A couple of months ago I wrote a post about the TNS Postal Survey which generated a lot of interest, so today I have decided to share my experience of the Ipsos UNEX postal survey with you.
I signed up for this survey last November and completed a training period of 4 weeks before joining the live panel. I have found that it is very similar to the TNS Postal Survey in the sense that it involves sending, receiving and recording mail; it differs, however, in other respects which I will highlight in this post.
UNEX is an international postal survey and involves sending parcels rather than letters. Every week panelists receive a posting pack in the form of a large cardboard box which contains: a posting schedule; pre-stamped parcels to send to other panelists (in my case one for each day of the working week) and a pre-stamped envelope to return any transponders to UNEX. Transponders are small electronic devices that track parcels as they move through the system.
The pre-stamped parcels to send to other panelists include a transponder, a scrunched up sheet of brown paper and a short generic letter explaining that the parcel is a test item. As a panelist you will also receive these parcels and they have to be logged onto UNEX’s website upon receipt. I find it quite exciting to receive these just to look at the foreign stamps – some of them are very unusual! The website is extremely efficient and user friendly, it takes about 10 seconds to log a sent or received parcel.
UNEX operate a points based rewards system whereby each letter earns you 10 points for each logged parcel and good performance is rewarded with an extra 30 points per month. The points can be redeemed for gifts or gift cards in a dedicated online shop. I usually wait until I have accumulated 260 points and claim a 20 Euro Amazon gift card.
Whilst I doubt that the rewards are sufficient to cover the costs/hassle if you have to go out of your way to post/receive the parcels, I am sure that anyone who visits (or at least passes by) the Post Office daily and is in a position where parcels can be left in a safe place if necessary, would benefit from this survey. Join here. You can also visit their Facebook page here. If you are a member of this panel already, I would love to hear your experiences of it.
Whilst you are unlikely to make a fortune out of completing online surveys, there is still the potential to earn some extra income each month with very little effort. You may have heard that survey websites pay you pennies for a lot of work – and even screen you out after you have answered most of the questions; this is certainly true of some of them but there are still good ones out there. The following websites are those that I have found worth doing:
Prolific Academic – This is one of the highest paying survey websites. The surveys pay a minimum of £5 per hour and you are provided with an estimated completion time. The surveys are compiled by academics, cover a wide variety of topics and are usually interesting to complete. The only downside is that you don’t get any notifications and have to log on frequently to check for available surveys. They pay via Paypal or Circle. The minimum payment threshold is £5 but beware, you will be charged a fee if you withdraw less than £20. Join here.
Pinecone Research – This is my second favourite paid survey website. All the surveys pay £3 and take 10 – 15 minutes to complete. Occasionally they will also send out a product to trial and you will receive another £3 for filling in the follow up survey. From time to time you will receive an unpaid survey entitled ‘household questions’ – this is a pre-screening survey that usually takes less than a minute to complete. Recruitment is done through banner advertisements that appear sporadically on websites and occasionally through a referral link. Payment is made via PayPal or Prepaid Virtual Visa. See here for more information.
Global Test Market – These surveys pay an average of £1.20 and usually take about 20 minutes to complete. The payment threshold is approximately £30 and is paid via PayPal or in high street vouchers. By completing these surveys you are also automatically entered into their quarterly sweepstakes draw. Join here.
New Vista Live – The typical payment per survey is £1 and each survey takes around 15 minutes to complete. Payment is made by cheque and the payment threshold is £50. You are credited with £5 for signing up. Join here.
Populus Live – These surveys pay at least £1 each, the amount you receive at the end depending on how long you have spent completing it. The rate of pay is typically £1 for every 5 minutes spent. The payment threshold is £50 and payment is made by cheque, posted to you automatically. Join here.
One Poll – These surveys are short and sweet, typically paying between £0.10 to £0.30 each and taking 1-2 minutes to complete; you rarely get screened out. They credit you with £2.50 when you open an account and the payment threshold is £40 which is paid via BACS or PayPal. Join here.
Valued Opinions – reward you with up to £5 per survey. Occasionally there is an opportunity to join a focus group or trial a product. The payment threshold is £8 and you are paid in gift cards for Amazon or selected high street retailers. Join here.
