One of my latest side hustle experiments is as a User Interviews survey respondent.
(I’ve earned $105 so far, in exchange for about an hour and a half.)
User Interviews Review
User Interviews Summary
User Interviews is a legit facilitator of online (and in-person) consumer research studies. Participants can get paid to share their opinion and shape future products and services. While this won’t replace your day job, it can be a nice supplemental income.
User Interviews is one of the highest paying online survey option I’ve found.
What is User Interviews?
User Interviews is a consumer research company that helps match companies with questions to consumers — you!
Often, these companies are considering launching a new product or testing a new website or app design, and want to get real feedback from prospective users. So far, they’ve helped over 4,500 companies gather that feedback.
And since going to market with the wrong product or a confusing website can be a super expensive mistake, those companies are happy to spend some money upfront to help get it right.
Is User Interviews Legit?
Yes, User Interviews is a legitimate facilitator of consumer research projects. Last year, 40,000 participants got paid and the site adds hundreds of new studies each month.
Since 2016, the company has paid out over $15 million in incentives.
How Does User Interviews Work?
Once you sign up for User Interviews, you’ll be able to see all available projects. For example, here’s what it looks like for me after I log in:
You can see:
- how much each study pays
- roughly how long it will take
- what type of study it is
- a brief description of what the researcher is looking for
From there, you can and click on individual studies to learn more (and apply).
You’ll be prompted to complete a brief screener survey for each study you’re interested in. Then, you’ll get a text/email if you’re selected with instructions on next steps.
After the study is complete, you get paid the advertised amount — via PayPal, Amazon gift card, Visa gift card, or other digital gift card.
A Gift Card? WTF? Show Me the Money!
The biggest beef most people had with User Interviews was the payout options. It used to be that nearly every study only paid via Amazon gift card—which didn’t really bother me since I knew we’d be spending money at Amazon sooner rather than later.
However, in response to participant feedback, they expanded their payout options to include PayPal, Visa gift cards, and gift cards for dozens of other stores. But these do vary study to study so just be sure to check you’re happy with the payout method before you apply.
Sign Up Process
Signing up for User Interviews is easy.
After you hit the “Get Started” button, it’ll prompt you to fill in a form with some basic information:
In this initial intake form, you’ll fill in your:
- Phone number
- Company and job title (some studies are job role-specific)
User Interviews will also ask you for some basic demographic information, including your:
- Household income
- Level of education completed
- Marital status
Finally, you’ll create a password to finish setting up your account.
Who is Eligible to Join User Interviews?
User Interviews is open to participants worldwide, but is very much geared to US-residents. In fact, there’s some specific language in the terms of service:
We make no representation that information on our Services is appropriate or available for use outside the United States.
The way I’d interpret that is “you’re welcome to join, but probably won’t qualify for many studies.” Might be time to consider another side hustle idea instead.
As the company grows, they’ve added studies specifically targeting users in the U.K., France, Germany, and South Africa.
You also must be at least 18 years old.
Filtering and Selecting Projects on User Interviews
To sort through the project listings on User Interviews, use the handy filters in the interface:
You can filter by interviews that are only online or over the phone. Or in-person or in-home studies, if you prefer.
Unfortunately, they don’t yet let you filter by job role or other criteria. That means you’ll still have to do some reading to see which studies you’re best qualified for.
Types of Studies on User Interviews
User Interviews specializes in remote consumer research. This means that most conversations take place over the phone or via webcam video chat.
(It will say in the description or in the screening questions if you need to have webcam capabilities.)
You’ll also see studies that are for in-person focus groups or in-home product testing.
Most are one-time conversations or feedback-gathering sessions, but for some product tests it’s a multi-day study. In those cases, you’ll always know upfront before you apply to join.
There seems to be more of a business-to-business focus on the site. By that, I mean I tend to see more studies related to specialized work software, skills, or experience than general consumer studies.
That said, there’s still a healthy variety of projects on User Interviews a non-techy person can qualify for.
As you use the filters and scroll through the available User Interviews projects, you’ll probably begin to answer a few “screener surveys.”
These shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes, and help the companies build a research sample of their target customers.
For example, you might be asked about the software you use, the size of your company, your current role there, or in the case of my “men’s fashion study” — how I cut my hair.
It all depends on the project and who they’re trying to reach. Use these questions to get a sense of whether or not you’re the ideal person.
Don’t try and force-qualify yourself for stuff you have no business answering. Just be honest so you don’t waste your time or the researcher’s; there are always more studies coming soon.
