How Much Does a Focus Group Cost?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to how much a focus group costs because there are so many factors that affect the cost of a focus group.
However, for a broad range, you can expect to pay about $4,000 – $5,000 on the low end for a single focus group and $12,000 – $15,000 on the high end.
Remember, this is the cost per focus group, and you should expect to run at least 4 focus groups (given a focus group size of 8–12 people) if you want to get a good range of data.
Because focus groups are qualitative instead of quantitative research, it’s very easy for a single focus group to give you a skewed perception of whatever it is you’re researching — that’s why we recommend at least 4.
Here are a few things you need to consider before seeing if you have the budget to run focus groups.
Want a Cost Estimate Tailored to Your Focus Group or Market Research Goals?
Reach out to our partners at EmCee Research to get a proposal. They can turn around a request same-day and you’ll have an exact idea of costs and feasibility. They can host virtual and in-person groups nationwide, so it’s a great place to go for help with facilitating focus groups.
How Many Focus Groups Do You Want to Run and How Long Will They Be?
This is going to be the biggest and most important question — how many focus groups do you want to run.
It’s important to work with an expert focus group provider when coming up with a number here. Focus group providers do nothing but run focus groups — they’re going to be able to give you a good idea of how many focus groups are required to get the data you need.
It doesn’t really make much difference what you’re researching. Whether you’re interested in your target market’s take on a new product or service you’ve developed or you’re testing political or brand messaging, you need more than the opinions of 8 or 12 people to get a good idea of what your target market thinks of your product/service/message.
The length of time the focus group will take also has a significant effect on the cost of running focus groups. A 30-minute focus group is obviously going to be less expensive than a 90-minute focus group. You’re paying your moderator(s) less, you’re paying your participants less, and you’re using less facility time.
If you’re running multi-day focus groups, your focus group costs are going to be much higher.
How Many Participants Do You Need in Each Group, and Are They Laypeople or Professionals?
There are many different types of focus groups, including mini focus groups (4 participants) and dyads/triads (2 or 3 participants), so your costs are going to go down with fewer participants.
Participants are one of your biggest costs if you’re running a traditional focus group of 8–12 people because the average payment per participant for a focus group is $100–$200.
That’s for laypeople. If you’re paying professionals in a specific industry (for example, small business owners), you may have to pay $300 or more per participant.
How Many Moderators Will You Have?
Moderators are also a large cost, running somewhere between $750 and $1500 per group.
If you’re running 4–8 groups and they’re multi-day focus groups, you can see how these costs will rise quickly.
You also need to keep in mind the type of focus group you’re running. A traditional focus group is only going to have a single moderator. A “dueling” focus group requires two moderators, as does a simple dual-moderator focus group.
There are also focus groups where one group watches another, which again requires two moderators.
You can always try to moderate the focus group yourself or have one of the participants moderate the group, much as a jury elects a jury foreman, but we discourage this — it’s best to have a professional moderate the focus group so that time isn’t being wasted.
Recruitment and Screening Development
In addition to having to pay your participants directly, you’re also going to have to pay a recruiter to find participants in the first place. Again, depending on whether you’re bringing in laypeople or professionals, you might have to pay between $100 and $150 dollars per participant.
However, if you’re able to recruit participants yourself, you can save a good deal of money. The problem with this is that recruiting participants takes a lot of work, and it’s very common for participants not to show up, so even if you think you have a good group put together, you’ll likely end up with no-shows.
Using a professional recruiter like EmCee Research is the best way to go, since they have all of the resources to pull a representative sample and get people to your group on time.
You’ll also need to pay a professional focus group provider to develop a screening process to make sure you get the right participants. If you have a lot of requirements for your participants, then developing a screener can take a lot of time.
Focus group providers may charge up to $750 to develop a screening process.
Are Your Focus Groups Local, or Do You Need to Hold Them in Multiple Cities?
As you might imagine, holding focus groups locally is going to save you some serious cash — as long as your participants are local.
If they’re not, even if you hold the focus group locally, you may have to fly in participants and pay for their travel and hotel costs. The more requirements you have for participants and the harder they are to find, the more you may have to fly in and house, and therefore your costs will be higher.
And if you need to go to multiple cities to run focus groups with local participants, then you’re going to have to pay for your own travel and housing costs.
Finally, you’re going to have to pay to rent a facility, which might cost you upward of $500 each time you hold a group.
Facilities also offer food and drink services, which is common to serve for longer focus groups (even short focus groups usually offer coffee), so expect to pay a few hundred dollars for this extra service.
Need Help Conducting Focus Groups? We Can Help
We specialize in running all different types of focus groups for businesses just like yours. We can help find a focus group cost that fits any budget.