Happy to share your views on hair products or politics? If so, you can easily make up to $150 an hour from anywhere, participating in market research! Online focus groups are a great way to make some extra cash from the comfort of your own home!
The other day I got an email in my inbox that said:
“Sara, you might be a fit for a $150.00 study!”
I wouldn’t have opened it if it wasn’t from a legit consumer research company! But I knew the company really well and knew that this was a real money-making opportunity.
It was for a study about hair care purchases and routines!
But hey, $150 for an hour of my time? Why not?
That’s pretty special and not that easy to find!
I used survey companies before! And as much as I love Swagbucks for their Gold Surveys and cashback (I made over $200 in a couple of months just by buying through their links! So you should really subscribe for free…), $150 for an hour is not bad at all!
And as I am always super interested in side hustles and ways to make extra money, I did a little research to find other companies that look for people to do paid focus groups, either in person or online.
And the great thing about online focus groups? You can do it from anywhere!
So you can take part in some of these, no matter where you are or your nationality!
Table of contents
What is a Focus Group?
A focus group is a small group of people invited to share their opinions.
Focus groups can be conducted in person or online.
They are normally used for market research for new or existing products to determine people’s attitudes towards specific branding, usability, packaging, or ideas. They can also be used for political campaigns and opinion research. You can think about paid focus groups as much more in-depth surveys.
They usually involve you giving opinions and answering questions on a specific subject, getting some free coffee, and going home with an extra $50-$150 in your pocket!
More and more companies are now using paid research studies to better understand the market and trends and connect with consumers locally and globally.
How Focus Groups Work
If you find an in-person focus group near you, you will be expected to attend the interview in person. You will generally be interviewed within a group where each participant can talk to each other.
There is usually a researcher or moderator to lead the group, take notes, ask questions, and record the results.
If you join an in-person focus group, you might need to attend more than one session, but you will be paid for each session you attend.
An online focus group is very similar to an in-person focus group. You’ll need to join online via chat on your tablet or smartphone. You’ll typically receive a link to access the focus group, and from there, you’ll be able to join the discussion and give feedback.
Some online focus groups also use video or specific web-based software. You’ll need to download the software ahead of your focus group research.
More and more research studies are now opting for online focus groups as it’s a lot less expensive for them: they can cut down on money spent on materials and staff, plus it makes it a lot easier to have a bigger pool of possible participants in the research study.
How Much You Can Expect to Earn With Paid Focus Groups
Each focus group will be different, but you can expect to make from $30 to $150 per focus group (although some very specific focus groups can pay up to $450 for an hour of your time!).
The amount you will receive will depend on the time you’ve spent, which is usually an hour or two.
You’ll typically get paid in cash, via PayPal, check, or gift cards. Some market research companies pay with points you can redeem using a specific credit card.
Make sure you know exactly how you’ll get your money before agreeing to participate in a focus group!
How to Find Legit Focus Groups
Whether you are looking for online focus groups or in-person focus groups near you, you will have to be a bit patient as you have to go through a screening process before you can participate in any research study.
Consumer research companies normally look for people with very specific interests and profiles, and you will not be able to qualify all the time.
By joining as many companies as possible, you will maximize your chances of qualifying for as many focus groups as possible.
But before you start signing up, spend a couple of minutes to check out the company and make sure it’s legit. The last thing you want is to waste your time and get scammed online!
Read all the fine print and check their Facebook pages to find out what kind of reviews they are getting. Like with all survey companies, you’ll never find a 5-star rating from everyone! Some people will love them. Some will hate them.
But lucky for you, I have done a lot of the hard work and researched the best online focus group companies!
Top 16 Online Focus Groups
Here I put together a list of 16 companies that pay the biggest sums to make the most of your time!
You will find info on how each company pays and if they accept registration from specific countries, cities, or from all over the world.
User Interviews used to be available only in the US or Canada.
But they have recently opened up international studies and are adding more and more research studies.
It’s one of my favorite online focus group websites out there, and for a reason. In a month, I made $535! You can read about my experience here.
The first step to signing up is to create an account by clicking here. You will need to supply basic information like name, city, state, and demographic information. This information will help User Interviews to pair you with studies. Creating an account takes about 2 minutes!
If you connect via Linkedin and Facebook, you’ll get more chances to participate in focus groups, as they’ll be able to see details in your profiles.
As soon as you sign, you’ll be able to select between the following:
- Focus groups
- 1-on-1 interviews
- Multiday studies
You’ll be paid via cash, check, PayPal, Amazon, or Visa gift card. The incentive type and amount are displayed before you select a study, so you can take the payment method into account before applying.
The pay goes from $75 for 30 minutes of your time to $450 for specific one-hour studies.
