paid focus groupsAre you looking to earn a bit of extra, one-time cash, or perhaps even a regular side income? Do you have a couple of hours a week that you can spare? If so, you can probably make money by participating in paid focus groups. It’s easier than you think to get involved, and the “work” is almost always interesting.

What is a Focus Group?

A paid focus group is a small group of people (anywhere from five to 50 people, on average) with one or more common interests, characteristics or other fact that applies to everyone in the group (i.e. all are from the same town; all are middle-aged women). The group is used for the purposes of performing qualitative research (more on that term later on) about or for a product or service for a particular company.

To get a better understanding of what a focus group is, it’s helpful to first understand a bit about marketing and information-gathering. All kinds of companies use focus groups and other information-gathering tools and techniques (such as surveys) to gauge audience/market response to a particular product or service.

Here’s an example: the medical community (doctors, researchers, pharmaceuticals manufacturers) regularly need real-life data in order to determine what kinds of products (i.e. medicines, drugs) and treatments need to be created. In order to gather that data, they put together a focus group.

Let’s say that the topic of research is sleep disorders. In this case, the focus group would consist of people who regularly experience sleep disturbances. The researcher would bring this group of people together to discuss issues related to sleep disturbances, including potential causes, things that people find helpful in falling asleep, and things to avoid that might further disrupt sleep.

The group would discuss these things together, and the researcher would look for similarities within the group as a whole. He or she would then use this data to go back to the lab and work on a product or service that would help people to sleep better at night.

Many members of the public think of focus groups as being limited to medical research. In reality, focus groups are used by all kinds of different industries in order to gauge public opinion and input on particular products and to obtain ideas for new products to be created. Focus groups offer valuable data and input that simply cannot be obtained through other means of information-gathering.

This kind of information-gathering is known as qualitative research. It differs from other forms of data-collection, such as surveys, because it seeks to understand the reasons consumers make particular choices, as opposed to quantitative research, which only identifies the choices themselves and not the reasons behind them.

For this reason, and because the very nature of a focus group requires personal contact and interaction, many companies pay significant stipends to focus group participants. It’s not uncommon to get paid 50 dollars or more to participate in a one to two hour focus group.

How Can I Find Focus Groups to Participate in?

Focus groups are generally conducted by a second-party company that specializes in conducting scientific research and recruiting participants. A company that wishes to collect and analyze data regarding its products/services will contract with such a second-party company to conduct the research on its behalf. The company commissioning the study pays for all related costs.

Then it’s up to the research company to find people to participate in the studies. That’s where you come in. Such companies use all kinds of methods of advertising, from newspapers to magazines to the Internet.

Its most common method today is recruiting via the Internet. They may do so by placing ads on relevant Websites or through online classifieds, such as Craigslist.

You need not wait until you stumble upon an Internet or newspaper ad, though. You can actively seek out paid focus groups in or around your area. If you live in or near a major city in North America, you’ll probably be able to find focus groups to participate in.

Simply use your favorite search engine (we recommend Google) and type “paid focus groups [your city]” and you’ll likely find some good links to follow. Some may lead you directly to the Website of a research company; others may be directories containing links to multiple focus group companies. Still others may be registries which are used by a number of different research companies to find qualified study participants.

Two registries that you can try include and They are general registries for people interested in participating in focus groups. All kinds of different researchers use data bases like these to find focus group participants. They do this based on the data that you provide when you register.

Here’s how to get started:

1) Go to the site’s home page. Locate the link on the home page that leads to the sign up page. There may be several of them, and will probably say “sign up” or something like this. Click on that link. You’ll be re-directed to the application page.

2) On the application page, fill out all of the required information, which is mainly biographical in nature. You’ll need to answer every question, since this is the data that companies will use to determine whether you qualify for a particular focus group. Once you’re finished, click the “Submit” button.

You’ll be notified by email if and when you qualify for a focus group in or near your area.

