I’m sitting here reviewing yet another focus group facility invoice. It has all the “usual suspects” in the charges – recruiting, facility rental, incentives, client meals, respondent meals, etc.

Plus $11.00 for copies.

Seriously? I’m paying you around $6,800 for two groups, and you’re charging me $11 for copies?

I really don’t like to get nickel-and-dimed from research vendors. I’ve had focus group facilities charge me for easel rental, for the two beers my clients drank (even though they were sitting in the fridge without a price tag), for each soft drink respondents consumed, for placing bottles of water in the respondent room, and for removing all alcohol from the viewing room when a client didn’t want the potential liability if someone overdid it (although hopefully, my moderating wouldn’t have driven them to drink). You’re killing me, here.

I’m already paying you $100 per group to press “record” on the DVD player. And your 20% markup on the menu prices for calling to order our food. And your markup on shipping something UPS for me.

I know you’re in the business to make money, just like I am. But can’t you do it in a way that doesn’t make me feel like a giant ATM instead of your valued client?

I understand that you’re probably going to charge me for video, because many people don’t care if the groups are video recorded. I know you’re going to charge me to put a big TV and DVD player in the respondent room, because most groups don’t require that. I know you’re going to charge me for shipping, and observer meals, and other things that not all groups require, or that may vary quite a bit from client to client (e.g. one observer ordering a pizza, versus 16 clients drooling over the Ruths Chris menu).

But can’t you pretty much figure that every qualitative project is going to require copies? Can’t you include some reasonable assumption of how much of a workout your Canon is going to get for the typical project, and just bury that in your price?

Maybe I’m wrong here. Maybe if you bid $6,900 and include the copies and the bottled water and the easel and a couple of beers for my clients, whereas your competitor bids $6,750 and excludes all that stuff, your competitor would take business away from you. Maybe other researchers would rather pay-as-you-go for all this stuff.

What do you say, other researchers? Am I out of line here, or are you as tired of paying $11 for copies as I am?


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *