So what makes a good focus group company for a participant? After participating in dozens of studies, I have found that the best companies are transparent. They tell you upfront what the reward will be as well as how long the study will take and when it happens.
Good firms also are generous with their rewards and don’t waste your time on studies that are difficult to qualify for. I think it is also super beneficial to have an online pre-qualification survey. That way I can just go online whenever I find a few minutes instead of getting phone calls during dinner. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to do things online these days.
In theory a good focus group company has a variety of studies, so that it improves your odds of qualifying for one of the groups they have. If a focus group company is highly specialized, they might not be suitable for many of the potential respondents.
Also, it is important to have a positive interaction with office staff.
Since I interacted with many focus group companies throughout the years, it is fairly easy to predict how your relationship will be. So at Stansgigs.com, we try to find the best focus groups for you and that requires quite a bit of research. And while we can’t attend all of the focus groups in USA and Canada ourselves, we do our best to research each and one of them.
Here’s how we rank the Focus Groups:
- Reputation – we look at the reviews in Yelp, Google and feedback on public forums. We also check Better Business Bureau. If we see many panelists complaining about non payment or bad experience, we will downgrade the rank.
- Availability of studies. We want to make sure the company has a steady flow of studies and advertises them to their database.
- Easiness to qualify. Does a company have a wide range of studies or do they specialize in those super niche research studies that very few people will qualify for? The easier for a participant to qualify, the higher the score
- Ease of Use. Is it easy to do business with this research firm? Do they contact their participants and describe ongoing studies? Or do you need to login into their panel to learn about new research? Does the company specify participant compensation, or do you find out at the end of a long qualification survey? The more information they provide and the easier it is to use the service, the higher the score.
- Average compensation per hour. This one is straight forward.
Our rankings are based on the data collected over a period of a few months and we hope to give you very accurate rankings. Our rankings are based on our own experience with focus group companies and our research.
What are black boxes on your list?
Some research companies we deem as “black boxes” simply because they don’t share a lot of information with their participants. We can’t be sure whether they are active or not. We have emailed most of them inquiring about focus group availability but our emails went unanswered.
I know that many of them likely still do recruiting through the phone. These groups you will find in the “unverified pile”. If you work for one of those unverified market research companies and would like us to edit the listing, please drop us a line through Contact Us.