Before I started making money with my legit side hustle of freelance writing, I would often participate in focus research groups. Paid research groups can be a great way to earn decent cash for giving your opinion.
Survey companies like Swagbucks help you earn a little cash in a brief amount of time. But research groups are different; you’ll put in extra time. However, the earnings will likely be quite a bit higher. Ready to learn more?
How to Make Money with Focus and Research Groups
Focus groups and research groups are typically the same things. Their task is to help companies gather people to hear their opinions. When you join a research focus group, they might seek your views about the products you use at home.
Or you might be invited to join a taste test focus group where they ask if you like the taste of new products. Some focus groups will ask you about travel preferences or political leanings.
Research groups like these help companies to get real world opinions on products and services. With the feedback they get, the companies can modify products and services to be more pleasing to the public.
It’s not uncommon to get paid $100, $200 or more to participate in group sessions. The sessions usually last 1.5 to 2 hours or more. Here are several legit paid research groups to help you earn some serious cash.
Fieldwork has been offering services since 1980. It is one of the research groups I’ve taken surveys with before, and I have to say it was a great experience each time. Most Fieldwork focus groups require you to travel to a research facility.
The company has research facilities across the United States. Some of the cities include:
- San Francisco
And others. When you participate in a focus group with Fieldwork, you might try a new product, give your opinion on advertising or product packaging and more. Pay depends on the length of the session and the details of the group.
When I was participating in Fieldwork, I found the pay quite gratifying for the work involved. Plus, the groups were fun, and the studies were engaging.
Bonus: Fieldwork also has at-home research studies, as well as phone surveys, product trials and online surveys.
Focusgroup.com has been conducting research studies for over 30 years. Group studies with this company typically focus on discussion of products or services.
Focusgroup.com has research focus group facilities in 16 cities including:
- Chicago (2 locations)
- Kansas City
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- Atlanta (2 locations)
Topics include a variety of subjects such as parenting, social media, health products, and health-related issues, technology and more. The Focusgroup.com website says group participants will receive $75 to $150 per study.
Note that this company has online, in-home, and phone surveys and product testing options too. Focusgroup.com was founded in 1988 – another long-running market research company.
3. Inspired Opinions
Inspired Opinions is a research group started by the Schlesinger Group over 40 years ago. They operate research facilities in 16 locations across the United States.
To find out which cities they operate in, you’ll need to contact the company directly. Some of the subjects they conduct focus research groups on include technology, food, healthcare and more.
When you sign up to take part in focus groups with Inspired Opinions, you’ll get paid in points. The points vary depending on the study, and every 100 points are worth $1.
You can redeem the points you earn for cash and gift cards. Note that Inspired Opinions also has online studies and surveys you can participate in too.
The online studies and surveys won’t pay as much as the in-person groups, but they do pay. Bonus: you can complete online studies from the comfort of your own home or anywhere else you have Internet access.
Mindswarms works a bit differently than the focus group companies we’ve talked about so far. Instead of traveling to a research facility, you participate in groups via webcam, iOS device or Android device.
This choice is useful because you can join in wherever you are – even if you’re traveling. All you need is a recording device that hooks up to the internet.
The studies are short and pay well: $50 to answer seven survey questions. The video surveys take about ten minutes or so.
In order to apply, you need to go to the Mindswarms website and hit the “Sign up” button in the upper right-hand corner. After that, you’ll get prompted to create your Mindswarms account.
Note that you may be asked to record and send in a short video as a part of your application process. After you’re a member, Mindswarms will notify you when there are surveys available.
You can also check your Mindswarms dashboard under the heading “Studies for You.”
5. Plaza Research
Plaza Research has been around since 1982 and has 14 locations in the U.S. You can find them in cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Tampa, Houston and others.
When you join to be a member of Plaza Research focus groups, you may be asked to taste test a new product. Or you might preview a television commercial or talk about future products.
The sessions typically last about two hours. Pay depends on the type of session, but it averages between $50 and $200 for a two-hour session. You’ll get paid right away at the end of the focus group study.
Note that Plaza Research has an online site for taking shorter surveys. You can go to iOpinion.com if you want to sign up. The iOpinion surveys are short, but they do pay less. It’s similar to what you’d get if you were taking surveys on Swagbucks or similar survey sites.
Although these online sites typically pay less, you can use survey sites to make extra money.
6. Probe Market Research
Probe Market Research was founded in 2005 and does market research. They recruit panel members from a variety of different backgrounds. When you sign up with this company, you may be asked to give feedback to companies regarding:
- Product design and packaging
- Taste testing
- Beauty product testing
- Advertising campaigns
And more. Each study pays between $50 and $400 on average, depending on the type of study. In some cases, you’ll have to travel to a research center to complete a study. Although, in other instances, you can complete it right from home.
Probe Market Research has studies available for people in all 50 states at various times. Note that when you sign up to participate, you’ll get asked a variety of questions.
Probe will ask about your ethnicity, your career field, what you drive, how you travel, what type of housing you have and more. This is because companies that come to Probe for market research often target specific groups of people for their studies.
For example, if a company is selling baby toys, they’ll want to target parents with young children. Thus, these types of questions are vital to ensure you qualify for studies.
Respondent focuses on getting high-quality research results for companies. They’ve paid out over $2 million to focus group participants so far.
Research studies with Respondent are a bit different than some of the other companies we’ve mentioned here. Respondent has both online and in-person studies.