Panelbase – pays between £0.25 to £10 per survey, each taking around 10 minutes. The payment threshold is £10 and you are paid via bank transfer or Love2Shop/Capital Bonds vouchers. You are credited with £3 when you sign up and occasionally there is an opportunity to join a focus group. Join here.
Ipsos – These surveys pay between 5p and £1.80, the higher paying ones taking around 15 minutes to complete. They pay via high street vouchers and the payment threshold is £10. Join here.
Swagbucks – The surveys on this website tend to be quite low paying (approximately 40p for a 10 minute survey), so I don’t spend much time on them. However I find that it is worth logging in everyday to complete the daily poll, watch videos and earn points for using their search engines. Join here.
Mintvine – Like Swagbucks’ these surveys are very low paying, and not really worth doing, however it is worth having an account just to complete the daily poll and you can also earn points for clicking some of the links. Payout is 1,000 points ($10) and is done via PayPal. Join here.
All of these survey websites are free to join and the questions are usually very easy to answer – most of them can be completed whilst watching television or even whilst working in a role that permits personal internet access. The surveys come in handy to top up your cash and, whether you dedicate 20 minutes or 2 hours a day, you will soon see your earnings adding up. Many of the sites also reward you for referring a friend. It is worth keeping in mind, though, that these earnings are taxable.
Since I started working from home, I have signed up to most of the product testing companies in the UK. It is, after all, always lovely to receive free products in the post! There are many companies that offer products ranging from books to electric shavers to test in return for feedback; if you would normally buy them, it can also be considered money saving!
The amount of work required in return for the products varies enormously; whilst some companies expect you to send in videos of yourself using the product or lengthy conversation reports, others simply require you to fill in a short questionnaire. Over the years, I have weeded out those that demand what I consider to be too much effort for a freebie – two hours work for a toothpaste? No thanks! In no particular order, here is my list of the product testing companies that I believe are worth signing up to.
Alba Science: Specialises in cosmetics and toiletries and trials are frequent. I have received many products including shampoo, facial toner, night cream and lip salve from them in the past year. They send out an email with a questionnaire in order to apply to trial the product and if you are successful it will arrive in the post a couple of days later. Most of their products arrive unbranded, in plain packaging (see my photo), and are usually premium high street brands. After the product has been trialed, there is a follow-up questionnaire which usually takes about 3 minutes to complete. Join here.
Clicks Research: Trials are mostly cosmetic and food orientated. There is a lengthy profile questionnaire on this site, but it is worth completing (and keeping updated) as they do send out some lovely beauty products, which are also usually unbranded. Once signed up, you will start to receive invites to join trials – these do fill up in a matter of minutes though, so it is best to use an email address that you check regularly. Join here.
Boots Review Panel: If you are lucky enough to be chosen for this panel you are in for a treat! They regularly send out products – ranging from £7 Lip Crayons to £200 perfumes and ask for a short review on their website in return. They send out emails before posting products and you can decline them if you wish. Sign up here.
Supper Savvy Me: Offers trials of Procter & Gamble products. I have found it is best to be selective with this company as there is quite a lot of work involved in the trials. Typically they require at least 3 written reports on conversations about the product, a starter, half-time and final survey, posting on their blog, uploading photos on their website, etc. Whilst this is fine for a high value product such as a hairdryer or epilator, I don’t feel it is worth it for, say, a cleaning spray and a few vouchers. Register here.
BzzAgent: This company’s trials are also worth being a bit discerning with and can include anything from chocolate to beauty products. In return for your freebie, you are expected to submit conversation reports, share posts about the product on social media, write a review, send photos, etc. There are some great products on offer which vary in value. Apply here.
Home testing Club: Focuses on new product launches. Most of their trials are of items usually found in the supermarket. Product trials are posted on their website (although sometimes you will get an email invite). If you are accepted they will post the products out and you will subsequently receive a link to a very short questionnaire. I have tested facial wash, mayonnaise and toothpaste for them. Apply here.
