A few years ago, I was just starting my search for a new car seat when I got a phone call. After talking to the lady for a few minutes, I was was happy to learn that I’d be earning enough money to cover part of the cost of one. Ironically, I had qualified for a focus group about car seats.
That was a pretty wild coincidence. But no matter the topic, finding a focus group can be a fun way to make some extra cash.
Here’s How You Find Focus Groups.
What Are Focus Groups?
When a company develops or changes a product, they want to know how it will be received by their customers. They hire a market research company to help them present their product to potential customers to see what they like or don’t like about it. That helps them avoid costly mistakes before the product goes to market.
That’s where you come in. The market research company needs a variety of people to fill focus groups. Or they might even bring in one person at a time. Either way, they need your unique perspective on what they have to sell.
And the good news is that these focus groups pay well for an hour or two of your time.
Are you a Good Fit?
While each panel is filled with a variety of people, everyone they hire needs to be outgoing. If you’re too shy to talk to people, this is not the job for you.
What types of products you buy matters less than your personality. Paid focus group jobs go to people who are:
Stay at home moms are often part of the studies. But men’s opinions are always in demand, so they are more likely to get this work. Teenagers and even kids are sometimes needed for groups.
You’ll Need Babysitting
Aside from a few diaper studies, you are almost never allowed to bring children to these studies. Luckily, you can often find focus groups that pay well enough to share the pay with a friend if you know someone willing to babysit.
If you have to pay for babysitting, be sure that the study pays well enough to cover costs before you agree to do it. I won’t take a $40 job if I have to pay a sitter. But a job that pays $75 (this has been my average rate) or even $200 or more is clearly worth it.
How to Find Focus Groups That Are Legit
Here’s the big question! How will you know when you’ve found a legit opportunity?
I always recommend you start by asking friends and family. If any of them have done focus groups, they can tell you the names of companies they work with.
If that fails, you can search for companies in your area. Remember that you should never have to give a credit card or download something to your computer for these jobs.
They will ask you for personal information. You may feel more comfortable providing that info over the phone. But be sure to search for reviews of the company to be sure they are legit before you give out personal details.
How Does It Work?
Sometimes you can find job posts for specific research studies. Companies might post these on their website. Sometimes they put requests on Craigslist (be very wary of these, but there are legit opportunities there).
More often, you’ll join the market research company’s phone list. They’ll put you in their system. When your stats fit into the qualifications of a particular study, they’ll call to ask you more questions.
This can be aggravating when you answer questions for 15 minutes and don’t qualify for the group after all. But keep trying. Assuming you are outgoing and opinionated, you’ll eventually qualify for a study.
Most companies pay you the day of the study with cash, a check, or a VISA or gift card. (They’ll tell you upfront how they pay.) Some studies last a few hours. Some last for days or weeks. Sometimes you are paid both in money and products (such as diapers or shampoo). There is a lot of variety, which makes it interesting and fun!
Focus groups can be a fun way to earn extra cash!
I always enjoy focus groups. And it’s especially fun when the product is perfect for me!
Take These Steps:
- Determine if market research is right for you.
- Sign up with local companies.
- Keep trying to qualify.
- Save the money in your account.
This was day 23 in the Secure Your Savings and Find Peace in the New Year series. Go to the bottom of this post to find all the money saving and money making posts in this series!
Have you ever participated in paid market research?