A Few Things to Note About Paid Focus Groups

* When applying or registering to be a participant, make sure you provide all information required, and be honest. Applications found to be fraudulent will be rejected.

* Don’t offer more information than is asked for. Keep your answers short and closed-ended. For instance, certain things, such as disclosing that you’ve worked in a particular industry in the past, may result in a decreased chance of getting a callback. Supply only the information that is directly asked for.

* Applying to be part of a focus group does not automatically guarantee that you’ll be called. It may take some time before someone gets back to you. Be patient. If you want to increase the odds that you’ll get asked to participate in a paid focus group, register with as many companies as you can which do business in your area.

* Thanks to modern technology, not all focus groups require in-person, on-location participation. Some focus groups are conducted via Webcam over the Internet and even by conference call. So don’t assume that you can’t be paid to participate in a focus group if mobility or transportation is an issue.

Hope this helps,

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  3. Make Money As A Forum Administrator/Moderator
  4. Get Paid to Post in Forums
  5. Get Paid to Take Surveys

(9) comments

Laura Brown says:

November 4, 2011 at 4:48 am

I will work to be part of a focus group soon. What is my odds of joining one? I think the chance is small. I am not from the U.S. I live here in Indonesia. Please refer me or hire me if you need one. Thanks.

Scott says:

November 4, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Hi Laura:

I am not sure about Indonesia. You may want to search for Focus groups on Indonesia.

Benjamin Burrow says:

November 29, 2011 at 3:32 pm

I encountered this phrase several months ago and I thought this is more of a counseling session. I am glad you explain this in a very simple way. You make me feel excited to join one. However, please provide suggestion for me to avoid scams. More power!

Jake Milliband says:

December 8, 2011 at 8:58 am

I got a lot of interests but make no use of them. Now is the time to earn from the knowledge I got. So, if you happen to read this post, please invite me to your group. I want to join.

Maria Constancia Flores says:

January 2, 2012 at 2:55 am

Let us create a support group! Imagine, we will form a group of people from all walks of life. It is such a rich pool of comfort! There are sites out there mostly social networking but they do not really dwell on “life ” issues.. We will just discuss money later.

Cedric Paul Thomas says:

January 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm

We can band together and become one entity. As a paid focus group, we can offer our services as a team. I think this will help lessen the potentials client’s burden of looking for other guys out there.

Troy Holler says:

January 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm

What are the usual companies looking for these focus groups? Are there any minimum requirements?

Scott says:

January 11, 2012 at 5:51 pm

You would have to contact each company for their requirements.

Barb Fitchitt says:

April 17, 2012 at 10:29 pm

I was part of a focus group run by the makers of the instantly activated hot packs that are now available
in drugstores and pharmacies all over the US. I was invited to participate in the focus group during a phone
survey. I only remember the most basic requirements for the invitation. They were age, range of family income, number of years of school attended, employment status, and the age and relationship of the people living with me. A woman who introduced herself as a represemtative of the unidentified company was the moderator .Before we got started, she explained the why and how of the focus group, reviewed the criteria for inclusion and exclusion, which prompted 2 of the people to leave for different reasons. I remember that one had to leave because the actual time required would have made her late to pick up a child in daycare and the other person left for an apparent conflict of interest that he identifed from the moderator’s remarks. This reduced our group to 10, but that number was fine with the moderator’s guidlines, so we contnued. The other key points that I recall included the time requirement, the confidentiality agreement which we read and signed, and finally, how to signal the moderator. Just before the official start, she reminded us that we had to participate with our answers to each question and stay for the full 2 hours, when she would pass out the
compensation for each of us. The process of the focus group was simple, stressless, and low-ley. At the
end, she thanked us very much for our time and effort and gave each of us a black soft-sided leather briefcase
with two handles. It was very nice and made the whole process more than a little worthwhile because it contained $200 cash, plus several other nice gifts, and 3 new boxes of the product to try at home. Wow!

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