The average study length is just 30 minutes. And the average hourly pay for studies is $140.
That means you’d earn roughly $70 on average for a 30-minute-long study. When you sign up with Respondent, they verify you by using your Facebook or Linkedin account.
This helps them to validate your demographic and employment data, making you eligible for study groups. From there, you can browse your account dashboard to see which studies you qualify for.
The site will tell you what each study entails, what type of people might qualify, and what the pay rate and time commitment are. When the study is complete, Respondent says they will pay you automatically via PayPal.
Note that Respondent does take a five percent “fulfillment” fee for each study you’re paid for.
8. Survey Feeds
Survey Feeds isn’t a market research company. Instead, it helps you find focus group opportunities in which to participate. The Survey Feeds website says it gathers the best paid research studies to help you earn money.
The site also says it can help you find both in-person and online studies. In-person studies include one-on-one interviews, focus groups and clinical research studies.
The online openings include web conferences, online surveys and phone interviews. It’s free to join, and there’s no sign up necessary.
However, they do ask you to download templates from their website. If you don’t want to do that, another option is to check out the Survey Feeds Facebook page.
The Facebook feed shared survey options that paid between $100 and $200. The page only seemed to post about once a month or so.
However, the posts that were there were pretty high paying.
9. Survey Squad
Survey Squad will pay you to participate in online surveys, mobile surveys, phone interviews and in-person focus groups. This company started in 2003 as a door-to-door market research company.
The company offers online surveys that pay points too, but the real money is in the focus groups and research studies. If you read the FAQ page on the website, they’ll tell you that providing as detailed information as possible when you sign up is vital.
The more information they have about you, the more likely you are to qualify for research study and focus groups.
Unlike the quick online surveys that pay points, the research studies and focus groups pay more. Typical pay for the groups and studies runs between $50 and $250. You get your money via cash, check or Visa gift card.
Survey Squad shares group and study opportunities via Twitter as well.
10. User Interviews
User Interviews is a company that helps other companies build better products through market research. When you sign up to join their company, you start by creating a profile.
The more thorough you are with your profile, the easier they can find studies for you. Once you’ve created your profile, you can start searching for projects that interest you.
Note that the site says there are screener surveys to see if you qualify for studies. Screener surveys are short surveys that determine if you’re eligible for a study or focus group.
The company has a variety of studies available. Here are a few examples of the types of studies that were listed on their website at the time of this writing:
- 60-minute one-on-one interview about a new app: paid $125
- 30-minute one-on-one phone interview about online services: paid $40
- 2-week long online multi-day session on a delivery service: paid $200
Note that these were examples the company shared on their website. The actual focus group opportunities you have may be different.
watchLAB is a market research company that offers online, in-person and in-home studies for respondents to participate in. As with other companies, watchLAB often has screener surveys to see if you qualify for focus and study groups.
After you sign up and share your demographic information, you can find out about upcoming studies in two ways:
- watchLAB will email you about upcoming focus group openings
- You can follow watchLAB on Twitter and Facebook to find opportunities
When I checked on watchLAB’s Facebook site, I found they shared a lot of study options. For example, they shared a 40-minute study that paid $75.
Other studies ranged in pay from $75 up to $175 on average. There were a couple of higher paying studies available too: one for $300 and one for $875.
These were in-person studies that required a longer commitment, but the pay was great. The types of studies you qualify for will vary depending on where you live as well as other factors.
Depending on the type of research opportunity, you can receive your payment in person or by having a check sent to your home address.
Also, as with other companies, screener surveys don’t pay you. You’ll only get paid if you participate in an actual study.
12. American Consumer Opinion
With American Consumer Opinion, you have the option to take shorter surveys to earn a bit of money. However, they also offer surveys that pay up to $50 (in point value that you can transfer to cash).
This company will contact you when survey chances are available. Some of the survey topics you might find with American Consumer Opinion could include:
- Taste testing opportunities for a new snack or other foods
- Evaluate the advertising techniques of retailers
- Review of a new idea for a product
- Thoughts about today’s economy
With the points you earn, you can get cash via your PayPal account, Hyperwallet and other options. Plus, they have a monthly $50 cash drawing for survey participants as well.
And, even though this survey choice isn’t as lucrative as some of the other ones mentioned here, you do get to take part in them from home. This means you won’t have to travel to earn your side hustle cash.
Bonus: American Consumer Opinion is one of the longest-running survey companies, founded in 1986.
What Else Do I Need to Know About Focus Groups
We’ve just shared several ways you can make money with focus groups and research studies. What else do you need to know about these types of side hustles?
First, it’s important to know that most market research companies only allow members to participate in a few studies each year. In other words, you won’t make a full-time living doing this type of work.
Second, most market research companies value your privacy. They won’t sell your name and other information to outside companies. However, you may want to ask just to make sure.
Third, a reputable market research company will never ask you to pay to join. If they ask you for payment, or ask for a credit card number, you may want to avoid that company.
There are several valid market research companies out there that will pay you – and pay you well – for your opinion. Personally, I’ve made thousands of dollars over the years taking part in focus groups.
Perhaps you like sharing your opinion and having an influence on products and services. Then this could be a great way for you to make some extra money.
Have you ever participated in focus groups or research studies? If so, tell us about your experience. What type of studies did you get to join in? How was the pay?
Feel free to share your experience in the comments section on our Facebook page.