How Much Does Recruitment for Qualitative Research Cost? | Tips for Reducing the Cost of a Qualitative Recruitment Firm

Unsurprisingly, one of the most common questions our qualitative recruitment firm receives is, “How much does recruitment for qualitative research cost?” This question is not always answered with one finite cost because in all reality, market research is not a one price fits all scenario.

Our national qualitative recruitment company works with a variety of organizations to recruit their most hard to find target participants, cost effectively. However, the cost of doing so differs from project to project. To appropriately answer the question of, “How much is this going to cost me?” Drive Research will often first ask a few follow-up questions:

  • What is the target audience your are hoping to recruit?
  • Do you have quotas among the target audience?
  • How quickly do you need the participants recruited?
  • What is required from participants?

By offering more insight into your project specification, our team will be able to provide a clear estimate when recruiting for qualitative research. Don’t have all the answers? Allow us to help.

This blog post will provide a better understanding of what factors increase or decrease the cost of recruitment in qualitative research.

We also have some great saving tips if your budget is tight and you need to reduce the costs associated with hiring a third-party recruitment firm.

the cost of qualitative recruitment | money symbol

The cost of recruiting for qualitative research varies from project to project. Here are four factors that could be breaking your market research budget and how to solve them.

What is the target audience you are hoping to recruit?

Qualitative recruitment is all about finding exactly who you want to talk to and asking for their honest feedback. However, it becomes more challenging (and costly) to find these participants if the target audience is super niche or specific.

For example, it would take less time for a qualitative recruitment firm to recruit participants with more of a general criteria. This could be people who live in New York City and are between the ages of 24-55, or those who live in the United States and are owners of iPhones. These general audiences are easier to recruit than 22 year-old males who are lefthanded and have green eyes.

While a qualitative recruitment company is able to find almost any type of audience, the more specific your criteria becomes, the more expensive the project becomes. Another factor to consider is the type of audience – whether it is B2B or B2C. B2B audiences are almost always more expensive.

Do you have quotas among the target audience?

Another factor impacting the cost of qualitative recruitment is if there are quotas that need to be met within your target audience. As we discussed earlier, just like niche audiences can drive up the cost of recruitment for qualitative research, so can having multiple quotas within one audience.

There is a wide range of possible quotas and this often is based on the objective of the study. A quota may be regarding the gender, age, income, geography, political affiliation, active military, and so on. Our qualitative recruitment firm have seen more specific quotas regarding a person’s cell phone provider, brand of car, and what college a person has attended.

For example, say you have a general national target audience that you are hoping to recruit for a qualitative study. However, among this general audience you have multiple quotas that you’d like to be met.

Perhaps you are looking to conduct in-depth phone interviews with millennials from across the country. Though among this national audience are many requested quotas such as:

  • There must be an even split of males and females
  • There must be an even split of participants living in the South, Southwest, North, and Northeast
  • Three of the participants must be Veterans
  • Five of the participants must have a child under the age of 15
  • Seven of the participants must be divorced

While the qualitative recruitment firm is recruiting from a national audience, there are many quotas they must meet. This means more time, effort, and costs associated to meet these goals. Even if there is one quota that is a needle in a haystack, that one person can raise the cost of recruitment for market research.

How quickly do you need the participants recruited?

In general, our qualitative recruitment firm takes about two to three weeks to complete a qualitative recruitment project. With that being said, recruiting for a qualitative recruitment study can be done in one week or less. With an expedited timeline, comes a higher price tag for the project.

Think of it like online shopping and shipping fees. If you are buying something online and you need it the next day, you will have to pay extra for overnight shipping in order to get your package on time. If you would like free shipping, then you’ll wait the anticipated few weeks to receive your item.

If you are looking for a quick turn-around for your qualitative recruitment project, it can be done. However, it requires a reprioritization in workload and a shift in priorities from other market research studies being conducted by the qualitative recruitment company.

If going against the recommended two to three week timeline, this will likely add to the research proposal sent by the third-party.

Here's how long market research really takes.

What is required from participants?

Lastly, what type of qualitative research study are you asking participants to complete? Popular qualitative research studies include focus groups (both traditional and online), in-depth interviews, in-home usage tests, etc. The easier and less of an inconvenience the study is for the participant, the easier and less costly they are to recruit.

For example, it would take more time for a qualitative recruitment agency to find participants to join a multi-staged research study. First they must participate in an in-depth phone interview, than complete a week long mobile diary, and lastly must participate in a two-hour focus group discussion.

Also, in order to find the most qualified participants and in a cost effective way it is important to keep their schedules in mind. This means conducting interviews or focus groups outside of usual business hours. It will be more difficult for someone to get away from work in the middle of the day to join an in-person focus group or in-depth interview. Participants would much rather sign up for research that fits their schedules such as meeting for a time after work or during their lunch hour.

3 Tips for Reducing the Cost of a Qualitative Recruitment Firm

1. Relaxing Quotas

When recruiting for qualitative research, it is important to not treat this process like it’s a mathmatic equation. If the qualitative recruitment firm is struggling meeting your exact quotas, relax the strict criteria you might be setting. Ask about alternative audiences or revise the exact number you need per quota.

2. Paying Higher Rewards

Say, what? That’s right – provide a higher incentive or reward for qualitative research participants to save money on the project. Often times clients think just the opposite. If a quote for qualitative recruitment is too high, the first thing to be removed or reduced should not be the incentive.

By reducing the reward amount the harder it becomes to encourage participation and in turn increases the cost to recruit for qualitative research. More people would sign up to participate in a focus group for $100 but maybe not for $75. In an ironic way, businesses looking to conduct qualitative research can reduce recruitment costs by offering a higher reward per participant because there is more interest there.

3. Ample Time to Recruit

Our recruitment firm for qualitative and quantitative research understands projects can fall off and on your radar in the matter of days. The need to conduct qualitative research can one day be top priority, and the next it may low hanging fruit – until it becomes a high priority project again and needs to be completed as soon as possible. If a situation like this is to arise, Drive Research can certainly accommodate for that.

However, for the sake of saving money and not blowing budget dollars, the more time and notice you provide a qualitative recruitment firm, the better. On average, a recruitment project takes 2 to 3 weeks to complete. If this timeline is sufficient for your team, than the cost for your recruitment study will not be impacted dramatically.

Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a market research company located in Syracuse, NY. Our qualitative recruiting company works with clients all over the country to find high-quality participants for projects.

Interested in learning more about our recruitment for qualitative research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.

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Call us at 888-725-DATA
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Qualitative Recruiting