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Paid Focus Groups: Easy, Infrequent Money

Last week, I participated in a paid focus group and was paid $75 for two hours. Unlike the last focus group in Baltimore [3], this one was only a five minute drive away.

If you think paid focus groups are easy money, you’re right. There aren’t many things that pay $35 an hour! The only thing you have to know is that it’s infrequent, very infrequent, so you can’t expect to make a fortune off paid focus groups. I signed up to participate with this company in September 2007, seventeen months ago!, after learning about focus groups in an MBA class [3].

Overall Experience

The experience overall was pleasant. When I arrived, I checked in and waiting in a waiting room. After a few minutes, we all filed into a conference room where we were told that discussion would be recorded. The video would be used by the company to summarize our discussion and our individual statements wouldn’t be attributable to any one person. We spent the next two hours discussing transportation issues in Central Maryland, rating our impressions of various marketing statements, then paid our $75 on the way out.

Insights about Paid Focus Groups

In the waiting room, the group discussed our paid focus group experiences and the general consensus was that paid focus groups were great in terms of money, but very infrequent. In fact, many organizations have rules about participation frequency. If you’ve participated in a focus group within the last six months, they usually won’t call you to participate in one until that six month period elapses.

Some other thoughts:

If you want to do this, do a search in Google for focus groups in your area and sign up. Then, when they call in a year or two, you’ll be pleasantly surprised! $75 for two hours? I’ll take that any day!

If you’re in central Maryland, the two reputable companies I know, and are registered with, are Columbia Focus LLC [5] (where I was last week) and House Market Research [6].

(photo: anotherjesse [7])