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How I Earned £163.02 In My Lunch Hour!

Taking part in market research hints and tips

If you think that I found gold under my office chair, took a plunge into the world of cryptocurrency, set myself up on Only Fans, or must have won on a lottery scratch card to have made £163.02 in my lunch hour.... you're wrong!

Payment of $200 for a 1 hour market research project, which equates to £163.02

I spent my hour chatting with a chap in the USA via Skype, talking about a subject I can't tell you about (as I had to sign an NDA) for a market research project, and they paid/gifted me $200 for my time; which worked out at £163.02! I normally don't get out of bed for less than £175 per hour, but I made the exception yesterday ;)

I was pretty happy with that result, as you can imagine. This is the beauty of participating in market research side hustles; you sometimes get a really well-paid project that makes a big difference to your household budget!

That's a pretty impressive pay rate for my time, and it's unusual to get that level of pay; however, market research projects can earn you some decent extra money! I've written about market research before, both on my blog and my social media, and my posts have sometimes been picked up by the press. I've been featured in several newspapers and news outlets' websites. When I mention that you can get paid £50 an hour taking part in projects, I get the keyboard warriors going into warp drive, saying that I'm speaking nonsense (not their actual phrase), and nobody gets paid £50 an hour for market research, and frankly, I've given up responding, as it's just annoying, and I've realised you can't help some people, but what I have said its true, £50 an hour is a very distinct reality!

Not every market research project will pay you £50 an hour; I get emails every day from the market research companies I've signed up with, offering all sorts of projects and all with different rewards. Yesterday I was offered:

£10 for a 10-minute project

£40 for a 45-minute project

£80 for a 2-hour project

£40 for a 1-hour project

£50 for a 1-hour project

£45 for a 50-minute project

These are just a few of the emails I received in one day, all from genuine market research companies that I've worked with for years! Now I wouldn't necessarily qualify for all of them, but a few I know I would, and so have an opportunity for taking part in some pretty well-paid projects that the organisers need participants for, to earn a few extra pounds, which really can help with the bills.

I received my £163.02 via Amazon vouchers (my choice, I had several options) and used the whole lot to buy extra groceries from Amazon Fresh to help with our food budget, stocking up on the items that are usually quite expensive, such as cat food, dishwasher detergent, washing machine detergent, cans of drinks and general groceries, and this will help our budget this month, as it's all items we need, but hurt the wallet to purchase. Realistically, even though I earned that Amazon voucher, it hasn't come from our bank account; it was free money at the end of the day, as it only cost me my time, so as far as I'm concerned, we got free groceries for me yakking for an hour with a stranger!

I'm happy I managed to monetise my lunch break; the cat is super pleased that it has its favourite food rather than the cheap stuff she usually gets when we are still a good week from payday, at the end of the month. I'm happy we aren't struggling to put food on the table this month; that 1 hour of my time has made a big difference!

So how can you participate in market research projects, and how do they work?

Taking part in market research projects can be a perfect way to earn some extra cash. There are so many projects on the go at any given time and an ever-increasing number of companies looking for people's expertise, so the chances are that you will be able to find a project pretty quickly, especially if you are new to taking part in projects, (the market research project companies do like getting new applicants, as they like people who aren't used to the interview format #virgins)

So what is a market research project?

A market research project is an 'interview' between you and someone else. You will be asked a selection of questions, usually geared towards a specific subject you may or may not have some experience with. The person you are talking to maybe a representative of the market research company, who has been given a list of specific questions to ask you, or they could be a part of the company/organisation that wants to find out about your views.

The project length will vary; it could just be a few minutes, an hour, or perhaps a whole weekend; they differ massively, and so does the pay, depending on how much time you will need to take part in it.

The research project will typically take place in one of the following ways:

Telephone Interview

You will have a one-on-one conversation with a researcher there, perhaps with o. This is a less intrusive type of interview than other interview methods, as it's just a chat on the phone, although be aware these and most interviews will be recorded somehow.

One On One Meeting, In Person

Since Covid became a thing, the one-on-one meetings, where you go to a specific location or the researcher comes to you, were a popular way to conduct an interview. These days these are much rarer but are do still take place. These are often video or audio recorded, or a note-taker may be present. These can often be conducted at an organisation's offices, but I have taken part in several of these in coffee shops!

