will last between 5-30 minutes, and will ask you to work your way down a set number of questions, giving your opinions either via typing, video or voice. Once your answers are received and approved, you’ll then be able to cash out your earnings – all from the comfort of your sofa.
Each survey site will differ with regards to frequency of opportunities available, cashout settings (e.g. is there a threshold you need to pass before you’re allowed to cashout), payment options (e.g. giftcard or cash), whether you’re prescreened before completing a survey, and the kinds of surveys you can expect to complete – and whilst completing surveys won’t make you rich or replace a 9-5 income, it still all adds up and can be a nice bit of extra cash each month.
The best survey sites to maximise your earnings
There are a whole host of survey sites out there, with Money Saving Expert covering the top 25 here.
However, I only wanted to write about those I have personal experience with, which are Prolific, Swagbucks and YouGov. All have their pros and cons, but are generally very trusted within the survey arena.
Let’s explore each one a little further…
A personal favourite, and my top recommendation – whilst the other survey sites below report infrequent opportunities across the month, Prolific could potentially see you complete surveys every day (and therefore make money everyday!)
Another huge bonus point for Prolific is that you’re pre-screened for every survey, meaning you’re only sent surveys that are applicable and relevant to your demographic (and you therefore won’t spend 20 minutes completing a survey only to be told at the very end that you don’t fall within the target audience of the survey, and therefore won’t be eligible for your payout).
Prolific also only pays out in cash, so you aren’t tied to particular shops and their gift cards, and survey payouts can range from 10p – £30+. I once made £22 for a 15 minute survey where I had to record a video. .
One thing to be aware of is that there is a £5 minimum cashout threshold, but as soon as you’ve passed this (which shouldn’t take you too long thanks to the frequency of survey availability), you’re able to cash straight out into your PayPal account.
Swagbucks (referral link) is a firm favourite within the UK money blogger community, and has become a trusted name within the survey industry.
The website allows you to earn points through completing various different activities – from watching videos, to shopping online, and answering surveys – and it is certainly the most ‘fun’ of the sites listed here.
Earning enough points to cashout can take a little while, but once you’ve got enough, you can choose how you’d like to redeem your points and which retailer you’d like to spend them with. Personally, I try to earn points throughout the year, so I can convert them in to Amazon giftcards and spend them on Christmas/birthday gifts.
I’ve always struggled to get on with YouGov, but for every person you find who hates the site, you’ll find another who loves it, so consider it the Marmite of the online survey site world.
YouGov is well-trusted online, and does ask some interesting (and usually very relevant) questions for members of the public to give their opinion on. It’s not uncommon to find something you voted on referred to in the news, which can lend itself to a feeling of contributing to important topics.
However, YouGov has an incredibly high cash-out threshold of £50 (or the equivalent of 5000 points), which, when you consider the fact you’re only given the opportunity to complete surveys a couple of times a week, with each worth about 50 points, you can see how long it will take you to make this amount.
By contrast, in the last year, I’ve made well over £200 with Prolific with only a £5 cashout threshold.
But, as they say, it all adds up – and if you’re completing these surveys when you’re on your commute or watching TV, it suddenly doesn’t sound quite so bad. I just wouldn’t be planning your budget around it!
Top tips for completing surveys for money in the UK
- As soon as you can cash out, do. I know it can be tempting to see how much you can grow your total to, but if a site goes bust, your earnings go with it. Hit the threshold, and get your earnings.
- It could take a while to go over a certain threshold before you can cash out your earnings. This could be £5, or it could be £50. Find out what the threshold is for the site you’re using, and don’t be disheartened if you’re waiting a while – it all adds up!
- Get comfy – being able to complete the surveys from your sofa makes this whole money making lark feel much less of a chore.
- Be aware of tax. Survey income is, unfortunately, classed as self-employed income, so if you earn over £1000 in any self-employed capacity, you’ll need to pay tax on your takings.
- To maximise your earning potential, sign up for as many survey sites as you’re happy to. For me, that’s the three listed above – but most of my survey time is spent on Prolific.
- Speaking of Prolific, download their Chrome Extension to minimise your chances of missing out on a survey. New studies are added sporadically, and are on a first come first served basis, so you need to act quick. By using the Chrome Extension, you can keep it running in the background and are alerted when new studies become available.
- Possibly the most important tip of them all: you should never have to pay to join a survey site. If you see one that is asking for payment – no matter how tempting the sign-up offer may be – hit the close button and do not give them any of your details.
Is completing surveys for money in the UK a lucrative side hustle?
Lucrative might be a strong word, depending on what this could mean to you and your circumstances.
Is it possible to make an extra £20-£50 each month through completing surveys from the comfort of your sofa during your spare time? Absolutely.
And it’s this bit of extra cash which could help you cashflow Christmas, pay off debt more quickly, go towards your grocery budget, or go into your Sinking Fund pots.
Who are we to turn down an easy way to make a bit of extra cash?
Looking for more ways to make money? These posts might be of interest to you: