Surveys/Focus Groups

Manufacturers often hire Market Research (Survey) Companies to study their target markets while developing new products/services or modifying existing ones.  Surveys can be both fun and interesting.  They are an easy way to contribute your voice to the manufacturer of a product or provider of a service.  You can also make a little extra income by doing them because most legitimate companies will compensate you somehow.  Some companies pay via a check or gift card and others allow you to accumulate points that can be redeemed for prizes.  Nearly all of them have a minimum threshold before you can cash out.  Some companies will offer you a product to try at home and others will ask you to watch or read an advertisement.  Some survey companies will invite you to be part of a Focus Group where you will typically talk with others about a particular product, service or idea.  In any event, don’t expect to make even a part time income from it.  I’d say a maximum of $100 a month is a doable figure if you really wanted to do that many surveys.

A Focus Group is a group of people selected for a particular research project.  Some survey companies also sponsor focus groups.  These are the best studies to get in on if you are lucky enough to be selected.  A typical session lasts anywhere from an hour to a few days (broken up into time slots).  The questions are much more in depth and therefore they tend to pay much better.  A focus group can pay anywhere from $20 – $200, depending on the length of the study.

It would also be a good idea to set up a separate email account for this type of correspondence.  Some Survey and Research companies will bombard you with daily emails and others will only send out a few a month.  Be careful how many you sign up for at once because you may take on more than you can handle.

There are a lot of fake Survey and Research sites out there and there are some legitimate bad ones as well.  Be very careful how much personal information you provide.  Never give out bank, credit card or sensitive information.  Some companies will try and get as much as they can out of you for next to nothing.  I stay away from those.  A good survey shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes to complete unless you are told it will be longer before starting it.  The better sites will warn you if it is going to be real long and typically will pay you a little more as well.  Also, you should never, ever have to pay to sign up for a survey company and you should never have to give out your social security number.

If you are unsure about the validity of a survey site then try checking Survey Police.  They maintain a pretty good list of information on most companies.

On my survey link page you will find some information and sign up links for Research Companies I am familiar with.  I will also include a page of links for research companies that specialize in focus groups.

Please note that I included Consumer Panels under a different list.  Many Consumer Groups do in fact send out surveys, allow you to accumulate rewards and even send out product tests.  However, their intent is more site participation related than surveys alone.  I’ll cover that more on the Consumer Panels Page.

Posted by: on October 24, 2010 under