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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Easy Money

Last night I did another focus group, and it was such easy money. $100 for 2 hours of sitting in a group and giving my opinion. I thought I would put together this list of companies in the L.A. area that pay for focus groups. Feel free to add more in the comments section. I've had a lot of expenses last month, especially in the wardrobe department, getting ready for the trial. And I had less hours at work so a smaller paycheck. So every $100 extra helps! Anyway, here are some that I have used and highly recommend.

Plaza Research
Adept Consumer Testing
Schlesinger Associates
Adler-Weiner

Yahoo Consumer Testing
Sony Consumer Testing
These last 2, I don't know how I found them or they found me but the meetings were in their offices in Santa Monica.

But a good way to find these opportunities is to browse the 'Etc." section of the Jobs listings on Craig's List.

What is it like to do a focus group? Usually you start out by answering some questions via email and then they contact you by phone to ask you follow-up questions. If you fit their criterion, then you find out when and where the group meets. Here are some groups I've done:
"people who make over __$k per year and have never used self-tanning products"
"people who occasionally wear colored contact lenses"
"mothers with an infant who have a Maclaren stroller"
"women aged 24-35 who use Yahoo groups"
"people who buy ice cream at Ralphs"
"people who print online shipping labels through the Post Office's website"
"women who wash and condition their hair once a day"
"mothers of babies in diapers"
"Bank of America customers with mortgages elsewhere"
"people who have heard of but do not use Kiehl beauty products"
"women who buy energy bars"
"people who earn above __x$ who are going to buy a car in the next year"

Sometimes the screeners will be desperate to fill a certain group, and will ask you questions in such a way that gives you hints as to what they're looking for, which is how I found myself in a focus group for "women who often drink lite beer". Luckily on that one (it had been months since I'd had a beer), what happened was that I showed up, they had too many people, so they paid me $100 anyway, and sent me home without me having to participate.

When you get to their office, they usually have sandwiches or pizza, cookies, sodas, and then they bring you into a room and ask you the same questions again to make sure you fit the client's criterion. Then they dismiss one or two people sometimes (and pay anyway!) and then the rest of you sit and talk for 2 hours about whatever the subject is, around a small conference room table. Usually there are 8-10 people or so in the group. There is a 2-way mirror with at one end of the room and a moderator at the head of the table.

They usually pay around $100, but it ranges from $75-$400 depending on how long you're there, and if there is"homework" then you usually get more. The homeworks I've been given have always been collages, where I had to cut and paste magazine photos relating to a theme.

Please comment if you have done any focus groups. What were they about? And do you have any new companies I can add to the list? I think this will be interesting. :)

2 comments:

jenna! said...

You listed everyone who has my name and a few who need my name. :-)

I've been sent away once for the group being too full (with $100 for my trouble.) I had to do the collage once. And, I had to do try self-tanner before the group once.

Two notes to add:

1. DO NOT ARRIVE LATE. not even one tiny minute. They'll boot you with no cash. And they don't care about traffic. If you think you'll be late, call and cancel.

2. If you're hungry, there will be no food. Anytime I'm full and happy, there's all sorts of yummy stuff. When I'm running to a group after work, there isn't a crumb of food to be had.

shannon said...

Very cool, I'd love to do that... Will have to do some research to see if they do that in the Toledo area..