Need a Market Research Quote? Use These Ultimate Checklists

June 22, 2017

The main advantage of market research is the scope can be customized to almost any budget. A major drawback of market research is that the scope can customized to fit a wide range of budgets.


Unfortunately, it's both a pro and a con. Therefore it becomes difficult to understand the cost of market research early in the process because it can range so widely.


So, here you are, likely seeking a quote on market research or seeking some advice on requesting market research quotes. Well, you've come to the right place.


In this post we'll walk you through the following:



  • Why the cost of market research is difficult to calculate in the early going.

  • Best approach for obtaining estimates from vendors.

  • A series of checklists to obtain the most accurate market research quote for your company.



In essence, by the end of this post you'll be a resident expert on market research. Free of charge of course. Outside of your time on this page.



Before You Get a Quote, Are You Choosing the Correct Methodology?

If you are attempting to budget or gain buy-in for your market research project, cost will often be the first question from your boss or management team.


You'll likely hear, "this idea is great, but how much will it cost?"


Your quote from a market research company will depend heavily on a number of factors. Perhaps you have a methodology in mind and perhaps you do not.


Many of our prospects that contact our firm have an approach in mind while some do not. Some offer up a blank slate. Some will call us and ask for a quote on focus groups. Others will email us an ask us for a quote on market research. One is specific, one is broad.


As a consultant in the industry, it is our job to help clients choose the correct methodology which offers the best return and results no matter what's requested.


For instance, if a client contacts us and asks to conduct focus groups to measure customer satisfaction, we should inquire about why focus groups were initially chosen. We should also advise the client (you) that a quantitative and measurable approach is more relevant to gauge customer satisfaction (CSAT).


So in an easy world, the market research firm could just pass you a bid for focus groups. However, the best firms will be able to understand your needs and translate those to the right approach.



Not only should the firm offer a market research quote but they should also work as your advisor to help you understand the pros and cons of potential methodologies and help guide you down the right path. The right path is at the intersection of high quality, low cost, and quick turn-around.



To Call or Email Your Request?

This really depends on your communication style. What often works best in our mind is an initial email or form fill on a market research company website. There is usually a few back-and-forth emails to finalize the details.


Although with the checklists provided below, we hope to minimize that work for you.


Still, phone calls are important when obtaining quotes and bids. Talking to a person or sharing a Skype or Google video chat helps you get a gauge on factors that you cannot evaluate through an email.


Face-to-face time or conversation can help you evaluate things like:



  • How easy is this firm to work with?

  • Are they excited about working on this market research project for us?

  • Do they sound helpful and flexible?

  • Is their style a good fit for our team and our culture?



You can easily see how difficult those 4 items would be to assess through a few emails back and forth. You should think about picking up the phone and talking to someone.


Also be open to receiving a phone call from the vendor as well. Even in cases where your first step was an email or form fill on the website. They likely want to see if you are a fit for this partnership as much as you want to see if they are a fit for you.



It's almost too easy to email vendors you don't know back-and-forth over the series of a few days or weeks. When collecting bids from market research vendors I encourage you to call and have a conversation, even if it's just 5 minutes. That 5 minutes of discussion will give you a gut feeling of whether or not this vendor is the right fit. It's a connection or feeling that might take hundreds of emails to achieve.


Checklists for Market Research Quotes


Now let's get to the ultimate checklists. What you've been waiting for.


These come in handy for those of you who know exactly what methodology you want. If this is the case you've either done some market research in the past and know what methodology you want or you've been advised of best practices.


Either way, since you know what you want, we can provide you with the exact information you need to provide during your call, email or phone fill to collect the most accurate market research quote.


Use these checklists below as your guide. Offering this information to the market research vendors when you collect your bids will help your company collect apples-to-apples comparisons.


If you are in the process of collecting quotes for the following types of projects, here are the checklists of questions you need to answer and the information you should provide the vendor.


We've provided checklists for some of the most common study requests. These include online surveys, focus groups, phone surveys, intercept surveys, and employee surveys.


A key point here before you ask for an estimate. You'll need to determine if you are only looking for a market research firm to help you with 1 or 2 parts of each project or if you are looking for a full-service market research company who can assist with all.


Let's take a look at each one separately with the questions you need to answer for the vendor.



Online Survey Quote



  • What are your objectives and what do you want to learn from the market research?

  • How will you be using the data and results?

  • Is this a one-time study or an ongoing study? If ongoing, how often would you like to conduct?

  • Will you program the survey in-house or would you like the vendor to program?

  • Do you have a list the vendor will be using or does the vendor need to find survey respondents?

  • If you have no list, who do you want to target (profiles, demographics, geographies)?

  • If you have no list, is there an estimated incidence rate (IR) or qualifying rate of the population?

  • How many questions or minutes does the survey last? 3 to 5? 5 to 7? 10+?

  • How many completed surveys do you need? Any quotas by segment?

  • Will your company manage incentives and rewards? Or will the vendor fulfill?

  • Do you need any analysis or reporting as part of the quote or will you manage in-house?

  • How quickly do you need the surveys completed (start-to-finish or fieldwork in particular)?

  • When do you need the quote returned by?




Focus Groups Quote



  • What are your objectives and what do you want to learn from the market research?

  • How will you be using the feedback and results?

  • How many focus groups would you like to conduct (2, 4, 8)?

  • How many people would you like seating in each group (4, 6, 8, 12)?

  • How long would you like the groups to last (1 hour, 90 minutes, 2 hours)?

  • Do you have locations in-mind for the focus groups (geographies, cities, or facilities)?

  • Who are you trying to recruit to participate in the groups? Customers or non-customers?

  • If non-customers, who do you want to target (profiles, demographics, B2C or B2C)?

  • If non-customers, is there an estimated incidence rate (IR) or qualifying rate of the population?

  • Are you looking to recruit a mix of specific segments for each group? If so, what mix?

  • Do you need the market research company to offer moderating services?

  • Do you need video and/or audio recording services?

  • Do you need the firm to offer transcription services for the focus groups?

  • Do you want the vendor to conduct analysis and write a report on the focus group findings?

  • Do you have a level of reward you want to pay each participant ($75 for B2C, $125 for B2B)?

  • When do you want to conduct the focus groups?

  • When do you need the quote returned by?



A focus group involves more variables than an online survey. These include number of groups, number of participants, rewards, locations, travel expenses, and other items. The more information you can provide about what your needs are, the more comparable and accurate the focus group quotes will be.