One way to earn some extra cash is to participate in paid focus groups. Companies use these paid focus groups as a means of gathering the opinions of everyday consumers like us as part of their product development process. Nearly everything from the items you find on store shelves to television commercials and branding messages have been run through a series of focus groups.
Typically participation requires less than two hours of your time and payment varies, but is specified up front, and can range from $45-$250. Intensity varies in the groups and pay often reflects the intensity. On the highly intense end you’ll find clinical trials that tests the results of new medical treatments and less intense opportunities may include a one-time phone interview to gather opinions on a social justice issue.
How Paid Focus Groups Work
Participating in paid focus groups is a four-step process.
Step 1) Create a free profile with a market research company. Research firms mine their databases to find potential participants for the studies they are charged to conduct. The only way to be found as they mine is to have your profile in their system.
I’d recommend this post’s sponsor,Ã‚ , as a reputable firm. They operate nationwide with in-person groups in many major cities, online and phone opportunities beyond that.
Important note: You should never have to pay a registration fee. As in never ever. Not in a million years. Got it? Never.
Step 2) Complete screener surveys for specific studies of interest. The profile you created in step 1 contains general information, but most paid focus group opportunities are limited to people of very specific habits, interests, demographics or experiences. To learn whether you meet these more specific criteria market research firms require you to complete a short screener survey.
You can proactively complete screener surveys for any of the from Focus Pointe Global. Alternatively, you will receive emails from the research firm with requests to complete screener surveys if they think you could be a fit for one of their projects.
Step 3) Be invited to participate in the paid focus group opportunity. When you fit a paid focus group opportunity you may be invited to participate. In addition to needing someone of your demographic the group also needs to have availability for more participants.
When you receive an invitation it should include all the logistics about what you are required to do, your timeline/deadline and your compensation amount.
Remember, not all paid focus groups will require you to travel to a research center for an in-person interaction. Many are conducted via webcam or phone interview. Others still are product review programs where you are sent a product to use and keep in exchange for writing an objective review on the company’s website.; with these you won’t even need to leave home (as I sit in my pajamas and type this).
Step 4) Participate and get paid. For both us and the market research firm this is the most important part of the process, right? You fulfill what is required of you, then the firm pays you. Each research firm will have its own payment processes that should be clearly communicated up front. (Translation: run from any firm that cannot definitively tell you when and how you will receive your payment.)
Focus Pointe Global, the firm I am recommending, pays their participants via a VISA debit card, which can be used anywhere VISA is accepted. If you participate in an in-person study you will receive your card on your way out the door. For those who participate online or over the phone you will be emailed your VISA debit card right after you finish providing your opinion; you can opt to have the debit card mailed to your home, if you prefer.
I’d love to hear your experiences with paid focus groups and questions you may have about them.