What I like about User Interviews is that their studies are super diverse, covering a slew of topics: technology, food, consumer goods, family, software, hobbies, pets, sports, transportation, beauty, social media, music, you name it! You’ll get to be a part of the conversation as new products, apps, websites, etc., are created, sharing their unique perspectives so teams can build better things.
They have some incredible clients, including Pinterest, Spotify, Vistaprint, Wayfair, Thumbtack, and more.
It’s really a no-brainer. Sign up here!
Respondent is my favorite option for in-person and online focus group studies and the one that got me the $150 focus group.
Their payout is excellent, up to $250 per research, sometimes more!
And they accept respondents from ALL OVER THE WORLD!
Respondent.io has projects that are available to US Residents as well as International. This means you don’t have to be in the US to join and earn from $50 to 250$ per research.
All you need to join is a PayPal account and either Facebook or LinkedIn to connect your profile.
This is how it works:
- After you have created your account, you’ll be able to browse all the open studies.
- You apply to participate in studies that you think are a good fit for you.
- The researcher/sponsor of the study reviews responses and sends invitations to respondents that are the best fit.
- If you receive an invitation to participate, you can choose a time that suits you from the researcher’s available times.
- After you have completed the study, you are paid via PayPal.
Respondents are paid the cash incentive amount advertised by the researcher, less a 5% (or a $1 fulfillment fee, whichever is higher). Example: If the cash incentive is $150, you will receive $142.50 via PayPal.
I know you’ll love it, and you’ll soon find something that’s right up your alley!
Just sign up here.
Ipsos is the third largest survey-based research firm in the world, and its consumer survey platform accepts people from all over the world.
Most of the offers available here are for small surveys where you can only earn $0.40-$1.50 per survey, but they do offer from time to time high-end surveys and focus groups that pay $50-$100 for an hour of your time.
They also have a mobile app that allows you to take surveys on the go.
You’ll earn points instead of cash when you complete a survey or focus group. Points vary depending on survey length. You can redeem your points when you have at least 500 in your account.
You’ll get paid with gift cards (including Amazon and iTunes), or you can also choose a prepaid Visa or PayPal cash.
Click here to sign up from anywhere.
And if you want to know more about Ipsos Isay, you can read my full review here.
With an outstanding 4.9 out of 5 on Facebook, Recruit and Field offer US nationwide online studies as well as focus groups in different locations.
They look for participants from any gender and age for their studies, including professionals and medical professionals (doctors, nurses, lab technicians, etc.).
They usually pay via PayPal but also offer Amazon or digital gift cards.
Their payments range from $100 to $275 per study.
Survey Junkie is a great legit website to make some extra cash! It’s mostly a survey company. With their surveys, you can earn between $0.5 to $5 (although the average is probably around $0.5-$3). But once you have signed up, you can opt in for some great focus groups and studies.
Survey Junkie offers:
- Product testing: up to $50 – you get sent a free product to test, plus you’ll get paid for it! You need to fill out an online survey after you’ve used it.
- In-Person focus groups: up to $150 – after an initial online survey, if you are selected, you will have to attend an in-person focus group in a location near you.
- Phone Survey: up to $100 – you will go through market research questions on a phone call.
The only catch is that some of these higher-paying options are available only once a month (or less, depending on your profile).
I really like how easy Survey Junkie is to set up, and it doesn’t cost anything to subscribe. Just sign up here.
Survey Feeds is US-based and has opportunities in many US cities (Boston, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Miami, to name a few) and online. You can earn anything from $50 to $475.
Survey Feeds Specializes in the following:
- One-on-one Interviews
- Focus Groups
- Clinical Research Studies
- Web Conferences
- Online Surveys
- Phone Interviews
Their Facebook page is updated quite often with great market research opportunities.
FocusGroup.com offers both in-person and online focus groups all over the US. You can have a look at “Available studies” to check how much you can get paid. Most studies pay between $70 to $250.
Most of the research studies you’ll find interesting are probably under consumer topics, which include:
- Child-Related Products
- Cell Phones
- Dining Out
But they also run business-specific topics and medical topics.
Their payment methods are different for each research study. Make sure you check if you are happy with the payment method before you apply!
They usually pay either via pre-paid Visa card (normally valid for 180 days), check, gift card, or cash.
American Consumer Opinion is a big survey company for people from the US with over 7 million users. It’s free to sign up, and you can receive money in two ways: PayPal or a check.
It usually doesn’t pay very much, with short surveys making you $0.05 to $0.50, but if you get selected for longer market research surveys, you can make up to $50.
You get points for each survey that you take. 1 point is equivalent to 1 penny. When you hit $10.00, you can request your money.
Fieldwork compensation for participating in a focus group starts at $75, and their focus groups typically last one to two hours.
