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Do you like to give your opinion? Are you willing to speak your mind and share your thoughts about a product, an idea or an issue? Then you’re just the kind of person marketing research companies are looking for. They’ll pay you $100 an hour or more to share your opinion.

Before a company introduces a new product or launches a new ad campaign, they often run the idea by a focus group. A focus group is simply a group of people who try the new product, view the new ad campaign, or review information about an issue and share their opinion. The people who conduct the focus groups don’t work for the company that made the product or designed the ad. They want your impartial opinion. After a one to two-hour session, the focus group ends and you’ll receive your payment – IN CASH!

I’ve earned anywhere from $75 to taste test tacos to $275 to share my opinions about designer faucets. Focus groups are fun, fast, and a great way to earn extra money.

Where to Find Them

  • Marketing research companies hire people for focus groups in most major cities in the United States. Some also host studies online.
  • Search the phone book for “Market Research.” Call the company and ask if they recruit participants for focus groups. Ask to be put on their list.
  • Look online under “Focus groups.”
  • Read the Craig’s List notices under Jobs. Focus group companies often post notices of upcoming groups on Craig’s List.
  • Sign up for market research company’s Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. They often send out notices of upcoming focus groups via social media.

What to Expect

  • When you apply for a focus group, you’ll fill out an application that tells some basic information about you: your age, marital status, if you have children, home ownership, race, etc. The company keeps your application on file and matches you with studies looking for your particular demographic.
  • When you’re eligible for a study, someone will call or email you a screening survey. Your answers on this survey determine whether you’ll be accepted into the study. There are no right or wrong answers to the survey, but you may need to use a specific product or have a particular background to qualify for a survey.
  • The day of the survey, you’ll sit around a table or in a classroom with other focus group participants and listen to a presentation. A facilitator will ask questions and encourage discussion. You may do an exercise such as creating a collage.
  • Some studies recruit more people than they need. If they send you home, you’ll still be paid the full fee.


  • Sign up with every market research or focus group company in your area to increase your chances of being chosen for a study.
  • Signing up for focus groups is free. If anyone tries to charge you a fee, they’re operating a scam.
  • Show up early for your appointment, at least 15 minutes. Bring your ID. Some groups hold special drawings for early bird bonuses.
  • Speak up and give your honest opinion. Don’t feel you have to agree with others in the room. And don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings.
  • Some companies have rules about how often you can participate in a focus group – every six months, every three months, or once a year.

Similar Opportunities

  • Taste tests – get free food and a cash payment to try new restaurant dishes and give your opinion. Watch Craig’s List for taste test opportunities.
  • Mock Juries – Sometimes law firms hire people for mock juries to test strategies for big trials. You’ll spend a day hearing evidence and weighing in with your verdict.
  • Product Tests – You’ll use a product for a period of time and report your opinion and observations. The product is free, and you’ll receive payment too.

This has been a guest post by Cindi from Bailey, CO
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