If you want to supplement your income by taking paid online surveys, you gotta take the bad with the good. Just like everything else, this system has its ups and downs. Many panels have tons of surveys, but it’s hard to qualify for any of them. Others will reward you with gift cards, vouchers or even those dreaded sweepstakes entries instead of cash. Some are scam and will seek out entrance or other fees while selling your info to third parties. There are international and regional or even local ones, and not all of them will have you. One thing is common for all survey panels though. None of them will pay enough to replace your day job or pay the bills.
Therefore, you need to be patient and very careful if you’re set on trying this way of making money. Filter out the scammers and pick a handful of trustworthy panels to combine them into an income, very modest but relatively steady. The money won’t be big, but you will make it without breaking a sweat.
So, let’s see if The Hawaii Panel qualifies to be one of those handful of platforms. We will examine its legitimacy and rewards model, and decide whether you should invest your time there.
When you want to figure out a panel’s legitimacy, the first step is to look up the company that runs it.
In this case, the company is called Ward Research. It’s a market research firm based in Hawaii. They’ve been in business since 1980 – quite a respectable experience. If you’re not from Hawaii, the names of their local clients won’t mean much to you. But there are also some well-known giants, such as KFC, Burger King, Chevron, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, AT&T, Verizon, CBS, American Savings Bank, Central Pacific Bank… They are all listed on the company’s website. And there are also universities, institutes, healthcare institutions, and government departments among them. That should definitely remove any suspicion you might have harbored.
So, to conclude this section – the panel is definitely legit. But don’t rejoice just yet. It still doesn’t mean it’s time-worthy.
How Does The Hawaii Panel Work?
The basic functioning is very simple. As a registered member of the panel, your job is to take surveys, participate in focus groups and other research projects. Their part of the bargain is to reward you with a certain number of points per survey, that is anywhere from 25 to 500 points, depending on the project’s length and difficulty. Those 500 points aren’t just the maximum compensation per survey. They are also the threshold you need to meet before cashing out.
As we are all too aware, points don’t pay our bills, which is why you can convert them into more or less tangible rewards:
- Cash paid via PayPal
- Gift cards for Amazon, iTunes, Aloha Gas, and other online shops
These are just general rules, though. And if you’re already headed towards the “Register” button, there are two conditions you need to meet.
Firstly, you need to be a Hawaiian resident for at least six months. Secondly, you mustn’t be younger than 14. If you don’t meet both of these conditions, you should look for another survey panel.
This exclusivity is not a mere formality. Namely, all the surveys and other research projects will concern “products, services, and topics that impact Hawaii”, as the FAQ section says. The panel’s client companies are searching for a local perspective.
So, here’s what happens during the registration process. You need to enter valid information about yourself and confirm your account from email. Next, a short form will pop up, containing basic demographic questions – age, gender, employment, education, income, etc. Once you’re done with that, there’s no need to refresh the page and hope to get a survey. As soon as one is available for you, you will get an email with the link leading to it.
How Much Can I Earn?
Remember that threshold of 500 points? That equals $5. So, the math says that each survey is worth at least 25¢. That definitely isn’t a sum to die for, but think of it this way. If an average survey takes 10 minutes to complete, that would be $1.50 per hour, give or take.
Still not impressed? I hear you. But here’s the reality: surveys are very easy work, and many people do them for free, just for the fun of it. Also, this hourly rate is an industry standard. So, don’t hope to bump into a survey panel that will pay you $10 or more per hour. Much as it sounds great, it just never happens.
And now to the flip side of this low threshold. Yep, there is a reason why they keep it this low. Let’s see how much time you would need to actually make these $5. According to the FAQ, most members of this panel can only hope to get one survey invitation per quarter – that’s up to three surveys per year. That amounts to less than a meagre $1 per year! Even if you only get the best surveys, it can’t be more than $15.
- There are options when it comes to rewards. Cash via PayPal is, of course, the most alluring option. But you can also opt for gift cards from Amazon, iTunes, or other online stores.
- The cashout threshold is low. Most survey panels keep it around $20, even $25. In theory, even that doesn’t sound like much. However, if they only send you a couple of surveys every month or very few months, it may take years to accrue $20! With $5, it’s way easier. But like I said, there is a reason why the threshold is low – scroll down to the Disadvantages section for that.
- Very low earning potential. With as little as one survey per three months, that’s about $1 per year. A poor incentive to say the least.
- Only Hawaiian residents are welcome to this panel. Don’t get me wrong on this – of course it’s great to have a nice local panel that won’t be overcrowded. But this kind of exclusivity is not good news for other potential users.
Final Verdict – Is This Panel Worth Your Time?
Even though this panel is absolutely legit, I won’t go so far as to recommend it. It’s probably true that it’s the biggest panel for exclusively Hawaiian members. But that still doesn’t mean it’s the only one that will have them. On the contrary – most panels will readily enlist all US residents, Hawaiians included.
As for the possible profits you can make here, they are virtually nonexistent. And that is the single most important reason not to join this panel, unless your main motive is to impact your local marketplace.