Here’s a feel-good side gig: Make money, save lives by selling your plasma or platelets
Want a feel-good side hustle? Consider selling your plasma or platelets. You can make money and save lives at the same time. And the amount you make is generous — usually between $25 and $100 an hour.
Of course, you can also give plasma and platelets for free to nonprofit organizations, such as the Red Cross. But there’s no shame in getting paid.
Selling plasma or platelets is a lot like giving blood. But it takes longer because you’re hooked up to a machine that separates your blood’s components — red and white blood cells, platelets and plasma — and returns the unneeded portion to your body. The process usually takes about an hour for plasma and up to two hours for platelets.
The amount you earn for selling platelets and plasma varies by location and the number of times you do it. Some sites pay more to new clients; others pay increasing amounts to keep people motivated to come back.
Most of the organizations that pay for plasma turn around and sell it at a profit. Hospitals typically charge patients $300 to $3,000 per liter for these lifesaving liquids. And companies use plasma to develop for-profit drugs and therapies.
What are platelets and plasma?
Plasma is a yellowish liquid that carries blood cells around. It is mainly made up of water, but it also contains antibodies that fight infection. It’s used to treat people with cancer and blood diseases. It’s also widely used in medical research. Because it doesn’t last long when stored, there is a constant need for regular donors.
Platelets are cell fragments that help heal wounds. They’re used in surgeries and to help people with traumatic injuries.
Why companies pay
Finding donors isn’t easy. Many people are averse to needles and blood, and both are involved in donating plasma and platelets. Moreover, donating is time-consuming. The typical donation takes one to two hours. And first-time donations can take longer because the center will need to get your medical history.
Moreover, there can be side effects, such as dizziness and loss of energy.
Consequently, many sites are willing to pay people for their time and potential discomfort. Compensation can vary by season, demand and the number of times you are willing to sell.
Consider Biomat, which pays plasma sellers $100 for each of their first five sessions. After that, the site pays $50 per sale. Although the first time may take a little longer, the site says most plasma clients are in and out in an hour.
Octapharma Plasma pays $100 for the first seven sales. After that, the site pays based on your weight. The bigger you are, the more you get paid. Why? They can take more plasma from someone who weighs 200 pounds than someone who weighs 110 pounds — the minimum weight to be able to donate.
Trusting Heart Blood Centers pays platelet sellers a staggered rate based on the number of times they participate. Starting in 2023, the minimum rate is $75 per sale. But regular donors earn increasing amounts. Those who sell every two weeks (the maximum allowed) will earn up to $175 per sale in 2023.
Because extracting your platelets requires between 90 minutes and two hours, the hourly rate runs from $37 to more than $87.
The process of selling both plasma and platelets is similar to donating blood. You answer questions about your health and activity and submit to a few medical tests. Then a phlebotomist sticks a needle in your arm to start the blood draw. However, the process differs in that the blood is pumped into a machine that separates the cells and returns the portion of your blood that’s not needed back to you.
Your body quickly regenerates the lost platelet and plasma cells. So while you can safely donate blood only every eight weeks, you can sell plasma up to two times a week. And you can sell platelets once a week. However, the FDA, which regulates medical products and procedures, limits plasma and/or platelet extractions (whether a donation or sale) to 24 per year.
SideHusl.com evaluates working conditions as part of our side hustle rating process. And here, the working conditions couldn’t be much better. Outside of the slight pinch you might feel from the needle, all the plasma and platelet centers make a point of making you comfortable. You’re seated in a lounge chair and often are given a blanket and water or juice. And you’re encouraged to use the free Wi-Fi.
When the process is over, the staff is likely to offer you a soft drink, juice and a snack. Moreover, many centers are open nights and weekends, making it easy to schedule a convenient appointment.
Kristof is the editor of SideHusl.com, an independent website that reviews money-making opportunities in the gig economy.