Group Meeting/Focus Groups

Due to Covid, the meeting up of several 'respondents' (people being interviewed), all in one physical location, has reduced massively but is often conducted online. This type of project would have several respondents, all in one place, taking part in a group discussion, where a researcher will talk to you as a group and try and obtain information from you collectively. This used to be very popular for product samplings, such as new foods or drink products, as you all get to try it out and then give instant feedback.

Online Meeting

This type of interview method is now the most popular by far. Much like a telephone interview, you will have a one-on-one chat with the researcher in a chat room set up via an app like Microsoft Teams or Zoom. You must access a computer/device with a webcam facility and microphone. You may be required to connect via a PC or laptop, as you may be asked to test drive some prototypes, which may not work on a phone or tablet. You will usually be advised of this during the application process for the project.

You will typically be speaking to one person but may find several people on the chat, all of whom may ask you a question, and they may or may not be visible! By this, I mean that you may see one person on the screen but will notice several other names on the chat who are watching but not participating directly with you.

Online chats are almost always recorded, so you need to accept that your image and voice will be recorded and may be viewed by many people at some point!

Sampling At Home

Some projects are sampling projects, where a product will be sent to your home, and you get to try it out and see what you think of it. Then, once complete, you will be asked questions about your thoughts on the product, either in a one-to-one chat format or by filling out a form online.

What Can I Earn?

The honest answer to the payments, or rewards, you will receive is that the amount will vary per project, usually depending on:

  1. How specialist are you? - Is it a highly specialised subject for which not many people will be suitable? If so, your reward may be far higher than other projects.

  2. How long is the project going to take? Most take an hour or so, but longer or shorter projects will be rewarded differently - the longer it takes, the more you earn.

  3. The type of project - If you need to travel to a location to part, this will be rewarded higher than a project conducted over the phone.

So in regards to paying, you are generally paid per project, so a set amount to take part, not by the hour.

As a rough guide to a project, when split down into the number of minutes the project takes to complete, I would say between 50p and 75p per minute is accurate. However, this can vary massively (this is just from my personal experience).

For example, an hour-long project paying you £40 would work out at about 66p per minute as your reward for a standard interview conducted online. An interview where you need to travel re very specialised can increase dramatically; I've seen VERY specialised projects paying around £300-£400 for a 90-minute interview with an expert in their field. If you are taking a project about if you like the taste of a new soup flavour, you are very unlikely to be offered big money!

How do I get paid?

The payment method will vary from project to project. A bank or PayPal transfer is a very popular payment choice by the market research projects, as is payment by a gift voucher, where you will be sent a link to choose what sort of voucher you would like to be paid with from a selection, and usually is vouchers from the big brand companies such as Amazon, Argos, Tesco etc.

You may find that some projects are advertised as paid in US Dollars, as many market research companies are based in the States. You can still take part in these studies, these are typically paid via PayPal, and you can use PayPal to change the currency to £GBP. The amount you will receive will vary daily, depending on the currency exchange rate at the time. When choosing which project to apply for, you need to remember that a $40 project is around £29, so not necessarily as high of a reward.

That said, most US projects pay around $1 per minute, so it's a similar payout to the UK projects.

You won't likely be paid immediately; although I have had payments in minutes after the project finished, a couple of weeks is usually the average incentive payment lead time.

So How Do I Take Part In A Market Research Project?

As I said earlier, many companies are looking for people to participate in their projects. It's a bit of a minefield to know the better company to work with, so I have listed below the companies I have used and recommend.

1. Respondent

Respondent is a market research company that offers a wide range of projects, mainly conducted via video chat. They are one of the best companies I have personally dealt with. They do a lot of specialised tasks, with some of the highest paying incentives, but you will also find a decent selection of the more mainstream subject projects.

2. Take Part In Research

Take Part In Research is one of the leading UK research companies. You will find a wide range of products offered at any given time, most based around UK subjects, such as products, current news, current affairs or more specialised research projects. Very decent, with frequent new projects being offered.

