The USA Polling Groupís baseline charge for telephone surveys is $20 per completed interview and typically includes a project specific setup and delivery fee. This charge applies to a standard 10 minute public opinion survey of the general population. It includes Random Digit Dialing (RDD) sample construction, questionnaire formatting and input, interviewer training, pre-testing, questionnaire revision (if needed), interviewing, data aggregation, data set preparation, and reporting. Charges also typically include a 38% indirect cost paid to the University for facilities and administration. Charges are uniform and consistent regardless of funding source. From our baseline charges, survey costs may be adjusted based on the following criteria.
Charges are based in part on estimates of the number of minutes it will take to complete each interview. If the interviews are very short (3 to 5 minutes), charges will be reduced. If the interviews are quite long (20 to 30 minutes), charges will be increased. Generally telephone interviews greater than 30 minutes are not feasible.
In RDD surveys, the per-interview charge increases as the number of eligible respondents decreases. If respondents constitute a sub-sample of the population (e.g., you need to be able to examine subgroups of categories such as sex, race, age, occupational categories, etc.), charges must be increased to reflect the increased difficulty of reaching smaller portions of eligible respondents.
Charges must reflect the difficulty inherent in completing the interviews. Surveys covering sensitive topics, such as sexual behavior, drug use, or crime victimization will have higher rates of refusal and more incomplete interviews. In addition, some categories of respondents are more difficult to access (e.g., minors requiring parental permission) or more resistant to being interviewed (e.g., business executives).
Typically, long distance charges are itemized after interviews are completed and added to the per-interview charges. The Polling Group has WATS access for calls within the state of Alabama. Long distance charges apply only to out-of-state calls.
Factors that make interviews more difficult to conduct contribute to increased charges. Such factors include the complexity of topics covered, the use of sophisticated language and concepts, the frequency of open-ended responses, and the need for complicated skip patterns. In addition, some surveys require the use of only certain types of interviewers (e.g., female interviewers for surveys on women’s health issues).
The number of interviews in our typical survey project using RDD samples is 400; this results in a sampling error of +/- 5% at the 95% confidence level. Since basic set-up costs do not vary according to the number of completed interviews, some quantity discounts may be applied. For example, if we charged $20 per interview for a survey of 400, we might charge $18 per interview for an otherwise identical survey of 800.
Baseline charges do not include questionnaire development or adaptation, data analysis, or reporting. The Polling Group can provide such services with additional charges negotiated on a flat fee or per-interview basis.