Yep, that’s right-you can earn money just by talking. There are hundreds of companies, or clients worldwide, who need direct input from consumers like you. Imagine how expensive it would be to mass produce products or services without knowing if the demand exists. Clients hire research firms to gather this data through focus groups. The topics of focus groups range from tasting new restaurant menu items, testing mattresses, evaluating health care insurance, devising new lotto scratcher games, to critiquing political fliers received in the mail and more. Most of the time the groups are held in a conference room on site with a one-way mirror for the clients to observe the participants.
It costs nothing to sign up on a legitimate research company’s database. Payments are received before you leave in the form of a check or debit card. If you qualify you will be pre-screened . Each of the pre-screening emails or phone calls will inform you of the duration and pay rate. Groups are usually held after business hours. If not, it might be worth using a vacation day… ssh, don’t tell your boss! Search the internet for national and local focus research companies in your area.
The standard rule is one participant per household, however, households comprised of adults with different demographics such as last names, races, ages, phone numbers, etc., can also register. Be sure to use different email providers and complete the pre-screening questionnaires on different devices. Another trick is to call and ask if they have any openings that need to be filled. This works great if someone else in your household may qualify. Although it’s rare, the client or research facility may require completing the pre-screener again via phone or onsite to ensure that your answers match the pre-screener you took earlier.
Focus groups can overbook so arrive early and wait until the quota is reached. You may be asked to fill-in for no-shows and may even get paid without actually participating. Be on the lookout for “early bird” drawings for additional money, too.
Catering may be offered for studies with larger compensation because of the time commitment such as participating in a mock trial. Recruiters are pretty good about telling you in advance as whether or not to bring food or a snack. It’s best to bring something to munch on just in case, as most moderator’s don’t mind.
Monthly and yearly compensation is difficult to predict and you are responsible for paying taxes on money that you earn. More often than not, you won’t have a burning desire to discuss a given topic, like paper towels however, there will be plenty of topics that will cause your blood pressure to rise, too! A good rule of thumb is to choose studies that pay the most money for the required time plus the cost of gas and childcare. For example, you could easily make $100 in two hours… that’s a nice chunk of change for just sitting around a table!
Money from focus groups is nice have for incidentals or to pay down a credit card but don’t rely on them for a regular income. Sometimes a pre-screener will give hints as to what information is needed to qualify for group participation, otherwise, it’s best to be honest. Join multiple databases to increase your earnings and remember that the monetary reward should be greater than your effort to get there. Being punctual is good for both your reputation and lining your pockets. Bring a drink and something to munch on since you’ll be likely to drive straight from work to your study. Focus groups may sound to good to be true but after trying one you’ll wish you had known about them earlier.