3. Angelfish Opinions

Angelfish Opinions are a very similar type of company to Take Part In Research, offering topics from a wide range of different genres, with frequent new projects being offered; plus, if you refer a friend to a project, and they take part, you can earn a £10 referral bonus. If you want to use our details - Name: The Penny Pincher - Email: when you apply to take your first project, we would be grateful, as it helps pay our website bills!

4. Trend Market Research

Trend Market Research is another UK-based company offering a range of different projects. They are slightly less technologically impressive than their competitors, as their website is basic. Still, it does provide a decent number of projects, and expect an almost daily email with a new project on the go!

5. Podengo Market Research

Podengo Market Research is a UK-based company offering a decent number of research projects, but not necessarily as many as some of its competitors. However, they are still very much worth registering with.

6. User Interviews

User Interviews offer a decent number of market research projects. US-based, but with projects aimed towards UK users, it's a fast paying service and worth keeping an eye out for its frequent project emails, as the spots fill up fast!

7, Testing Time

Testing Time has been one of my best-paying market research project companies to work with, mainly due to its super frequent emails about current projects. You have to apply quickly as the projects fill up quickly. As they are US based, the emails come through at odd times of the day, such as 3 am, and so unless you are keeping an eye out (set up their email address as a VIP emailer, so you get an alert when they email), you can easily miss out. As US-based, this site does pay in $. Currently, the website doesn't allow you to log in and see current projects; you need to watch for those emails!

8. UserTribe

UserTribe is a Danish market research company that offers mainly online chat-based market research projects. The number of projects is much smaller than some of the other companies. However, it's still worth signing up to receive project invitations, as they work with some big-name brands, and once you have taken part in a project for a particular brand, you may well find follow-up tasks are sent your way! Average pay rates are between £30 and £50 per hour, and payment is usually made within a week or so, generally on a Tuesday, with Amazon vouchers being the preferred payment method.

9. Saros Research

Saros Research is a UK-based research company offering a range of all sorts of different research projects. I've found many of these projects they offer are based around specific health conditions and not that frequent, but they pay quickly and typically direct to your bank account.

10. Bunnyfield Research

Bunnyfield is in my top 10 market research companies to work with. They offer an extensive range of projects, with recent projects including banking, charities, beer, childcare & teaching projects, and more! Payment is pretty fast and generally around £50 per hour.

Also, consider the following research companies I haven't put into my top 10 but are worth signing up with!

NEVER pay to join a research company! Some unscrupulous companies are out there, but all the companies I have mentioned are bonafide and will never ask you to pay for anything!

My top tips for taking part in a study from home are:

  1. If the subject is specialised, don't think you can blag your way onto the project and make it up as you go along... this isn't recommended, the interviewer may very well know the subject matter in detail, and you will look silly when you don't have a clue!

  2. Be ready to go! Make sure you are set up and ready to go a few minutes before your start time. Nothing worse than being late for an interview!

  3. Make sure you have the chat software already on your device, and it's the latest version; the number of times I've loaded up the software to find then it needs to update, making me late!

  4. Test your microphone and webcam work, and when you go online, and know-how to unmute yourself!

  5. The most crucial part is ensuring you have somewhere quiet to participate in the research! Even if you have to participate from your bedroom or bathroom, that's ok, just so long as you can't be interrupted. Also, make sure you have silenced your mobile and also turned off your texts/messenger/WhatsApp apps, as if you have to screen share your device, it can be a bit embarrassing to start getting a message, or worse still, photos coming through, as the researcher will see them too!

Taking part in market research hints and tips

All in all, relax and be honest; if you don't know the answer, say so; the researchers are usually very understanding, friendly, and calm and will help guide you.

You aren't expected to be the world's leading expert on the subject matter; they want your feedback - you don't need to be a brown noser; they are paying you for your views and feedback!

Regarding tax for the payments, you won't be taxed by the research company, as you are classed as a freelancer, and it's up to you to declare your income to the HMRC. You can earn up to £1,000 per year before having to advise the HMRC of your extra income. I've been informed that payments made to you via a gift card are classed as gifts for your participation and not taxable, but I'm not a tax expert, and if you are earning lots, then double-check!


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