Tesco Home Panels: According to Tesco, this panel is based on your Clubcard data. They usually send out trial invitations that fill up very quickly, particularly for clothing, and follow up with a short questionnaire a couple of weeks later. Most of my trials have been clothes or shoes. I have heard many differing reports about the frequency of trials. My experience has been that for a year and half I received about 2 products a months and then the trials stopped. Tesco have told me that because there are a large number of people on the panel there are sometimes delays between trials. They also send out some very short surveys which are rewarded with Bonus Bond vouchers. Not currently recruiting, but it is worth checking here from time to time.
Pinecone Research: This is predominantly a survey company, albeit one of the highest paying ones. Sometimes they will send out a product to trial after you complete one of their surveys and you will get another £3 for filling in the follow up survey. I have received a variety of products including crisps, juice and floor wipes from them. It is an invite only panel.
Senses Club: Is a French company that focus on scents and flavours. They conduct surveys that used to be very lengthy and tedious, but have improved considerably in the last couple of years and are rewarded quite generously with Amazon or Debenhams vouchers. I have had two £50 payments from them this year for about 10 mins work each time, answering questions about my washing machine use. Occasionally they send out products to trial and so far this year I have received fabric conditioner, floor cleaner and shampoos. They are not currently looking for new panellists, but is worth keeping an eye on this page.
Beauty Bible: As you may have guessed by the name, this company specialises in beauty products. If you are fortunate enough to be the right fit and make it to the top of their waiting list you will be emailed a short questionnaire so that they can tailor your package according to your skin type, hair length etc. They are quite unusual in the sense that they ask for a £30 contribution – but it is totally worth it, as you will usually receive over £100’s worth of goodies. Apply here to join their waiting list.
Do you do any product testing? Would love to hear your comments on this!
This postal survey is conducted for Royal Mail by Kantar TNS; its objective is to independently monitor business and personal post that travels through the Royal Mail UK network and is rewarded with free monthly stamps.
The panellists tasks for the main survey are to:
Receive a weekly posting pack and prepare items, including letters and parcels, for posting.
Record items received from other panellists.
Post items to other panellists according to a weekly schedule.
This is rewarded with 12 x 1st class stamps and 4 x 1st class large letter stamps per month, as well as seasonal gifts including Easter chocolates, and diaries at Christmas. After completing the training period, and again after 6 months on the panel, panellists also receive a ‘presentation pack’ which includes approximately £10-12 worth of stamps.
It usually takes me 5 -10 minutes to prepare the items to send to other panellists, depending on how many there are. This varies a lot – some weeks I only have 3 letters to send; others I might have 10, including a cube for which it is necessary to purchase a label from the post office (the price of the label is reimbursed).
Aside from the main postal survey there are additional ways of earning income through the site, including the Unaddressed Mail Survey. This involves recording any junk mail received that has not been specifically addressed to you, including anything from takeaway flyers to catalogues. This pays £5 in Love2Shop vouchers for every three weeks completed.
There is also a Correctly Delivered survey that necessitates logging the number of items received on daily basis, plus reporting any ‘doorstepped’ items, for two weeks. This is rewarded with £5 in Love2Shop vouchers.
The latter two surveys are by invitation only, but I seem to be included in them fairly regularly. And in addition to all this there are prize draws; you could receive a randomly allocated ‘Golden Smart’ which will net you a cool £100 worth of vouchers.
As I live within 20 metres of a post box and visit the post office at least three times a week anyway, it is convenient for me to take part in the survey. I am not sure, though, that it would be worthwhile for anyone needing to travel to the post box and/or post office – the costs incurred would more than likely outweigh the benefits.
Out of the all the methods I use to top up my monthly income this is the one that pays the least. I continue with it, however, since it isn’t very time consuming and I don’t need to go out of my way to complete the tasks. I usually earn about £20-25 a month in stamps/vouchers if I do the main survey combined with the Unaddressed Mail and Correctly Delivered surveys.
You can apply to take part here. If you are responsible for receiving the post at work and your employers allow it, or you are a small business owner, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will then send you a link which will earn us both £25 in Love2Shop vouchers providing you successfully complete the training period and become an active panellist. If you subsequently complete six months on the panel, you will receive a further £25 in vouchers.