When you’re looking for ways to make some extra money, sometimes the simple solutions are best.
Everyone has a unique life situation and different goals for their side hustle. Some people prefer a side hustle that has the potential to replace their full-time job. Others are just looking for a way to quickly make a little extra money.
If you’re just looking for some extra money that’s easy to earn, donating plasma can be a great option. You’re not going to get rich doing it, but a few hundred extra dollars per month will make a huge difference if you’re paying off debt or saving for retirement.
Personal finance blogger Melissa Blevins and her husband both used this as a side hustle to make extra money for paying off debt (she donated plasma twice per week for a few months) and I was able to speak to Melissa about her experience with this side hustle.
If you’re looking for a simple way to make some extra money and you would like to get paid to donate plasma this information should help you to decide if it’s for you.
What is Plasma Used For?
Blood plasma can be used in several different ways to save lives and treat diseases. It may be used for clotting to help those with bleeding disorders. Another use is for Immunoglobulin or IVIG, which is used to treat improperly functioning immune systems. Plasma can also be used to treat burns, rabies, and tetanus. It can even be used with dialysis patients and those who’ve had transplants. (Source)
Does it Hurt to Donate Plasma?
One of the common questions is related to pain or physical discomfort. There’s a needle involved, as well as a finger prick. For most people, there is some discomfort, but it’s minimal.
Melissa pointed out a few key differences between donating blood and donating plasma. “1) The plasmapheresis needle is much larger than the whole blood donation needle. 2) During blood plasma donation, blood cells are returned to your body once the plasma has been separated and the very last rotation includes a saline return. 3) It’s a longer process, including about 4-5 rotations of draw, return, rest, taking approximately 30-45 minutes in total.”
Looking for other ways to make extra money?
What is the Physical Impact of Donating Plasma?
If you’ve ever donated blood, you know that it can make you a little lightheaded or dizzy after the plasma donation. The workers are usually quick to encourage you to sit down for a few minutes.
When I asked Melissa about the physical impact of donating plasma she said that she did experience a temporary decrease in energy. She said, “My husband also donated less frequently than I did, and he didn’t see the major loss of energy. I also have a single scar on each arm from the needles. It doesn’t look like needle tracks, but I notice them.”
Plasma Donation Requirements
There are some requirements that you’ll need to meet in order to be able to donate plasma. CSL Plasma is one of the leaders in the industry and its requirements are:
- You must be 18 or older and in good health
- You must weigh at least 110 pounds
- You cannot have had any new tattoos or piercings within the past 12 months
- You must have valid identification and a permanent address
The requirements for donating to other companies are very similar.
Melissa pointed out, “You cannot be taking certain medications since the plasma is used to create life-saving medications and it can taint the sample. You also can’t be an active drug user or steroid user. They will check between your toes at the first appointment for needle marks.”
Your first plasma donation will involve a medical screening and they’ll ask some questions about your medical history.
How Often Can You Donate Plasma?
FDA regulations state that you can donate once in a two-day period and not more than twice in a seven-day period. That means that you can donate twice per week, but it can’t be back-to-back days.
Obviously, if you want to maximize your income with this method, donating twice per week is the way to go. But you can also just donate once per week and still make some extra cash with an easy weekend job.
How Long Does it Take?
Donating plasma is a longer process than a blood donation. The first appointment will be longer than the others due to additional screening and processes that you go through as a new donor. Many plasma donors find that the appointments become quicker the longer you do it.
Melissa said, “The first appointment took the longest…about two hours. Depending on how busy the center was, I was usually only there for about an hour from the moment I checked in and answered the questionnaire, completed the physical (where they checked my blood pressure, weight, and pricked my finger to check protein), to being hooked up on the machine to donate plasma.”
How Much Do You Get Paid to Donate Plasma?
The prices that you’re paid will be determined by the company or lab that you use. Sometimes they have different promos or bonuses for things like first-time plasma donors or repeat donors.
Melissa donated at Octapharma. Their payment information is listed here. Melissa said, “I was paid based on weight. I’m not shy about my weight, so I’ll just share that in between training sessions (depending on my fitness goals), I’ve weighed as little as 135 and as high as 155. When I weighed over 150, I was paid $40 per session. When I weighed under 150 pounds, I was paid $20 per session. They also reward you for multiple plasma donations in a calendar month, so I was able to earn bonuses. Total income per month was close to $400 when I donated twice a week every single week of the month.”
CSL Plasma also says that paid donors can make up to $400 per month.
Both Octapharma and CSL Plasma pay donors via a reloadable debit card.
What is the Highest Paying Plasma Donation Center Near Me?
The prices paid by different plasma centers/labs are often the same or very similar, but there may be some promotions that could be considered. For example, there are often promos for new donors. You may also be able to earn bonuses by referring friends who donate plasma.
What’s so Great About Getting Paid to Donate Plasma?
There’s a lot to like about this side hustle. Here are just a few things to consider.
1. It Requires No Skills or Experience
Anyone who meets the basic age, weight, and health requirements can make extra money by donating plasma. There is nothing to learn and no experience that you need to have in order to be able to actually make money. Just about anyone can do it, and that’s one of the biggest reasons why it can be a great opportunity.
