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Participating In A Paid Focus Group

About six months ago, in one of my MBA classes, the owner of a marketing research group gave a talk to the class. Afterwards, I looked up her company, and the names of several other marketing research groups in the Baltimore area, and signed up for their focus groups. Well just the other day, six months later and long after I had forgotten I’d signed up, I was sent an email to participate in a 90 minute focus group that would pay out $100 upon completion, $50 if I was ineligible. I’ve never participated in a focus group before so I’m really interested to see how the process works. $100 for 90 minutes works out to be more than what I am paid normally and, since the focus group runs from 5:45 to 7:15, it won’t impact my full time job – a perfect situation.

The first part of the process was the pre-qualification survey that I took online via a link from the original email. The focus group was about home improvement so all the questions were about home improvement and how much research I’d done in various areas. It asked if I considered and researched things like carpeting, windows, gutters, hardwood floors, and siding. It asked for the vendors I considered such as Sears, Lowes, Home Depot, and a handful of others. Lastly it asked if I actually pulled the trigger on the purchase (I’ve made two improvements since moving in, getting windows from Castle [3] and carpeting from M&S [4]).

All told the whole process will likely take a little over two hours counting all the time involved. The pre-qualification survey took approximately 10 minutes and driving up to Baltimore and back will take around 30 minutes. Sum that all up and you’re talking approximately 130 minutes of work for $100, or approximately $46 an hour. Plus it’s something to write about!

The focus group will be next Tuesday so keep on the lookout for a post in the near future if you’ve thought about doing this sort of thing for a little side cash.