If you’ve spent any time at all looking online for sideline-earning opportunities, chances are you’ll have come across survey sites.
Unfortunately, you may also have discovered that many are a waste of time. So-called short surveys can end up taking over half an hour and pay the princely sum of 20p. No wonder many people get disillusioned and decide they aren’t worth the time and effort.
Well, here’s one website that definitely is. People for Research is constantly recruiting people to take part in consumer research studies. Some of these take place in large cities (London and Bristol especially) but many others are done remotely via the phone and/or the internet.
The studies cover a huge range of topics and are for the most part interesting and enjoyable. But the best thing is that they are fairly (and sometimes generously) recompensed – usually in cash, though sometimes in Amazon vouchers.
Here’s a study I took part in myself just a few weeks ago. All I knew beforehand was that it was something to do with ‘culture’. I had to complete a few screening questions and obviously passed, as I was emailed an invitation to take part.
The study was done remotely over the internet. I had to download a special meetings app called Zoom to my smartphone.
At the appointed hour I made contact with the researcher. Using the app he took me to a cinema website, and I had to perform various tasks on it, including checking the cinema’s location and finding out what films were currently showing. Then I had to book tickets (not giving my actual credit card details, obviously).
The researcher asked me to talk through what I was doing. He could see via the app how I was navigating the site and any problems I was having. All of this will presumably be fed back to the client in the interest of making their website as user-friendly as possible.
The study was fun to do and took about 30 minutes. Afterwards I sent my bank details as instructed and received my £30 fee literally the day after. That’s a rate of £60 an hour, which is more than I get for most of my freelance work!
As mentioned, the studies vary widely, and sometimes involve participating over a period of several days or longer, e.g. keeping a written and/or video diary. A recent example was a study on cheese. On the website it said:
‘For this study, you will be required to make a 5-minute video each day for the duration of the study (5 days total). In this video, you will first need to state what meal you are going to make and how you are using the cheese. We’ll also want to know what other cheese brand you are replacing this one with, if applicable! After the meal, you will review it and state how it tasted, whether your family enjoyed it and any other comments you would like to add.’
For this interesting and enjoyable task, which was open UK-wide, a fee of £110 was on offer. The study in question is now closed, but new ones are being launched all the time, so it’s worth checking back regularly.
Even if there is nothing you currently want to apply for, it’s still worth taking a few moments to register on the People for Research website. You will then be notified by email when new opportunities are posted.
Finally, here are a few more tips on making the most of People for Research, based on my experiences with them.
- Don’t expect to be accepted for every study you apply for. There are generally screening questions to answer and only people who match the profile required are invited to take part. There are plenty of new studies coming along all the time, so don’t be disappointed if you aren’t accepted for some of them.
- Not all studies are advertised by email, so it’s important to return regularly to the website to see if anything new has been posted.
- Some shorter studies offer prize draw entries instead of guaranteed payments. It’s your choice whether to enter these. Personally I do them if they sound interesting and I have the time, but not otherwise.
I have made several hundred pounds from People for Research since joining their panel earlier this year, and have found the people who work there a pleasure to deal with as well.
In my view, People for Research deserves a place in everyone’s sideline money-making portfolio!