Make Some Extra Cash with Market Research Studies

Jun 17, 2009

Last Friday, my husband and I were rushing around the house, trying to pack up the car (and the kids) for a trip to the inlaws’ house. Suddenly, the phone rang and Rob picked it up. He sat down and began to answer a series of questions, ranging from household income to his experience with the internet. I immediately knew what he was doing and hurried the kids out of the room. After all, I hoped the conversation went well. I could tell by his end of the conversation that he was being screened for a market research study and if selected, he could make some pretty good money.

What’s a market research study, you ask? Well, in Austin, and other places around the country, there are companies that have been hired to test the market to determine the acceptance of a particular product or service, especially among different demographics. One must qualify for these studies, and every study has a different set of criteria, but I have, perhaps a dozen times over the past 4 or so years, been selected to participate.

I have sat on a mock jury for a major trial, given my opinion regarding a new washing machine and even rated how much I liked various country music songs for a local radio station. Once I met with a woman at Walmart and went through the “back-to-school” aisle, giving my opinion on things like crayons and notebooks. Last week, I got called to screen for a grocery study. I didn’t “make it,” but if I had, I would have spent 3 hours with a woman, answering questions about my shopping habits and then walking around a grocery store with her, giving my opinion on products. I’m bummed I didn’t qualify for that one. It paid $250!

My husband’s favorite study was when he was selected to taste test beer (and got free pizza in the process). These studies generally pay, in my experience, between $50 and $300 and can range from an hour’s “work” to a whole day. Once, instead of receiving cash, I was given a $75 gift card to a rather expensive and very nice children’s clothing store. I have always found these studies enjoyable and am excited whenever I get selected for a new one. Not only do I get to meet a new group of people and make some easy cash (that they hand you in an envelope as you walk out the door), but they generally feed you lunch or dinner while you’re there!

So, where do I find these studies? Well, I can give my Austin Friends specific details, but the rest of you will have to do a little research on your own. I’ll tell you that I originally found all of these groups on Craigslist (where else?). I search for the studies in the job section, under “Etc” jobs or “Part time” jobs. If there are no studies there, I go to the search engine bar and type in the key words “market research” or “focus group” or “study” under the general “jobs” category. They post these studies all the time, so you should check for them often.

When I went into the Yahoo yellow pages a few minutes ago, and typed in “Market Research” for the Austin area, I found all of the companies I’m signed up with and quite a few more! (I guess I better get my name on their contact lists.) Once you do a study with a group, or put your name on their “list,” they’ll begin to either send you email surveys or call you to screen you for future studies. Many times, Rob and I do not qualify. I don’t know why. Each time it’s probably for a different reason. It might be something like I don’t shop in the stores they are targeting for this study or it might be that we had too much education or make too little money. It just depends on what demographic they are looking for each time.

In Austin, I am signed up with the following groups: Austin Market Research, Tammadge Market Research, Perceptive Sciences and Think Group Austin. I’d advise my Austin friends to start there.

So, good luck to all of you! I hope you have great success in the world of market research! Keep me posted!

By the way, remember that study I mentioned at the beginning of this post? Well, Rob wasn’t picked for it. BUMMER! I kept those kids quiet for nothing!

Maybe next time . . .

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