My Experience w/ User Interviews So Far
I’ve done 4 projects with User Interviews so far:
The first was a men’s style study, and it was specifically for bald men. Check and mate!
It was a super short online survey, and took less than the 15 minutes suggested.
The other was actually an interesting phone call about the FIRE (Financial Independence / Retire Early) movement. Since I love talking about that stuff anyway, it was a fun way to make $30.
Next, I got paid $15 to share my opinion about online investment websites, and $50 to test and give feedback on an online video editing tool.
So that’s $105 (in Amazon credit) for a little over an hour and a half, or the equivalent of around $60 an hour. All from home.
I’ve done a handful of other screener surveys but haven’t been selected for more projects yet.
As you click into the screener surveys, you’ll get a better sense of who they’re looking to connect with. I’ve aborted some after a couple questions, realizing I wasn’t a great fit.
How Much Does User Interviews Pay?
Of the studies available on my homescreen right now, the average pay rate is $115 an hour.
(Some were as high as $200 an hour.)
As you might guess, the more specialized the participant the company is looking for, the more they’ll pay. The more general consumer-facing studies tend to pay a little less.
User Interviews Best Practices
How can you get selected for more User Interviews studies? Patience and persistence are probably the best answers, but there are a few specific things you can do.
Check your Email
I recommend checking the online interface daily or weekly to see if there are new studies you qualify for, but User Interviews does also send emails out about new survey opportunities. Make sure you route those emails to your inbox.
Keep Your Profile Up-to-Date
Since many studies are aimed at employees in specific job roles, it makes sense to keep your User Interviews profile up-to-date and include as many details as possible.
You can do that from the “Edit Account” option in the drop down under your name:
For example, my User Interviews contact sent me this recommendation when it comes to job titles:
Include your seniority level and any supporting details for best matching:
- GM ➡️ Restaurant General Manager
- Teacher ➡️ 9th Grade Science Teacher
- Freelancer ➡️ Freelance Graphic Designer
- Consultant ➡️ Business Operations Consultant
- Physician ➡️ Oncology Resident Physician
- Accounting ➡️ Certified Public Accountant
For the sake of reference, I changed mine from the somewhat cheeky “Chief Side Hustler” to the possibly more search engine-friendly “Content Marketer”.
I also connected my account to Facebook and LinkedIn to verify my identity.
General population studies fill up quickly, and you’ll have your best chance of being selected if you’re among the first to apply.
Fill in your profile truthfully and answer the screener questions honestly.
With hundreds of new studies being added every month, why risk losing all those future User Interviews opportunities to try and make a quick buck?
User Interviews Alternatives
If you don’t care for User Interviews or are having trouble being selected for projects, not to worry.
While User Interviews is one of the highest paying survey sites, there are other programs where you can make decent money as well.
Respondent is perhaps the most similar service to User Interviews I’ve found. The company also specializes in one-on-one market research interviews, mostly done over the phone or online.
According to the site, the average payout is $140 an hour. Check out our full Respondent review for more.
(I got paid $190 for a 2-hour in-person focus group … that involved playing with Legos!)
Fieldwork is a company the runs (mostly) in-person focus groups. I took part in one of their studies in San Francisco, and earned $150 for a 2-hour focus group, plus a $50 bonus prize for showing up early.
They have locations throughout the US.
Compensation starts at $75 for participating in Fieldwork’s focus groups, with sessions usually lasting between 1-2 hours.
FocusGroup.com is run by Focus Pointe Global. They offer nationwide paid research opportunities.
The studies pay between $75 and $200 and are scheduled over the phone or webcam.
Check out my full guide to Online Focus Groups for more money earning opportunities.
Is User Interviews Worth It?
Is User Interviews worth your time? It’s certainly not passive income, but for the work involved, I’d say the pay rate is pretty strong. (Generally $50-200 an hour.)
For the remote research projects, there’s no commuting time or cost, which is an advantage over some other side hustles.
A few drawbacks to consider would be:
- You’re not getting paid for time spent doing screener surveys. These are generally short (less than 5 minutes), but can add up and get frustrating if you don’t get selected.
- There’s a limit to how much you can reasonably expect to make on User Interviews. Given the nature of this side hustle, it’s not going to replace your day job salary.
- Most studies only pay out in via gift cards. Again, Amazon credit is almost as good as cash in our house, so that’s a non-issue for me.
Still, User Interviews is an interesting and viable way to make some extra money.
Finally, consider the opportunity cost. What else could you be doing with your time?
If you’re confident you could earn better than the $50-200/hour these projects tend to pay doing something else, by all means, go do that instead!
Have you participated in a User Interviews study yet? What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!
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