If you’re looking for new ways to make extra cash on the side, Focus Pointe Global (FocusGroup.com) is a national research firm that will pay you to share your opinions!

I received an invitation from the company and just earned $175 for a 90-minute focus group at a West Elm store in Atlanta, Georgia.

Focus Pointe Global: What you need to know before you sign up 

When I first got the email about Focus Pointe Global, I was a little bit skeptical that it might be a scam. I did a few Google searches to make sure the company checked out before I replied to the email.

Now that I’ve finished my focus group, I can confirm that Focus Pointe Global is legitimate!

I’m writing this story to share my first experience as a focus group participant, but let’s begin with some things you need to know before you start making extra money with Focus Pointe Global…

Table of contents

What is Focus Pointe Global? 

Focus Pointe Global is a market research company that’s been in business for 30 years and started with one facility in Philadelphia. It has since grown to 20 research facilities across the country.

The firm hosts in-person focus groups, telephone interviews, online surveys, mystery shopping assignments and more. It works with companies like Comcast, Heinz and Astra-Zeneca.

How do I qualify for focus groups?

Ready to sign up? Along with the $175 Visa gift card I received, I got a note from Focus Pointe Global that asked me to spread the word and encourage people I know to register at www.focusgroup.com. Here’s what the note said:

“We’re looking for moms, dads, teachers, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, nurses, business owners, construction workers, and everyone in between to participate in paid marketing research.”

After signing up for a free account online, click on “Available Studies” to see a list of opportunities.

Focus Pointe Global available studies

Focus Pointe Global available studies

To qualify for a focus group, you’ll have to answer a bunch of screening questions. Prepare to be asked to reveal your age, occupation, salary range and information about your consumer spending habits.

If you’re a good fit for a research project, they’ll call you and ask some more questions. My call came from the phone number 215-561-5500.

Where are market research projects conducted? 

Although there are opportunities for virtual focus groups and other paid gigs, it seems the majority of the research is conducted at Focus Pointe Global’s facilities across the country.

Here are the locations where Focus Pointe Global says it has available studies in October 2018:

  • National (Webcam and phone)
  • Appleton, Wisconsin
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Irvine, California
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota

How much do focus group participants earn? 

I earned a $175 prepaid Visa card for participating in a 90-minute focus group, but Focus Pointe Global’s compensation varies depending on the project.

I’ve seen some assignments listed for $75, others for $100 to $150 and even a few for $250.

Since I took part in an in-person focus group, I received my $175 gift card immediately after we finished. Some telephone and online survey participants may have to wait 6-8 weeks.

RELATED: How I earned $300 in Amazon gift cards with Fetch Rewards

My first experience with Focus Pointe Global 

Now that I’ve provided a general overview of Focus Pointe Global, I want to review specific details about my first time sharing my opinions in a focus group!

Screening interviews

The process began with an email from West Elm, not Focus Pointe Global. The subject line of the email was “An Invitation from west elm for Customers who live in the Atlanta Area…..Receive $175 for your participation!”

The email mentioned Focus Pointe Global, so I asked around and confirmed it was legit before clicking the survey link.

I had to answer a few questions about myself like my age, sex and location. The survey asked a series of questions about where I shop for home decor items.

After completing the brief questionnaire, I received a follow-up call from Focus Pointe Global. The employee asked me many of the same questions that I answered online.

At the end of the 15-minute call, the person on the phone told me I wasn’t eligible, but she called back minutes later and said that I did qualify!

I got an email from Focus Pointe Global that same night with my confirmation number. This email included general details about where and when the focus group was being held, which in my case was at a West Elm retail store.

Important: Make sure to arrive 15 minutes early, bring a photo ID and follow the dress code if there is one.

Participating in the focus group 

I showed up at the West Elm store about 30 minutes before the focus group and was a little confused because the store was open to customers at the time.

I told a West Elm employee why I was there and she led me to a table in the clearance section to sign in.

We started promptly at 7:30 p.m. with introductions. There were 10 participants at the table and the person leading the focus group from Focus Pointe Global. There was also a cameraman recording our answers.

I had a feeling that we would be recorded, but the leader of the focus group said it wouldn’t be shared with the public. That was a relief.

Everyone in my group was in their 30s. I think there were seven women and three men, a mix of single and married people, and nearly all homeowners — not renters.

We spent the next 90 minutes talking about all things home decor. Most of the participants in my group seemed to be loyal West Elm shoppers. The leader made us all comfortable to share our likes and dislikes about West Elm and other home decor retailers.

There were light refreshments (snacks, candy, water) for participants, but that’s not why I went. I wanted the money!

Receiving payment 

At the end of the focus group, the Focus Pointe Global employee handed me a $175 Visa gift card and I was on my way. The envelope that the card came in had my name and confirmation number on it.

I’ve made two purchases with it so far, so I can confirm that it works! I was a little worried because the card was pre-activated.

The leader said that if anyone had trouble with their cards, they should call the person at Focus Pointe Global who scheduled them. Corporate headquarters can be reached at 215-561-5500.

Final thought 

I really enjoyed my first focus group experience and would be happy to participate in a future session with Focus Pointe Global.

If I had the opportunity to do it all over again, I probably wouldn’t get dressed up. The email said business casual, but most people wore jeans and t-shirts. I felt a bit out of place in a dress shirt and slacks.

Also, I would bring a coffee or a soft drink from home since they only had those tiny bottles of water.

Is participating in focus groups a way to make extra cash on a regular basis? Probably not. But it’s easy money and a lot of fun if you get the chance to do it!

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