It has locations throughout the US:
- Fort Lee, NJ
- LA-Orange County
- New York City
- San Francisco
But if you don’t live near any of these locations, you can still apply to join their national database. They usually pay with Visa gift cards, but check before you apply for a focus group.
Rated 4.7 out of 5 on Facebook, Probe Research is a US-based market research company that constantly hosts focus groups to get feedback for clients’ new advertising campaigns, products, or services.
Focus groups normally pay between $50 and $400; in some cases, you may not even need to leave your home! Interviews are conducted in groups, by phone, or online—depending on the amount of time assigned to that particular study.
Mindswarms is quite unique: they will pay you $50 to answer seven questions about a product or service or $10 to answer 1 question.
You can create an account using one of two ways:
1) On the web platform using your laptop/desktop.
2) Using the MindSwarms app on iOS or Android operating system with your smartphone or tablet.
You’ll need to record a profile video or two (to verify that your camera works well) and answer a few questions. Then you can begin applying to surveys.
Once you have registered, you’ll see studies that you might qualify for based on your profile. You can apply by answering a few simple questions in less than a minute.
If you are invited to take a survey, you’ll be asked to answer up to 7 questions using the video function on your smartphone, tablet, or webcam. It’ll take you less than 10 minutes to record your answers.
Then you’ll get paid automatically via PayPal 24 hours after you post your responses to a study.
You just need to register your details and reply to some simple questions. Make sure your account is as up to date as possible, and you will be contacted if you qualify for any study.
If you do, you will receive an email, so make sure you check regularly.
You will be paid via PayPal (remember to claim your payments within 30 days of completing a study!) or check.
Plaza Research has locations in 14 US cities. It specializes in in-person focus groups and pays $50-$200 to group participants.
Focus groups are usually held both during the day and in the evening. You may be asked to sample a new product, preview a TV commercial, or talk about future products.
You’ll get paid in person straight after the session. You can earn between $50- to $200 for a 2-hour session.
To participate in research studies, you just need to be over 18. You can register from all over the world.
You will be asked for some basic information and will be able to create your own personal login and password. Once your profile is complete, they will match you to their research studies. When they find a study that fits your profile, they’ll contact you either by email or phone to see if you qualify.
You can then participate in research studies in a variety of ways:
- In-person at one of their 16 offices across the US
- On the telephone
- Online from a computer anywhere in the world
By participating in one of their focus groups, you can earn anything from $50 to $250.
They use an Opinion Reward points system. And you need to reach 1,000 ($10) before you can redeem points for gift cards.
Voted 4.4 out of 5 on Facebook, you can earn from $50 up to $200 for a study (US-based only).
WatchLab has online focus groups, in-person research studies, and in-home studies. You can check out their Facebook page to see the range of focus groups they offer.
I saw focus groups in San Francisco, LA, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Denver, and Portland. There might be more!
Engage has a pretty old-school-looking website.
It specializes in consumer and healthcare market research studies (you’ll need to pick one when you subscribe), and the pay ranges from $50-$250.
You can subscribe from all over the world. Just select your country when you sign up!
More Ways to Find Paid Focus Groups
My 15 favorite websites for online and in-person focus groups aren’t the only ones around! And as I said before, the more you can find, the more opportunities you have to be a perfect fit for a paid focus group.
You can also search Facebook for “focus group” to find a list of pages of companies looking for applicants. I’ve listed some more companies below that might be worth checking out!
- FindFocusGroups.com: Will help you find focus groups near you in the US, by state.
- FocusGroups.org: Another US-based website that will help you to find focus groups in your city.
- TakePartInResearch.co.uk: If you are in the UK, this is an amazing focus group finder! You can earn up to £150 for an hour of your time!
- SIS International Research: Conducts focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and research studies all over the world.
- Advance Focus: A top-rated website that hosts focus groups and market research panels in New York City.
- Survey Squad: They have some great research studies and focus group opportunities on their Facebook page ranging from $50-$275.
Get in There And Get Paid for Research!
Focus groups will not make you rich overnight, but they are a nice side hustle to make some extra cash in your spare time!
And if you are not going to get a free coffee from an in-person focus group, you can sign up to Swagbucks and get free $5 credit that you can use for s Starbucks gift card!
If you want to find other ways to hustle for money, check out these other side hustles:
- 36 Creative Ways to Make $100 Every day
- 9 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Make Extra Money Fast
- How to Make Money Blogging (In No Time)
Let me know in the comments below if you had any success with paid focus group studies!
Online Focus Groups: are they really worth your time?
I really love online focus groups as a way to make some extra money on the side. You won’t get rich quickly, or they cannot replace your full-time income, but making $150 for an hour of your time a few times a year, sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.
I wish it were possible to qualify for one a day! Lol!