How to Make Money with Paid Focus Groups

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Being in a focus group gives you a chance to express your opinion and earn money for it.
Being in a focus group gives you a chance to express your opinion and earn money for it. (Image: Michael Blann/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Participating in a focus group is one of the easiest and most pleasant ways to earn some quick money. The typical pay is around $100, paid in cash or check, for a few hours sitting around a conference table chatting about consumer products or issues. Many focus group companies even serve snacks. Market research companies look for focus group participants who have certain characteristics, such as being in a certain age range, working in certain industries or using certain products. It's best to get into their databases so they can call you when a group matching your characteristics comes up.

Find local companies that run focus groups by searching for your city in the "Focus Group Facilities" box on the GreenBook website. While GreenBook is aimed at companies that want to conduct focus groups, it's also a useful way for people who want to be in the groups to find reputable companies.

Contact the companies you located in your area by going to their websites and looking for a link that says something like "join database." Follow the instructions there to apply either online or by telephone.

Check Craigslist for additional listings of focus groups. First locate and click on the name of your city. Then find the "Jobs" heading and click on "ETC." At the top of the page that comes up, conduct a search for the word "focus." You'll see listings from companies recruiting for specific focus groups. They are usually looking for people who meet specific requirements. If you are a match, follow the instructions, which usually require you to fill out an online survey form as the first step.

Call the recruiter back right away if you get a message that a focus group company has called you. The groups typically fill up fast, so don't delay.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have any doubt about whether a market research company is legitimate, contact the Better Business Bureau.
  • Don't pay anyone who claims to have a list of focus group companies to sell. They don't have any information that you can't find out yourself.
  • Most companies stipulate that you are only allowed to do one paid focus group every six months.

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