You’ve heard the expression “a penny for your thoughts”? Dozens of companies would like you to take the expression literally. They’ll pay for opinions. A number of them will pay considerably more than a penny too.

The companies willing to pay for opinions are mostly made up of market research firms that help big companies package their products or make their websites more user-friendly. However, a few work with lawyers, who need to know how a case will be received by jurors. Conveniently, in these days of Covid-19, most pay-for-opinion jobs are done from home on a computer or phone.

Here’s a quick run-down of some of the better ways to get pay for opinions. But don’t expect this to replace your full-time job. The well-paid options are sporadic, at best. Poorly paid options are abundant — but only worth your time if you’ve got nothing else to do. 

That said, if you can’t face another dog-walk or binge-watch while you wait to hear about returning to work, these sites are diverting and, occasionally, lucrative. 

Mock jurors

Being a mock juror is a bit like being a real juror, only there’s less waiting around in court hallways and considerably better pay. Generally speaking, you read — or watch — a case online from the comfort of your own home. Cases typically take from 20 minutes to an hour.

The lawyer’s goal is to get feedback about how you’d rule and why. If you’d rule against the attorney’s client, is that because you didn’t get enough information in one pivotal area? Did you find one witnesses testimony more believable than another’s? Your opinions help lawyers strategize before they get in front of a real jury when the client’s life or livelihood is on the line.

Mock juror sites pay either by the case or by the hour. Online Verdict, for example, estimates that the cases it sends to mock jurors typical require 20 minutes to an hour to review and pay between $20 and $60. Jury Test pays $5 to $50 per case. eJury pays $5 to $10 per case. SignUp Direct pays $12 per hour.

To qualify for any of these opportunities, you need to be at least 18. You’ll be disqualified if you are an attorney or a convicted felon.

Video reviews

A company called Product Tube will pay you between $5 and $35 for making short — two-to-four minute — videos about your shopping habits. Let’s say the site is looking for detailed information about how you buy dishwashing detergents, for instance. On your next shopping trip, it may ask you to film your walk down the detergent aisle, vocally describing the detergents you see and what makes you choose one over another.

The main catch with Product Tube is that it expects you to shop in specific stores. If they’re not on your regular shopping loop — or are outside of your geographic area — the app doesn’t pay enough to make going out of your way worthwhile. If, however, this is something you’d be doing anyway, its an easy way to pick up a few bucks.

Added bonus for those short on cash: Product Tube The pays within 24 hours of completing an assignment.

Another option for those interested in video reviews is User Testing. This site wants you to review corporate websites online, while the site records your interaction. You spend 15 to 20 minutes, looking for particular features as instructed by the site and talking to yourself about whether the feature is easy to find, attractive, etc. The site pays you $10 for each review in the form of Amazon gift cards.

Similarly, a company called Ivueit will pay freelancers to take photographs and answer a short survey about the state of construction, repairs or maintenance of a commercial building. “Vues” pay between $5 and $32, depending on the number of photos required and the location.

WeGoLook, meanwhile, will pay you to take photos of automobiles and accident scenes for insurance companies. The downside of this option, however, is that the paperwork is far more onerous with WeGoLook than with the others. Like the other options here, the pay isn’t enough to go significantly out of your way for a “look.” But if you happen to find one in your neighborhood, it could be worthwhile.

Online surveys

There are literally dozens of online survey companies that will pay you to answer surveys, view advertisements or videos on your phone. Most of these pay pennies per survey, however. A SideHusl reviewer estimates that the pay per hour works out to about $3 to $4. Mostly, too, the pay is doled out in the form of gift cards rather than cash.

On the other hand, these surveys do not require your full attention. You can do them while watching sports, waiting for a bus, or sitting in an airport. In other words, they’re not worth doing for the pay, but may be worth doing for the diversion. Some of the more diverting survey sites include Swagbucks and Survey Junkie.

Focus groups

The only pay-for-opinion jobs that usually require personal attendance are focus groups. Focus groups typically enlist a dozen or so individuals who are willing to dive deep into consumer experience issues. For instance, where do you expect to have cup holders in an SUV and how important are they? What car features influence your buying decision and just how much influence might those specific issues have?

Normally, the groups will meet in an office or conference room and discussions will be led by a member of the marketing team. Getting called in for a focus group is relatively rare — and more so in the age of Covid. However, when you are enlisted for these meetings, you’re typically well compensated, with pay ranging from $75 to $150 for meetings that could last for just a few hours.

If you’re interested, you can sign up with FindFocusGroups, Consumer Opinion Services, Shifrin-Hayworth and FieldWork to be matched with appropriate researchers.