When I asked Melissa how and why she got started with donating plasma she mentioned how easy it was. She said, “A couple of years ago, I found an article about donating blood plasma for money. After researching a bit about it, I decided to visit my local blood plasma donation center. It didn’t take long before I jumped in! The money was pretty good and it was an easy way to make quick cash.”
2. Locations Are Just About Everywhere
Chances are, there is a lab for one of the major centers located reasonably close to your home or office. I don’t live in a major city and there is a CSL Plasma donation center in my town.
3. You Get Paid Quickly
If you need or want money quickly, this is a great option. When I asked Melissa about her experience with the payment she said “Octapharma Plasma issues a reloadable VISA debit card so within minutes of donating plasma, I received the funds on my card. I then used this money to pay for groceries so that I could use my grocery money to help pay down debt. This was great money to add to my debt snowball.”
4. Decent Pay for Your Time
Melissa made $20-$40 per plasma donation, and she said the donations usually took about an hour of her time. That’s a pretty good rate of pay for an easy side hustle. Of course, you also have to think about the location of the center. If it’s close to your home or office you won’t need much time or effort to get there. If you have to drive a longer distance, you’ll need to factor that into your decision to become a plasma donor.
Is it the Right Side Hustle for You?
If you meet the requirements for donating, there is a location near your home or place of work, and you’re looking for a few hundred dollars per month, donating plasma can be a great option.
I asked Melissa if she thought donating plasma is a good side hustle. Her response was, “It depends on what you’re using the money for. My brother donated blood plasma through college for beer money. In my opinion, it’s not worth it for that.
“In our experience, there were months where my husband and I both donated and earned up to $800 per month for a total of about 16 hours ($25 per hour for each of us). This really helped us attack our debt snowball.
“Also, because we were very aware of the time it took and the pay we received, we were more intentional with our spending. For example, if I just sat through donating plasma and earned $40, it was a lot harder for me to make the decision to go out to dinner and spend that $40 in one meal.
“I don’t donate plasma anymore because my blog and YouTube has surpassed that income, and my time is better spent focusing on my online business. But if I had to do it again, I would in a heartbeat!”
I also asked Melissa for some final tips for anyone who may be interested in this side hustle. Here is what she said:
“If you’re wondering if this is for you, the only way to find out is to visit a local plasma donation center and ask questions. Find out the payout and determine where the money will be spent.
“Before your first appointment, don’t take any medications, eat a healthy, balanced breakfast or lunch packed with protein, and drink plenty of water. You won’t be able to strength train after you’ve donated for 24 hours, so plan your workouts accordingly.
“Donating blood plasma is a great way to earn extra cash for paying off debt, saving for an emergency fund, saving for a vacation, starting your business, or just getting by if you’re living paycheck to paycheck.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Companies like CSL Plasma, Octapharma, BioLife, BPL Plasma, and Grifols have plasma donation centers in most cities and towns. Chances are, there’s at least one location near you.
The rates vary depending on where you donate, your body weight, and current promotions. Anywhere between $20 – $40 per donation is normal.
There are often bonuses or incentives available for new donors. The details vary, but you may be eligible for a bonus of $100 or more, in addition to the normal rate for the donation. Some of these promos require you to donate multiple times to be eligible for the bonus, but the dollar amounts of those bonuses tend to be larger.
It’s not totally impossible, but generally, no one pays for blood donations. Sometimes there are promos that offer perks or rewards for blood donations, but not cash.
Generally, platelet donations are not paid.
Rates vary depending on a lot of factors, including promotions. However, the rates of the industry leaders (CSL Plasma, Octapharma, BioLife, BPL Plasma, and Grifols Biomat USA) are usually similar.
No, the Red Cross does not pay for plasma donations from volunteer donors.
There is a small amount of discomfort, but most people find it to be very minimal. You’ll feel a small pinch from the needle, as well as a finger prick. For most people, the pain or discomfort is quick and short-lived.
It doesn’t happen to most people, but it is a possible side effect.
You can donate twice per week, but not on back-to-back days.
Blood type does matter when the transfusion is made, but people with all different blood types can donate plasma.
Your body will replace the plasma within 48 hours. However, some people feel normal almost right away and others may experience side effects like weakness for a longer period of time.
Generally, you can’t donate plasma if you’ve had tuberculosis, heart disease, sickle cell anemia, malaria, or some types of cancer.
The rules vary depending on the rules of the collection center. Most places don’t allow plasma donation if you’ve had any new tattoos within the past 12 months.
You should eat a protein-rich and iron-food meal at least 3 hours before the donation. You should also drink plenty of water the day before and day of your donation.
Yes, you can be a donor if you’ve been vaccinated.
Final Thoughts on Getting Paid to Donate Plasma
Thank you to Melissa Blevins for sharing insight about this side hustle opportunity. Be sure to visit her blog Perfection Hangover.
If you’re trying to find the right side hustle for you, please take our Side Hustle Quiz or see 150+ Side Hustle Ideas to Make Money in Your Spare Time.